Archive for Sprint

Sprint acquired by SmartBank, T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger met with shareholder lawsuit

Sprint T Mobile and MetroPCS Sprint acquired by SmartBank, T Mobile/MetroPCS merger met with shareholder lawsuit

The third, fourth, and fifth largest wireless carriers in the United States have undergone some major changes over the last few weeks. Sprint has announced that it is being acquired by SoftBank, while T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS’ plan to merge the two companies have been met with lawsuits from shareholders.

SoftBank’s acquisition of Sprint cost the company $20.1 billion, giving it a 70% controlling share of the company. The buyout has been approved by Sprint’s shareholders and board of the directors, so it is expected to be completed within six months barring any holdups in regulatory approval. Sprint fans will be pleased to know that the CEO, board of directors, and headquarters will remain as-is. In essence, this deal was essentially made to “give Sprint a much-needed cash infusion.”

The T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS merger from a few weeks ago, on the other hand, hasn’t been received as favorably by shareholders. MetroPCS’s shareholders claim that the payments of $4.09 per share “drastically undervalues” the company and “cheats shareholders.” Worse, they’re saying that MetroPCS’ board of directors is “conflicted and serving its own financial interests.” As a result, a lawsuit has been filed against MetroPCS, its board of directors, T-Mobile USA, and its parent company Deutsche Telekom.

[Pocketables via Sprint | CNET via TmoNews]

FFC set to approve massive Verizon spectrum deal, according to the WSJ

verizon 4g lte logo 560x266 FFC set to approve massive Verizon spectrum deal, according to the WSJ

According to an article yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is finally ready to offer his suggestion that Verizon’s $3.9 billion spectrum deal be approved. The deal will, however, be coming with some additional expected stipulations. Verizon must offer competitive prices for data roaming to other carriers, and must use it in a timely fashion. In other words, no monopolization of markets, and no hogging the ball.

If you’ve been out of the loop, here is what has been going on. Verizon wants to buy $3.9 billion USD of AWS spectrum from a combination of major cable networks. Verizon claims that this will be used soon in its LTE rollout, and is happy to do a spectrum swap to that end with T-Mobile USA.

Most of the companies not involved with the deal are at best annoyed, but some are downright hostile. MetroPCS claims that Verizon will do nothing but stockpile the spectrum for future use. Sprint has expressed serious concerns that Verizon’s incumbent cross-marketing deals with cable companies will make things unfairly difficult for other providers—particularly in the areas of backhaul and WiFi services.

Verizon currently has a slight lead on AT&T in terms of subscribers, AT&T in turn has a massive lead over Sprint and T-Mobile—the third and fourth spot holders. While it appears the caveats to this deal through the new stipulations will address the concerns of both Metro PCS and Sprint, I’m sure many people will still find the offer a little too sweet in Verizon’s favor.

Should smaller carriers be given preferential treatment in the name of competition? Feel free to speak your thoughts in the comments section below.

[WSJ via Fierce Wireless]

Announcing the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE

HTC EVO 4G LTE back 560x247 Announcing the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE

The EVO 4G LTE, which is kissing cousins with the top end of HTC’s One lineup, is an awesome behemoth of an Android 4.0 ICS device, set to go on preorder May 7 for $199.99. If you know much anything about me, you know I’m a devoted Motorola follower, having owned nothing else. For the record, I have played with many others, but always come back to my favorite. This is the first phone from another manufacturer to make me actually seriously want it, and it even has a built-in kickstand, no media dock needed!

The EVO 4G LTE starts with a bang with its 4.7-inch HD screen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an awesome 8MP camera—more on that later—and a 2000mAh battery. It finishes with an even bigger bang—HD Voice. HD Voice is an industry first, making this a network announcement, not just a phone announcement.

HD Voice is a new technology being rolled out with Sprint’s Network Vision plan, and includes dual microphones on the devices themselves, special encoders, and special decoders. When all of this is partnered with Sprint’s newfangled wireless technologies, the result is an awesome conversational experience. What’s that you say? Use a smartphone as a phone? Crazy talk, I know!

The usual and obvious high-end goodies all come standard, such as LTE—duh—Sense 4.0, and NFC, including Google Wallet and Android Beam. Think I forgot about the camera? Think again. The 8MP camera is designed to be just as good as any 8MP non-SLR camera on the market. The camera has an incredible 2.0 f-stop—by comparison Cannon’s $179.99 A4000 IS has an f-stop of f/3.2—as well as several other HTC enhancements, like concurrent video recording and still photos. For more pictures, videos, and specifications than you could ever need, hit up the source links—they’re all good.

[Sprint | 2 via Good and EVO | 2]

It’s official, Sprint is leaving WiMAX for good, effective now

4g lte sprint 560x347 Its official, Sprint is leaving WiMAX for good, effective now

While this should come as no big surprise, it is interesting that Sprint has chosen to stop investing in its WiMAX network and devices before launching its LTE network. With as much money as it has in WiMAX, one would think that perhaps Sprint would milk it as a secondary option for a while to come yet—something akin to AT&T’s staggered HSPA+/LTE rollout. But at the Competitive Carriers Global Expo yesterday, Bob Azzi, Sprint’s senior VP of networks stated that the end has come.

