Volume 12, Number 17, May 11, 2009 - Mobile Phones Surpass Landlines

Industry Events

HR Conference (May 17-19)


Free Webcast:The Broadband Stimulus and Beyond (June 3)


Regional Meetings (July-Oct)


OSHA Seminar (June 4-5)


The Marketplace


Femtocells and Wireless Substitution: 2009 Prospects


DTV Transition Q&A for Telcos


Log On, Link Up and Learn




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Tech Forums

Volume 12, Number 17, May 11, 2009

Mobile Phones Surpass Landlines

Qwest Offers AT&T Wi-Fi to Broadband Customers

AT&T & Verizon Agree to Swap Assets in Rural Areas

Entone and Vudu Integrate IPTV and Over-the-Top

Also of Note: The Future of Traditional Wireline Providers

...And last but not least, our video of the week

Mobile Phones Surpass Landlines

One in five U.S. households had cell phones only during the last half of 2008, compared with just 17% of households with landlines only, according to a study released May 6 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The 20% of homes with cell phones only was an increase of nearly 3% from the first half of 2008. This is the largest six-month increase since this type of data-tracking began in 2003.

The ratio of homes with a cell phone but no landline, to homes with a landline and no cell phone has been changing drastically in recent years. For example, in the first half of 2003, just 3% of U.S. households had cell phones only compared with 43% that had landline phones only. The CDC noted that the recession is one of the largest factors in this most recent trend. "We do expect that with the recession, we'd see an increase in the prevalence of wireless-only households, above what we might have expected had there been no recession," stated Stephen Blumberg, a senior scientist at the CDC.

The report also noted that Americans who are more likely to have wireless phones only: rent their homes (39.2%); are between the ages of 25 and 29 years old (41.5%); live in poverty (30.9%); or near the poverty level (23.8%).

In addition, about 60% of households have both cell phones and landline phones. And, one in 50 households had neither a cell phone nor a landline.

The data was collected through in-person interviews conducted from July through December 2008 with members of 12,597 households.

Read more about the findings.

Qwest Offers AT&T Wi-Fi to Broadband Customers

Late last week, Qwest unveiled a new wireless Internet offering that allows broadband customers to access AT&T WiFi hotspots nationwide.

The deal, whose terms are undisclosed, gives Qwest customers free use of some 17,000 wireless areas on AT&T's network, including locations at Starbucks and McDonald's.

In April 2009, Qwest commissioned a study conducted by Impulse Research Corp., a full-service market research firm, that found nearly half of all respondents valued Wi-Fi because it provided them with the freedom and flexibility to stay connected beyond the home or office.

"This finding underscores the fact that people expect Internet access wherever they are," said Dan Yost, executive vice president for Qwest's Mass Markets Organization. "In fact, our study showed that nearly half of all respondents get 'antsy,' in about an hour, if they can’t check e-mail, social networking sites or instant messaging. Our free solution keeps Qwest customers connected."

Of note, Qwest now offers cellular service through Verizon Wireless and Wi-Fi access through AT&T.

In related news, in the last few weeks the media has widely reported that Verizon is planning a similar Wi-Fi offering for its broadband customers.

For more on the Qwest/AT&T partnership, view the press release.
For more on the Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot rumors, see The Wall Street Journal.

AT&T & Verizon Agree to Swap Assets in Rural Areas

AT&T announced last Friday that it will purchase the bulk of Alltel Wireless assets being divested by Verizon Communications for $2.35 billion, and will sell some Centennial Communications Corp. assets to Verizon Wireless for $240 million.

Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets and 1.5 million current subscribers in 79 service areas, primarily in rural areas across 18 states. The states represented include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

Although the transaction primarily represents former Alltel assets, it also includes assets from Verizon Wireless and the former Rural Cellular Corp. Verizon Wireless is required to divest these properties as part of the regulatory approvals granted for its purchase of Alltel in January. That merger created the biggest U.S. wireless provider, surpassing AT&T in terms of subscribers.

"This transaction will complement our existing network coverage, particularly in rural areas," said Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

Converting those markets from Verizon's CDMA network to GSM technology and transitioning operations to AT&T is expected to take about 12 months, and cost about $400 million.

AT&T had agreed to buy rural wireless provider Centennial Communication Corp in November, but a spokesman said there would now be overlap in service coverage, prompting AT&T to want to shed Centennial. As a result, Verizon now plans to purchase former Centennial wireless properties, including licenses, network assets and nearly 120,000 subscribers in five service areas in Louisiana and Mississippi.

View AT&T's release.

