Displaying items by tag: AT&T

US telecommunications behemoth AT&T has been roundly criticized by its rival operators in the United States who have described its 5G marketing as ‘overhyped’ and ‘misleading’.

US operator Verizon has urged those within the industry to resist the temptation to overhype and subsequently under-deliver on the promise of next-generation technology. In a statement released by Verizon, it’s CTO, Kyle Malady pointed out that whilst new technologies including AI, virtual reality and Internet of Things would all be underpinned by 5G, he stressed the importance of being realistic in terms of what operators can actually deliver in relation to the revolutionary technology.

AT&T launched a mobile 5G service towards the end of 2018, and claimed that it was offering the service to select businesses and consumers in 12 US cities via a mobile hotspot device provided by Netgear. The network operator has adopted an ambitious approach to 5G and was also pushing its 5G Evolution program which promised users speeds faster than your standard LTE.

In addition to this, it was also disclosed in a previous statement by AT&T that Android devices from the operator will display a 5G E logo pop-up on the home screen which would indicate they have connected to AT&T’s 5G evolution experience.

However, critics have claimed that the service provided by AT&T should not be considered as a 5G network offering. Verizon’s CTO said, “If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behaviour designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.”

Although not mentioned by name, Verizon’s comments appear to be directed at its main rival AT&T.

Verizon is still preparing for its mobile 5G launch after deploying a fixed wireless access service in October 2018.

In another apparent swipe at AT&T’s Android device move, Malady also cautioned on the industry to only commit to labelling something 5G if new device hardware is connecting the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.

The CTO added, “Verizon is making this commitment today: we won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5.”

T-Mobile
Also turning up the heat was T-Mobile US, which didn’t pass up the opportunity to seemingly mock AT&T on Twitter, while making the same point as Verizon. “Didn’t realise it was this easy, brb updating,” the operator said on its official Twitter account, with the message accompanied by a video of someone taping a 9G sticker on a smartphone.

Published in Telecom Operators

AT&T and Nokia are teaming up to provide virtually seamless Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity around the world. The companies are using Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) to offer AT&T’s enterprise customers the benefits of Nokia’s global IoT ecosystem. These include core network, dedicated IoT operations, billing, security, data analytics, and more.

AT&T and Nokia will develop, test and launch the next generation of IoT services. They’ll cover a wide range of industries including transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, utilities, consumer electronics and smart cities.

Commercial deployment starts later this year. WING’s core network assets are expected to be available in more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and the Middle East by the first quarter of 2020. The collaboration will help set the stage for the evolution to global 5G.

Together the companies can help enterprise customers:

  • Bring more capabilities to more places with increased performance and flexibility, lower latency, and enhanced platform capabilities.
  • Address specific business requirements through capabilities like 5G network slicing that allows a single network to be partitioned into multiple networks.
  • Meet local regulatory requirements for IoT devices.

“Our work with Nokia WING will help clear away the complexity of large-scale IoT adoption so that our customers can unlock the potential of IoT worldwide,” said Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Boosted by Nokia’s globally deployed ‘one-stop shop’ network technology, we can be more nimble and responsive to our customers’ needs.”

“This collaboration proves our commitment to the global IoT market, providing seamless connectivity across geographical borders and technologies,” said Sanjay Goel, President of Global Services at Nokia. “With AT&T’s leading position in IoT and proven experience meeting real customer needs, we have a winning combination to bolster our global IoT capabilities.”

AT&T offers global IoT solutions through a combination of owned and third party-provided capabilities that enable superior network performance in more than 200 countries and territories. Connected devices are deployed and controlled easily and quickly in multiple countries using a single, global SIM.

AT&T’s cloud-based Multi-Network Connect platform will simplify connectivity and platform capabilities for AT&T’s use of Nokia WING. Multi-Network Connect lets businesses manage IoT devices across multiple cellular and satellite networks, operators and regions through a single portal.