Sprint is not turning off its WiMAX network or pulling devices from shelves so no need for alarm if you’re currently a WiMAX subscriber. Sprint has just stated that it will not be spending any more money on WiMAX rollout, be it device related or network related. The biggest factor here is the success Sprint is having with its LTE testing.

“We are wrapping up final field integration tests,” Azzi said. “The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected.” Some of the biggest benefits from Sprint’s Network Vision program are an expected 50% reduction in expense per gigabyte of data used and a 50% reduction in expense per minute of talk time. We’ll see if those reduced costs rollover to the customer–I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Obviously, halving your costs can be a major incentive to get things in gear. Sprint expects to turn on its LTE network by the middle of this year, with its first LTE smartphone being the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung. Rumor has it Sprint’s second LTE phone will be the HTC Evo One—theoretically getting announced next week.

[FierceWireless via phoneArena]

Sprint, LightSquared finally part ways, no hard feelings

LightSquared axed Sprint, LightSquared finally part ways, no hard feelings

Sprint and LightSquared inked a deal last June that would involve Sprint rolling out its 4G LTE network on LightSquared’s 1.6GHz spectrum. LightSquared has been unable to get its spectrum use authorized by the feds, and therefore Sprint never even started building out its 1.6GHz LTE network. As a result, Sprint has opted to end the deal after volunteering two extensions, and has already returned $65 million given to it by LightSquared in prepayments.

This deal seemed doomed from the start. Almost as soon as the ink was dry, things started going wrong. What ended up submarining it is the fact that the 1.6GHz spectrum owned by LightSquared is dangerously close to spectrum in use by GPS units. Since Sprint’s network would be obviously land-based, it could have overpowered GPS signals across the nation, rendering GPS units virtually useless—an unpleasant situation to say the least.

“[Sprint] remain[s] open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders.”

“For LightSquared, Sprint’s decision will enhance our working capital and provide more flexibility,” said Doug Smith, chief network officer and interim co-COO of LightSquared.

Two would-be founding wholesale customers of this deal have already jumped ship to Clearwire, who probably stands to profit the most from this failure. As to what this means for Sprint’s customers, Sprint has stated that its Network Vision and LTE-roll-out plans remain “on schedule and on budget.” So fear not, loyal customers of the yellow bars, you should still have LTE by the middle of next year, just not on 1.6GHz spectrum.

[LightSquared | Sprint]

ZTE Fury coming to a Sprint store near you on March 11 for $20

ZTE Fury cropped ZTE Fury coming to a Sprint store near you on March 11 for $20While our focus seems to usually lie on the catfight for the “best” smartphone, there is another, equally brutal fight going on for the title of “best” cheap phone. And in this corner, we have the ZTE Fury, a 3.5-inch Android smartphone with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 5MP rear camera. And yes, it is only $20—if you sign a 2-year contract and process your $50 mail-in rebate.

ZTE and Sprint are pushing this as a “family-friendly” and “family-ready” device. As such, Sprint Family Locator, Mobile Controls, and Drive First are all available and are being hawked loud and proud for all to hear. Gimmicky, quasi-useful apps notwithstanding, the Fury is a pretty solid low-end phone. It is certainly among the best for $50 and under.

In case you are unaware, this phone is strictly 3G, so you won’t be getting any WiMAX or mind-melting LTE, but it is equipped with 3G hotspot. So one phone could keep a carload of kids happily browsing the web on their laptops—provided that nobody decides to be a bandwidth hog and start watching Justin Bieber videos.

[Sprint | 2 via DroidMatters]

Verizon debuts 4G Throwdown, copycats Windows Phone

Verizon has the best 4G LTE coverage, no doubt there. But what about the fastest coverage? After all, 4G doesn’t amount to a bag of rocks if it’s not fast. Taking a cue from Microsoft’s “Smoked by Windows Phone” playbook, Verizon hit the streets with its “Ultimate 4G Throw-Down.”

Now, these comparisons are assumedly fair and unbiased but—spoiler alert—not once did I see Verizon lose, while even Ben the PC guy is forced to eat some humble pie every once in a while with his Windows Phone. Verizon also threw in some fine print stating that its tests against AT&T were conducted in an AT&T HSPA+ market, not an AT&T LTE market. Kind of makes you wonder just how confident Verizon actually is.

The end results are as is to be expected, Verizon came out on top in every video clip shown. According to a third-party—hopefully legitimately unbiased—study, Verizon bests the national average of T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T by over 8.5Mbps. I’d be happy with just 8.5Mbps.

Verizon’s average is right at 14Mbps, with AT&T coming in second at 5.5Mbps, Sprint third at 5Mbps, and T-Mobile last with just under 4.5Mbps. The comparisons on Verizon’s side were definitely done with top-tier phones; I saw a DROID RAZR and a Galaxy Nexus, among others. It’s hard to tell what exactly the other provider’s customers were using, but there certainly was variety, and they were all decently sized phones, if nothing else.

