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!

Sprint, T-Mobile US battle for third place in US market
With the first quarter now solidly in the past, mobile operators are preparing to announce just how the first three months of the year went. The most compelling announcement is likely to come from the market’s No. 3 and No. 4 operators, which will be Sprint and T-Mobile US, though in what order is yet to be seen. Sprint entered 2015 as the nation’s No. 3 operator in terms of the number of connections hosted on its network with a reported 55.9 million. That was fewer than 1 million more than T-Mobile US reported for the end of 2014. During the past three months, speculation has raged over how legitimate those numbers are, with some published reports indicating up to 1.7 million of Sprint’s connections through wholesale partners had been inactive for at least six months. T-Mobile US CEO John Legere took that situation to bolster his previous forecast that T-Mobile US would be the No. 3 operator by the end of last year, a prediction he was forced to admit may have been a bit off following the numbers released from Sprint. However, momentum is clearly on T-Mobile US’ side as the carrier has managed to make significant strides in closing the gap, having added more than 8 million net connections in 2014 and routinely beating out all of its larger rivals in terms of net connection additions. … Read more

Corning buys iBwave
Corning has made a significant investment in its in-building wireless business by purchasing iBwave Solutions, creator of the leading software for designing, tracking and reporting on distributed antenna systems. iBwave offers the certifications often required by vendors, integrators and installers when they hire individuals to work on in-building systems. The Canadian company counts more than 600 operators, system integrators and equipment vendors as customers. Corning is one of the leading vendors of DAS. Last year ABI Research ranked Corning fourth based on the number of DAS implementations deployed using its solutions. CommScope ranked first, followed by TE Connectivity (which is selling its wireless business to CommScope) and Axell Wireless. All of these companies have relationships with iBwave. “Most of our clients rely heavily on engineers with iBwave experience/certifications to serve as the true subject matter experts,” said recruiter Blair Bode of Kineticom. As part of Corning’s optical communications group, iBwave will operate under its current name as a separate entity. … Read more

Provide better coverage … or else!
Nigeria has the largest telecom market in Africa, but it also has a large share of problems, which include dropped calls, unsolicited texts and calls, and credit losses. The country’s Consumer Protection Council has now warned mobile operators that their officials may soon face criminal charges if the situation doesn’t improve, according to a report by PC World. With this move, Nigeria joins other African countries such as Tanzania and Zambia which impose prison sentences on the officials of operators that fail to provide adequate service. Zambia’s telecom regulator has already taken Airtel, MTN and Zamtel to court for failing to meet minimum quality standards. Tanzania rules include possible fines for poor service and prison terms of at least six months for unexplained network failures. Nigeria, a country with about 174 million people, has 140.6 million active mobile lines, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. The country’s leading operator is MTN with a 44% market share based on number of subscribers, followed by Globacom with 21%, Airtel with 20% and Etisalat with 15%. … Read more

Charter sets its sights on Bright House
Cable industry consolidation looks set to continue as Charter Communications announced plans to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. The move, if approved by regulators, would combine the country’s No. 4 and No. 6 cable operators. Once completed, the combined entities are set to operate through a partnership that will see Charter own 73.7% of the business, with Bright House parent company Advance/Newhouse controlling the remaining 26.3%. For its troubles, Advance/Newhouse will receive $2 billion in cash, with the rest of the proceeds coming from common and convertible preferred units in the joint operation. The deal would add approximately 2 million video customers to Charter’s holdings, with Bright House’s footprint focused mainly in central Florida and some outlying systems in parts of Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and California. … Read more

Smartphone stats: 6 out of 10 Americans own one
WASHINGTON – According to a Pew Research Poll, smartphone ownership in the United States has reached 64%, with roughly half of people surveyed responding that their smartphone is something they “couldn’t live without.” The report finds that smartphone ownership is highest among millennials age 18-29 and among people making at least $75,000 per year, with each group showing an 85% ownership rate. Poor and rural Americans are still the least likely to own a smartphone, with only 50% of rural or low-income Americans owing smartphones. It seems an increasing number of Americans are using their smartphones as their primary or secondary means to access the Internet. Of those surveyed, 17% said they have no Internet access at home other than their smartphone data plan; 7% stated they also had no easy alternative to Internet access such as a public library. The report also highlights the primary use of smartphones by their users, with the majority confirming they primarily use their device for texting. … Read more

AT&T expands SDN-powered network-on-demand service
AT&T said it has expanded its enterprise-focused Network on Demand service to more than 100 cities, allowing customers to manage their network needs in near real time. The platform, which was unveiled last year, relies on the carrier’s recent push into software-defined networking. The Ethernet-based service allows enterprise customers to order more ports, add or change services, scale bandwidth and manage services via an online portal. AT&T said those changes can be accomplished in minutes, allowing enterprises to more efficiently manage their network needs and cost structure. AT&T’s entire suite of Ethernet-based services include voice over IP, streaming video, data and call center connectivity, e-learning, telemedicine, and image transfer. The service offers data speeds from 2 megabits per second up to 10 gigabits per second, depending on location. The carrier claims its AT&T Network on Demand offering is the first SDN solution available in the United States, and is part of its User Defined Network Cloud program. Prior to its commercial launch last year, AT&T said it has been operating a Network on Demand pilot at The University of Texas at Austin. The UDNC platform was initially announced in early 2014, building off the carrier’s Domain 2.0 initiative. … Read more

mmWave eyed for 5G
As the feds consider how high-frequency spectrum could figure into future telecom networks, researchers at NYU Wireless have joined with SiBeam in an effort to develop 5G cellular technology. SiBeam, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based research and development arm of Lattice Semiconducter, joins Huawei, Samsung, L3 and others in sponsoring the work at NYU Wireless. “It is exciting to have SiBeam join our board of industrial affiliate sponsors, and we look forward to working closely to improve knowledge and capabilities of millimeter-wave technologies,” NYU Wireless Director and Founder Ted Rappaport said. “Partnering with an industry leader such as SiBeam will benefit both entities, as we seek to move the wireless world up in bandwidth and in carrier frequency.” The Federal Communications Commission, which oversees allocation of broadband spectrum among other facets of communication regulation, is currently taking public comments regarding mobile radio in bands higher than 24 GHz. SiBeam and NYU Wireless have both filed comments on the FCC’s notice of inquiry. “We are pleased to engage with NYU Wireless toward our common goal of introducing solutions that accelerate deployment of the fifth generation of wireless,” SiBeam President Khurram Sheikh said. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Sprint vs. T-Mo for third place; Better coverage, or else; mmWave eyed for 5G … this week in 2015 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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