T-Mobile USA looking for a new bunkmate?

tmo-storefrontComing last place can get old after awhile. Perhaps that’s what’s fueling T-Mobile’s motivations to actively search for a new U.S. partner if reports from Reuters are to be believed. Currently ranked 4th out of the “Big 4″ US cellular providers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, & T-Mobile), T-Mobile has for some time now been trying to recoup lost ground and push itself ahead of it’s rivals. Part of pushing ahead is expanding the carriers rather weak coverage nationally speaking. Such adventures aren’t cheap mind you as the actual physical motions of adding towers and backhaul capacity are the most expensive upgrades carriers can make. If you’re thinking T-Mobile is looking to purchase another carrier and add to their coverage that quickly, you’ll be disappointed to know that’s not quite how it’s going down. They’re actually looking for another carrier to invest in their network with returns on investments the shining jewel of the partnership. So if T-Mobile really is trying to make new friends, where would they go?

A few possible options include AT&T (as they’re another GSM provider meaning minimal cross network issues), MetroPCS, and ClearWire. Chances of an AT&T partnership while easiest on paper are rather slim. The two largest GSM carriers collaborating has “anti-trust lawsuit” written all over it. Clearwire is…well…Clearwire. It’s pretty neutral. MetroPCS on the other hand while surprising because of their current adoption of CDMA technology isn’t that far from a T-Mo partnership. I mean, they use the 1700MHz band just like T-Mo uses for their 3G network. It is possible. But don’t forget, this isn’t exactly a “take over” partnership that T-Mobile seeks. They merely want someone else to finance a large sum of money now to rapidly build out their network.

Don’t expect anything to happen overnight though. Two unnamed Reuters sources who are familiar with the matter said that while they are anxious to expand the carriers coverage and form new partnerships, there isn’t a big rush and that they are “weighing all of their options”. Overnight success it is not. But further on down the road, T-Mobile could become quite the market dominator. Seem plausible?

Electronista > Reuters

NTT DoCoMo jumping 2G ship a little early. Set to abandon in March 2011. [Update]

Update: Got a couple dates mixed up. Sorry ’bout that.

Living in Japan presents itself with several pros and cons. On one hand, because the land of Japan is so small, the ever growing population is finding itself having to cram into tighter and tighter spaces. On the other hand, if you happen to care about mobile technology, Japan is a hot bed of activity. Part of that success is due in part to the close quarters. Further increasing in mobile technology is that a majority of the population lives on a small part of the overall land meaning cellular networks can upgrade large swaths of coverage area relatively quickly and cheaply when compared to U.S. counterparts.

Examples of this speedy rollout can be highlighted by detailing how Japan started their 3G rollout years before the U.S. and are planning to have a fairly extensive 4G network in place by December of 2010. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about 4G efforts stateside — they’re coming, but not near the speed or coverage area that Japanese 4G networks will be enjoying come this time next year.

This move to 4G and quick rollout of wireless technologies over all combined with rather swift uptake by the public meant Japan could flip the switch on 2G cellular networks as soon as December March 2011 — much sooner than the U.S. Perhaps they’re just sick and tired of 2G’s god awful everything and/or enough peoples have abandoned 2G use all together as NTT DoCoMo has announced that instead of December 2011, they will be killing 2G network support several months earlier with 2G network shut down coming as early as in March 2011. But what good is a 4G network without devices to take advantage of it? Check. DoCoMo is planning on releasing 4G data cards in late 2010 with 4G handsets to follow in early 2011.

Living in a country with considerably more land to cover, it’s hard to imagine a world without 2G here in the states as driving an hour or so from your house (in many instances even much less than that) results in your 3G coverage giving way to the antiquated 2G networks. Keep driving and you’ll eventually find a big, nasty network hole. Current U.S. network troubles aside, living in a more technologically advanced city and society is a tech lovers dream. How’s your stomach for sushi and your ability to decipher Japanese? I’ll be needing a roommate…

PhoneScoop > Yahoo

T-Mobile USA debuts UMA services for corporate users.

Work in an office, have a corporate BlackBerry, and wish you could save your minutes and instead make calls via the WiFi signals that are so abundant around you? T-Mobile USA is here to answer your calls as they are officially rolling out WiFi calling services for those who flock in a more suit and tie type of environment. Instead of wasting precious cell minutes, why not route those calls over WiFi? Such is one of my favorite things about T-Mobile. The move is part of a bigger plan to encourage business users to cast aside the old as dirt landline and instead go wireless in order to cut costs and company expenses on upkeep.

