Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone are reportedly actively discussing ways to resolve their relationship this year, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The companies, which jointly own top U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Wireless, have discussed merging as well as the possibility of a full or partial buyout of Vodafone’s 45% stake. Disagreements regarding leadership and the location of the merged entity’s headquarters have reportedly made a merger unlikely. ”Verizon is eager to take full control of the unit this year, giving the New York-based company greater influence over its most profitable division,” Bloomberg’s Jeffrey McCracken, David Welch and Matthew Campbell wrote. According to the report, Vodafone has raised issues regarding valuation as well as how proceeds from the sale might be used. Vodafone’s stake is currently valued at about $115 billion according to the report, and the most likely outcome of the talks is said to be either a full or partial sale.
We’ve known for a while that carriers have been itching for a chance to ditch smartphone subsidies, but Verizon (VZ) CFO Fran Shammo now expects that smartphone subsidies will decrease naturally over the next two to three years with no added cost to consumers. FierceWireless reports that Shammo on Monday told the the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference that emerging smartphone platforms such as Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 will lead to increased competition in the market and bring lower priced phones, which will in turn lead to reduced subsidy costs for carriers. More →
Five of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S. detailed their respective plans this week for implementing the “six strikes” Copyright Alert System. Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T), Cablevision (CVC), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Verizon (VZ) all plan to utilize the system in different ways. Despite the fact that the CAS allows ISPs to terminate service for repeat offenders, none of the major ISPs have chosen to go that far. Penalties will range from annoying pop-up and email alerts to throttled speeds depending on your provider. It should be noted, however, that the “six strikes” system only applies to wired connections and not services from Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility. More →
Five of the largest Internet service providers have finally implemented the controversial “six strikes” anti-piracy program, known as the Copyright Alert System. Comcast (CMCSA) was the first to launch the system on Monday, while AT&T (T), Cablevision, Time Warner (TWC) and Verizon (VZ) are expected to follow suit later this week. The CAS is designed to “educate” users of the consequences of copyright infringement in the U.S., however the program has received criticism from individuals who claim it won’t stop illegal downloading. More →
Samsung’s (005930) upcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone for Verizon (VZ) may have been detailed in newly discovered benchmark test results. The device carries the model number SCH-i545 and is similar to the model number SCH-i535, which is found on the carrier’s Galaxy S III smartphone. According to results from the Nenamark benchmark site, the Galaxy S IV will be equipped with a 1920 x 1080-pixel full-HD display, a 1.9GHz quad-core processor and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The specs match up to earlier rumors, however there are some discrepancies. More →
Score one for Verizon (VZ), which has come up with a clever new way to rate and recommend smartphone applications — by telling you how much mobile data and battery life they suck up. Verizon late last week announced that it was starting a new program to rate the 50 most popular Android apps each month based on “their effect on battery life, security, and data usage.” The carrier is also putting out a quarterly list of 20 “must-have” iOS and Android apps “that offer a ‘best in class’ experience and will help wireless users get the most out of their mobile device.” For any Verizon subscribers worried about running over their monthly LTE data limits, both lists are definitely worth checking out.
J.D. Power and Associates announced that for the fourth consecutive year Verizon (VZ) is the top national wireless provider when it comes to customer care. Verizon took the lead from T-Mobile in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. The firm found that the carrier’s automated phone service and representatives are superior to its competitors. Verizon scored 766 points out of a possible 1,000, ahead of AT&T (T), Sprint (S), and T-Mobile who scored 759, 746, and 715 points, respectively. The study also found that MetroPCS (PCS) had the highest overall wireless customer care satisfaction among non-contract carriers, with an overall score of 733. J.D. Power and Associates’ report is based on a survey of 7,332 wireless customers during a period from July through December 2012.
Verizon (VZ) and HTC (2498) partnered in November to offer the DROID DNA, arguably one of the company’s best smartphones to date. The handset was the first device to be equipped with a full HD 1080p screen, setting a new bar for manufacturers and smartphone displays. Despite the high-end device, HTC has continued to struggle in the mobile market and is looking for the next big thing to compete with Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930). Recent reports have suggested that the company is planning to announce a new flagship smartphone, code-named M7, later this month. With the relatively new DROID DNA still being sold in Verizon stores, it was speculated that the carrier may not offer HTC’s latest device. This doesn’t seem to be the case, however. More →
Strangely, Nokia (NOK) has yet to offer a top-line Windows Phone device on Verizon Wireless (VZ) even though it’s the largest carrier in the United States. The company’s high-end Lumia 920 smartphone is only available on AT&T (T), while Verizon have been stuck with the mid-range Lumia 822. This may be about to change, however. According to The Verge, Nokia is preparing a flagship device for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The handset, codenamed Laser, is said to feature similar specs to the Lumia 920 and will be heavily backed by Microsoft (MSFT). More →
Give Verizon (VZ) some credit — it seems willing to spread the spectrum wealth around. Verizon on Friday announced a deal to sell rival AT&T (T) several spectrum licenses on the valuable 700MHz band for a total of $1.9 billion. In addition to paying almost $2 billion in cash, AT&T will also give Verizon some of its AWS spectrum band licenses in “certain western markets, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Fresno and Portland, Oregon.” Quartz late last year estimated that Verizon had slightly more mobile data spectrum on hand than AT&T, although it noted that both companies could potentially be dwarfed by rival Sprint (S) if it completes its proposed acquisition of Clearwire.
Since the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple (AAPL) has touted its intelligent voice assistant Siri as a key feature of the iOS ecosystem. The startup company behind the app originally launched Siri as standalone program on the App Store and had plans to release Android and BlackBerry versions in the future. Siri was quickly acquired by Apple, however, and plans to expand the app were cancelled. More →
Verizon (VZ) on Wednesday announced the availability of the Samsung (005930) ATIV Odyssey. The smartphone joins the HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X and Nokia (NOK) Lumia 822 in Verizon’s lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices. The ATIV Odyssey is equipped with a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The device also features 1GB of RAM, 4G LTE connectivity, 8GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot and a 2,100 mAh battery. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey will be available online and in stores beginning January 24th for $49.99 with a new two-year agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate.
Verizon (VZ) posted a pretty impressive holiday quarter (one-time charges aside) with a good outlook on Tuesday, and the company’s share price rose as a result. There were also plenty of interesting takeaways from the carrier’s earnings call, but The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen zeroed in on one item of particular interest. Verizon launched new “Share Everything” plans last summer that make smartphone data more expensive for many users. The best thing about these plans for investors — and, not coincidentally, the worst thing about the plans for subscribers — is that Verizon is now making more money off of smartphone data as costs associated with transmitted that data are falling. More →