Nokia WING offers a fully integrated, global managed service for IoT connectivity enablement for mobile network operators, providing innovative features, optimizing investments and reducing time to market. Working with WING, AT&T will speed the delivery of IoT services on a global scale and drive emerging IoT applications.

Published in Telecom Operators

Super storms draw attention to critical communications

Written on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 12:46

The US Territory of Puerto Rico was recently hit by the strongest storm in almost 90 years. Knocking out the island’s electricity grid, 90 percent of cell phone sites stopped working, according to the US Federal Communications Commission. The recent string of monster storms in North America has drawn attention to the importance of critical communications and promoting public safety.

In the space of two months (August and September 2017), the southern United States and Caribbean region were slammed by three mega storms: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the most recent Hurricane Maria. Harvey caused at least 75 confirmed deaths; 1 in Guyana, and 74 in the US. As of September 27, Irma caused at least 124 deaths; while as of October 1 Maria caused at least 68 deaths.

Still recovering from Irma two weeks prior, approximately 80,000 people in Puerto Rico were left without power after Maria hit. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) had struggled with increasing debt, reaching $9 billion even before the hurricanes, prompting them to file for bankruptcy. The island’s aging infrastructure left it vulnerable to damage from the storms. Consequently, mobile coverage was cut off.

When Maria finally subsided, in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, cars were reportedly pulling up on the side of roads with occupants emerging holding their cell phones up in the air in search of network coverage. For miles, cell phones displayed a frustrating “No Service” message. This is in stark contrast to the US states of Texas and Florida that had cell service restored almost completely in storm-affected areas a week after Harvey and Irma hit.

The aftermath of the storms has drawn fresh attention to the importance of critical communications. Following the storms, the United States Federal Communications Commission urged Apple to activate the FM (frequency modulation) chips that are in iPhones to promote public safety.

Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement applauding those companies that have “done the right thing” by activating FM chips in their phones in light of natural disasters hammering the country. “In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones in the United States,” said Mr. Pai.

He highlighted the importance of FM chips during natural disasters. When wireless networks go down during a disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow people to get vital access to important information without an internet connection. “Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so,” said Mr. Pai. “But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.”

According to the FCC, 89.3 percent of cell sites were out of service after Maria. All counties in Puerto Rico, except San Juan, had greater than 75 percent of their cell sites out of service. 29 out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico had 100 percent of their cell sites out of service. On the US Virgin Islands, 69.8 percent of cell sites were out of service.

Since there were widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC received reports that large percentages of consumers were left without either cable services or wireline service (one company reported that 100 percent of its consumers were left out of service due to lack of commercial power).

In one of the few places that had connectivity on Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, tourists reportedly overwhelmed the lobby to use the working cell service and Wi-Fi to connect with the outside world. With a cell phone penetration rate of nearly 100 percent, according to government data, Puerto Ricans have been heavily impacted by the lack of network services on the island.

Confidence in connectivity

Puerto Rico has five main mobile operators: AT&T, T-Mobile, Claro, Sprint and Open Mobile. Connectivity provided by operators is the backbone of relief efforts today. AT&T and Sprint both dispatched teams to restore coverage to the island. The companies also waived certain fees for customers to establish a way for people to contact their families and friends.

The electric grid fallout presented one of the biggest challenges to restoring connectivity to the island. “Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications. Given the breadth of power outages across the islands, we’re deploying portable generators as quickly as allowed,” AT&T said.

Social media giant Facebook also pledged support for Puerto Rico. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced $1.5 million in aid to organizations assisting in the island’s recovery from Maria, together with direct assistance from Facebook’s connectivity team in an effort to get people back online. The company also said it would donate Facebook ad space to share critical information with Puerto Rican users.

Facebook’s connectivity team previously came under the spotlight for ambitious technology initiatives like the Aquila drone, a high-altitude solar-powered aircraft designed to connect remote areas to the internet. Facebook is pushing forward with the Aquila program's progress to help bring the world closer together through connectivity.

