The Wall Street Journal recently reported that ESPN is looking into toll-free data plans for mobile broadband users viewing its content online. If it comes to fruition, a consumer using their mobile wireless device to stream ESPN content would not have that data usage count towards their broadband data cap. ESPN would pay the mobile wireless provider a fee under this arrangement.
According to the report, ESPN is already in negotiations with one nationwide U.S. wireless carrier. However, ESPN has refused to comment, and the Journal article states that an agreement is not imminent.
Arrangements such as this have recently been a topic of discussion by the heads of the major U.S. wireless carriers. Speculation on the topic has encompassed all sorts of content providers. Read more
Seventy-eight percent of U.S. broadband households have a home network, according to a study recently conducted by Parks Associates and Support.com, Inc. Parks expects that number to grow to 95% by 2016. The company concludes that these numbers will ultimately result in increased demand for home tech support services.
The Parks white paper, entitled “Expanding to the Home Network: The Evolution of Premium Tech Support,” looks at the market for premium tech support, market conditions driving future adoption of subscription-based support services, and strategies to bundle premium support services with product and service sales to achieve brand differentiation and revenue growth. Read more
Less than two years after a failed deal to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T, parent company Deutsche Telekom AG has finalized a deal to merge T-Mobile USA with MetroPCS Communications Inc. The deal, approved by MetroPCS shareholders last week, is set to close on May 1, and it has already been granted approval by both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.
The T-Mobile/MetroPCS deal combines the fourth and fifth largest wireless carriers in the United States. The combined entity will have approximately 40 million U.S. subscribers.
The deal comes after what has been a tough period for Deutsche Telekom. The proposed merger with rival AT&T fell apart after expressions of concern from regulators that the combined entity would decrease competition in the U.S. mobile wireless market and ultimately harm consumers. In addition, from 2009 to 2012, T-Mobile lost about 13% of its contract subscriber base.
With the MetroPCS deal finally closed, T-Mobile can move forward and push to become a true rival to the largest nationwide wireless carriers. Helping this along is the spectrum holdings that T-Mobile will acquire as part of the deal. With a finite amount of spectrum available to deliver wireless services to consumers, carriers like T-Mobile need all they can get to compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Added to that, T-Mobile has recently added the iPhone. This, and its adoption of wireless plans that do not require long-term contracts (they eliminate subsidies for the phones, however), are things that the carrier hopes will set it apart from its rivals.
Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH) today made an unsolicited offer of $25.5 billion for Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S). The offer bests Japanese SoftBank Corp. by $5.4 billion.
The offer includes a mix of cash and stock; as of mid-afternoon, Sprint stocks rose about 14% while DISH dropped about three-percent.
If DISH prevails, the company could offer wireless voice and video nationwide. DISH would bring 40 MHz of S-band spectrum and lower 700 MHz in the E-block to the table; DISH has stated plans to develop a nationwide LTE network. A combined Sprint/DISH entity could emerge as a unique competitor on the national communications industry stage, but could implicate relationships in which DISH offerings are bundled with unaffiliated voice or broadband providers. Read more
While checking the score of the Tigers’ game over the weekend, I came across an announcement of matching federal funds for Detroit Edison’s “Smart Currents” project. The project aims to install nearly 600,000 smart meters in the Detroit metro area, about 25 percent of Detroit Edison’s customers. It uses a wireless area network utilizing global systems mobile communication, code division multiple access and Ethernet technologies.
Smart Grid is generally defined as a two-way communications technology used for remote control and automation of devices associated with the electrical grid. It can be used to detect and fix problems within the grid itself but can also allow consumers to have more control over their electricity consumption. Read more
Speaking at the National Associations of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam estimated that half of the data carried on Verizon’s wireless network is video, and that he expects the total to reach 75% by 2017.
McAdam credited Verizon’s investment in its LTE network as the key factor enabling such large scale video delivery. “With 3G you have video clips but there is buffering,” he told the audience. “With 4G you can stream video.” Read more
According to a survey recently conducted by the Pew Research Center, 25%of teenage survey respondents indicated that their cellphone is their primary means of accessing the Internet. Among teen smartphone users, 50% indicate that they access the Internet primarily via their phone.
Pew has assembled the survey results in a report entitled Teens and Technology 2013. The telephone survey of 802 teens between the ages of 12-17 and 802 parents was conducted between July and September 2012.
Among the survey’s other findings: 78% of teens surveyed have a cellphone, and 47% of those own a smartphone. Twenty-three percent of teens have a tablet computer, slightly below the 25% of adults who reported they had a tablet. Ninety-three percent of teens have access to a computer at home, and 71% of those said that the computer they use most often at home is one they share with other family members.
The survey also found that while teens living in low-income and low-education households are less likely to make use of the Internet, they are just as likely to use their cellphones as a primary point of access as are other teens.
“The nature of teens’ Internet use has transformed dramatically— from stationary connections tied to shared desktops in the home to always-on connections that move with them throughout the day,” said Mary Madden, Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and co-author of the report. “In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.”