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BUSINESS
December 24, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
It's a perk wireless customers have come to expect: Sign up for a two-year service contract, and get a new smartphone at a deeply discounted price or sometimes even free. But the reign of cellphone subsidies could be ending as customers demand more flexible mobile plans, forcing wireless carriers to look for alternatives to the long-standing practice. AT&T Inc. hinted this month that it was considering doing away with phone subsidies. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said subsidizing a smartphone every two years was an expensive undertaking that he didn't think the company could afford.
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BUSINESS
January 30, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators moved Thursday to expand the ability of people to send texts to 911 in emergencies, and are working on rules that would require wireless carriers to enable such messages by the end of the year. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously that texting to 911 should be widespread, and to begin soliciting comments from the public and industry about whether a Dec. 31 deadline for establishing the capability would be feasible. "Access to 911 just simply has to keep pace with technological change," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
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BUSINESS
October 13, 2011 | By Shan Li and Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times
With its latest operating system update, Apple is poised to strike a blow to wireless carriers by making free texting more ubiquitous. The iMessage service, part of the iOS 5 update released Wednesday, lets iPhone users send messages with text, photos and video to other iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch users — for free. For wireless carriers, that spells trouble. "There's a big potential issue here," said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. "The wireless industry makes most of its money from high-priced but low-bandwidth services like voice and text.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
It's a perk wireless customers have come to expect: Sign up for a two-year service contract, and get a new smartphone at a deeply discounted price or sometimes even free. But the reign of cellphone subsidies could be ending as customers demand more flexible mobile plans, forcing wireless carriers to look for alternatives to the long-standing practice. AT&T Inc. hinted this month that it was considering doing away with phone subsidies. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said subsidizing a smartphone every two years was an expensive undertaking that he didn't think the company could afford.
BUSINESS
May 14, 2013 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
The country's largest wireless carriers have joined together for a national advertising campaign to discourage mobile users from texting while driving. AT&T announced that competitors Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile and more than 200 other organizations have joined its "It Can Wait" campaign. The effort will focus on the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which have been called the 100 deadliest days on the roads for teen drivers. The campaign kicks off Monday, with the four wireless carriers bringing a multimillion-dollar co-branded advertising blitz to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.
BUSINESS
April 16, 1997 | Reuters
Regulators in Washington began auctioning a slice of spectrum that will let users gain access to the Internet over the airwaves or create wireless local phone networks that compete with traditional wired networks. Twenty-four companies--including units of BellSouth Corp., Pacific Telesis Group, Comcast Corp. and a Bell Atlantic Corp./Nynex Corp. joint venture--are bidding for the rights to offer "wireless communications service." The first day of bidding in the multi-day sale totaled $5.
BUSINESS
February 10, 2012 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
The iPhone has been a huge hit for Apple Inc., helping send the company's stock to all-time highs and producing record-breaking profits. But for AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc., it's breaking the bank. The three wireless carriers all found themselves answering to Wall Street in recent weeks for posting depressed quarterly earnings, and analysts pointed to the heavy cost of offering the iPhone as a culprit. The iPhone has become the single most popular smartphone in the U.S., and that has left the carriers trapped in a kind of Faustian deal: The more iPhones they sell, the more money they lose.
BUSINESS
August 27, 2011 | By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times
The Federal Communications Commission has restarted its 180-day clock for its review of AT&T's proposed $39-billion takeover of T-Mobile USA. The FCC had paused the clock on July 20 after asking the two companies for more information about how, in their view, the efficiencies of the combined carriers would outweigh the potential anticompetitive effects, according to a statement on the agency's website by Rick Kaplan, chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications...
BUSINESS
July 7, 2009 | Jim Puzzanghera
Cellphone customers have long complained about exclusive deals between handset makers and wireless carriers -- many, for instance, won't buy the iPhone because it runs only on the AT&T network -- and federal authorities now are being prodded to take action. Concerns have mounted that the power that major carriers have amassed is stifling consumer choice and, perhaps, improperly propping up prices. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The nation's largest wireless carriers are banding together with regulators and law enforcement officials to launch an effort to make stolen cellphones and other mobile devices as useless as an empty wallet. The goal is to cut down on increasing thefts of smartphones by making them less appealing to criminals. AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless,T-Mobile USA andSprint Nextel Corp. said Tuesday they will create a central database to track stolen devices and prevent them from being reactivated.
