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AT&T gets approval for spectrum purchase while Verizon deal faces investigation

AT&T has been given the go-ahead to acquire spectrum from Qualcomm

US operator AT&T has been granted approval from regulators for its plans to go ahead with a $ 1.93bn deal to acquire spectrum from Qualcomm, just days after its planned merger with T-Mobile USA collapsed.

AT&T will purchase 6MHz of spectrum across the country in the 700MHz band, as well as another 6MHz of spectrum in five major metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Unlike the T-Mobile merger, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ruled that this purchase “would not result in competitive harm that would outweigh the public interest benefits of this transaction”.

AT&T announced its plans to buy the spectrum in December last year, just weeks before announcing the much larger-scale proposed deal to acquire T-Mobile USA for $ 39 billion, with both deals stimulated by a shortage of spectrum in the country.

Meanwhile, rival Verizon Wireless is to have a spectrum deal of its own investigated by authorities. The US Justice Department has confirmed that it is looking into a spectrum deal struck between Verizon Wireless and three US cable companies, and analysing any anti-competitive effects it may have on the telecommunications industry.

The operator recently announced plans to spend $ 3.6bn on 122 Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licences from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, in a bid to boost its LTE offering.

The cable companies also announced that they have entered into several agreements with Verizon, providing for the sale of various products and services.

However, there are concerns that the deal creates a relationship between companies that had been competing, which could be perceived as anti-competitive to the rest of the market.

telecoms.com – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

AT&T to develop in car video streaming service

AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering

AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering

US operator AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering, following on from the opening of a connected car centre in Atlanta, the AT&T Drive Studio in January.

AT&T Drive is a modular connected car platform that aims to package connectivity, billing, data analytics and infotainment to car makers and developers. The carrier has teamed up with multi-play services vendor QuickPlay Media to launch a live linear TV and video on demand streaming services to car makers collaborating with the operator in the AT&T Drive Studio.

According to QuickPlay, its solution includes a configurable, customisable client application, support for adaptive streaming, content protection with DRM solutions, dynamic advertising, banner ad support, multi-language support and featured content.

It added it will enable AT&T to provide in-car infotainment by allowing it to stream hundreds of live linear TV channels and hours of premium video on demand content.

”In-vehicle video services are going play a crucial part in making the next generation of connected cars,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, emerging devices at AT&T Mobility.

The Broadband LATAM conference is taking place on 3rd- 4th June 2014 at the Grand Hyatt, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Click here to download a brochure.

 

“Due to this collaboration, automotive manufacturers around the world will be able to provide consumers with cutting edge multiscreen entertainment.”

Connected car initiatives appear to be gaining momentum in 2014. Earlier this week, iPhone maker Apple announced the upcoming launch of Apple CarPlay, which will be available on select new cars in 2014. The firm claims it will be a smarter and safer way for consumers to use their iPhone in the car.

Last month, it came to light that the United States could soon make M2M connectivity in new vehicles mandatory, following research undertaken by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And at Mobile World Congress last month, automaker Ford rolled out an updated version of its Focus model, showcasing advanced drive assist and mobile connectivity features, while M2M specialist Jasper Wireless unveiled a cloud-based platform targeting the automotive OEM sector, helping car companies implement and enhance the connected car experience.

And in the first week of the year, leading tech firms teamed up with automotive manufacturers to create an industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to connected cars. Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia joined Google to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA).

Telecoms.com

AT&T to develop in car video streaming service

AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering

AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering

US operator AT&T plans to develop an in-vehicle video service as part of its connected car offering, following on from the opening of a connected car centre in Atlanta, the AT&T Drive Studio in January.

AT&T Drive is a modular connected car platform that aims to package connectivity, billing, data analytics and infotainment to car makers and developers. The carrier has teamed up with multi-play services vendor QuickPlay Media to launch a live linear TV and video on demand streaming services to car makers collaborating with the operator in the AT&T Drive Studio.

According to QuickPlay, its solution includes a configurable, customisable client application, support for adaptive streaming, content protection with DRM solutions, dynamic advertising, banner ad support, multi-language support and featured content.

It added it will enable AT&T to provide in-car infotainment by allowing it to stream hundreds of live linear TV channels and hours of premium video on demand content.

”In-vehicle video services are going play a crucial part in making the next generation of connected cars,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, emerging devices at AT&T Mobility.

