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Posts Tagged ‘Wireless Spectrum’

T-Mobile asks FCC to block Verizon spectrum deal

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

T-Mobile is urging federal regulators to block Verizon’s planned spectrum acquisition from SpectrumCo, a joint venture formed by Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. Verizon’s pending purchase could be worth $3.9 billion and would help the company build out its nationwide LTE network. In a filing late Tuesday, T-Mobile said the Federal Communications Commission should block the deal because it would place an “excessive concentration” of wireless spectrum in Verizon’s hands, reports the Associated Press. The AWS bands that Verizon is looking to acquire uses the same frequencies that T-Mobile uses for its HSPA+ network. T-Mobile claims that the nation’s No.1 carrier already has a large amount of spectrum and does not need any more, and T-Mobile can “quickly, more intensively, and more efficiently” put the spectrum to use compared to Verizon. MetroPCS, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless provider, also urged the FCC to block the deal, claiming both parties had not provided enough information to prove that the acquisition is in the public’s best interest. Verizon and SpectrumCo hope to close the deal by the middle of this year.

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AT&T completes $1.9 billion acquisition of Qualcomm spectrum

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Following the FCC’s approval last week, AT&T announced Tuesday that it has finalized its acquisition of Qualcomm’s 700MHz spectrum licenses. The spectrum, which was previously used for Qualcomm’s FLO TV product, covers more than 300 million United States residents. AT&T said it paid Qualcomm approximately $1.9 billion in the deal. “This spectrum will help AT&T continue to deliver a world-class mobile broadband experience to our customers,” said AT&T SVP-Federal Regulatory Bob Quinn explained recently. AT&T’s full press release follows after the break.

AT&T Completes Purchase of Wireless Spectrum from Qualcomm
Dallas, Texas December 27, 2011

AT&T* announced today that it has completed its acquisition of spectrum from Qualcomm. AT&T purchased 700 MHz spectrum licenses covering more than 300 million people for approximately $1.9 billion.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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Verizon Wireless acquires spectrum from Comcast, others for $3.6 billion

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Verizon Wireless announced Friday that it plans to acquire 122 advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture formed by Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks, for $3.6 billion. The spectrum covers 259 million POPs. Comcast owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo and will take home $2.3 billion from the spectrum sale, Time Warner owns 31.2% of the company and expects to receive about $1.1 billion, and Bright House Networks will make roughly $189 million on the deal. As part of the agreement, Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks will eventually have the option to sell Verizon Wireless service through wholesale channels. Read on for more.

“These agreements, together with our Wi-Fi plans, enable us to execute a comprehensive, long-term wireless strategy and expand our focus on providing mobility to our Xfinity services,” Comcast President Neil Smit said.

Verizon Wireless will use the added spectrum to build out its LTE network. “Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built, and buying the AWS spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers,” Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead said.

The deal is still subject to approval by the FCC, and the companies’ joint press release follows below.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks Sell Advanced Wireless Spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $3.6 Billion

The Companies Also Announce Commercial Agreements That Will Deliver Mobile Products to Consumers

PHILADELPHIA, BASKING RIDGE, N.J., NEW YORK and ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – SpectrumCo, LLC, a joint venture between Comcast Corporation, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, today announced it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Verizon Wireless will acquire its 122 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses covering 259 million POPs for $3.6 billion.  Comcast owns 63.6% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $2.3 billion from the sale.  Time Warner Cable owns 31.2% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $1.1 billion.  Bright House Networks owns 5.3% of SpectrumCo and will receive approximately $189 million.

The agreement comes at a time when consumer demand for wireless services and bandwidth is increasing rapidly.  This sale of spectrum is an important step toward ensuring that the needs and desires of consumers for additional mobile services will not be thwarted by the current spectrum shortage.  While government action to free more spectrum is expected, this transaction ensures that the spectrum which is already available for mobile services is used effectively to serve customers.

The companies also announced that they have entered into several agreements, providing for the sale of various products and services.  Through these agreements, the cable companies, on the one hand, and Verizon Wireless, on the other, will become agents to sell one another’s products and, over time, the cable companies will have the option of selling Verizon Wireless’ service on a wholesale basis.  Additionally, the cable companies and Verizon Wireless have formed an innovation technology joint venture for the development of technology to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.