“Communication is critical during a disaster,” Zuckerberg said in a post after Hurricane Maria. “With 90 percent of cell towers on the island [Puerto Rico] out of service, people can't get in touch with their loved ones -- and it's harder for rescue workers to coordinate relief efforts.”

Recovery efforts have suffered in Puerto Rico as a result of its cell network outage. Utilizing social media proved immensely effective after fallout from Harvey in Texas, as people could publish posts that were quickly relayed to rescuers. Due to the lack of connectivity on Puerto Rico, in some remote areas people resorted to painting “Help” signs on roads and buildings, hoping that relief efforts would reach them.

The public safety community has long called for mobile broadband to support its mission to save lives. With the adoption of LTE mobile broadband technology, public safety networks can benefit from the advantages of fast and reliable broadband data and real-time video services, opening up new communications possibilities for rescue missions and disaster recovery situations.

In an effort to make mission-critical mobile broadband a reality, Nokia, for example, has a dedicated comprehensive technology and services portfolio called ViTrust. The portfolio includes rapidly deployable solutions for emergency and disaster recovery situations to establish coverage in remote areas, among other features.

The Finnish company recently expanded the portfolio with new services to help first responders take advantage of reliable and secure high-performance applications on their public safety devices. The services provide trouble-free continuity of operations for public safety agencies across a multi-vendor, multi-technology mission critical communications environment.

‘Care for public safety’, for instance, is a service Nokia introduced to ensure that the most demanding communications needs to public safety organizations are fulfilled. The company says it ensures that new network functionality and services interworking with multivendor LTE networks are available from day one.

One European operator is already using this service and seeing the benefits of reduced operational downtime risks, according to Nokia, with service levels stabilizing faster than before and fulfilling public safety requirements.

“The success of moving to broadband-based critical communications requires deep technological and operational expertise,” said Asad Rizvi, head of Nokia's global business development in Global Services. “Nokia has both, from our long history of working with agencies to our global service expertise in broadband.”

The public safety LTE market is expected to be valued at US$3,091.3 million by 2023, according to new market research published by MarketsandMarkets, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25.7 percent from US$782.9 million in 2017. The factors that are driving the growth of this market, according to the report, are the rising demand for unmanned operations and remote surveillances, and elimination of connectivity issues between networks.

Published in Featured

Telcos and OTTs shouldn’t be subject to same rules

Written on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 12:26

It’s no secret that telecom operators have struggled against the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp and Skype, who have challenged traditional voice and SMS revenue streams. Some operators have called for regulators to subject OTTs to legacy telecommunications regulations in order to even the playing field. But such suggestions are misguided, according to the ITU.

Telecom operators are stuck in a predicament regarding OTT services who utilize their networks. They have little control over the growth of OTTs because users should be free to use the internet as they please. The network carrier only carries the IP packets from source to destination. They might be aware of the packets and their contents, but cannot do much about it. Carriers have had to roll with the punches and figure out how to adapt.

Ultimately, using VoIP (voice-over-IP) is a cheaper alternative to making expensive phone calls because the user doesn’t have to pay to use the dedicated phone line and instead utilizes an internet connection without any extra costs. As is the case with most VoIP services, calls made using the internet are often free while calls made to a cellular network require a payment. The advanced communication functions of modern smartphones have played a role in the rapid growth of OTT services.

The question is: what can network carriers do about it? Telecom carriers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to VoIP services, statistics show. Some network carriers reacted, of course, by imposing restrictions on VoIP services. AT&T did this when Apple released its iPhone and the US telecom operator didn’t want its network being used for VoIP calling. AT&T lifted the block in 2009 after pressure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

AT&T had an agreement with Apple to ban apps that would enable iPhone users to make phone calls using a wireless data connection. The scandal was revealed when the FCC requested that the companies explain why Google’s Voice app was rejected for the iPhone app store. The FCC was led to investigate if AT&T and Apple were colluding to prevent competition, sparking the beginning of a sour relationship between telecom providers and OTTs.

