#TBT: Verizon makes an Oath; Spoiling AT&T’s Straight Path buy; Xfinity Mobile launches … this week in 2017

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!

Verizon lays out its plans for Oath
Verizon Communications plans to merge its AOL and Yahoo divisions into a new media company called Oath. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong shared the news on Twitter after a published report disclosed the name of the new company late Monday afternoon. This June, Verizon is scheduled to close on its purchase of Yahoo, valued at $4.48 billion excluding Yahoo’s cash. Once the deal is complete, Verizon is expected to combine Yahoo and AOL under the Oath brand, run by EVP Marni Walden. Armstrong is also likely to play a major role in running the new company, and has reportedly been interested in combining AOL and Yahoo for years having tried unsuccessfully to merge the two companies when they were both independent. Together, AOL and Yahoo own a number of prominent brands, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, Tumblr, Flickr and MovieFone. As Armstrong pointed out on Twitter, these and other future Oath brands engage more than 1 billion consumers worldwide. Verizon has made it clear it sees ownership of content as the way to leverage its networks in the U.S. and tap markets outside the country where it does not own spectrum. … Read more

Comcast launches Xfinity Mobile
Cable and media giant Comcast is following through on its plan to offer wireless service to customers with the launch of Xfinity Mobile. Existing Comcast customers will be eligible to add wireless, and the company is hoping an affordable and reliable wireless option will bring in new customers for its bundled offer. During a call with investors, the company said its network will reach 130 million potential subscribers. Comcast will use the Verizon Wireless network, leveraging a mobile virtual network operator agreement the two companies signed more than five years ago as part of a spectrum sale. MVNO agreements allow companies to buy wireless service in bulk and resell it to their own customers under their own name. Comcast will also leverage its extensive Wi-Fi network in support of Xfinity Mobile. The company said it has 16 million Wi-Fi hot spots and will move wireless customers onto Wi-Fi whenever they are within range. The company plans to open Xfinity Mobile stores throughout the U.S., and said roughly 80% of its 29 million customers live within 15 miles of a location targeted for an Xfinity Mobile store. … Read more

A thorny solution for the problem of 5G channel sounding
National Instruments and AT&T said they have developed a proprietary channel sounder for characterizing the millimeter-wave frequencies that are expected to pay a primary role in “5G” wireless systems. Channel sounders are used to explore the characteristics of particular frequencies in various environments in order to document propagation behavior. As the wireless industry moves toward the use of mm wave spectrum in support of 5G services, new models are needed for the spectrum’s characteristics to form a foundation for network design and planning. The Porcupine, as the new 5G channel sounder has been dubbed internally, is designed to conduct real-time measurement and monitoring of channel parameters and is based on NI’s millimeter wave Transceiver System. It supports angle-of-arrival measurements – an important factor for the use of beamsteering in 5G. It is the first of its kind and conducts AoA measurements within 150 milliseconds, according to NI. The system also displays test results in real time, whereas traditional systems using pan-tilt units could take 15 minutes or more and involve data capture and then post-processing before producing a single test result in that time – while the Porcupine can produce around 6,000 measurements in 15 minutes, NI said. … Read more

Verizon asks to extend LTE-U testing
Verizon Communications is asking the Federal Communications Commission to extend the special temporary authority that has been allowing the carrier to conduct product development testing for LTE in unlicensed hardware and devices. According to FCC documents, Verizon’s existing STA for half a dozen sites was to expire on April 16. The pending request was received on April 15 and requests an extension until October while Verizon continues to conduct “very small scale product development testing.” LTE-U is the proprietary standard being developed through the LTE-U Forum, which would enable the aggregation of LTE in the 5 GHz band with licensed cellular spectrum. Controversy over the potential impacts of LTE-U on Wi-Fi networks operating in the 5 GHz band led to the Wi-Fi Alliance leading a process to develop coexistence testing. Qualcomm first conducted LTE-U testing under STA with Verizon in early 2016, at two sites in Oklahoma City and Raleigh, North Carolina, and did similar testing with T-Mobile US. Qualcomm’s STA with Verizon expires in June 2017. The Verizon testing, as originally described by Qualcomm, covered fixed and mobile devices within about a one-mile radius of the sites and involved as many as 30 small cells and access points within the coverage footprint. … Read more

Verizon signs major fiber deal with Corning

Verizon Communications is set to bolster the backhaul of its wireless network through a three-year, $1.05 billion contract signed with Corning to supply fiber optic cable and associated hardware for Verizon’s One Fiber initiative. The deal calls for Corning to provide up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber per year from 2018 through 2020. The equipment is to be part of Verizon’s network architecture designed to improve LTE coverage and set the table for planned “5G” technology deployments. “Our plans identified a shortfall in fiber supply, and Verizon has been working with business teams to forecast demand and fill supply gaps with existing suppliers,” said Viju Menon, chief supply chain officer at Verizon, in a statement on the deal. “Securing the required volume of optical fiber and hardware solutions with Corning will ensure we meet our planned rollout schedules.” The carrier cited its ongoing work in deploying fiber assets across Boston, which will see Verizon spend $300 million over a six-year period as part of the network enhancement project. The Boston project includes work with the city allowing for new pole attachment agreements for light and utility infrastructure, and is set to support launch of the carrier’s FiOS TV service. … Read more

Verizon set to spoil AT&T’s Straight Path buy
Verizon Communications is reportedly eyeing a competing bid for millimeter wave spectrum holder Straight Path, which has already approved a $1.6 billion acquisition by AT&T. Published reports indicated Verizon was looking at making an offer for Straight Path that would top the current bid by AT&T. That bid, which was announced earlier this month and approved by the board of directors at both companies, includes $1.25 billion in stock and the assumption of Straight Path liabilities. The Reuters report cited a Straight Path regulatory filing that indicated the company was evaluating an offer from an unnamed third party that had reached out to the company prior to the AT&T bid. Verizon reportedly refused to comment to Reuters on the news. As part of its deal with AT&T, Straight Path did include language allowing its board to change its recommendation should a superior offer be made, though the company would be forced to pay AT&T a termination fee of up to $38 million. The deal, which in its current form is set to close within one year, also calls for AT&T to make an $85 million payment to Straight Path should the current agreement remain in place but no close by July 9, 2018. Straight Path currently holds the rights to 868 spectrum licenses in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum bands covering most of the United States, including spectrum in the country’s 40 largest markets. … Read more

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

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