The Broadband LATAM conference is taking place on 3rd- 4th June 2014 at the Grand Hyatt, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Click here to download a brochure.

 

“Due to this collaboration, automotive manufacturers around the world will be able to provide consumers with cutting edge multiscreen entertainment.”

Connected car initiatives appear to be gaining momentum in 2014. Earlier this week, iPhone maker Apple announced the upcoming launch of Apple CarPlay, which will be available on select new cars in 2014. The firm claims it will be a smarter and safer way for consumers to use their iPhone in the car.

Last month, it came to light that the United States could soon make M2M connectivity in new vehicles mandatory, following research undertaken by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And at Mobile World Congress last month, automaker Ford rolled out an updated version of its Focus model, showcasing advanced drive assist and mobile connectivity features, while M2M specialist Jasper Wireless unveiled a cloud-based platform targeting the automotive OEM sector, helping car companies implement and enhance the connected car experience.

And in the first week of the year, leading tech firms teamed up with automotive manufacturers to create an industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to connected cars. Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia joined Google to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA).

Telecoms.com

AT&T reveals strategic rethink; cloud to feature big

Cloud is a big part of AT&T's future

Cloud is a big part of AT&T’s future

US carrier AT&T jumped well and truly onto the Cloud bandwagon this week, announcing a future network vision dubbed the “user defined network cloud”. Despite the clunky name, the initiative is designed to transform AT&T from a slow-moving behemoth into a technology innovator, according to analysts.

The foundation for the initiative is the company’s Domain 2.0 supplier programme, which this week revealed Ericsson, Tail-F Systems, and Metaswitch Networks to be key contributors, while Affirmed Networks has been chosen to work with on a virtualised Evolved Packet Core.

The User-Defined Network Cloud initiative is to be integrated with AT&T’s Wide Area Network (WAN) and will make heavy use of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN) to separate hardware and software functionality; separate the network control plane and forwarding planes; and improve management of functionality in the software layer.

Telecoms.com

IBM, AT&T partner on Internet of Things to make cities smarter

AT&T and IBM are partnering on an M2M platform that will combine cloud, analytics and IoT technology to make cities safer and smarter

AT&T and IBM are partnering on an M2M platform that will combine cloud, analytics and IoT technology to make cities safer and smarter

Enterprise IT giant IBM and US carrier AT&T announced a partnership Wednesday that will see the two companies co-develop cloud and analytics solutions that ingest data from M2M sensors embedded in civil and energy infrastructure in cities. The companies said they will combine analytics, cloud and security technologies in a bid to capitalise on the burgeoning Internet of Things movement.

The partnership will initially focus on co-developing solutions for city governments and midsize utilities, which will gather data from sensors embedded in everything from transit vehicles and traffic lights to video cameras and utility meters.

The companies said the new platform will help improve urban planning and allow cities to improve resource allocation across metropolitan environments by analysing the movement of people, improving traffic and parking capacity as well the response times of first responders in the event of emergencies.

“Smarter cities, cars, homes, machines and consumer devices will drive the growth of the Internet of Things along with the infrastructure that goes with them, unleashing a wave of new possibilities for data gathering, predictive analytics, and automation,” said Rick Qualman, vice president, strategy & business development, telecom industry, IBM.

AT&T said the resulting technologies will be managed through its existing M2M platform, with IBM contributing its Intelligent Operations Centre, the dashboard utility for its Smarter Cities portfolio, and its analytics and cloud technologies.

“The new collaboration with AT&T will offer insights from crowdsourcing, mobile applications, sensors and analytics on the cloud, enabling all organizations to better listen, respond and predict,” Qualman added.

While IBM has been working steadily on its Smarter Cities portfolio AT&T, a longtime partner of the enterprise IT incumbent, has over the past few years moved to expand its reach in the growing M2M space.

Last year the telco partnered with Indian IT and outsourcing company Wipro to build its M2M application development platform, and it launched a range of M2M “Foundry” innovation centres last summer to speed up development. It also recently unveiled a modular connected car platform based on Ericsson’s vehicle cloud technology.

That said, both AT&T and IBM see a huge opportunity in the M2M space. According to IDC the installed base for the Internet of Things will grow to approximately 30 billion connected devices by 2020.

 

This article originally appeared on Business Cloud News.

