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!

Googles makes an RCS buy
The rich communications services market received a rich new player as Google has snapped up RCS platform provider Jibe Mobile for an undisclosed amount. In announcing the deal on the company’s Android Official Blog, Google said standard carrier text messaging has failed to keep up with “modern messaging apps” and that the acquisition of Jibe will bolster its efforts to broaden messaging applications for Google and the Android developer community. “Many leaders in the wireless industry have already put great work into laying the foundation for RCS, and we’ve heard from many of them that there are ways Android can help,” explained Mike Dodd, Android RCS software engineer and minister of messaging. “We’re excited to team up with mobile operators, device makers and the rest of the Android ecosystem to support RCS standards and help accelerate their deployment in a more consistent way. We’re already working closely with many of our partners on implementing RCS, and look forward to growing the RCS ecosystem together.” … Read more

Sprint says it will sit out 600 MHz auction
Sprint yanked its name from bidders in the Federal Communications Commission’s planned 600 MHz incentive auction. The carrier cited its current spectrum holdings, including its robust 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, as being sufficient for Sprint to move forward with its network plans and not need additional support from license in the 600 MHz band set to be auctioned beginning March 29. “Sprint’s focus and overarching imperative must be on improving its network and market position in the immediate term so we can remain a powerful force in fostering competition, consumer benefits and innovation in the wireless broadband world,” stated Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. “Sprint has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future.” Sprint’s reasoning did not mention the carrier’s current financial distress, which has seen its chairman, Masayoshi Son, reshuffle the carrier’s executive positions and even call into question his own investment into the now No. 4 domestic carrier. Analysts have wondered whether Sprint would have the fiscal backing to participate in the 600 MHz auction, especially after the record amount of money raised in the recent AWS-3 auction. … Read more

Industry reacts to change in Sprint’s plans
WASHINGTON – Sprint’s decision to bow out of the 600 MHz auction came as a surprise to some. The Competitive Carriers Association reacted to the move by reiterating its position that the spectrum reserve isn’t only about the big four U.S. carriers. Steven K. Berry, president and CEO of CCA, said, “CCA represents more than 100 competitive carriers. As we have long said, the spectrum reserve is not just about Sprint or T-Mobile, but about the 100 other competitive carriers that want and need access to low-band spectrum. The fact remains that many competitive carriers are in dire need of additional low-band spectrum, and are planning and looking forward to participating in the upcoming auction. The spectrum reserve is a key competitive element in the auction that will help encourage broader participation, especially by smaller rural and regional carriers, who do not have the resources to bid against the two largest national carriers.” Long-time industry analyst Jeff Kagan pointed out that Sprint’s decision was good business policy. “Sprint is in a unique position in the wireless industry. While other competitors need spectrum to one extent or another, Sprint has what it needs for now.” … Read more

Then-FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai objects to 600 MHz auction rules
Sprint’s decision to sit out the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction proceedings drew the attention of Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, who used the move to express his displeasure in how the auction process has been handled by the Democrat-led government agency. “Sprint’s decision not to participate in the incentive auction highlights the folly of the FCC’s attempt to pick winners and losers before the auction begins,” Pai stated. “It also intensifies doubts about how competitive the bidding will be for set-aside spectrum and whether American taxpayers will receive fair compensation for that scarce public resource. Sprint’s announcement only strengthens my belief that the FCC should not have granted a spectrum giveaway in this auction or placed artificial limits on carriers’ participation.”The FCC recently came out with rules for the 600 MHz auction that include setting aside 30 megahertz of spectrum for participants with sparse holdings below 1 gigahertz. The rule was seen as a partial victory for carriers like Sprint, T-Mobile US and regional carriers looking to bolster their low-band spectrum proceeds without having to bid against larger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Pai and fellow Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly have been against the FCC’s set-aside plans, claiming the move will suppress overall auction revenue and unfairly treats auction participants differently. … Read more

Samsung Pay comes to the US
Samsung Pay, the tech giant’s answer to mobile payment services like Apple Pay or Android Pay, was rolled out in the U.S. this week, a month after going live in South Korea. Since the August South Korea launch, Samsung said it has recorded more than $30 million in volume across 1.5 million transactions; 10% of active users recorded daily transactions on Samsung Pay. Following the U.S. launch, Samsung Pay is scheduled to go into service next in the U.K., Spain and China. The service is currently available on the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 smartphones. Of the major U.S. carriers, Verizon Wireless has not opted in, which means customers from the nation’s largest mobile operator don’t have access to Samsung Pay. On the financial side, Samsung Pay works with American Express, Visa or MasterCard tied to accounts at Bank of America, Citi or U.S. Bank, which is a smaller list of card/bank combos than those offered by Apple Pay and Android Pay. … Read more

LTE-U seeks to ‘Evolve’
The companies who are bringing LTE-Unlicensed to the industry have added new partners and launched a new coalition to promote the technology, seeking to reassure both regulators and Wi-Fi stakeholders that running LTE in unlicensed spectrum will not impact Wi-Fi. Founding members of the Evolve coalition include wireless trade organizations CTIA and the Competitive Carriers Association, Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Qualcomm, T-Mobile US and Verizon Communications. As Dean Brenner, SVP of government affairs for Qualcomm, noted during a call with the press on Monday morning, some of the companies coming together to support LTE-U compete with each other and/or typically do not agree on issues of public policy. T-Mobile US had already joined Verizon in support for LTE-U – or at least, did not want the technology stymied by a Wi-Fi Alliance request to the Federal Communications Commission that the government agancy stall LTE-U deployments until further testing could be conducted on co-existence. … Read more

Apple sets sales records with iPhone 6s models
Since launching the newest Apple iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus, on Sept. 25, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant claims to have sold a record-breaking 13 million units, beating its previous launch weekend sales figures. Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a prepared statement, called the results “phenomenal. Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on Oct. 9. Unlike previous product launches, this latest rollout included sales in China for the first time. Earlier this year China sales passed sales in Europe making it Apple’s second largest market to the U.S. New features include a 12-megapixel camera that takes photos that appear “live” on the device and move when pressed; support for LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi with multiple-input/multiple-output technology and 23 LTE bands; the ability to record 4K or ultra-high-definition video; and faster touch identification. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Sprint bows out of 600 MHz auction; Apple’s iPhone 6s sets sales records; Google buys into RCS … this week in 2015 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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