FCC potentially frees up more spectrum by approving new auction process

By on September 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM.

FCC potentially frees up more spectrum by approving new auction process

FCC Spectrum Auction

While it likely won’t quench the wireless carriers’ thirst for more spectrum anytime soon, the Federal Communications Commission on Friday took an important step toward opening up more airwaves for mobile data use by voting 5-0 to approve a new spectrum auction process that will reward television broadcasters for voluntarily relinquishing unused spectrum. The New York Times reports that “a portion of the proceeds” from the auctions will go to broadcasters that relinquish their spectrum licenses and notes that the government estimates the incentive auctions “could generate $15 billion” in total revenues. Any auction of relinquished broadcaster spectrum will likely not take place until 2014 at the earliest. More →

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FCC puts wireless carriers on notice, will start testing their data speed claims

By on September 5, 2012 at 9:40 PM.

FCC puts wireless carriers on notice, will start testing their data speed claims

FCC Mobile Broadband Speed Tests

The Federal Communications Commission’s home broadband speed tests have been such a success that they’re now coming to the wireless world. The FCC on Wednesday proposed a new program that would let smartphone users test their wireless connections and upload the results onto a government data base to “develop information on mobile broadband service performance in the United States.” The FCC will hold an open meeting on September 21st to hear industry and consumer comment on “the technical methods for performance testing of mobile broadband Internet service, methodological approaches to remotely acquiring and analyzing such data, and other methodological considerations for the testing of mobile broadband performance.” The commission’s full press release follows below. More →

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FCC to reevaluate wireless spectrum rules for mergers and purchases

By on September 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM.

FCC to reevaluate wireless spectrum rules for mergers and purchases

FCC Wireless Spectrum Rules

The Federal Communications Commission has apparently taken some industry criticism to heart and is planning to take a long, hard look at how it evaluates proposed wireless mergers, unnamed sources have told The Hill. Chairman Julius Genachowski will reportedly send a proposal to his fellow commissioners next week asking them to reevaluate the current merger review process whereby the FCC adopts different rules for evaluating each merger on a case-by-case basis.  More →

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Next-generation ASUS Transformer tablet revealed ahead of launch

By on August 17, 2012 at 11:10 PM.

Next-generation ASUS Transformer tablet revealed ahead of launch

ASUS TF500T Transformer Tablet Revealed

An upcoming tablet from ASUS (2357) recently passed through the Federal Communications Commission’s testing facility equipped with the model number TF500T. Few details are revealed in the resulting documentation, however the model number suggests the tablet could fall between the budget-friendly Transformer Pad TF300 and the high-end Transformer Pad Infinity TF700. The Taiwanese manufacturer’s upcoming tablet will be Wi-Fi only and will feature an HDMI port and a microphone. We can also safely assume that the TF500T will have the ability to transform into a laptop with the help of ASUS’s keyboard dock. More →

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FCC smacks Comcast for hiding standalone broadband option

By on June 29, 2012 at 1:30 AM.

FCC smacks Comcast for hiding standalone broadband option

Comcast Fine FCC

Cable companies just love to sell bundled services for one important reason — it makes them buckets of money — but Comcast last year made an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission that it would actively promote an affordable standalone broadband option to customers as one condition of being allowed to purchase NBC Universal. Per GigaOm, it seems that Comcast didn’t live up to its end of the bargain because the FCC has slapped the company with an $800,000 fine for allegedly making it difficult for consumers to find its cheap standalone broadband plan. The FCC said in a statement that Comcast “was not adequately marketing its standalone broadband services.” In addition to paying its $800,000 fine, Comcast will agree to continue offering its cheap standalone broadband plan through at least February 21st, 2015, one year longer than in the original agreement. More →

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FCC to review cell phone radiation guidelines

By on June 15, 2012 at 10:00 PM.

FCC to review cell phone radiation guidelines

Cell Phone Radiation FCC

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, announced on Friday that he plans to ask his fellow commissioners to open a formal inquiry that will evaluate whether or not its standards protect humans from dangerous cellphone radiation, BusinessWeek reported. Despite the increased demand for mobile phones, it is the first time in 15 years that the question has been asked by the FCC. The agency is confident, however, thats its current guidelines pose no risk to consumers. “Our action today is a routine review of our standards,” Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the agency, said. “We are confident that, as set, the emissions guidelines for devices pose no risks to consumers.” The FCC last updated its guidelines setting maximum radiation-exposure levels in 1996, at which time about 44 million people in the U.S. owned mobile phones. That number has since swelled to more than 332 million mobile phone owners as of 2011. More →

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FCC approves AT&T spectrum transfer to T-Mobile

By on April 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM.

FCC approves AT&T spectrum transfer to T-Mobile

Following AT&T’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, AT&T had to pay a lofty break-up fee as per the terms of its agreement. AT&T’s related expenses totaled $4 billion, and included in that sum was the transfer of AWS spectrum licenses to T-Mobile in 128 different markets. On Wednesday, T-Mobile announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the transfer. “We applaud the FCC for acting swiftly to approve the transfer of these spectrum licenses,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. The nation’s No.4 carrier will use its newly acquired spectrum to help build out its next-generation 4G LTE network, which it hopes to launch next year.