 

Telecoms.com

AT&T reports 149% rise in profit for 2013

AT&T has reported a 149 per cent increase in net income in FY2013 to reach $  18.2bn

AT&T has reported a 149 per cent increase in net income in FY2013 to reach $ 18.2bn

US operator AT&T has reported a 149 per cent increase in net income in FY2013 to reach $ 18.2bn. The firm recorded net income of $ 7.3bn in 2012. Consolidated revenues reached $ 128.8bn for the year, an increase of 1.1 per cent year on year.

The firm recorded $ 12.2bn operating income for 4Q13, having posted an operating loss of $ 6bn in the same period a year earlier. Consolidated revenues also grew by 1.8 per cent to reach $ 33.2bn.

“We exceeded build targets across the board,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO.  “Our 4G LTE network is nearly complete and is the nation’s most reliable with lightning-fast speeds. U-verse is rapidly expanding, and our fiber-to-the-business build is off to a fast start.”

Stephenson added that AT&T’s next steps will be to make its networks more powerful and to provide services that will drive growth in the years ahead.

“We have good momentum in areas like connected car, home automation and mobile business solutions. We’re also committed to transforming our operations to make them more responsive and efficient. To that end, we’ve launched Project Agile, a broad set of initiatives to streamline and improve every part of our business. Execution has begun and will be a focus area for us in 2014 and beyond.”

Total wireless revenues grew 4.5 per cent year on year in 4Q13 to reach $ 18.4bn. Wireless data revenues increased 16.8 per cent in the quarter year in year to $ 5.7 billion.

The operator added that it had its lowest ever fourth-quarter postpaid churn; 1.11 per cent compared to 1.19 per cent in 4Q12. Total churn stood at 1.43 per cent versus 1.42 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

The operator also posted a net increase in total wireless subscribers of 809,000 in 4Q13, and 93 per cent of new subscribers (1.2 million) bought smartphones.

Earlier this month, AT&T launched an initiative that allows businesses to cover the transmission cost of content they provide to consumers. The Sponsored Data service will enable customers to view sponsored content and use apps over AT&T’s HSPA+ and LTE networks without that data usage coming out of their monthly wireless data plan.

Earlier this week, AT&T was forced to confirm to the UK Panel on Takeovers and Mergers that it does not intend to make an offer for UK operator group Vodafone, following speculation regarding a potential transaction impacting Vodafone’s share price. Vodafone later went on to announce that its shareholders have approved the sale of its 45 per cent in Verizon Wireless to AT&T rival Verizon Communications.

Telecoms.com

Modular connected car platform unveiled by AT&T

AT&T has developed a connected car platform that allows car manufacturers to select the services and capabilities to differentiate their solutions in the marketplace

AT&T has developed a connected car platform that allows car manufacturers to select the services and capabilities to differentiate their solutions in the marketplace

US operator AT&T is pitching a modular connected car platform packaging connectivity, billing, data analytics and infotainment to car makers and developers to create their own customised offerings.

To develop AT&T Drive the operator teamed up with Swedish vendor Ericsson to create the platform, aimed at offering drivers a better consumer experience.

“We created the AT&T Drive platform to bring automakers the best the industry has to offer, so we can deliver innovation, not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president at AT&T Mobility.

Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud is based on the vendor’s Service Enablement Platform, which provides drivers with access to applications from a screen in the car.

“AT&T recognises the vast potential that exists to transform digital experiences in and around the car, and has built a wireless network that can truly bring the connected vehicle ecosystem to life,” said Per Borgklint, senior VP and head of business unit support solutions, Ericsson.

Examples of consumer services include the ability to detect vehicle repair issues, automatically book service appointments, subscribe to in-vehicle wifi, and on-demand infotainment.

AT&T has also announced the opening of connected car centre in Atlanta, called the AT&T Drive Studio. The 5,000-square foot centre features garage bays, a speech lab, and a full showroom to exhibit the latest innovations and conference facilities. The Studio also serves as a hub where AT&T can respond to needs of automotive manufacturers and the auto ecosystem at large, according to Ericsson.

At its Drive Studio, AT&T will also be developing solutions using technology from billing solutions provider Amdocs, M2M services provider Jasper Wireless, connected vehicle  services and solutions provider Accenture, cloud solutions provider Synchronoss and voice recognition software provider VoiceBox.

Earlier this week, leading tech firms teamed up with automotive manufacturers to create an industry alliance aimed at bringing the Android platform to connected cars. Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia joined Google to form the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA).

