Mobile carriers say their broadband isn't very fast, so FCC sets lower standard

13 August 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,

The Federal Communications Commission is on a mission to slow down broadband in rural areas. Or at least protect incumbents who don’t invest in their networks in rural markets where competitive options are few to non-existent.

The latest move approved by commissioners sets a low bar for mobile broadband service. Similar to its Connect America Fund program that subsidises fixed, mostly wireline service in communities with sub-standard Internet service, the FCC administers the Mobility Fund for mobile carriers.… More

Mobile voice migration hits the halfway mark, but don't confuse it with broadband

29 May 2017 by Steve Blum

Voice telephone service has finally tipped to predominantly mobile, according to statistics compiled by the federal department of health and human services. The latest survey shows that a bit more than half the homes in the U.S. no longer use landline telephones to make or receive calls…

In the second 6 months of 2016, more than one-half of all households (50.8%) did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone. More than 123 million adults (50.5% of all adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; over 44 million children (60.7% of all children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.


Mobile competition brings big benefits to urban consumers

27 May 2017 by Steve Blum
, ,

Not so bright in rural California

Competition works. Even in the telecoms business. Referencing an article in the Wall Street Journal, FierceWireless is reporting that the cost of mobile data has dropped 13% in the past year, and the reason is increasingly heated competition between the four major carriers, with reintroduction and aggressive marketing of unlimited data plans at the top of the list…

In a detailed article on the topic, the Wall Street Journal reported that the cost of wireless service plans fell 7% in March and an additional 1.7% in April.


Sailfish mobile OS development is shuddering to a halt

21 November 2015 by Steve Blum
, ,

Another attempt to build an alternative to the Android mobile operating system is circling ever closer to the drain. A Nokia spin-off, Jolla, is laying off about half of its employees because an expected new round of investment didn’t come through. That means that development of its Sailfish operating system will be on the back burner. According to a story in TechCrunch, Jolla’s chairman, Antii Saaarnio, they need the money in order to hang onto talent…

“We are of course hoping that these are temporary actions… And we are committed to continue the company but really this depends on the external investors as well, how are we able to continue operations,” Saaarnio adds…

However he concedes it would be unable to retain the talent and fund the expensive development work needed to ensure its Sailfish OS is competitive against more well-resourced mobile OS rivals.


Smartphone sales grow as Chinese brands bag bigger global share

16 February 2015 by Steve Blum
, ,

Chinese smartphones loom larger.

Trying to track shipment figures for any global consumer electronics product can be a tricky business – piecing together the puzzle requires access to many sources with many agendas – but that said, market research company TrendForce has spotted a significant trend: collectively, Chinese smartphone manufacturers grabbed a huge share of the worldwide market in 2014.

According to TrendForce, manufacturers shipped 1.2 billion smartphones last year, with Chinese companies accounting for 450 million, or 39% of the global total.… More

Spend broadband subsidies on state of the art service, CPUC report says

27 December 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Don’t subsidise old, slow broadband technology. That’s one of the conclusions of an analysis of mobile broadband performance done for the California Public Utilities Commission (H/T to Jim Warner for the pointer).

Right now, the CPUC’s minimum service availability mark is 6 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up – if a community gets less than that, it’s eligible for broadband infrastructure subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund. Conversely though, to get those subsidies, broadband projects only have to meet that level of service – the minimum is good enough.… More

Blackberry rolls a classic for executives of a certain age

21 December 2014 by Steve Blum
, ,

Some form factors just work.

The hot, new innovation from Blackberry last week is a small phone with a small, physical keyboard. Sound familiar? If not, Blackberry is helpfully calling it the Classic.

There is no shortage of people – Barack Obama and Arianna Huffington included – who like the 1990s Blackberry look. It offers unique functionality and the company’s new management is happy to provide it.

When I look at new products that catch on quickly, there’s a question I always ask myself: is the success due to designers offering consumers a genuinely new benefit, a way of meeting either a preexisting or completely new need?… More

Mobile broadband divide detailed at California Broadband Council

19 November 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Ken Biba, from Novarum Inc., briefed California Broadband Council members yesterday on the results of mobile broadband testing conducted by the California Public Utilities Commission. He reiterated conclusions previously published regarding the mobile broadband divide between rural and urban areas in California.

“It’s a one carrier state and it’s Verizon”, Biba said. Although AT&T has built out into rural areas, too, its service isn’t as available or well performing. As for the rest, “I can’t advise anyone to get a Sprint phone or a T-Mobile phone because you’re not going to get service”, he said.… More

Broadcasters delay spectrum auction for at least year, but hey, they're entitled

28 October 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Ten years isn’t so long. Unless you’re a dog. Or the Internet.

The possibility of converting prime spectrum from TV broadcasting to mobile broadband use has been pushed off another year. The FCC is delaying the planned auction of 600 MHz broadcast frequencies until 2016, instead of next summer.

It’ll take that long to sort out a lawsuit filed by the National Association of Broadcasters – the primary lobbying organisation for TV and radio station owners – according to the FCC

Earlier this week, the court issued a briefing schedule in which the final briefs are not due until late January 2015.


Cities can still use positive incentives to influence wireless broadband builds

27 October 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , ,

Cities and counties are still in control of their own property, at least concerning decisions about where to install wireless broadband facilities. In a recent ruling that tightens the limits on how local governments may regulate cell towers, antennae and other wireless infrastructure, the FCC said those rules don’t apply when cities are simply acting as landlords…

Courts have consistently recognized that in “determining whether government contracts are subject to preemption, the case law distinguishes between actions a State entity takes in a proprietary capacity— actions similar to those a private entity might take—and its attempts to regulate.”…Like