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Rich Tehrani
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Blackberry Outage: Lives Saved, Accidents Down

October 20, 2011

Abu Dhabi saw accident rates plummet by 40% with no fatal accidents precisely at the time when Blackberry had its three-day outage in the country. Moreover, in Dubai the accident rate dropped by 20% during the same period (perhaps they have more iPhones and Nokia devices?).

As word spreads, expect even stricter laws to prevent texting while driving. But as studies have shown, such laws tend to increase traffic accidents because it causes drivers not to text less but to hide the phone while they text, meaning their eyes are even farther away from the road.

Will Apple's new Siri on the iPhone 4S be the solution to the texting while driving problem? Perhaps.



Should We Define 4G Before the Government Does?

October 13, 2011

Every few years the American people elect politicians who say one thing to get elected and do another once in office. Conflicts of interest, scandals related to campaign contributors, tax evasion and other related issues have made us numb and political ethics is a phrase you may have just read now for the first time.

But of course politicians being politicians need to help the people - at least that is what they say they want to do. One of the latest focus areas is 4G - what exactly is it? My company TMC runs a show on 4G called 4GWE (Feb 1-3, 2012 in Miami) so this topic is of great importance to me.
 
In a recent story on TMCnet sister site TechZone360, there is a fascinating article which begins as follows:


Today, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), top Democrat on the U.S.






Selling your Privacy Evolves with Amazon Silk Browser

September 29, 2011



Amazon's new Silk browser bundled with its new Kindle Fire will leverage it's own servers for browser proxying meaning that all the websites you surf will go through the company's cloud-based servers. Although browser proxying is not new, it has been used in the Skyfire and other browsers. Its general benefit is allowing web sessions to speed up and providing mobile browsers access to content incompatible with the browser - such as Adobe Flash.

TMC's Tom Keating has more on the privacy concerns and after reading his thoughts I realize just how fast product subsidization is evolving. You see yesterday I explained Amazon is subsidizing its tablets via Amazon Prime and cloud-computing services but now it seems Amazon will also have access to the sites you browse allowing its suggestion engine to to potentially use this data to better target products which suit your interests.

While privacy advocates may be up in arms, the reality is we sell our privacy for free services virtually every day when we use popular web portals, online email and a slew of other services such as browser toolbars.





Why AT&T Purchased Superclick Networks

September 27, 2011

AT&T just picked up Canadian WiFi gateway and solution provider Superclick Networks for $15 million dollars and the deal is curious as the company provides wireless solutions but not service for the hospitality, healthcare and retail markets. As you may recall, in November of 2008, AT&T also purchased leading WiFi provider Wayport and my take at the time was the deal signaled the importance of WiFi.

This transaction echoes this sentiment but it’s a bit different because it isn’t a service they are purchasing per se. The deal also shows the Ma Bell is looking outside the country for growth and isn’t afraid to do deals that are unexpected.

Slowly, New York Subways get Cell Service

September 23, 2011

GSM customers rejoice, finally you will be able to use your cellphones in the subways of New York. As someone who has gotten lost navigating my way around down there, I am grateful this day has finally come. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will be the first to enjoy this new service which will be a godsend for tourists who like me aren't that familiar with how to get around the tunnels crisscrossing the Manhattan underground.

According to the New York Times:

The pilot program will introduce cellphone reception to the C-E platforms at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue and three other stations along West 14th Street: the A, C, E and L platforms at Eighth Avenue; the F, M and L platforms at Avenue of the Americas; and the Seventh Avenue station that serves the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 lines.

Sadly, the project was stalled due to financing issues - lets hope we see coverage throughout the entire New York subway system and soon.




Twitter Tightens SMS Ties with Photos

September 21, 2011

Twitter's 140 character limit was actually a limit of SMS messages applied to the world's most successful microblogging service but in the last few years, Twitter use has migrated to apps on smartphones and web browsers. Today the company sent a reminder to the world that yes, you can tweet via SMS as well. In fact you can now include photos in an SMS message and have it update your account.

At the moment this functionality is limited to AT&T, Verizon and Cellular South in the US as well as Orange in the UK, Vodafone Italy, Rogers Communications in Canada, VIVA Bahrain and TIM Brazil.

Here is more information from Twitter and a list of short and long codes used to address your SMS messages.

Hat tip Phone Scoop.





AT&T Responds to DOJ - What They Missed

September 9, 2011

AT&T responded to the DOJ regarding the blocked T-Mobile USA acquisition saying that the proposed merger would be good for consumers as it would allow AT&T to gain access to T-Mobile spectrum allowing their call quality to improve and the number of dropped calls to be reduced. This in turn they argue would lead to lower prices. Ma Bell 2.0 continued to explain that the wireless business is fiercely competitive which has resulted in lower prices over time.

The interesting takeaway here is that there is nothing new being argued.

How Tech Improves Dentist and Car Dealer Communications

September 7, 2011

Last week I received an automated text message from my dentist confirming my appointment this week. They requested I confirm as well and I did. Today, I received a call from my car dealer telling me the car told the dealer it needed service. Some M2M device connected to the diagnostic system sent a signal no doubt letting the dealer know to reach out.

6 Billion Reasons for AT&T to get the Deal Done

September 2, 2011

The ramifications of the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile USA not going through due to a DoJ lawsuit is concessions to Deutsche Telekom worth $6 billion. Obviously this is a massive number - let's call it a potential management head-rolling number at AT&T.

So obviously, AT&T management will try everything it can to get this merger to be approved - including agreeing to sell off 25% of T-Mobile's business including radio spectrum and customers.

The question of course is if T-Mobile USA has put so much competitive pressure on AT&T according to the DoJ, then by taking the company out - even if frequencies and customers are sold, we have, by definition, a less competitive market which hurts consumers.

Ironically for AT&T the only way the DoJ can ensure the market not only remains compeitive but becomes more competitive is to block the deal as in this case, AT&T will be forced to not only pay T-Mobile USA $3B, they will also get give up spectrum and a roaming agreement worth - once again, $6B in total (including the cash).

It seems AT&T has gotten itself into a tough pickle but you can't count out a company which reassembled Ma Bell after it was broken up by antitrust regulators. And again, there are at least 6 billion reasons for the new Ma Bell to do whatever it takes to get some deal done.







Streaming Radio? There's An App For EACH Station

August 31, 2011

I love all kinds of music and unless I am in the mood for something slow, I find the faster the beat the better. So I have been on a quest for the best workout music and I’ve had good success but I am wondering, how many more apps can I take?

Everyone probably started their journey with Pandora as I did. I love how customizable Pandora is – allowing me to skip tracks I don’t like and build perfectly customizable radio stations.

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