Telecoms.com

AT&T signs LTE roaming agreement with EE

AT&T has signed an LTE roaming agreement in the UK with EE

AT&T has signed an LTE roaming agreement in the UK with EE

US operator AT&T has signed an LTE roaming agreement in the UK with EE. The agreement was announced just days after the US firm inked a similar deal in Canada with Rogers Communications.

EE said that the size and speed of its LTE network, which will cover more than 160 towns and cities by Christmas, makes it an ideal roaming partner in the UK for international operators. The UK operator added that this is it first LTE roaming agreement and plans to announce more agreements early next year.

According to Chris Sims, commercial director at EE, one of the complexities facing LTE roaming is in the lack of spectrum harmonisation globally. However, Sims pointed out that such challenges will gradually be overcome.

“For example, handsets that support 1800MHz are available abroad today and we believe that regular travellers to Europe will begin to ask for 1800MHz handsets in their pockets and we believe the prevalence of that will increase.”

Sims could not divulge at this stage whether EE will announce a similar outbound roaming agreement in the US with AT&T but revealed that it is conducting several roaming tests with international operators currently and that it is looking primarily to partner with tier one operators.

“Bigger partners generally have better, more established network support which benefits customers and they typically have more traffic, which at a pure wholesale level is good for us as well,” he said.

He added that EE is working with partners to deliver more innovative wholesale models to allow both partners to gain benefit from unlocking customers’ roaming services usage. “That’s in stark contrast with the strategy today for 3G roaming,” he added.

Commenting on roaming legislation due to be introduced in the EU next year, Sims added that EE has its concerns about the success such legislation will bring.

“Historically we have always been told that lower pricing will generate elasticity and that has not always been the case, so we will see what next year brings,” he said.

“One thing is that there are requirements on decoupling being placed on operators. One of the things we have tried to do as a business is try to simplify our roaming plans. The legislation coming into force will allow our customers to buy roaming services from other providers and we believe that is going to introduce quite a lot of complexity that we have invested quite heavily to reduce in our roaming services.”

Telecoms.com

AT&T begins selling Square Card Readers

AT&T has begun selling Square's card reader in its retail stores

US operator AT&T has made mobile payment firm Square’s card reader available in more than 1,000 of its retail stores.

The Square Card Reader plugs into the headphone jack of an iOS or Android  smartphone or tablet and enables individuals and businesses to begin accepting payments on their mobile device. It is being sold at a suggested retail price of $ 9.95, but customers will receive a $ 10 rebate upon signing up as new users.

The benefit of Square, and similar players like iZettle, is that they provide all the necessary infrastructure direct to the merchant. It takes its cut via a flat rate 2.75 per cent charge per transaction for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards, and deposits the funds straight into the merchant’s bank account.

The benefit of Square, and similar players like iZettle, is that they provide all the necessary infrastructure direct to the merchant. It takes its cut via a flat rate 2.75 per cent charge per transaction for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards, and deposits the funds straight into the merchant’s bank account.

“AT&T stores are a convenient retail destination for purchasing Square Card Readers, offering entrepreneurs the ability to purchase all of the devices they need to run their business in one place,” said Jeffrey Kolovson, head of retail distribution at Square.

Earlier this month, Square received a $ 25m investment from global coffee chain Starbucks, and the two firms announced a partnership to accelerate usage of Square’s payment technology.

The latest deal adds to the more than 20,000 retail locations across the US where the firm’s card readers are sold.

telecoms.com – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

AT&T drops device subsidy with new tariff

AT&T has announced the launch of a tariff that separates device costs from monthly service fees

AT&T has announced the launch of a tariff that separates device costs from monthly service fees

US operator AT&T has announced the launch of a tariff that separates device costs from monthly service fees.  The firm claims the plans will save customers $ 15 per month on average.

The operator’s Mobile Share Value plans are available for subscribers who pay the cost of their smartphone in monthly instalments with AT&T’s Next service, already have their own smartphone or buy the device at full retail price.

The plan includes shared data as well as unlimited voice and SMS, and consumers can connect up to 10 devices, including tablets and other wireless devices. Business customers will be able to connect up to 25 devices. The plans offer data options ranging from 1GB up to 50GB.

In March, rival T-Mobile USA also abolished handset subsidies for premium devices in favour of an interest-free scheme that separates the cost of the device from the cost of network service and annual service contracts were also withdrawn.

Telecoms.com