August 23, 2012 |
Six years ago, The Times' editorial board wrote a piece titled " The Math of the Market ," which argued that there was something special about having at least four companies competing in every segment. It started this way: There are four major record companies, four national wireless phone carriers, four Baby Bells and four international auditing firms. Mere coincidence? Perhaps not. Each of those industries has consolidated in the last decade, and the ranks of music and phone companies may shrink further if pending or rumored deals win approval.
August 17, 2012 |
The Department of Justice says Verizon can go ahead with its $3.6-billion purchase of wireless spectrum from the cable industry, but not without some tweaks to help protect consumers from telecom behemoths becoming too cozy. Specifically, the DOJ said Thursday that it's placing limits on sales of cable services at Verizon Wireless stores - a move that had appeared to relegate Verizon's own TV and Internet offerings to the back burner and make the market less competitive. I'm not a told-you-so kind of guy, but this is exactly what I warned of in a column last month questioning how this deal worked in consumers' best interest, not to mention how downplaying the company's own services was good for Verizon shareholders.
June 24, 2012 |
Wouldn't it be nice to forget your wallet — permanently? That day is coming sooner than you think. In the walletless future there will be no credit cards to lose, no cash to carry and no concert tickets to leave at home. Already, with a few taps on the screen of your smartphone, you can order a meal at a restaurant, loan your friend 20 bucks or even unlock the door to your house (so you can lose the keys too). Nearly half of U.S. consumers own smartphones, and as they have gained popularity the devices have grown to resemble pocket mini-malls, with rows of virtual storefronts where consumers can buy video games, music, books and TV shows.
June 13, 2012 |
Verizon Wireless customers no longer have to worry about how long they talk on their mobile phones or how many text messages they send and receive -- instead, they'll have to watch how much data they're using. Verizon became the first major wireless company to scuttle the industry's decade-old business model in which customers pay by the number of minutes they spend talking on their cellphones each month. Under new plans unveiled Tuesday, they will pay based on the amount of data they expect to use for email, Web surfing and video, while paying a fixed monthly fee for unlimited phone time and text messaging.
May 24, 2012
MUSIC Glenn Danzig is one of the most iconic names in punk and goth music, and he finally brings all of his ensembles (including Samhain, Danzig and, yes, a reunion with his legendary Misfits) into one workhorse night. You'll never see so many mono-bang haircuts in one place again. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine. 7:15 p.m. Sat. $13.13-$69.50. livenation.com.
April 29, 2012 |
SAN FRANCISCO — New revelations in a full report detailing the Federal Communications Commission's investigation into Google's Street View service are raising questions about whether the search giant escaped scrutiny for capturing personal information from millions of unknowing households across the nation. Chief among the new disclosures: The engineer who intentionally wrote the software code that made it possible for Street View cars to capture emails, passwords and other data from unprotected wireless networks told fellow engineers and a senior manager that he had done so, according to the report.
April 18, 2012 |
The great spectrum shortage is almost upon us. At least that's what some wireless companies are warning, perhaps in a bid to gain access to more bandwidth at cut-rate prices -- or jack up people's bills. The explosive growth of data-hungry smartphones and tablets means wireless service will be stretched thin within the next few years, the industry says, creating a potential spectrum crisis unless something is done to remedy things. Nonsense, counter some scientists and engineers, who argue that any shortage of bandwidth could be solved by wireless companies devoting more resources to development of new technologies, rather than spending billions of dollars buying each other out. "Somehow in the last 100 years, every time there is a problem of getting more spectrum, there is a technology that comes along that solves that problem," the inventor of the cellphone, Martin Cooper, told the New York Times.
April 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Verizon Wireless plans to sell billions of dollars' worth of prime airwaves if regulators approve its planned purchases of new chunks of spectrum primarily from large cable companies. Verizon, which paid about $4.4 billion in 2008 in a government auction of coveted airwaves in the 700-megahertz band, said it no longer would need that spectrum to deploy its fourth-generation LTE network if the cable deals are approved. Among the spectrum Verizon plans to sell are swaths covering Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other major metropolitan areas.
April 10, 2012 |
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.
April 2, 2012
Policymakers have long agreed that Washington needs to make more spectrum available for wireless services, but they've struggled to convince the federal agencies that control more than half of the usable frequencies. A new report from the Obama administration raised hopes last week, suggesting a way to squeeze more room for commercial networks out of some prime frequencies that are crowded with federal users. More than 20 agencies now have exclusive rights to the spectrum in question (1755 Mhz to 1850 Mhz)