T-Mobile is urging federal regulators to block Verizon’s planned spectrum acquisition from SpectrumCo, a joint venture formed by Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. Verizon’s pending purchase could be worth $3.9 billion and would help the company build out its nationwide LTE network. In a filing late Tuesday, T-Mobile said the Federal Communications Commission should block the deal because it would place an “excessive concentration” of wireless spectrum in Verizon’s hands, reports the Associated Press. The AWS bands that Verizon is looking to acquire uses the same frequencies that T-Mobile uses for its HSPA+ network. T-Mobile claims that the nation’s No.1 carrier already has a large amount of spectrum and does not need any more, and T-Mobile can “quickly, more intensively, and more efficiently” put the spectrum to use compared to Verizon. MetroPCS, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless provider, also urged the FCC to block the deal, claiming both parties had not provided enough information to prove that the acquisition is in the public’s best interest. Verizon and SpectrumCo hope to close the deal by the middle of this year. More →
Verizon Wireless announced Friday that it plans to acquire 122 advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture formed by Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. The spectrum covers 259 million POPs. Comcast owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo and will take home $2.3 billion from the spectrum sale, Time Warner owns 31.2% of the company and expects to receive about $1.1 billion, and Bright House Networks will make roughly $189 million on the deal. As part of the agreement, Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks will eventually have the option to sell Verizon Wireless service through wholesale channels. Read on for more. More →
4G is a hot topic here on BGR and as such, we’ve likely become more numb than we should when it comes to advertised data speeds. We’re so used to seeing “theoretical limits” that are so far from reality we just chuckle and move along. The wireline broadband industry, however, is a different beast. According to a study recently conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, major broadband Internet service provides in the U.S. deliver data speeds that are generally between 80% and 90% of the speeds they advertise. The Associated Press reports that the FCC’s study measured data speeds delivered to thousands of U.S. broadband subscribers this past March from 13 of the nation’s top ISPs including Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon. The three most popular wired broadband technologies were covered by the study — DSL, cable and fiber — and data rates were said to have been close to the advertised speeds during both peak and off-peak times. The AP notes that the FCC’s study didn’t delve into speeds delivered by wireless data services, which is a study we would love to see. More →
Time Warner has been ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington to identify hundreds of people accused of illegally downloading movies over its broadband network. The ISP had previously argued that identifying the accused parties would be “unfairly expensive and time-consuming,” and it asked that the judge reject the subpoenas for subscriber information. Of the three pending cases where subpoenas for subscriber data were issued, the judge agreed to quash one, as the plaintiff, Maverick Entertainment Group, failed to properly serve the subpoena in compliance with the law. The other two stand, however, and Time Warner will have to identify approximately 250 subscribers. Maverick, one of three movie companies currently seeking the identities of anonymous Internet users who are accused of illegally downloading their copyrighted materials, has 10 days to re-issue the subpoena or it may lose access to the identities of over 700 users. More →
Following the crazy storm of tech news that rained down from Vegas yesterday, it’s hard to believe that today is actually the official start of the 2011 Consumer Electronics show. But today is the day, and things are set to pick up right where they left off last night. Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg has been called on to deliver the first big keynote today, and the focus will be LTE 4G. AT&T set the ber pretty high yesterday, but Big Red still has the jump with LTE already having been deployed in several markets. So what’s in store for today? 4G modems? 4G smartphones? 4G tablets? 4G iPhones? Ok, we probably won’t see any iPhones, but hit the jump to follow the action in our live-blog. More →
Kind of… Cablevision and Time Warner are spending $10 million to provide WiFi service to over 30 parks in NYC as part of a deal to renew the cable companies’ cable TV franchises. Here is the catch though: internet use over Wi-Fi is free, but it’s limited to up to (3) 10 minute sessions a month, a total of 30 minutes of usage a person. If you want to get your SlingBox on after that, it’s going to cost $0.99/day to access the internet. Not an exorbitant amount of money, but definitely not quite free, either. More →
