China, the world’s most populous nation, is the first country in the world to reach 1 billion mobile subscribers. According to the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, mobile phone subscriptions in China had reached 997 million by late February, and were expected reach one billion by the end of the month, AllThingsD reported. In 2007, China’s mobile market surpassed 500 million subscribers; if the MIIT’s figures are correct, the market has doubled in the last five years. Out of China’s roughly 1.3 billion citizens, 73.6% of the population own a cell phone. In the United States, cell phone penetration is currently estimated to be approximately 103.9%. More →
T-Mobile and AT&T have filed with the Federal Communications Commission to transfer $1 billion worth of AT&T’s AWS spectrum into T-Mobile USA’s ownership. AT&T previously promised the spectrum to Deutsche Telekom in the event that its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA failed. “This additional spectrum will help meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services,” Tom Sugrue, T-Mobile’s senior vice president for government affairs, told The Wall Street Journal. “We hope the FCC will move swiftly to approve the license assignments.” As The Wall Street Journal points out, T-Mobile desperately needs the spectrum in order to compete with Sprint, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Each of those aforementioned carriers have already started to, or already have plans to, roll out faster 4G LTE networks this year. T-Mobile has not discussed any firm plans regarding how it will advance beyond its current HSPA+ network. More →
Apple may invest $1 billion in a Sharp LCD factory to ensure adequate production of screens for its iPhone and iPad, according to MF Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein. Apple typically buys its LCD displays from Samsung, LG and Chimei Innolux, although recent reports have suggested the iPhone maker has boosted its orders with Samsung after LG failed to meet iPad 2 display requirements. However, Apple’s recent legal battles with Samsung in the United States, the European Union and Australia could be why the company is looking to invest in other manufacturers. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” a source told Reuters, suggesting that Apple could give larger orders to Elpida Memory and Toshiba. Sharp is expected to provide the LCD displays for Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which is expected to launch next year. More →
Cisco announced on Tuesday that it will layoff 9% of its workforce, or 6,500 jobs, in an effort to boost profits. That figure is lower than original speculation that the company would cut 10,000 employees. Cisco made the move as part of an effort to cut $1 billion in annual costs while spurring profit growth, Bloomberg reported. 2,100 of the 6,500 employees have agreed to an early-retirement program. Additionally, Cisco plans to sell a Juarez, Mexico-based manufacturing facility to Foxconn. The move will transfer 5,000 workers elsewhere but will not result in job cuts. Earlier this year, the company laid-off 550 additional employees when it announced that it was killing off its Flip camera arm in an effort to restructure its consumer business. More →
The International Trade Commission on Thursday reversed an earlier decision in a patent case that could cost camera maker Kodak hundreds of millions of dollars from Apple and RIM. Kodak had filed suit against both firms, claiming that their mobile devices infringed on multiple patents owned by the Rochester, NY-based company. An initial ruling in favor of Kodak was under ITC review, and the commission on Thursday reversed parts of the decision that had previously been ruled in Kodak’s favor. Other parts of the original ruling were sent to be examined by a judge of administrative law, and a final ruling is scheduled to be made on August 30th. More →
Sprint, which owns the majority stake of Clearwire, has agreed to pay the company at least $1 billion through 2012 for fees associated with the use of its 4G WiMAX network. Sprint and Clearwire entered arbitration late last year after Sprint argued that it shouldn’t have to pay a fee for 4G handsets that exist where Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network isn’t available. Sprint charges its customers an extra $10 monthly for the option to run on 4G networks and Clearwire charges an estimated $4.46 per 4G-handset owner. According to the Associated Press, Sprint will pay Clearwire $300 million this year and $550 million in 2012. Sprint will also reportedly pay an additional $175 million in a prepaid agreement to use the 4G WiMAX network this year and in the future. Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, told the AP that his company is pleased to have reached a settlement. More →