Neil Smit, President of Comcast Cable, said, “These agreements, together with our Wi-Fi plans, enable us to execute a comprehensive, long-term wireless strategy and expand our focus on providing mobility to our Xfinity services.  We’re excited about this partnership with Verizon Wireless and the future innovations we will bring to consumers.”

Dan Mead, President and CEO of Verizon Wireless, said, “Americans deserve excellence from a wireless service provider, and innovative wireless companies plan ahead in order to deliver on that expectation.  Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built, and buying the AWS spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers.  American businesses and consumers can have confidence that the best wireless network has the foundational resources to deliver on that promise.”

Time Warner Cable President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus said, “We’re excited to be able to offer the nation’s best wireless services to our customers and to have Verizon Wireless as a sales channel for our superb wireline services.   We’re also pleased to have obtained an attractive price for the spectrum we’re selling.”

Bright House Networks CEO Steve Miron added, “We are always looking for ways to provide new and exciting product offerings for our customers.  We look forward to working with our partners through these agreements toward achieving that end goal to add additional value for our customers.”

SpectrumCo’s sale and transfer of its advanced wireless spectrum to Verizon Wireless is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and review under the Hart-Scott Rodino Act and other customary conditions.

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AT&T to acquire T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

AT&T, the nation’s second largest wireless provider, has just announced that it will acquire T-Mobile USA from parent company Deutsche Telekom in a cash and stock deal worth approximately $39 billion. With all of the talk of Sprint and T-Mobile joining up, the AT&T news comes out of the blue — though strategically it makes more sense due to both carriers’ spectrum and network technology. It has been widely reported that Deutsche Telekom was looking to get rid of T-Mobile USA for various reasons. AT&T has also committed to delivering LTE to an additional 46 million people with the T-Mobile acquisition, promising to cover close to 95% of the U.S. population with LTE wireless services in the future. The deal is expected to close, pending regulatory approval, within the next 12 months. The full press release is after the break.

DALLAS, TEXAS AND BONN, GERMANY March 20, 2011— AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Deutsche Telekom AG (FWB: DT) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction currently valued at approximately $39 billion. The agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.

AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA provides an optimal combination of network assets to add capacity sooner than any alternative, and it provides an opportunity to improve network quality in the near term for both companies’ customers. In addition, it provides a fast, efficient and certain solution to the impending exhaustion of wireless spectrum in some markets, which limits both companies’ ability to meet the ongoing explosive demand for mobile broadband.

With this transaction, AT&T commits to a significant expansion of robust 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans – including rural communities and small towns.  This helps achieve the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and President Obama’s goals to connect “every part of America to the digital age.” T-Mobile USA does not have a clear path to delivering LTE.

“This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation’s future,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. “It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people. Mobile broadband networks drive economic opportunity everywhere, and they enable the expanding high-tech ecosystem that includes device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers, customers, and more. During the past few years, America’s high-tech industry has delivered innovation at unprecedented speed, and this combination will accelerate its continued growth.”

Stephenson continued, “This transaction delivers significant customer, shareowner and public benefits that are available at this level only from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies, spectrum positions and operations. We are confident in our ability to execute a seamless integration, and with additional spectrum and network capabilities, we can better meet our customers’ current demands, build for the future and help achieve the President’s goals for a high-speed, wirelessly connected America.”

Deutsche Telekom Chairman and CEO René Obermann said, “After evaluating strategic options for T-Mobile USA, I am confident that AT&T is the best partner for our customers, shareholders and the mobile broadband ecosystem. Our common network technology makes this a logical combination and provides an efficient path to gaining the spectrum and network assets needed to provide T-Mobile customers with 4G LTE and the best devices. Also, the transaction returns significant value to Deutsche Telekom shareholders and allows us to retain exposure to the U.S. market.”

As part of the transaction, Deutsche Telekom will receive an equity stake in AT&T that, based on the terms of the agreement, would give Deutsche Telekom an ownership interest in AT&T of approximately 8 percent. A Deutsche Telekom representative will join the AT&T Board of Directors.