Entone and Vudu Integrate IPTV and Over-the-Top

Entone, a provider of digital media gateway set-top boxes, announced last week that it will integrate VUDU's Internet entertainment platform with Entone's next generation media hubs. The partnership will enable telecom service providers to supplement their IPTV offerings with VUDU's over-the-top (OTT) video content library of more than 14,000 movie and TV titles, including 1,500 HD films.

The move marks a significant step by VUDU to offer its services on platforms other than its own video player box.

Further, as a result of the deal, IPTV providers can expand the capabilities and content that they can offer their customers, and integrate OTT offerings usually accessed via a PC with their other traditional TV-based services such as HDTV and DVR. Telecom service providers also can piggyback on VUDU's content deals instead of having to negotiate the rights for themselves.

Entone's IP Video Gateways and Media Hubs will support the VUDU service, which the company plans to launch later this summer.

"This arrangement brings together the best of live television, as supported by Entone's market leading IPTV home connectivity products, with the best of Internet on-demand movies, as supported by VUDU's vast movie library from every major Hollywood studio and over 40 independents,” said Entone CEO Steve McKay.

"Previously, consumers had to choose between pay TV services and over-the-top Internet video services where the latter was something you did when you were not watching TV...By marrying the two concepts, your online movie library is now available as part of your core TV viewing experience from the same user interface and remote control."

Read the release.

Also of note, just this morning The New York Times ran an interesting article on the future for traditional wireline phone companies: "Will the Phone Industry Need a Bailout, Too?"

Read the article.

And, last but not least, our video of the week: the auto-mower uses GSM.

Have you recently seen a funny, entertaining or informational video? "The New Edge" would love to hear from you. Please send your suggestions for the next "video of the week" to jward@ntca.org and your video might be featured in an upcoming issue.

Tech Forums

The Marketplace

Femtocells and Wireless Substitution: 2009 Prospects
2008 was hyped as the year of the femtocell, billed as the next big thing in fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). Industry analysts predicted widespread market roll out. It’s clear this goal was not achieved.Where do we stand now? Will the technology ever come to fruition? How should a traditional landline provider respond to this competitive threat? Read the ePaper to learn more.

DTV Transition Q&A for Telcos - Updated with Delay Info!
NTCA has prepared a question and answer document for telco customer service representatives to use to address customer calls about the digital television transition. The document features explanations for a broad range of typical questions. Also, this information piece may be used by telcos for posting on your Web site or in your upcoming newsletters. NTCA encourages you to use this downloadable document for your efforts to educate customers about the upcoming changes to DTV. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Fravel at 703-351-2012.

Log On, Link Up and Learn. Join NTCA’s Tech Community
As you well know, the telecom industry is evolving at an increasingly fast pace. Rural telecom professionals need to maintain access lines and trouble-shoot existing issues, while also developing new, cutting-edge technologies. Learn new strategies to manage the chaos and keep up with industry trends. Join NTCA's Tech Community today and utilize one of your best assets – your peers. Visit http://tech.ntca.org to learn more.

Industry Events

HR Conference (May 17-19)
Expand your knowledge, build your arsenal of skills, provide guidance and strengthen organizational performance. Learn to use your best resources and navigate in a changing economy. Join us for NTCA's Human Resources Conference on May 17-19 at Albuquerque, N.M. Register.

Free Webcast: The Broadband Stimulus and Beyond (June 3)
The Rural Broadband Stimulus is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for carriers of all sizes to build a broadband network for the future. Billions of dollars will be available through the the RUS and NTIA for carriers of under-served and un-served markets. How do we design propose, and implement a successful project for leveraging the stimulus funds? Attend a free webcsat, sponsored by Cascadeo Corp., June 3, at 2:00 p.m EDT to learn more. This webcast is open to all members. There is no cost to participate, and no pre-registration is required. Simply visit the Web site, to join the webcast! Learn more.

Regional Meetings (July-Oct)
Register today to take advantage of an affordable two-day meeting, close to home. The 2009 Regional Meetings will offer resources and training on "Finding Opportunities in Tough Economic Times." Understand the outlook and trends of the economy to unlock business opportunities for your telco with noted economist Dr. Seifried. Key topics also will include product positioning tactics, application-layer services, important federal initiatives and cooperative business practices. Find more details on your region's meeting and registration here.

OSHA Seminar (June 4-5)
Join NTCA on June 4-5, 2009 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel - Chicago O'Hare Airport located in Shiller Park, Ill. for this OSHA seminar. Topics will cover telecommunications-specific compliance,   OSHA inspections and citations, record keeping requirements, emergency action, hazard communications, and more. Learn how to manage and maintain effective safety programs. Register.