Apple’s next huge move isn’t into the television or banking industries according to one expert. Instead, Apple will take on carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless by becoming a direct mobile service provider. Veteran wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein, who has managed strategic deals for the likes of AT&T, Intel, T-Mobile, Verizon, Microsoft, Nokia and Best Buy, says Apple will soon begin to offer wireless service directly to iPhone and iPad users. Apple has the distribution channels, digital content portfolio and customer base to make the move, Bluestein says, and it also has more than 250 million credit cards on file for iTunes users who could be billed directly for wireless service. More →
AT&T reported its fourth-quarter 2011 results on Thursday and noted that it achieved record mobile broadband and smartphone activations during the quarter. The company reported consolidated revenue of $32.5 billion, up 3.6% or $1.1 billion from the same quarter last year, but it posted a loss of $6.7 billion, or $1.12 per share. EPS swings to a profit of $0.42 per share discounting one-time charges including the massive breakup fee paid to T-Mobile. AT&T attributed 76% of its revenue growth to wireless, wireline data and managed services, which represented 76% of overall revenue, up 7.5% from last year. The carrier sold 9.4 million smartphones during the quarter, a record that was 50% more than its previous record and more than twice the number of smartphones that were sold during the last quarter. AT&T added 717,000 postpaid customers, the largest increase in postpaid in five quarters, and 2.5 million total net wireless subscribers. The company said it was also the best quarter for Android and iPhone activations and that it activated a total of 7.6 million iPhones during the quarter. AT&T also noted that its full year revenue totaled $126.7 billion, up 2% from the $124.3 billion it reported in 2010. AT&T’s full press release follows after the break. More →
SIMPLE Mobile recently introduced two new international calling plans. Customers can now opt to sign up for a $10 unlimited international long distance plan or a $10 pay-as-you-go option. The $10 monthly unlimited plan allows customers to place calls to more than 50 countries including to Canada, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The $10 pay-as-you-go option can be used to place calls to any country in the world at low per-minute rates, and the full list is available on SIMPLE Mobile’s website. The carrier also noted that international text messaging is included. “We continue to offer free international text messaging with all our current plans and our totally new international calling plans are the perfect compliment to that feature,” SIMPLE Mobile senior vice president of marketing Tim Garrett said. “The majority of SIMPLE Mobile customers have friends and family outside of the US, so these upgrades will definitely appeal to them.” Simple Mobile’s full press release follows after the break. More →
During the Law Seminars International event in Seattle on Tuesday, Trilogy Partners chairman John Stanton said he spoke frequently with Steve Jobs about Jobs’s dream to create a wireless network owned and operated by Apple. “He wanted to replace carriers,” Stanton explained. “He and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum. That was part of his vision,” Stanton added, noting that he worked with Steve Jobs from 2005 through 2007. Jobs originally wanted to take advantage of unlicensed spectrum that Wi-Fi networks use, although it is unclear how advanced his plans or intentions for such a project were. Jobs reportedly nixed the idea in 2007 and, four years later, the iPhone is now available on three major U.S. wireless carriers and one regional carrier. IDG, which first reported the story, said Stanton was the former head of Voicestream before it became T-Mobile, and he also worked for McCaw Cellular, which later became AT&T. More →
Australian Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett has ruled that Apple must show Samsung its contracts with Vodafone, SingTel and Telstra if it cannot reach an agreement on Samsung’s accusations that the iPhone maker contractually forces the carriers to subsidize the iPhone. Samsung has also argued that the Apple iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS infringe on its patents, and has sought to ban sales of the devices in Australia. Apple, however, has already successfully banned Samsung’s Australia-based subsidiaries from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. “We will resist any attempts by our friends to push us into a corner,” Apple lawyer Andrew Fox said. “This is quite clearly a fishing expedition.” Earlier this month, Samsung requested the iPhone 4S source code and, according to Bloomberg, Apple provided the company with 220 pages of code, but left out one file. Samsung also has ongoing lawsuits with Apple in Japan, Germany, France and the United States.
T-Mobile announced on Tuesday that it will expand its Direct Carrier Billing option to support more digital products. The service allows T-Mobile customers to make purchases directly from their web browsers and charge them to their monthly T-Mobile bills. Customers can purchase music, games, social networking credits and more from their phones, T-Mobile tablets, or any of their computers connected to a T-Mobile network. Direct Carrier Billing will be available later this month, and once it is active, customers will see the option from participating providers during checkout. There is no additional fee for Direct Carrier Billing and customers can opt-out by contacting T-Mobile support. Read on for the full press release. More →
Microsoft’s final build of Windows Phone Mango has been rubber stamped and released to manufacturers and wireless carriers according to Windows Phone Dev Podcast. The move is among the final steps before Microsoft delivers the Mango release to customers. The most recent reports have suggested that Microsoft will update current Windows Phone devices in September, although winrumors says the update could be pushed out as soon as August. Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners include HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE Corporation and Nokia, and we should see a number of new devices from those companies in the fall time frame. Mango was officially announced in May and Microsoft has promised that it will deliver more than 500 new features to the platform.