Can telcos come out on top?

For decades, telecom operators had free reign to charge rates for voice, data and SMS largely in excess of their marginal cost, which created a market ripe with innovation. The International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) recent report ‘The State of Broadband 2017’ highlights the struggle telecom operators have faced since that period began to wane, as online applications became increasingly popular with consumers around the world who wished to interact in ways not possible through traditional communications channels.

Communication has been transformed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Skype, WeChat, Google, WhatsApp and Viber. These OTT services have “transformed the way people build communities and search for information, and made valuable contributions to health, education, finance and entertainment,” ITU claims in the report. “Online applications now generate a significant proportion of the socioeconomic impact of digitization and utilization of the internet itself.”

The demand for OTT services has driven the telecom industry to a new era, and some telecom operators – in defense of their traditional revenues – have sought to “handicap” the growth of OTT players, the report suggests. It’s important to note, however, that these OTT services, however disruptive they may be, are driving demand for telecom operators’ broadband services. Without the content and services that OTTs provide, consumers would be less willing to pay operators for internet access, ITU claims.

“The operators’ complaints make as much sense as cable operators that sell access to cable channels complaining that people are watching too much TV, driving up the demand for their own services,” the report says, “Or a restaurant complaining that too many people want to eat its food driving up food costs. Operators sell access – not content – but people only want that access to use online content.”

Telecom operators, according to the report, claim they cannot invest in their networks because online OTT services have limited their ability to generate revenue. The ITU says this is “inaccurate” and “misguided”.

Some telecom operators have called upon regulators to apply the “same rules for the same service” by encouraging authorities to subject all online OTT services to legacy telecommunications regulations. ITU rejects this, emphasizing that OTTs don’t offer the “same service” as telecom operators, and that subjecting them to the same rules would be “entirely inappropriate”.

OTT services like Facebook and Google, for example, don’t provide equivalent services as telecom operators, the report points out. Operators provide access to the internet and some vertically integrated services that take advantage of, and are bundled with, general access. Online OTTs, on the other hand, provide interactive experiences for internet users that go beyond traditional voice and SMS, including payment services, chat services and photo/video sharing.

The fundamental differences between the telecom sector and online OTT services has led to the establishment of different rules, the report highlights. For instance, telecom regulations are intended to ensure that established operators – who own network infrastructure with high barriers to entry and face limited competition – do not use these privileges to the disadvantage of consumers. OTT services, by contrast, don’t control network infrastructure and must compete fiercely to retain customers who could easily be swayed.

There’s also the perception that OTT payers get a “free ride” on telecom network infrastructure which is financed by operators. But in truth, OTT players invest billions of dollars annually in a combination of physical facilities, according to the ITU, including data centers, fiber networks, servers and routers, which form an “essential part of the physical fabric of the internet”. In fact, according to the report, online OTT players invested an average of US$33 billion per year in infrastructure from 2011-2013.

ITU argues that telecom operators should recognize how much online OTT players drive consumers’ willingness to pay for internet access, which then provides more opportunities to generate revenue and finance new infrastructure. According to the report, consumers who demand the most data tend to spend more money on mobile contracts that feature high-speed data – revenue that goes directly to the telecom operators.

“Regulatory authorities do not have to choose directly between the interests of online application providers and telecom operators,” the ITU report concludes with. The most important aspects of internet usage that regulatory authorities should focus on, the report suggests, are adhering to customer needs, ensuring that the internet is widely available, and prioritizing connectivity, competition and innovation.

Published in Featured

Qualcomm has joined AT&T, Nokia, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trustonic as part of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance formed earlier this year. The purpose of the group is to collaborate and pool together collective capabilities and resources to tackle emerging security challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT).