Competition and Pricing
The U.S. wireless industry is one of the most fiercely competitive markets in the world and will remain so after this deal. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where a large majority of consumers can choose from five or more wireless providers in their local market. For example, in 18 of the top 20 U.S. local markets, there are five or more providers. Local market competition is escalating among larger carriers, low-cost carriers and several regional wireless players with nationwide service plans. This intense competition is only increasing with the build-out of new 4G networks and the emergence of new market entrants.

The competitiveness of the market has directly benefited consumers. A 2010 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) states the overall average price (adjusted for inflation) for wireless services declined 50 percent from 1999 to 2009, during a period which saw five major wireless mergers.

Addresses wireless spectrum challenges facing AT&T, T-Mobile USA, their customers, and U.S. policymakers
This transaction quickly provides the spectrum and network efficiencies necessary for AT&T to address impending spectrum exhaust in key markets driven by the exponential growth in mobile broadband traffic on its network. AT&T’s mobile data traffic grew 8,000 percent over the past four years and by 2015 it is expected to be eight to 10 times what it was in 2010. Put another way, all of the mobile traffic volume AT&T carried during 2010 is estimated to be carried in just the first six to seven weeks of 2015. Because AT&T has led the U.S. in smartphones, tablets and e-readers – and as a result, mobile broadband – it requires additional spectrum before new spectrum will become available.  In the long term, the entire industry will need additional spectrum to address the explosive growth in demand for mobile broadband.

Improves service quality for U.S. wireless customers
AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers will see service improvements – including improved voice quality – as a result of additional spectrum, increased cell tower density and broader network infrastructure. At closing, AT&T will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken on average five years to build without the transaction, and double that in some markets.  The combination will increase AT&T’s network density by approximately 30 percent in some of its most populated areas, while avoiding the need to construct additional cell towers. This transaction will increase spectrum efficiency to increase capacity and output, which not only improves service, but is also the best way to ensure competitive prices and services in a market where demand is extremely high and spectrum is in short supply.

Expands 4G LTE deployment to 95 percent of U.S. population – urban and rural areas
This transaction will directly benefit an additional 46.5 million Americans – equivalent to the combined populations of the states of New York and Texas – who will, as a result of this combination, have access to AT&T’s latest 4G LTE technology. In terms of area covered, the transaction enables 4G LTE deployment to an additional 1.2 million square miles, equivalent to 4.5 times the size of the state of Texas.  Rural and smaller communities will substantially benefit from the expansion of 4G LTE deployment, increasing the competitiveness of the businesses and entrepreneurs in these areas.

Increases AT&T’s investment in the U.S.
The acquisition will increase AT&T’s infrastructure investment in the U.S. by more than $8 billion over seven years. Expansion of AT&T’s 4G LTE network is an important foundation for the next wave of innovation and growth in mobile broadband, ensuring the U.S. continues to lead the world in wireless technology and availability.  It makes T-Mobile USA, currently a German-owned U.S. telecom network, part of a U.S.-based company.

An impressive, combined workforce
Bringing AT&T and T-Mobile USA together will create an impressive workforce that is best positioned to compete in today’s global economy. Post-closing, AT&T intends to tap into the significant knowledge and expertise held by employees of both AT&T and T-Mobile USA to succeed. AT&T is the only major U.S. wireless company with a union workforce, offering leading wages, benefits, training and development for employees. The combined company will continue to have a strong employee and operations base in the Seattle area.

Consistent with AT&T’s track record of value-enhancing acquisitions
AT&T has a strong track record of executing value-enhancing acquisitions and expects to create substantial value for shareholders through large, straightforward synergies with a run rate of more than $3 billion, three years after closing onward (excluding integration costs). The value of the synergies is expected to exceed the purchase price of $39 billion. Revenue synergies come from opportunities to increase smartphone penetration and data average revenue per user, with cost savings coming from network efficiencies, subscriber and support savings, reduced churn and avoided capital and spectrum expenditures.

The transaction will enhance margin potential and improve the company’s long-term revenue growth potential as it benefits from a more robust mobile broadband platform for new services.

Additional financial information
The $39 billion purchase price will include a cash payment of $25 billion with the balance to be paid using AT&T common stock, subject to adjustment.  AT&T has the right to increase the cash portion of the purchase price by up to $4.2 billion with a corresponding reduction in the stock component, so long as Deutsche Telekom receives at least a 5 percent equity ownership interest in AT&T.