NEWS
December 13, 2013 | By Jon Healey
It took new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler just a few weeks to persuade the major U.S. mobile phone companies to make it easier for customers to move their phones and tablet computers to a rival carrier's network. But the new industry principles announced Thursday by CTIA, the wireless companies' trade association, don't give consumers all the rights they should have over the devices they buy. At issue is consumers' ability to "unlock" a phone or tablet from the network it is electronically bound to. Many (but not all)
BUSINESS
September 23, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Apple this weekend shattered its record for iPhone sales, but customers looking for the iPhone 5c are in luck: There are still plenty of devices available for purchase. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech company announced Monday morning that it sold more than 9 million new iPhones around the world, breaking the mark it set last year and blowing past the expectations of many analysts. Sure enough, all those sales led to some units selling out. The gold version of the iPhone 5s, for example, quickly sold out at various locations across the country early Friday morning, and since then, all versions of the iPhone 5s have been harder to find.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
London Mayor Boris Johnson is the latest politician to back a group that's pressuring tech companies to design smartphones that become useless if they fall into the wrong hands. Prosecutors from San Francisco and New York state will now be joined by Johnson in spearheading the effort. London law enforcement authorities say they have made a dent in smartphone theft in recent months because of some big crackdowns and extra patrols in theft-prone areas. But British media reports say several thousand thefts are still being reported each month in London.
BUSINESS
June 26, 2013 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Corp. got shareholder approval for its mammoth takeover of Sprint Nextel Corp., giving America's No. 3 wireless carrier ammunition to take on industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The $21.6-billion deal for a majority stake in Sprint is expected to enable the company to speed up the rollout of its high-speed 4G LTE service in new markets around the country. That should help it attract new customers, analysts said. "This is exactly what Sprint needs," said Jeff Kagan, a technology industry analyst.
BUSINESS
May 14, 2013 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
The country's largest wireless carriers have joined together for a national advertising campaign to discourage mobile users from texting while driving. AT&T announced that competitors Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile and more than 200 other organizations have joined its "It Can Wait" campaign. The effort will focus on the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which have been called the 100 deadliest days on the roads for teen drivers. The campaign kicks off Monday, with the four wireless carriers bringing a multimillion-dollar co-branded advertising blitz to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.
BUSINESS
May 11, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - WhatsApp is one of Silicon Valley's most buzzed-about companies, yet it actively avoids the spotlight, operating out of a small office in Mountain View, Calif., with no sign on the building entrance or on the office door. Unlike most start-ups eager for media attention, WhatsApp Inc. says it doesn't want or need it. Its popular mobile messaging app has spread so quickly by word of mouth that in just four years it has amassed hundreds of millions of users who collectively send as many as 18 billion messages a day. WhatsApp belongs to a new generation of messaging services that are revolutionizing 20-year-old text messaging technology and escalating the mobile messaging wars.
BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
One of Japan's largest wireless carriers is spending $20.1 billion to gain a foothold in one of the world's biggest and most lucrative mobile markets. SoftBank Corp., Japan's third-largest carrier, is taking a 70% stake in struggling U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. It would mark the largest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese company. The deal, pending regulatory approval, would give Sprint a much-needed financial boost. Under the agreement, Sprint would get $8 billion to pay down debt and build out its high-speed LTE network so it could better compete with its bigger rivals, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. Beyond an expected expansion of the high-speed network coverage, Sprint customers may not see an immediate difference, analysts said.
TRAVEL
April 28, 2013 | By Ellen Creager
You know the zombies that pop back to life even after you stab them with a pitchfork? It's the same with smartphones. That's the bitter lesson I learned after returning home from Greenland and getting a $1,106 bill from Sprint for international data roaming, even though data roaming on my iPhone 4S was turned off. How could this zombie data usage happen? And how can I find out if it's happening? Smartphones are the undead of phones. They keep looking for a way to connect to data, even when you don't want them to. Even when you think data service is turned off. The formula is: smartphone + international travel = watch out. I had a BlackBerry before my iPhone and never had a single data charge when traveling internationally.
NEWS
March 9, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Librarian of Congress James Billington seems to have hit a nerve among his employers when, on the advice of Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante, he decided to end consumers' right to unlock their cellphones. Lawmakers have introduced, or announced plans to introduce, at least five bills to overturn Billington's decision , which leaves consumers vulnerable to lawsuits if they circumvent the digital locks on their own phones . The ruling, which took effect in late January, eliminated a protection consumers had enjoyed since 2005, well before the iPhone persuaded the masses to start plunking down hundreds of dollars for a device that they used to get (in a simpler version)
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