With over 1.5 billion IoT devices shipped using its chips, Qualcomm brings to the Alliance expertise in comprehensive security solutions rooted on hardware, for a wide array of edge devices including wearables, voice and music, connected cameras, robotics and drones, home control and automation, home entertainment, and commercial and industrial IoT.

“Robust IoT security needs to be built into the silicon that powers edge devices. A solid IoT security approach requires a combination of hardware-based security features tightly integrated with the software, communication protocols, applications and the cloud,” said Seshu Madhavapeddy, vice president, product management, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“We are pleased to work with other members of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to support the IoT ecosystem, sharing best practices that help to protect consumers and businesses adopting IoT technologies,” Seshu added.

The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance brings together leading security providers and IoT experts to research and raise awareness of best practices for securing the growing IoT ecosystem. The Alliance’s mission is to advise businesses and their customers as well as to educate the industry on the cybersecurity measures needed to help create a safer IoT ecosystem that fosters collaboration and advances technologically secure IoT innovation.

Alliance members are raising awareness around IoT security at the endpoint, network, cloud and application layer, using overarching threat analytics to study the IoT ecosystem. The Alliance advocates for an “always-on” security approach.

Published in Telecom Vendors

US telecommunications incumbent AT&T has announced that it will expand its 5G trials to three additional US cities by the end of the year. The operator has already adopted an aggressive approach to developing the next-generation technology - but its latest statement is indicative of its desire to ramp up operations in its attempts to be in a position to deploy 5G technology by the end of 2018.

In a statement released to the press, the US telecommunications colossus said it would conduct fixed wireless 5G trials in Waco, Texas, Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana in latter half of this year. It made the announcement following the successful launch of its fixed wireless trial in Austin, Texas with a host of local businesses.

AT&T has claimed that it has garnered a lot of useful information and gained new insights into (mmWave) performance and propagation since commencing the tests in Austin, and has disclosed seeing speeds of up to 1GBps and latency rates well below 10 milliseconds.

The US operator now aims to user the additional trials in the US cities mentioned above to increase the number of participants and expand the physical footprint for 5G technology. It has been further disclosed that AT&T strategic plan with the next wave of testing is to reach universities, hospitals, restaurants and other small medium enterprises with the next-generation technology.

The trials in the Waco, Michigan and Indiana will be very similar to those conducted in Texas - as participants will be allowed to stream premium live TV via DirecTV Now - as well as gain access to faster broadband services thanks to the 5G connection.

SVP of AT&T’s wireless network architecture, Marachel Knight said moving the testing program away from the lab and into the physical environment is able to convey to them key information and insights into the technology. He said, “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G.

In addition to these tests, AT&T is collaboration with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Intel on other 5G-related projects. A representative of AT&T said it would continue to invest aggressively in equipment - spectrum and technology, which will lay the foundation for 5G, standards for 5G have still not yet been finalized.

Despite the uncertainty in relation to the standardization of 5G, AT&T has claimed it is targeting a commercial deployment date of 2018, with the deployment likely to happen closer to the end of the year.

Its major competitor Verizon is also aiming for a 2018 launch, and is currently conducting pre-commercial trials for fixed wireless 5G in 11 cities.

Published in Telecom Operators

US telecommunications incumbent AT&T has announced that it will expand its 5G trials to three additional US cities by the end of the year. The operator has already adopted an aggressive approach to developing the next-generation technology - but its latest statement is indicative of its desire to ramp up operations in its attempts to be in a position to deploy 5G technology by the end of 2018.

In a statement released to the press, the US telecommunications colossus said it would conduct fixed wireless 5G trials in Waco, Texas, Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana in latter half of this year. It made the announcement following the successful launch of its fixed wireless trial in Austin, Texas with a host of local businesses.

AT&T has claimed that it has garnered a lot of useful information and gained new insights into (mmWave) performance and propagation since commencing the tests in Austin, and has disclosed seeing speeds of up to 1GBps and latency rates well below 10 milliseconds.

