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First News Briefs for June 5, 2012

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 7:15am
Wireless Week Staff

General Communication Inc. (GCI) and Alaska Communications Systems Group have formed a joint venture that will operate a statewide wireless network. The Alaska Wireless Network is intended to be a "competitive response to national carriers," the companies said in their announcement. Alaska Communications will own one-third of Alaska Wireless Network and the remaining portion will be owned by GCI, which will also manage the company. Wilson Hughes, GCI's CEO, will serve as Alaska Wireless Network's first president and CEO. The deal must pass regulatory review and FCC approval for the transfer of spectrum licenses. It is expected to close by the second quarter of next year. GCI recently began offering its customers the iPhone. 

Qualcomm Atheros, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, has announced the launch of the Skifta Engine software application, a software solution for OEMs that can either be preloaded or added on to devices for media shifting to and from DLNA Certified and UPnP devices inside and outside of the home. The new Skifta Engine, which works  with the Skifta Android application, allows users of network attached storage (NAS) drives, storage-based smart routers and set-top box devices to access, manage and shift media from their smartphones, tablets, Internet-connected channels and local media sources, then stream content to any DLNA or UPnP device worldwide. 

Cricket Communications has come out with the BlackBerry Curve 9350. The NFC-capable device is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera and will retail for $200, no contract required. Cricket is offering the Curve 9350 with its $55 monthly prepaid plan. The smartphone is Cricket's second BlackBerry device and its first to be compatible with the commercial mobile alert system.

IBM is expanding on its mobile offerings to further address the BYOD crowd. The company today announced new software to help organizations develop mobile applications. IBM says clients can build security into the initial design of their mobile apps so that vulnerabilities will be detected early in the development process. IBM Security AppScan will be generally available this quarter.

Brightpoint North America has renewed its services agreement with MetroPCS to provide logistic services to support MetroPCS company-owned stores, dealers and retail partners throughout the United States. Under the terms of the multi-year renewal, BrightPoint Americas will continue to provide a variety of services for MetroPCS, including receiving, warehousing, inventory and order management, kitting, transportation management, customer finance and order fulfillment of wireless devices and related accessories. 

Opera Software has entered into a partnership with America Movil. Under the agreement, America Movil will bring a co-branded version of the Opera Mini mobile web browser to users across all its subsidiaries in Latin America. A version of Opera Mini already has been available since September 2011 to subscribers of Claro Chile, America Movil’s subsidiary in Chile. A co-branded version of Opera Mini will slowly be rolled out in other Latin American markets where America Movil operates.

Wi-Fi specialist Ruckus Wireless is adding new expertise to its channel sales staff with the appointment of two new executives. The company has named former Huawei Symantec sales executive David Zimmer as its new senior director of worldwide channels. It also announced that Anita Pandey, previously a marketing and business development executive for both Meru Networks and Cisco, will serve as senior director of channel marketing.

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