[Verizon via phoneArena]

Verizon reportedly put the kibosh on the Nokia Om, Sprint still testing a high-end Nokia device?

Verizon and Sprint 560x149 Verizon reportedly put the kibosh on the Nokia Om, Sprint still testing a high end Nokia device?

AT&T has a fantastic lineup of Windows Phones, and T-Mobile’s smaller selection is excellent as well. On the other hand, Verizon and Sprint have been stuck with the same late-to-the-market first generation device for nearly a year. According to a new report, Nokia was ready to release a Windows Phone on Verizon’s network a few months ago… until Verizon put the kibosh on the effort. Sprint, meanwhile, is still testing its high-end Nokia Windows Phone.

The Verizon Windows Phone, codenamed the Nokia Om, was supposedly set for release in January. Unfortunately, it was canceled “over Windows Phone’s lack of Verizon LTE support.” Verizon, of course, is very serious about its 4G LTE network and has mandated that all new devices support it. As a result, it looks like new Windows Phones won’t be available on Verizon until later this year.

The same appears to be the case for Sprint, which is reportedly testing a high-end Nokia Windows Phone for release this fall. The CDMA LTE device supposedly includes a dual-core processor running the next major version of the OS, codenamed Apollo and known more widely as Windows Phone 8.

We’re disappointed that Sprint and Verizon won’t be getting any new devices before this fall, but it’s understandable. We often receive questions from readers wondering when new Windows Phones will be available on CDMA networks. With any luck, we’ll only have to wait another six months or so.

[The Verge | IntoMobile via Pocketables]

Sprint beefs up 3G network in the Atlanta area

Sprint network vision cropped 560x307 Sprint beefs up 3G network in the Atlanta area

Sprint once heralded its 3G network as supreme, but now is relegated in some areas to slowest out of the big three. Sprint has admitted to having a problem, and although we haven’t been told what exactly that problem is, at least something is being done about it. Sprint appears to be in the springtime spirit, and its press release reads more like a poem than a business announcement.

Amid the rainbow of azaleas and dogwoods dotting the streets and neighborhoods of metro Atlanta this spring are 3G capacity enhancements from Sprint…

From the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park to the hills of Stone Mountain, Sprint customers in Atlanta should expect faster data speeds, fewer dropped calls and confidence that Sprint is committed to investing in Georgia and keeping pace with the ever-increasing demand for data.

The funny thing is, this is one announcement that doesn’t need any spin-it’s all good! One hundred network capacity upgrades have been made in Atlanta since Thanksgiving, with another 122 scheduled to be in place by summer. Again, mum’s the word on what exactly these upgrades are, but Sprint promises that you’ll like them, as will anybody on Sprint’s no-contract brands such as Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

Sprint also took time to remind us that Atlanta will be among the first five cities to get its flavor of LTE this summer. And while LTE and 4G in general tends to leave us all breathless, fact is that most of us are still on 3G, probably with a significant amount of time left on our contracts. So good on ya, Sprint!

[Business Wire via GottaBeMobile]

The post-breakup blues: Comcast sues Sprint for patent infringement

Comcast Logo The post breakup blues: Comcast sues Sprint for patent infringement

Anytime somebody leaves you for someone else, it hurts. And when dollar signs are involved, it hurts a lot. So when Sprint and Comcast went their separate ways the sparks started flying, and now it looks like something approximating all-out war.

Comcast is suing Sprint for infringement on four of its patents. The alleged offenses cover pretty much all of Sprint’s service: voice+data backhaul, MMS, SMS, and 3G mobile broadband adapters. The lawsuit has been filed in a Pennsylvania court, seeking an undisclosed sum of cash for alleged damages. The four specific patents under consideration are:

  • No. 5,987,323: Starting a Short Message Transmission in a Cellular Communication System.
  • No. 6,112,305: Mechanism for Dynamically Binding a Network Computer Client Device to an Approved Internet Service Provider.
  • No. 6,885,870: Transferring of a Message.
  • No. 7,684,391: Communications System for Delivering Multimedia Internet Protocol Packets Across Network Boundaries.

Sprint and Comcast had previously been partnered up to offer a total package to consumers. Sprint would provide mobile services—including Clearwire’s WiMAX offerings—and Comcast would cover the landline goods.

Since the ending of that agreement, Sprint already sued Comcast once about two months ago alongside some other former cable partners for infringement on its VoIP patents. Well, Comcast obviously decided that two can play this game, so here we go again.

Frankly I think all this willy-nilly suing is rather childish and certainly not good for the consumer. Didn’t we all learn how to play nice in the sandbox back in 1st grade? Perhaps that should be a requirement for business schools these days, “Must play nice with other children. Throwing of tantrums will not be permitted and will be punished by time-outs.”

[Light Reading Cable via Sprintfeed]