The number of AT&T shares issued will be based on the AT&T share price during the 30-day period prior to closing, subject to a 7.5 percent collar; there is a one-year lock-up period during which Deutsche Telekom cannot sell shares.

The cash portion of the purchase price will be financed with new debt and cash on AT&T’s balance sheet. AT&T has an 18-month commitment for a one-year unsecured bridge term facility underwritten by J.P. Morgan for $20 billion.  AT&T assumes no debt from T-Mobile USA or Deutsche Telekom and continues to have a strong balance sheet.

The transaction is expected to be earnings (excluding non-cash amortization and integration costs) accretive in the third year after closing. Pro-forma for 2010, this transaction increases AT&T’s total wireless revenues from $58.5 billion to nearly $80 billion, and increases the percentage of AT&T’s total revenues from wireless, wireline data and managed services to approximately 80 percent.

This transaction will allow for sufficient cash flow to support AT&T’s dividend. AT&T has increased its dividend for 27 consecutive years, a matter decided by AT&T’s Board of Directors.

Conditions
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, a reverse breakup fee in certain circumstances, and other customary regulatory and other closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in approximately 12 months.

Advisors
Greenhill & Co., J.P. Morgan and Evercore Partners acted as financial advisors and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Arnold & Porter, and Crowell & Moring provided legal advice to AT&T.

Conference Call/Webcast
On Monday, March 21, 2011, at 8 a.m. ET, AT&T Inc. will host a live video and audio webcast presentation regarding its announcement to acquire T-Mobile USA. Links to the webcast and accompanying documents will be available on AT&T’s Investor Relations website. Please log in 15 minutes ahead of time to test your browser and register for the call.

For dial-in access, please dial +1 (888) 517-2464 within the U.S. or +1 (630) 827-6816 outside the U.S. after 7:30 a.m. ET. Enter passcode 8442095# to join or ask the conference call operator for the AT&T Investor Relations event.

The webcast will be available for replay on AT&T’s Investor Relations website on March 21, 2011, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET through April 21, 2011. An archive of the conference call will also be available during this time period. To access the recording, please dial +1 (877) 870-5176 within the U.S. or +1 (858) 384-5517 outside the U.S. and enter reservation code 29362481#.

Transaction Website
For more information on the transaction, including background information and factsheets, visitwww.MobilizeEverything.com.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile broadband and emerging 4G capabilities, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com. This AT&T news release and other announcements are available athttp://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/RSS. Or follow our news at @ATT.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with around 129 million mobile customers, approximately 36 million fixed-network lines and more than 16 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2010). The Group provides products and services for the fixed network, mobile communications, the Internet and IPTV for consumers, and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in over 50 countries and has around 247,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 62.4 billion in the 2010 financial year – more than half of it outside Germany (as of December 31, 2010).

About T-Mobile USA
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, approximately 129 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group – 33.7 million by T-Mobile USA – all via GSM and UMTS, the world’s most widely used digital wireless standards. Today, T-Mobile operates America’s largest 4G network, and is delivering a compelling 4G experience across a broad lineup of leading devices in more places than competing 4G services.  T-Mobile USA’s innovative wireless products and services empower and enable people to stay connected and productive while mobile. Multiple independent research studies continue to rank T-Mobile USA as a leader in customer care and customer satisfaction. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG.  For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visitwww.telekom.de/investor-relations.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. In addition to these factors, there are risks and uncertainties associated with the T-Mobile business, the pendency of the T-Mobile acquisition and the ability to realize the benefits of the integration of the T-Mobile business. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise. This news release may contain certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations between the non-GAAP financial measures and the GAAP financial measures are available on the company’s website at www.att.com/investor.relations.

© 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.

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White House backs plan to reserve 700MHz ‘D Block’ for public safety network

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Public safety agencies in the US have been pushing for some time to have the so-called ‘D Block‘ portion of the 700MHz wireless spectrum all to themselves, and it looks like they can now officially count on the support of the White House in that effort. The Obama administration announced today that it’s backing plans to reserve the airwaves — estimated to be worth $3 billion if they were auctioned off — for a new national public safety network, and it also plans to ask Congress to approve the additional spending needed to actually build out the network, which the FCC estimates could cost as much as $15 billion. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the fate of the proposed network is now largely in the hands of House Republicans, who remain divided on the plan — although some key members have come out in support of it in recent days.