UPDATE: Microsoft’s Senior Director of Communications Bill Cox has stated that Windows Phone 7.5 Mango has not yet reached RTM, as Windows Phone Dev Podcast reported. More →
AT&T reported its second quarter results on Thursday. The company’s consolidated revenues were $31.5 billion, up 2.2% ($680 million) from the same quarter last year. AT&T’s wireless, wireline data and managed services were responsible for 76% of those revenues, and that figure is growing at a rate of 8.3% year-over-year. AT&T Mobility added a total of 1.1 million subscribers during the quarter, including 331,000 net postpaid adds, and it now serves a total of 98.6 million subscribers. The carrier also noted that it had its best-ever second quarter for smartphone sales: it sold 5.6 million total smartphones, up 43% year-over-year. AT&T activated 3.6 million iPhones during the quarter, more than half of the smartphones sold, and said that nearly 25% of the iPhone activations were from new subscribers. AT&T also noted that its planned acquisition of T-Mobile is still on track for closure during the first quarter of next year. Read on for the full press release.
Verizon Wireless just announced that it will activate its 4G LTE network in 28 new markets on Thursday. The new markets include Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lakeland and Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida; Augusta, Georgia; Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului-Wailuku and Lahaina, Hawaii; Carbondale, Illinois; Wichita, Kansas; Louisville, Kentucky; Baton Rouge and Hammond, Louisiana; Springfield, Massachusetts.; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Toledo, Ohio; Tulsa, Oklahoma.; Portland, Oregon; Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; Olympia and Tacoma, Washington; and Charleston, West Virginia. Verizon Wireless also said that it will expand the 4G LTE footprints already available in Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Northern New Jersey; Dallas-Forth Worth and San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington. On Thursday, the carrier’s LTE network will be available in a total of 102 markets. Read on for the full press release. More →
A Dutch Apple blog named AppleSpot reported on Friday that Apple will launch a new 3G iPod touch in September. Similar to options available for the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G, users would have the option of purchasing the 3G iPod touch directly from a wireless carrier with a data plan. We’re expecting a possible iPod/iPhone/iPad refresh in September, and so it’s entirely possible that Apple is considering creating a version with a 3G radio. Such a device could also help carriers lock in more data plans and would continue to boost Apple’s presence among the flood of new Android handsets. Our only gripe with the whole story is that AppleSpot doesn’t have a proven track record reporting on Apple rumors. Plus, a 3G iPod touch would be just a little weird given that we expect every major U.S. wireless carrier to announce the next generation iPhone. More →
In what is no doubt a response to Sprint’s statement Tuesday morning that AT&T is increasing its spectrum the wrong way by purchasing T-Mobile, T-Mobile’s senior vice president of government affairs, Tom Sugure, has issued a formal statement to those who oppose the acquisition. “The opponents of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger have had their final say as part of the FCC’s formal pleading cycle and, not surprisingly, they have failed to offer any credible arguments to support their view that the Commission should deny the transaction,” Sugrue said in the statement. Sprint, which has lashed back at the acquisition from the get-go has said the purchase will stifle innovation. ”What is surprising, however, is their repeated head-in-the-sand insistence that no spectrum crisis exists,” Sugrue added. “As part of their application, AT&T and T-Mobile provided a compelling showing of their need for more spectrum to continue to provide quality service to customers and roll out new technologies in the future. And the two companies have demonstrated that a combination of their networks and spectrum holdings is by far the best way to solve this problem and ensure improved service and enhanced innovation. The FCC has long acknowledged the harmful consequences of ignoring the spectrum crunch, and we are confident it will approve our proposed market-based solution.”
T-Mobile introduced a new Android application on Wednesday called “More for Me.” The app offers T-Mobile customers with phones running Android 1.6 or later, daily deals based upon their preferences, location, and interests. Discounts are provided by sites such as LivingSocial, which is available in more than 260 markets, but there are also exclusive discounts from T-Mobile or its partners. T-Mobile customers simply need to install the T-Mobile More for Me app from the Android Market to get started. Read on for the full press release. More →
During Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco today, Google confirmed that it has activated more than 100 million Android devices worldwide across 36 OEM’s and 215 carriers. There are now more than 310 Android devices in 112 countries and Google activates 400,000 Android devices each day. Similarly, there are 450,000 Android developers and more than 200,000 applications available in the Android market. 4.5 billion apps have been installed to date.