Cable and satellite television operators may be in talks with entertainment companies to develop new TV packages that offer fewer channels at a lower cost to consumers. With the average television bill hovering around $80, and the economy struggling, many subscribers are dropping this non-essential service and turing to cheaper, online alternatives like Hulu and Netflix for their home entertainment. This trend has, seemingly, not gone unnoticed by those in the media business. Time Warner CEO, Glenn Britt, confirmed that television operators are exploring ways of lowering the consumer’s monthly bill:
It would be a good thing if we could all figure out a way to have one or more smaller packages that would be attractive to people who can’t afford bigger ones, especially if we could do it in a way that the entertainment companies are still able to finance the product
Though the idea of smaller, cheaper TV packages are in the early stages of discussion, it is a big step forward for operators to even consider lowering the bar on the basic package. Hopefully, this trend continues and expands to include not only less channels but some a la carte features for which consumers are clamoring. More →
Big news coming out of the NY/NJ/CT tri-state cable companies, and it’s downright exciting. Cablevision, Time Warner, and Comcast have all teamed up to announce a roaming agreement that will allow their subscribers to freely roam on any of the companies Wi-Fi networks. Think about that for a second… as long as you are a Cablevision, Time Warner, or Comcast customer, you can get free Wi-Fi access at practically limitless locations (thousands) all across the NY metro area from all three providers, and connect to any of their networks from your computer, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry — whatever. According to the press release, authentication for this to happen is already in place starting today, so if you were just sticking to your own cable provider’s magic hotspot, fell free to mosey on over to one of the partner networks. Just try not to make Verizon too jealous, ok?
According to Taiwanese WiMAX CPE makers, Clearwire is slowing its purchases of WiMAX equipment as it begins to ramp up its wholesale business. This expansion is not unexpected as Clearwire first offered wholesaler services in Q3 2009 and indicated that is looking to grow its wholesale business and add additional wholesale customers in the intervening quarters. Currently, Clearwire offers wholesale 4G services to Comcast, Sprint and Time Warner Cable, all three of which are strategic investors in Clearwire. Each reseller has the ability to sell 4G services with their own WiMAX CPE products, resell services in different geographic markets and offer individualized pricing schemes. Additional details on Clearwire’s wholesale business is expected during the company’s Q4 2009 earnings conference call on February 24th. Perhaps, Clearwire will slip in some info on that rumored Sprint Android 4G handset as well. More →
Midway, maker of everyone’s favorite cute and cuddly franchise Mortal Kombat, has not had a smooth run of late. To recap Midway’s recent plight in one sentence: In December, Sumner Redstone sold his 87 percent stake in Midway for all of $100,000 and the company proceeded to file for bankruptcy in February. Yikes. The creator of a bazillion Mortal Kombat titles isn’t dead in the water just yet however, as several companies are reportedly preparing acquisition bids. One such company, according to Bloomberg, is Time Warner — maker of both Mortal Kombat motion pictures. Hey didn’t one of those win an Oscar? No? Time Warner seemingly won’t have much competition as Bloomberg reports Midway expects less than five bids. Regardless of the outcome of this debacle, the phrase “Finish Him” will hold a special place in our hearts forever.
AT&T is taking cues from Time Warner Cable and Frontier Communications by implementing a tiered broadband service for customers in Reno, NV – whether they like it or not. Lucky them, eh? Broadband customers will be limited with certain caps depending on their tiered pricing plans and will be charged per gigabyte exceeding their plan. According to AT&T, this has been a long time coming and it has already begun ironing out details with the FCC. Per the filing:
In particular, AT&T plans to initiate a broadband Internet access usage trial in Reno, Nev., beginning in November. Consistent with AT&T’s belief that consumers should have clear information about the capabilities of their broadband Internet access services and any meaningful limitations on those service, AT&T will be providing written notice to customers involved in the trial explaining that their broadband service will be subject to a certain monthly usage tier for the total amount of data they may send and receive, as well as a per gigabyte charge in the event they exceed the usage tier.
Meaningful limitations on services? Right. The tiers are going to range from 20 GB to 150 GB per month and exceeding those caps will cost $1 per gigabyte over the limit. While these caps are far greater than the ones offered by some competitors, AT&T customers might feel a little constrained despite the fact that hitting numbers like 150 GB per month can be pretty difficult (you’d have to do a lot of video, downloading and torrents). The consolation? If you don’t want to be part of the trial, you can get booted from AT&T’s services without having to pay an early termination fee.