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FCC fines T-Mobile $819,000 over accessibility issues

By on April 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM.

FCC fines T-Mobile $819,000 over accessibility issues

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday determined that T-Mobile must pay a fine of $819,000 for “willfully and repeatedly” failing to comply with rules regarding hearing-aid compatible handsets. According to the FCC, the carrier violated the rules during 2009 and 2010. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Order requires each carrier to have at least 10 handsets, or 50% of all devices, that support acoustic coupling and 7 phones, or 33% of all devices, with inductive coupling. T-Mobile may reduce or negate the proposed fine by proving to the FCC that it did not violate the rule, or that it didn’t violate it as severely as the FCC alleges. More →

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FCC fines Google $25,000 for unauthorized data collection and impeding investigation

By on April 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM.

FCC fines Google $25,000 for unauthorized data collection and impeding investigation

The Federal Communications Commission has fined Google $25,000 for impeding a U.S. investigation into the data collection scandal surrounding its Street View project, in which the Internet giant allegedly accessed unsecured networks and collected personal information without users’ permission. The FCC said the Mountain View-based company did not cooperate with the investigation and refused to reveal the names of its engineers associated with the project. “Google refused to identify any employees or produce any e-mails. The company could not supply compliant declarations without identifying employees it preferred not to identify,” the FCC said. “Misconduct of this nature threatens to compromise the commission’s ability to effectively investigate possible violations of the Communications Act and the commission’s rules.” More →

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U.S. carriers partner with FCC to track stolen cell phones

By on April 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM.

U.S. carriers partner with FCC to track stolen cell phones

The four major wireless providers in the United States have partnered with the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to curb cell phone theft, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The wireless companies will build a central database of stolen cell phones, which will track phones that are reported as lost or stolen and deny them voice and data service. The goal of the database is to reduce crime by making it very difficult to use a stolen device. Verizon Wireless and Sprint currently block phones that are reported stolen from being reactivated. AT&T and T-Mobile do not, although all four carriers have now agreed to be part of the new database. Members of Congress are also expected to propose legislation to make it a crime to alter a cell phone’s unique identification number, according to the report. Similar stolen-phone databases are already in place in the U.K., Germany, France and Australia. While crime hasn’t completely stopped, the number of incidents has apparently declined. Carriers will roll out individual databases within six months that will be centralized over a 12-month period, with smaller regional wireless providers expected to join the database over the next two years. More →

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LightSquared considering bankruptcy after being derailed by regulators

By on April 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM.

LightSquared considering bankruptcy after being derailed by regulators

LightSquared founder Phillip Falcone said he may consider voluntary bankruptcy for his troubled wireless broadband venture, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. “There are arguments that we would be better off in bankruptcy than not,” Falcone said. “LightSquared, if I have to, I’ll put it into bankruptcy. I don’t care,” adding that he would maintain control of the company if it were to file. LightSquared planned to build a high-speed data network that would cover as many as 260 million users, however it failed to gain approval from federal regulators. The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February due to concerns surrounding interference with GPS systems. Through his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone has invested roughly $3 billion in the failed venture. Bankruptcy is “not what I want, not what I desire, I’d rather find a different way out,” he said. More →

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Unannounced LG Windows Phone for Sprint revealed by FCC

By on April 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM.

Unannounced LG Windows Phone for Sprint revealed by FCC

The Federal Communications Commission recently published documents that reveal information about an unannounced Windows Phone device from LG. According to the documents, the LG LS831 supports CDMA in the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz bands, indicating that the handset will land on Sprint’s 3G network. Images reveal that the smartphone features a 5-megapixel rear camera, a front-facing camera, a headphone jack and a microUSB port. Sprint hasn’t launched a Windows Phone device since the HTC Arrive was released in early 2011, however the carrier is rumored to be prepping an LTE-equipped Windows Phone for a fall launch. More →

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Dish Network’s spectrum should avoid GPS issues suffered by LightSquared, analysts say

By on March 19, 2012 at 9:30 PM.

Dish Network’s spectrum should avoid GPS issues suffered by LightSquared, analysts say

Philip Falcone’s startup LightSquared planned to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States. The firm’s service was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, however, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to block the network’s launch. Dish Network is looking to build a similar network and is currently awaiting government approval. Executives and analysts have said that Dish will probably avoid the interference concerns that killed LightSquared’s network, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The satellite company’s frequencies, which are above 2GHz, are far away from those used by GPS devices and Lightsquared’s 1600Mhz band, and are less likely to interfere. “It’s not as close to GPS, so it’s unlikely to interfere,” said Matthew Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, which operates more than 60 satellites. “But the approval is going to take some time. The FCC is going to make sure they don’t have another LightSquared problem on their hands.” Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners, believes that Dish will gain FCC approval in 6 to 12 months. More →

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