Much like the consumer branded “T-Mobile [email protected]” UMA-based calling features, the corporate version will come with an additional fee on top of normal cellular fees. This fee will vary depending on the number of users. If TMO can keep Mr. Greed from creeping up and actually price this fairly competitively as they did with their consumer version, this could be a rather worthy option for many businesses to look in to no? Do any users think their company would eye such a plan and additional expense while simultaneously ditching their landline?

MobileCrunch > Reuters

Verizon’s LTE rollout schedule gets a bit more specific

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Verizon users who were longing for a more specific rollout date for the carriers foray into next gen 4G/LTE networks will have something happy to look forward to this morning.  Yesterday, May 13th, during a conference call, CEO Lowell McAdam stated that Big Red plans on launching their LTE network in 20-30 markets starting in the second half of 2010 with “nation wide coverage being complete sometime in late 2013 or early 2014.

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Join the 4G revolution early using your iPod Touch

Mobile web browsing has become one of the most talked about areas of the mobile market with mobile browsers on cell phones constantly being made more of a prominent feature.  On the mobile front, cellular providers are also hyping up their transitions in the near future to faster, more efficient 4G networks.  Usually when we talk of 4G networks we then follow up with comments about devices that we dream about to take advantage of said networks and how they would look.  But what if you have been carrying around a 4G device in your pocket for the last 1-2 years?  Truth is you have.  *Gasp*

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4G coming to Finland by way of 1800MHz

Finland natives rejoice as the path to 4G righteousness is upon your distant neighbors doorstep.  TeliaSonera, Elisa, and DNA have recently picked up quite a bit of space in the 1800MHz spectrum in order to develop and deploy their 4G networks in the next couple of years.  While the move to go with the 1800MHz frequency instead of the much more popular 2.6Ghz frequency used by many other European nations might seam a bit foolish as it will contribute to more radios having to be stuffed inside of each handset meaning meaning the possibility of slightly higher costs per handset, as well as “exclusive” models for certain frequencies, the benefits of going it alone will come by way of a “cheaper” roll out.  How so?  Well, the 1800MHz frequency will travel further distances as well as penetrate walls further than the 2.6GHz frequency will.  Because of this, the carriers implementing the 1800MHz frequency will be able to theoretically use less towers meaning lower upgrade costs to the 4G network.  While it is a joyous announcement, do realize that it is still a year or two before we will begin to see new 4G handsets making their way to market.  Until then we’ll just have to wait, and wait we will.

 

Source: Engadget Mobile, LVM.fi

Mobile Payments *slowly* gaining momentum. 2012 the year of mass acceptance?

If there is one thing people like, it is taking ten different objects and turning them into one multi-function power house.  For the digital minded, that is why we have smartphones.  Calendars, address books, web browsers, email, etc. are all at our finger tips meaning we don’t have to carry each one of the mentioned and unmentioned objects with us seperately.  Remember, there was a time when we did, but now with technology and mobile devices becoming so much more widespread, smaller, and more capable, it is almost hard to even remember back to that time, even though it was just a few short years ago.  Mobile payments have the ability to greatly shrink the size of our wallets and purses and make us overall lighter.  No longer will we have to fumble around with various pieces of plastic just to for our purchases, instead we’ll just wave our mobile device over a scanner of some sort and all will be taken care of.  Would you believe that technology has been around for years, hoever, the U.S. just might start seeing it in the near future. Excited?

 

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AT&T doubling network speeds to 7.2Mbps - Great…do you have a signal?

Carriers in the U.S. have long had a fascination with advertising themselves as the fastest, biggest, or most reliable network.  Really who could blame them?  It is a PR move meant to attract as many customers as humanly possible.  In the age of increasing smartphone use, more and more people are in tune to and concerned with how fast the network is as it will allow their mobile web browsing to be much more fluid and desktop like.  Sure faster speeds are always a big plus, but what if you can’t even get a reliable signal let alone any signal at all?  What good is all of that speed?