White House backs plan to reserve 700MHz ‘D Block’ for public safety network originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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AT&T and Sprint petition FCC for spectrum exchange

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Today, U.S. wireless providers AT&T and Sprint filed a formal letter with the FCC requesting permission to exchange several blocks of wireless spectrum. The two companies claim that the move would be mutually beneficial as it would “enhance” their ability to provide and expand services. The letter reads:

The Applicants state that the additional spectrum (including the spectrum encompassed by the de facto transfer spectrum leasing arrangement) will enable AT&T to increase its system capacity to enhance existing services, better accommodate its overall growth, and facilitate the provision of additional products and services to the public in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, New Orleans-Baton Rouge, Des Moines-Quad Cities, Honolulu, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Omaha, Louisville-Lexington-Evansville, Salt Lake City, and Spokane-Billings MTAs.  The Applicants also state that the transaction will enhance Sprint Nextel’s ability to expand its array of commercial mobile wireless services in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, New Orleans, South Bend-Mishawaka, Charlotte-Greensboro-Greenville, and Cleveland MTAs.

The release did not specify what specific bits of spectrum were to be swapped, but did note that oppositions to the deal had to be filed by December 17th of this year; a final decision should be rendered before January 1. Hit the read link to have a look at the legalese.

[Via PhoneScoop]

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FCC’s Spectrum Task Force makes first snatch-and-grab, kidnaps up to 90MHz from satellite band

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Even if you’re the Federal Communications Commission, freeing up half a gigahertz of wireless spectrum isn’t an easy task, but things become easier when you have top men on the job. The FCC’s freshly deputized Spectrum Task Force may have just proven its worth, by shifting up to 90MHz from mobile satellite services to cellular broadband. To placate those who might be opposed to the measure, the FCC says it “remains firmly committed” to rural, emergency and government satellites, plus points out precedents like the SkyTerra LTE deal in March… but interestingly the Task Force neither mentions support for commercial satellite uses, nor which companies stand to gain the freed spectrum this time. Full press release after the break.

Continue reading FCC’s Spectrum Task Force makes first snatch-and-grab, kidnaps up to 90MHz from satellite band

FCC’s Spectrum Task Force makes first snatch-and-grab, kidnaps up to 90MHz from satellite band originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 22 Jun 2010 01:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The FCC Wants to Turn Part of the Wireless Spectrum Into Free Internet Service [Broadband]

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Call me a cynic, but I’m not sure this is ever going to happen: the FCC wants to dedicate a chunk of the wireless spectrum to providing free internet service.

The FCC plans to make its recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week, which has the goal of making broadband more affordable for everyone in America.

Of course, they didn’t, you know, say how they were going to do such a thing. And they’re going to have to claw that spectrum out of the cold, dead hands of telecom lobbyists. But you know what? Good for them for actually worrying about what people would benefit from instead of what gigantic telecoms want.

But still. We’ll see. [Reuters]


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Sling Media: We didn’t work with AT&T

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Sling Player on BlackBerry Bold

Yesterday, we told you about an official AT&T press release that boasted of a partnership between AT&T and Sling Media, maker of the popular streaming television appliance Slingbox. In the press release AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said, “Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future.” AT&T’s CEO was referring to a compromise reached over the Slingbox Mobile media player that was banned from AT&T’s network due to bandwidth concerns. In a subsequent interview de la Vega continued, “They [Sling Media] made important changes to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum so that we were able to support the app on our 3G mobile broadband network.” So, what’s the problem? When Ars Technica caught up with Sling Media’s John Santoro, he had this to say: “We didn’t change anything, AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us.” Santoro went onto explain that the code to optimize the Slingbox Mobile’s video stream, based on connection quality and network traffic, has remained unchanged since Slingplayer Mobile was first launched. A little egg in the face for AT&T, but hey, we’re getting Slingplayer Mobile, and in the words of Sling Media, “whatever the reason, we’re just glad AT&T has approved it.”

