#TBT: Smartphones drive mobile video growth; T-Mo expands HSPA+; LightSquared says it’s on track … this week in 2011

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Smartphones drive mobile video growth

The number of U.S. mobile subscribers watching video on their mobile devices jumped more than 40% year-over-year in the third and fourth quarters of 2010, according to a new report from The Nielsen Co. Monthly usage reached an average of four hours and 20 minutes in both quarters, marking a 33% and 20% year-over-year increase in each of the respective quarters. The firm pins much of the growth on the rapid adoption of smartphones, which have made it easier and more enjoyable to watch and share video. By the end of 2010 more than 25 million subscribers had viewed mobile video on their devices. Respondents aged 12-17 and 18-24 ranked the highest for total usage. … Read more

iPhone subs are generally a happy bunch

Overall, iPhone owners are a satisfied bunch. A new survey from ChangeWave Research found that more than 80% of iPhone customers on Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility were “very satisfied,” though Verizon’s customers edged out with 82% versus AT&T’s 80% very satisfied rate. The dropped call rates is where the carriers really distance themselves though. AT&T ranked last with customers reporting an average of 4.6% of calls dropped over the past 90 days. Verizon Wireless, however, maintained the best overall rating in the industry with customers reporting an average of 1.4% of calls dropped over the same 90-day period. T-Mobile USA Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. came in at 2.3% and 2.7%, respectively. Verizon Wireless did a little worse in reported drop call rates from iPhone users at 1.4% while AT&T iPhone owners reported a 4.8% dropped call rate. … Read more

Tablet wars in the UK

When Apple Inc. launched the iPad the most striking thing about the device, which would go on to define the tablet market, was the price. Five hundred dollars for an awesome browsing slate was quite the bargain, especially coming from a company famed for their premium pricing. Now that the tablet “revolution” is in full swing, and Android is finally starting to look like a viable option, it’s pleasing to see that after a shaky start Google Inc. and their hardware partners are starting to pump out what appear to be decent quality devices at good prices. The biggest surprise last week was the announcement that the peculiar-but-alluring Asus Eee Pad Transformer, a 10-inch slate that more-or-less matches the iPad in hardware terms (rocking a dual-core processor, IPS display, GPS, gyroscope, etc.) would be available in the United Kingdom for $610, or $32 less than the entry-level iPad. Throw in the keyboard dock, which sports a full keyboard, USB ports and almost double the Transformer’s battery life to 16 hours for $80 more and you’ve got a seriously competitive device. The Transformer is being released on April 6. Elsewhere, Amazon.com UK has priced the Acer Iconia 7-inch Honeycomb slate for $483. It too is a full-featured device, with the same Tegra 2 dual-core processor as the Transformer, and all the bells and whistles you would expect. … Read more

T-Mo expands HSPA+, dips into 4G marketing

T-Mobile USA Inc. (DTEGY) continued the expansion of its HSPA+ network with market launches in parts of Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois and Texas. The 10 new markets include Ames, Iowa; Anderson, Ind.; Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and Jackson, Mich.; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; Lawrence and Manhattan, Kan.; Springfield, Ill.; and Wichita Falls, Texas. The carrier said the offering now covers more than 200 million potential customers in 167 markets. The service offering, which T-Mobile USA dubs “4G,” is based on the 21 megabit per second version of the HSPA+ standard that provides for theoretical download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. The carrier notes that speed tests conducted on mobile devices shows real-world download speeds of nearly 5 Mbps, with peak speeds approaching 12 Mbps. T-Mobile USA noted at the recent CTIA event that it was planning to begin rolling out the 42 Mbps version of the HSPA+ standard this year with initial market launches expected in Las Vegas; New York; and Orlando, Fla.; followed by the launch in Chicago and parts of Northern New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y., later this year. The carrier said it expects to have the 42 Mbps technology covering 140 million potential customers in 25 markets by mid-year. Analysts have noted that T-Mobile USA has garnered strong consumer mindshare of the “4G” branding space, which despite objections by many that question the currently available technologies rights to use the term, has began to gain traction in the minds of consumers. … Read more

Google bids $900 million for Nortel’s patent portfolio (p.s., it didn’t win)

Google Inc. has an undeniably massive war chest for just about anything it wants. Now it’s setting its sights on Nortel Networks Corp.’s patent portfolio. Google said it’s bidding $900 million for the bankrupt company’s patent portfolio. While Google continues to argue for patent law reform, it’s also mindful of how the law often works today. “The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits,” Google’s SVP and general counsel Kent Walker wrote in a blog post today. “But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. … Read more

LightSquared: We’re on track! Really!

Few carriers have garnered more curious glances in the past several months than LightSquared, which is in the midst of rolling out a wholesale wireless network using a hybrid satellite/terrestrial network. Those efforts have been buffeted by the need to raise billions in funding, claims of network interference with GPS signals and the industry’s history of being tough on the wholesale model. Despite these headwinds, LightSquared has maintained a strong perseverance with the company recently completing the launch and testing of its satellite, its ability to attract some carrier clients and fairly open dialogue on trying to cure any network issues. The carrier said it was also on track to begin offering service later this year.
LightSquared’s SVP and CMO Frank Boulben said last week that the carrier was in talks with more than 60 companies regarding possibly leasing access to the carrier’s network. Boulben noted those companies break down into two segments: Current carriers that lack coverage or capacity to power their own 4G services; and non-wireless entities like retailers, device manufacturers, ISPs, cable and wireline providers looking to add high-speed mobile broadband to their portfolio. At the recent CTIA event, LightSquared announced it had added Leap Wireless International Inc. to its client list noting the regional operator had signed a roaming agreement that would allow it to offer LTE-based services in areas its own network would not reach. LightSquared’ CEO Sanjiv Ahuja also took the stage during a keynote address at the event to tout the carrier’s progress in both attracting partners and moving forward with its network plans.
Boulben also countered current rumors by stating that the carrier was “very pleased” with its current network provider Nokia Siemens Networks. Boulben did note that while the base plan for its network deployment was a greenfield build that is to include up to 40,000 cell sites, the company was open to sharing network assets if it would help speed deployment and reduce costs. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

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