 

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WiMax gets Nokias less than warm shoulder right in the digital face

WiMax has enjoyed a pretty big fanfare of hype the last couple years.  However, the last 6-10 months has been a whole lot of hype and not much of any progress.  For example, there are only TWO public WiMax networks up and running in the US after several years of “development”.  So what’s up?  Red tape, financial problems, tech politics?  WiMax was dealt a pretty substantial blow when Nokia discontinued the N810 WiMax tablet.  Until now, Nokia has been tight lipped about any and all topics regarding WiMax and LTE.  However, Nokia has come forth from silence and revealed their plans for an aggressive LTE integration…a complete 180 from their previous 4G stance.  Part of their aggressive new campaign involves the potential for 4G LTE handsets/laptops/netbooks/mystery devices as early as next year!  Quite the change of heart wouldn’t you say.  LTE looks to be pulling ahead in the great 4G race of life.  Does this sadden/excite you at all?  I don’t really see a “winner” per say like there was with the whole HD DVD/Blue-ray battle.  It’s just that WiMax appears as if it will be a small niche market of the select few.  Do you feel the same?

 

Source: Boy Genius, Gigaom

T-Mobile getting more 3G service…3G phones not so much

T-Mobile while a late bloomer in the 3G world is pushing ahead at break neck pace.  Last year, they reached around 100 million people by the end of 2008.  For the end of 2009, T-Mobile is shooting for over 200 million.  Still with the quick pace they are moving, they are still several years behind.  For example, Verizon and AT&T have had 3G for several years now.  And Sprint is even starting rolling out (albeit much slower) their 4G WiMax network with Clearwire.  Unless T-Mobile picks up the pace even further, they will continue to stay behind.  With AT&T announcing  a 2011 goal for launching their 4G LTE network and now Verizon claiming a 2010 date, little ‘ol T-Mobile looks as if they will always be playing a game of catch up.

Besides such petty things such as 3G and 4G networks, what good is a high speed network if you don’t have any devices that take advantage of it?  Just highlighting a slight problem with T-Mobile’s current line is that the only “cool” useful 3G phone they have is the G1.  No 3G Blackberry, no T-Mobile branded hotness, nothing.  T-Mobiles decision to use the ugly duckling 1700MHz frequency band is perplexing.  Now instead of just bringing over AT&T phones as they used to with older 2G/2.5G phones they have to have 3G phones specifically made for them as no other carrier uses the 1700MHz frequency.  Quite the pickle they’re in for sure.  Hopefully T-Mobile starts getting some 3G smartphone love as well as keeping a 4G rollout close to the front of their minds.

 

Source: Blackberry News

AT&T sets lofty goal…LTE 4G by 2011!

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In a bizarre though understandable announcement, AT&T revealed MWC that 2011 is the year in which they will launch their own LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G network.  Considerably later than Sprint’s October 8th launch of their 4G Xohm/WiMax network. A whole 2.5-3 years later.  But hey, who’s keeping track of such trivial things such as time.  Besides, AT&T has much more important things to worry about…you know…more mundane things such as actually building out their 3G network and trying to make it suck a *little* less.  (Please guys, it is too much to ask to actually invest some money into upgrading your junk?)  AT&T seems determined and has stated that their 4G network will bring with it speeds approaching 100mbps!  *Insert zooming sound here*  That’s fast!  While I can certainly enjoy fast, I would much rather see them blanket the country with 3G first then move to a 4G rollout.  The times between 3G and 4G rollout aren’t that great.  We’re going to end up with a huge patchwork of various cellular technologies dotting the country, a little EDGE over here, LTE over there, and some good ‘ol 3G down there.  It will be insane.  Not to mention stuffing another radio into a phone isn’t going to do too much for battery life.  Meh, I guess I should stop worring about this.  We’ve still got time.  Who knows, 20 million hour batteries could be invented within the next 2 years.  

 

Source: The iPhone Blog, Electronista, Mobility Site *pic*

42Mbps cellular download rates coming to a reality near you

So you’re sick and tired of sitting around twittling your thumbs while you wait for that movie to download on your archaic 7.2Mbps connection?  Ericsson has something they’d like to share with you.  Next week at Mobile World Congress, Ericsson will take the blindfold off of a developing technology of theirs dubbed “multi-carrier” technology that will allow them to reach cellular download rates of up to 42Mbps!  How do they achieve this impossible feat of blinding speed?  Simple, they use multiple frequencies at the same time on supporting networks, effectively doubling the amount of digital bytes you can cram down your throat.  The demonstration at MWC will use an Ericsson Mobile Broadband Router in order to woo you over into their bank accounts.  If all goes well, look for Multi-Carrier technology to drop in the latter half of 2009.
Source: Mobile Burn, Picture Correct *pic*

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