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First News Briefs for November 1, 2012

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 5:19am
Wireless Week Staff

The FCC's home page was down this morning "due to technical difficulties." The extent of the outage was unclear, as some pages of its website were working, including the landing page for the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and its online docket. "We are working to restore the full FCC website back to normal as soon as possible," the commission said.

Regional provider Bluegrass Cellular has landed the iPhone 5. The smartphone hits shelves tomorrow and is priced at a $50 discount to national operators, starting at $149 for the 16 GB model with a two-year contract. The Kentucky carrier is also selling the iPhone 4S for $49 and the iPhone 4 for 99 cents. Bluegrass is a participant in Verizon's LTE in Rural America Program, but said in its announcement that it "will allow iPhone 5 customers to connect to its fast 3G network" without making mention of whether they would be able to take advantage of the iPhone 5's LTE capability.

CTIA is again urging the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider the use of devices like smartphones and tablets on airplanes. "CTIA urges the FAA to evaluate whether its current PED (personal electronic device) policies are justified by conclusive evidence, or can be relaxed to allow PED use during all phases of flight," the association said. "Given the lack of any recent findings on interference or any conclusive evidence, CTIA recommends that the FAA consider a more relaxed set of PED restrictions." CTIA noted it is not suggesting the FAA review its ban on in-flight transmissions on commercial mobile radio services spectrum.

Via Licensing is promoting its LTE patent pool with an offer to waive license fees for products sold before Oct. 15. The offer only applies to entities that execute the license agreement with Via by April 15, 2013. The LTE patent pool is being backed by AT&T, Clearwire, Deutsche Telekom, ZTE and a number of other top-tier telecommunications companies.

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