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!

SK Telecom launches LTE-Advanced
South Korea’s SK Telecom has laid claim to launching the world’s first LTE-Advanced network, offering customers network speeds twice as fast as its current LTE network, which was launched in 2011. The carrier said the newly launched network provides theoretical downlink speeds up to 150 megabits per second by combining a pair of 10 megahertz carriers to form an effective 20 megahertz channel. That combination is made through SK Telecom’s use of carrier aggregation and coordinated multi point, with plans to add enhanced inter-cell interference coordination to the mix next year. Several years ago, domestic operator Clearwire had dabbled with bolstering the spectrum allotment for LTE technology in order to maximize speeds noting it had run network tests using a total of 40 megahertz that produced downlink speeds of up to 90 Mbps. As for the commercial aspects of the service, customers can access the network using the latest Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphone, with plans to have seven LTE-A compatible devices on the market by the end of the year. Service pricing will remain the same as what the carrier is currently charging for its LTE offering. … Read more

Softbank moves closer to Sprint acquisition
Sprint Nextel reported this morning that its shareholders have approved its pending $21.6 billion acquisition by Softbank, with the deal now set to be finalized early next month. Sprint Nextel noted that voters representing approximately 80% of the carrier’s outstanding shares voted in favor of the deal. Terms of the deal call for Sprint Nextel shareholders to receive $7.65 per share or one new share of common stock in the new operation for each share currently owned. “Today is a historic day for our company, and I want to thank our shareholders for approving this transformative merger agreement,” said Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse in a statement. “The transaction with SoftBank should enhance Sprint’s long-term value and competitive position by creating a company with greater financial flexibility.” The approval followed Softbank earlier this month increasing its offer to acquire a stake in the carrier, pushing the bid from $20.1 billion for a 70% stake to $21.6 billion for a 78% stake. That change increased the cash portion of that price by $4.5 billion to $16.64 billion, and seemed to avert attention from a proposed $25.5 billion acquisition attempt offered up by Dish Network. … Read more

Meanwhile, Dish backs off its Sprint offer
Dish Network looks to have bowed out of the Sprint Nextel sweepstakes, announcing late yesterday that it would not put in a new offer to acquire the nation’s No. 3 mobile operator. The satellite-television provider that also has control over 30 megahertz of wireless spectrum, noted that recent changes made by Softbank in its $21.6 billion acquisition attempt and Sprint Nextel’s termination of its due diligence process with Dish led to the move. “While Dish continues to see strategic value in a merger with Sprint, the decisions made by Sprint to prematurely terminate our due diligence process and accept extreme deal protections in its revised agreement with SoftBank, among other things, have made it impracticable for Dish to submit a revised offer by the June 18 deadline imposed by Sprint,” Dish Network noted in a statement. Dish Network added that it was continuing to evaluate its next move in regards to Sprint Nextel, but in the meantime it was continuing to focus on its attempt to acquire a stake in Clearwire. Sprint Nextel is attempting to thwart that move, having filed a lawsuit this week seeking to prevent Dish Network from purchasing a stake in Clearwire claiming the proposed deal violates state law and the rights of Clearwire stakeholders. Analysts have noted that part of Sprint Nextel’s appeal to Softbank is getting its hands on Clearwire’s vast 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings that align with Softbank’s network plans in Japan. … Read more

Sprint objects to Dish seeking Clearwire stake
Sprint Nextel has found a new manner in which to deter Dish Network from attempting to acquire a stake in Clearwire, filing a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery claiming the proposed deal violates state law and the rights of Clearwire stakeholders. Sprint Nextel added that the legal action “seeks to rescind certain parts of the tender offer agreement and seeks declaratory, injunctive, compensatory and other relief.” The carrier had previously laid out many of the complaints noted in the lawsuit in a letter it had sent to Clearwire’s board of directors earlier this month, centered on the notion that Dish Network’s attempt to acquire a stake in Clearwire and place on Clearwire’s board was “not actionable” as it violated Clearwire’s charter. Dish Network for its part has refuted the Sprint Nextel claims, having itself sent a letter to Clearwire’s board noting its most recent offer to acquire a stake in the company for $4.40 per share was valid. A special committee set up by Clearwire to evaluate the competing offers from Sprint Nextel and Dish late last week had voted in favor of the Dish Network proposal. … Read more

Verizon bolsters LTE, gears up for VoLTE
Verizon Wireless looked to re-assert its dominance of the domestic LTE conversation reporting today that its LTE network now covered more than 298 million potential customers across 500 markets and 99% of its legacy 3G footprint. In combination with its planned launch of services next month in Alaska, the carrier said its initial LTE rollout plans are now basically completed. The push towards coverage comes as recent reports have shown superior networks speeds being provided by AT&T Mobility’s rapidly expanding LTE network. However, as AT&T Mobility’s LTE network is “newer” than Verizon Wireless’ offering and covers approximately 98 million fewer potential customers, it’s assumed that there are fewer customers fighting for bandwidth supplies and thus seeing higher network speeds. Speaking with reporters about its latest expansion, Verizon Wireless’ chief network officer Nicola Palmer, explained that the carrier was not interested in a speed race, and instead was looking to provide an LTE experience to the broadest base of customers. That experience is for customers to be able to find downlink speeds of between five and 12 megabits per second and uplink speeds of between three and five Mbps. … Read more

FirstNet approves first spectrum lease
FirstNet yesterday approved a spectrum lease with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS), the first of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grantees to reach agreement with the board on the use of its 700 MHz spectrum for pilot projects that FirstNet plans to use as learning tools in developing its nationwide network for first responders. LA-RICS’ proposed project is to include almost 300 wireless sites using new and existing infrastructure, fixed microwave backhaul rings and 100 miles of high-capacity fiber backbone. LA-RICS was awarded a $154.6 million BTOP grant for that project, which was suspended once FirstNet was formed so that the board could start its network with a blank slate and that funds would not be spent on projects that could not be integrated into the national project. Negotiations with six other BTOP grantees, as well as a project in Harris County, Tex. that is not BTOP-funded, are on-going. The board recently voted to extend the period of negotiations with BTOP grantees through July 12. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: LTE-Advanced debuts; Softbank, Dish vie for Sprint; Sprint fights Dish on Clearwire stake… this week in 2013 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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