UPDATE: It seems that SlingMedia did, in fact, work with AT&T on getting this approved after all. Apparently while no code changes to the streaming portion of the application was changed due to AT&T’s requests, Sling did update it during continued development. AT&T later approved the application on their network for usage on iPhone devices. 

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AT&T finally approves a 3G-compatible version of SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

slingplayer-mobile-for-iphone-low-resTen months after we broke the news on the WiFi-only SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone, it looks like AT&T and Sling have finally come to terms on a 3G version of the video streaming product. During these intervening months, SlingMedia has developed a 3G optimized version (read: it won’t kill AT&T’s network) of SlingPlayer Mobile that AT&T has been testing since mid-December. Sling’s well-written code coupled with AT&T loosening grip on the application requirements for its 3G network has lead to success as AT&T announced today that it has given the rubber stamp of approval to Sling’s 3G mobile app. No word on when this 3G version will hit the App store but we are reaching out to Sling to see if we can get a ballpark date. We’ve been using a 3G-enabled SlingPlayer iPhone application for a while, and we’re not sure how we’d live without it, so this is really, really, exciting. Hit the jump for the full press release.

AT&T and Sling Media Collaborate on SlingPlayer Mobile app for 3G Mobile Broadband Network

SlingPlayer Mobile app optimized to conserve wireless spectrum

DALLAS, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — AT&T* today announced that its 3G mobile broadband network will support Sling Media, Inc.’s SlingPlayer Mobile™ app.

Sling Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), originally developed its wireless app to make efficient use of 3G network bandwidth – and to conserve the finite wireless spectrum available to the wireless industry. Since mid December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media — as well as Apple – that the optimized app can run on its 3G network.  The SlingPlayer Mobile app already is available for use today on AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, the nation’s largest with more than 20,000 hotspots.

“Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers. Our focus continues to be on delivering the nation’s most advanced mobile broadband experience and giving our customers the widest possible array of mobile applications.”

“We’re delighted with AT&T’s decision to approve the SlingPlayer Mobile app on their 3G network,” said John Gilmore, senior vice president and general manager at Sling Media.  “SlingPlayer Mobile on AT&T’s 3G network gives customers the best experience possible for watching their home TV while on the go.”

AT&T will provide developers with wireless network optimization requirements for video and other applications by the end of the first quarter via its AT&T Developers Program website (http://developer.att.com).

AT&T’s announcement today further demonstrates its commitment to fostering the development of a wide range of mobile applications for smartphones, quick-messaging devices and other mobile devices.  In January, AT&T hosted its fourth annual Developers Summit, where it announced a range of initiatives to support app development.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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AT&T refutes infrastructure neglect claims, talks future upgrades

Monday, December 21st, 2009

You know it’s bad when AT&T starts to take some heat from Saturday Night Live and not just Twitter and the blogosphere. With ongoing criticism about its network and sub-par performance, AT&T was recently accused of increasing data revenues and neglecting its infrastructure. In response to these claims, AT&T not only denies ditching its network maintenance while swimming in cash, but it also delineates plans for improving future performance. While AT&T won’t break down capital expenditures to tell us exactly how much was spent on infrastructure for competitive reasons, here is part of its statement regarding the rumors:

Here’s a look at how we’re spending what’s expected to be between $17 and $18 billion in improvements in 2009 to our wireline and wireless networks, with billions on wireless:

  • We are nearly doubling the wireless spectrum serving 3G customers in hundreds of markets across the country, using high-quality 850 MHz spectrum. This additional spectrum expands overall network capacity and improves in-building reception.
  • We are adding about 2,000 new cell sites to our network in 2009, expanding service to new cities and improving coverage in other areas.
  • We’re adding about 100,000 new backhaul connections, which add critical capacity between cell sites and the global IP backbone network.
  • We’re enabling widespread access to our Wi-Fi network – the largest in the country with more than 20,000 hotspots in all 50 states – allowing customers to take advantage of the best available AT&T mobile broadband connection.
  • We’re rolling out even faster 3G speeds with deployment of HSPA 7.2 technology and are preparing for field trials of next generation, LTE wireless networks next year, with deployment planning to begin in 2011. This schedule aligns with industry expectations for when a wide variety of compatible 4G wireless devices should be available.

While plans and numbers sound impressive, and we’ve already heard it before, we’re sure most of you are far more concerned with results and real-world use.

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