The International Trade Commission is set to determine at 5:00 p.m. EDT today whether or not it will review the decision in a patent infringement suit filed against Apple and RIM by Kodak last year. A federal judge ruled in January that Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones did not infringe on Kodak patents, as the company alleged. Today, that case may be reopened if the ITC finds cause to do so. Kodak previously scored big against both Samsung and LG in similar patent disputes it filed in 2008. Both companies settled ahead of an ITC ruling in those cases, and Kodak made out with $550 million from Samsung and $414 million from LG. A win against Apple and RIM would likely yield similar gains according to Kodak CEO Antonio Perez. Kodak “deserves to win,” Perez proclaimed in an interview with Bloomberg. More →
Asymco analyst Horace Dediu has published an interesting prognostication on his company’s website: Smart Covers will generate over $1 billion in revenue for Apple this year. Dediu estimates that 60% of the 36 million iPad 2 tablets to be sold in 2011 will be paired with a Smart Cover. With an average price of $48 — based on sales of 70% polyurethane and 30% leather — and sales of 21.6 million Smart Covers, the final revenue figure is an impressive $1.04 billion. Estimating that the covers cost around $12 to produce, Dediu believes that Smart Covers could add $777 million to Apple’s gross margins. “It will be interesting to compare the Smart Cover business with competitor tablet businesses,” quips the analyst. Apple has yet to officially announce sales figures of any kind from the iPad 2 launch last week. More →
According to a report filed by Bloomberg, Windows Phone maker Microsoft will pay Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia more than $1 billion as part of the two companies “smartphone software agreement.” The publication cites “two people with knowledge of the terms,” and goes on to note that Nokia will be responsible for paying Microsoft a “fee for each copy of Windows [Phone] used.” It’s widely assumed that the purported agreement, and fee, were part of Microsoft’s campaign to keep Android off of Nokia hardware. The duration of the deal is being reported as “over five years.” Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has publicly stated that he wants Nokia branded hardware running Windows Phone software in market before the close of 2011. More →
We are moving towards a more wireless world and Ericsson, the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile network equipment, has reaffirmed that fact with some cold, hard statistics.
“During the course of 2010, a significant milestone in terms of mobile broadband subscriptions was reached as their number surpassed the half-a-billion mark globally,” said Ericsson.
The company goes on to note that this number will double before the close of 2011, pushing the total number of mobile broadband users over 1 billion. Asia is expected to spearhead the spike in users, followed closely by North America and Europe. By 2015, Ericsson estimates that 3.8 billion broadband subscriptions will be up for grabs. It’s no wonder carriers are jostling for mobile broadband market share. 3,800,000,000 users all paying, on average, $30 a month is a lot of loot. More →
Activision announced Tuesday the third major record-breaking milestone achieved by its recent smash hit, Call of Duty: Black Ops. The latest addition to Activision’s Call of Duty franchise first set a new launch-day sales record when it racked up $360 million in first-day sales. Then Activision bested its previous five-day sales record when Black Ops did $650 million in sales over its first five days of availability. Now, Activision has announced that its massively popular first-person shooter pulled in over $1 billion in less than a month. “In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and “Avatar” have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly,” said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in a statement. “This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise. Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage records.” Hit the break for the full press release from Activision. More →
Remember that $100 million Verizon Wireless spent to introduce the world to its first Android phone, the Motorola DROID? Bush league. The New York Post reports that Microsoft is preparing to drop a cool $500 million marketing Kinect, its upcoming motion-based gaming controller for the Xbox 360. Add to that another estimated $500 million the Redmond giant is expected to spend on Windows Phone 7 and you’ve got yourself an even $1 billion worth of Microsoft marketing madness. Windows Phone 7 and Kinect clearly represent Microsoft’s two biggest product launches ahead of this holiday season, and now it’s safe to assume we can all be expected to be reminded of that fact constantly. Blitz or no blitz, neither launch can come soon enough if you ask us. More →