In this episode of SmartWatch, we take a look at the rise and possible fall of the tablet. As net phone additions lagged in the second quarter, the major carriers leaned on tablet additions to prop up their numbers. Big Red added 1.4 million postpaid subscribers, reporting that it had added 304,000 postpaid phone net additions and whopping 1.15 million postpaid tablets.
T-Mobile took a moment out of its quarterly earnings day to proclaim nationwide coverage for its freshly launched VoLTE service. The carrier 2.8 million VoLTE-capable devices are currently running on its network and that more than 52 million VoLTE calls to date have been placed. The jump to nationwide coverage comes just two months after T-Mobile initially launched VoLTE in Seattle.
Though the net 220,000 subscriber losses Sprint posted represents an improvement for the carrier, it’s still significant. If both Sprint and T-Mobile maintain their current rates of subscriber growth/loss, it’s fair to imagine that T-Mobile will become the third largest carrier, in terms of customers, by the end of 2014.
In a letter to Verizon CEO Dan Mead, the Chairman voiced his objections to plans Verizon announced last week to begin throttling LTE customers on unlimited plans that use an exorbitant amount of data. Verizon said the change will only affect about 5 percent of its users and it is being done in the name of network managment.
AT&T added more than one million postpaid subscribers during its second quarter, calling it the strongest gain in five years. The subscriber growth came in due to more than 700,000 postpaid smartphone net adds and 366,000 postpaid tablet net adds. But AT&T’s tablet growth fell well short of the 1.15 million postpaid tablets Verizon added during the same quarter.
Tablets ruled the quarter. The company added 304,000 postpaid phone net additions and 1.15 million postpaid tablets. At the end of the quarter, smartphones accounted for nearly 75 percent of retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 72 percent in first-quarter 2014.
Carriers have long been trying to figure out how best to make use of the massive amounts of data out various cellular-connected devices create. Until now, they haven't really done a good job of what many analysts refer to as digital gold.
Verizon Selects will then analyze the information that is collected about customers to see whether they fit into certain audiences Verizon or third-party marketers are trying to reach. Verizon hopes the program will allow it to deliver more relevant ads via email, text, postal mail or online or mobile advertising.
Current subscribers will see their upload speeds raised over the coming months, product manager Fowler Abercrombie said. He expects that 95 percent of Verizon customers will see higher speeds. For the rest, fully symmetrical speeds may not be possible for technical reasons.
The Allset plan offers unlimited talk and text plus 500 MB of data for $45 monthly. Verizon is offering to double the data to 1 GB for customers who sign up for auto-pay. And if subscribers need more data, they can add on 500 MB for $5 or opt for bridge data expansions that last 90 days. Those run $10 for 1 GB and $20 for 3 GB.
Verizon over the weekend added the iPad and Android tablets to its Edge early upgrade program. “We’ve had other tablet payment plans in the past, but now we’re focused on Edge,” a Verizon spokesperson told Wireless Week when asked about why tablets are just coming to Edge.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile are surging in the markets after Nikkei reported SoftBank has reached an agreement to buy a controlling T-Mobile stake from Deutsche Telekom (DT). Sprint was up nearly four percent and T-Mobile was up 1.5 percent as of 1:15 p.m. CT.
Both Verizon and AT&T saw pressure on customer numbers in the first quarter of the year quarter, which could have been at least partially due to T-Mobile's disruptive promotions. AT&T marked just 625,000 postpaid additions in the first quarter.
According to new data obtained from the FCC through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the Find Me 911 Coalition, only 10 percent of wireless 911 calls made in Washington D.C. in the first half of 2013 were delivered with accurate location information needed to find callers who are lost, confused, unconscious or otherwise unable to share their location.
In Verizon's transparency report covering the timeframe from January 1 to June 31, Verizon said the information was only released in the event of a valid law enforcement demand or an appropriate request in an emergency involving the danger of death or serious physical injury.
The trials—reportedly running San Diego, Portland, Ore. and Las Vegas—are charging per device and offering data buckets ranging from 1 GB to 60 GB. Sprint’s 1 GB plan is $20, only $5 less than similar plans at AT&T and Verizon. But Sprint’s 10 GB plan is $40 less and its 30 GB plan is $95 less than the same deals at AT&T and Verizon.
Legere went on to deny that T-Mobile was participating in any kind of "cramming" practices. He acknowledged that all of the larger U.S. carriers engaged in billing for third-party premium texting services from a period between 2009 and 2013. However, he claimed that T-Mobile had made the decision to terminate those services in November of 2013.
“[The charges] fly in the face of their positioning and makes them look like hypocrites,” Recon Analyst founder Roger Entner said. “And it’s a huge opportunity for the other three carriers to throw egg in T-Mobile’s face.” Lynnette Luna, senior analyst at Current Analysis, said T-Mobile will likely pay a settlement in order to minimize the damage to their public image.
Today HERE, a provider of mapping and location intelligence, completed the acquisition of Medio Systems Inc., a Seattle-based company dealing in the emerging field of real-time predictive analytics. The terms of the transaction are confidential.
Ericsson and Verizon today both denied a Bloomberg report that cited comments from Jean-Claude Geha, head of Ericsson's managed services business, who said the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer is in discussions with AT&T and Verizon about managing their network infrastructures.
Ericsson says that interest from carriers looking to outsource operations is increasing. The company estimates that almost half of the $273 billion managed service market in 2012 was made up of carriers doing tasks themselves. Ericsson sees that as an opportunity.
"The Verizon Wireless billing system was fully restored early today, shortly after midnight. The issue affecting some customer access to account information was an unintended consequence of a software update performed by the company on its billing system two days ago. It affected customers mostly in the Northeast, Midwest and some southern states."
SGP Technologies SA, the Switzerland-based joint venture of Silent Circle and Geeksphone behind Blackphone, today announced that Blackphone handsets have started shipping to the device's first pre-order customers. Blackphone is built from the ground up for user privacy. Blackphone's security-enhanced operating system, PrivatOS, built on Android KitKat, provides users protection and control over security issues.
The announcement comes after reports this week that Verizon and British company Colt provide Internet services to the German parliament and other official entities. Germany has been at the forefront of international outrage over alleged electronic eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ, revealed last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
This is T-Mobile's way into major metropolitan markets, where it will continue to take subscribers from the likes of AT&T and Verizon. Yes, Verizon has its XLTE product, and Sprint has its "Spark" offering, but neither of those are offering the kinds of speeds T-Mobile is putting up right now.