The US operator now aims to user the additional trials in the US cities mentioned above to increase the number of participants and expand the physical footprint for 5G technology. It has been further disclosed that AT&T strategic plan with the next wave of testing is to reach universities, hospitals, restaurants and other small medium enterprises with the next-generation technology.

The trials in the Waco, Michigan and Indiana will be very similar to those conducted in Texas - as participants will be allowed to stream premium live TV via DirecTV Now - as well as gain access to faster broadband services thanks to the 5G connection.

SVP of AT&T’s wireless network architecture, Marachel Knight said moving the testing program away from the lab and into the physical environment is able to convey to them key information and insights into the technology. He said, “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G.

In addition to these tests, AT&T is collaboration with Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Intel on other 5G-related projects. A representative of AT&T said it would continue to invest aggressively in equipment - spectrum and technology, which will lay the foundation for 5G, standards for 5G have still not yet been finalized.

Despite the uncertainty in relation to the standardization of 5G, AT&T has claimed it is targeting a commercial deployment date of 2018, with the deployment likely to happen closer to the end of the year.

Its major competitor Verizon is also aiming for a 2018 launch, and is currently conducting pre-commercial trials for fixed wireless 5G in 11 cities.

Published in Telecom Operators

Mexican court rules in favor of America Movil

Written on Sunday, 27 August 2017 13:00

America Movil, Mexico’s largest telecom provider, won a victory this month, when Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled on August 16 that the operator doesn’t have to share its network to rivals free of charge. The court said a law requiring the company to allow rivals to use its network for free is unconstitutional.

Billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, the world’s fifth wealthiest person, runs the Mexican wireless telecom and pay TV giant, competing against rivals US telecom giant AT&T and Spain’s Telefónica. America Movil hoped the court would force its rivals to pay back fees – estimated between $600 million to $800 million – for using its network.

But the Supreme Court said the only authority to determine what interconnection fees AT&T and Telefónica should pay America Movil is the Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico’s telecommunications regulator, known as the IFT.

America Movil claims that Congress overstepped its role by implementing a zero charge service into Mexico’s telecom law for operators with over 50 percent marketshare. The landmark reform, introduced in 2014, sought to hinder America Movil’s market dominance in the country.

About two-thirds of Mexico’s mobile marketshare is dominated by America Movil, according to Dow Jones Newswire. But lower service fees were implemented as a result of newcomers in the market. Antitrust reforms were initiated to break America Movil’s control.

Under a new telecom law, America Movil was prohibited from charging other telecom carriers for connecting their calls made to customers on its network, while allowing those companies (Telefónica and AT&T) to charge America Movil for connecting its calls to their customers.

The reform was challenged by Mr. Slim’s attorney, who initiated the argument that it was unconstitutional for Congress to dictate telecom prices. The IFT has since been granted exclusive power by Congress to make those decisions.

The Supreme Court’s latest ruling is an “important resolution” America Movil claimed in a statement. The company said the ruling “restores the authority” of the IFT in determining interconnection prices. America Movil said the decision should be based “on international best practices, cost oriented methodologies, transparency and rationality.”

The company also emphasized that, despite the “unconstitutionality” of the zero tariff, rival carriers were not ordered to compensate Telcel, America Movil’s cellular service affiliate, for using its network.

The IFT said it will comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling and decide what rate, if any, to be paid to America Movil, but the group didn’t specify when. A report by Forbes predicts that its decision will come within two months, with rates being implemented in January of 2017.

America Movil has been accused of trying to reverse the antitrust movement. When Mexico’s Supreme Court last month said it would consider the company’s injunction, a group of 21 companies including AT&T and Telefónica, published a scathing advertisement in Mexican daily newspapers accusing America Movil of using “legal resources and devices” to overturn the reform against it.

