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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.

Why Blocked AT&T, T-Mobile USA Deal is Good for Growth

August 31, 2011

Critics might say, in the history of M&A, it is difficult to recall one instance where more jobs were created as a result of two companies coming together. Yet this is the argument AT&T has been making for just less than three months after the merger announcement with AT&T and T-Mobile USA was announced. In part the argument was reinforced by the company's commitment to bring remote call center jobs back to the states.

Moreover, AT&T’s claim that this merger would be good for consumers is an interesting one as critics might say it is fairly easy to argue either side.

ITEXPO West 2011 Austin Highlights

August 23, 2011

Before all ITEXPO events I do a final proofread of the show directory and this one may be the biggest ever at 132 pages with tabs (just doing our part to support the economy). We will post a PDF version soon so you can see what’s in it but until then, here are some highlights that caught my eye:

Keynotes & Exhibits Tuesday, September 13th at 9:15 AM we have Ian Pennell from Cisco and at 4:30 PM-5:30 PM we have keynotes from Siemens and IBM followed by a Grand Opening Networking Reception sponsored by Interact from 5:30-7:30.

Wednesday, September 14th at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM we have keynotes from Polycom and DHL followed by exhibits from 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM. Then at 4:00 PM there is a Cocktail reception sponsored by Rackspace Hosting and at 4:45 you could win a pair of mountain bikes from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop - an Austin Institution ( I am told).

20 Millions Reasons WiMAX is Here to Stay

August 22, 2011

Wait a minute. The common wisdom in the wireless world is that WiMAX lost the war to LTE. But with the news that the standard has passed 20 million subscribers, is it time to rethink that premise? The answer is that in many cases incumbent providers have opted for LTE as their 4G standard of choice and as a result, WiMAX is going to remain somewhat nichy.

Got Big Telecom Data? You Need Infinity Ear from Empirix!

August 16, 2011

OK, this isn’t a real product name – yet but you could potentially help pick it – be sure to let the company know if you have a name for their new product line.

I sat down with Tim Moynihan and Gordon Eddy of Empirix at SpeechTek and was happy to hear the company has been experiencing double-digit growth. Testing companies like Empirix are a great barometer for the markets they serve as they grow with the percentage of deployments in the spaces are in. In this case, the company is seeing increasing orders as a result of the migration to IP so SIP trunking and SBC deployments have really helped the bottom line.
Moreover, companies are seeking out testing services from Empirix before they deploy CRM, call center and UC services.

Mergers have been another positive factor in the company’s growth as companies have to ensure their disparate systems can interop smoothly before they go live as part of a more seamless network of communications systems.

An interesting area of expansion will be introduced this fall – analyzing “big data” for the telecom space. The point here is big data is being scraped and analyzed with positive results in data centers but there has been a lack of tools to do the same in the telecom space.






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