Despite this, America Movil firmly holds around 70 percent of Mexico’s wireless market share, according to Reuters, and the antitrust rules did little to overturn the company’s dominance.

Published in Telecom Operators

Sprint tops download speed in 15 US cities, data shows

Written on Monday, 21 August 2017 10:59

Sprint customers in the United States are experiencing a better network experience than ever, the company said, with national average download speeds up 28 percent in seven months, according to Ookla Speedtest Intelligence data.

The data also shows that Sprint, the fourth ranked telecom operator in the United States, now ranks number one for the fastest average download speed in 15 cities including Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Washington.

The new data comes on the heels of another recent independent report stating that in the past six months Sprint’s 4G LTE availability had improved to nearly rival AT&T, and Sprint’s average speeds had also improved.

Separately, the report also stated that Verizon and AT&T’s average speeds slowed due to their introduction of unlimited data plans. However, Verizon and AT&T results are indicative of each carriers’ average download speed change only and do not reflect a comparison of speeds to other carriers.

“We’ve been offering unlimited data for nearly 10 years and we have a long history managing customer demand which is why our speeds are improving while others have slowed,” said Dr. John Saw, Sprint’s CTO. “Sprint also has far more spectrum capacity than any other US carrier and our data performance and speeds continue to improve as we deploy more of our 2.5 GHz spectrum.”

Sprint’s newest innovation, Sprint Magic Box, is improving data speeds for thousands of its customers areas such as Kansas City, North Boone School District, and some residents at the Denver Housing Authority where Sprint Magic Box increased download speeds by more than 300 percent in that location.

“The extension of our toolbox with new small cell solutions such as Sprint Magic Box, airpoles, strand mounts and other tools, are making a real difference for customers in cities across the country,” said Günther Ottendorfer, Chief Operating Officer, Technology, at Sprint. “These low-cost, easy-to-deploy solutions are a great way to quickly improve data service and add more capacity in an unlimited network where it’s needed.”

Sprint also continues to expand its portfolio of High Performance User Equipment (HPUE) capable devices. Many of the most feature-rich smartphones are HPUE-enabled including Galaxy S8, LG G6 and HTC U11. HPUE can extend Sprint’s existing 2.5GHz coverage by up to 30 percent bringing faster data speeds to customers in more locations, including indoors.

Looking ahead, Sprint says it’s preparing for four-channel carrier aggregation, higher order and Massive MIMO, 256 QAM, and Gigabit Class LTE. These technologies are designed to add more capacity to the network and make more efficient use of Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum resulting in an improved network experience for all its customers.

Published in Telecom Operators

US telecom giant AT&T made several executive appointments in late July in preparation for completing its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., the global media and entertainment leader with HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. The transaction is currently under review by the United States Department of Justice and competition authorities in certain foreign countries.  

Effective August 1, new executives will assume new positions and will continue to report to AT&T Inc. Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “We look forward to completing the deal and delivering for customers the many benefits of this merger,” said Stephenson.

John Stankey, previously CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, will assume the lead of AT&T’s Time Warner Merger Integration Planning Team. He will work closely with Time Warner Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes to plan for a smooth leadership transition to Stankey as CEO of AT&T’s media company once the merger is complete.

Previously Chief Strategy Officer and Group President of AT&T Technology Operations, John Donovan was named CEO of AT&T Communications, once the merger is complete, which includes AT&T’s Business Solutions, Entertainment Group, and Technology & Operations groups.

In addition, Lori Lee, who previously led AT&T’s Time Warner Merger Integration Team, will assume leadership with AT&T International, and maintain her responsibilities as Global Marketing Officer.

AT&T provides mobile, broadband and video services to US-based consumers and serves nearly 3.5 million businesses, from the smallest companies to nearly all the Fortune 1000. The company provides mobile services to more than 13 million consumers and businesses in Mexico, and pay-TV service to more than 13 million subscribers across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Published in Telecom Operators
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