Items tagged "Mobile Communication"

Post

If Data Caps Lack Clarity, Then Data Hogs = Flying Pigs

February 15, 2012 AT&T , Data Caps , Mobile Communication , National Broadband Plan

AT&T started throttling the cell phones of some of its heaviest data users (sometimes referred to as “data hogs”) a few months ago. Reports from the field indicate that those heavy network using “data hogs” are not that different from anyone else. 

AT&T says it only throttles the smartphones of customers who use “extraordinary level[s] of data usage.”  It turns out that these “extraordinary levels of data usage” on unlimited plans are actually a lot lower than amounts offered by the tiered plan at the same price.  What does this discrepancy mean?

First, the most current definitions of “throttling” and “data hogs:”

Throttling (verb)

Read More
Post

Sneaking 3 Horrible Wireless Ideas into One Bill

January 31, 2012 AT&T , Broadband , Competition , Mobile Communication , Mobile Innovation

Here in Washington, a classic way to get a bad policy passed is to attach it to the back of some unrelated “must pass” piece of legislation. Attaching one bad idea to a bill is sneaky.  Attaching two bad ideas is bold.  Attaching three?  Well, that’s what we have with a trio of horrible wireless ideas that some people in Congress are trying to attach to the upcoming Payroll Tax bill.

It is almost as if the proponents of these additions took a few years’ worth of ideas that will make wireless worse, wrapped them up in a bundle, and glued them to the underside of a bill that – if it does not pass – will raise taxes for millions of Americans.  In this case, these conditions would apply to spectrum freed up by the transition to digital TV broadcasting, and would impact some of the most useful spectrum to become available for years.  What are these conditions?

Read More
Post

Verizon Asks Customers to Choose – NFL or Email

January 6, 2012 FCC , Mobile Communication , Verizon , Wireless

NFL fans, it is time to choose – playoffs or email?  Verizon and the NFL announced last month that fans could stream NBC’s wildcard games (Cincinnati/Houston and Detroit/New Orleans), the Pro Bowl, and the Super Bowl on their mobile phones.  What they failed to mention was that taking them up on their offer would probably blow through your entire monthly data limit.  What they really failed to mention was that once you hit your cap, your next email will cost you $10 in overage fees.

Read More
Post

Smart Cities, Spectrum, and Senator Snowe — Will Any Republican Presidential Candidate Show Vision?

January 5, 2012 Broadband , FCC , Mobile Communication , Mobile Innovation , Spectrum

Thomas Friedman writes in his column yesterday that none of the Republican candidates has focused much on technological innovation, then proceeds to focus on the matter of “smart cities.” Friedman’s thesis is fairly straightforward: to maintain our competitive edge, we will need to keep pumping up our bandwidth, particularly in cities and towns which historically act as the incubators for The Next Big Thing and all its associated, Highly Useful Little Things. Blair Levin’s Gig U gets favorable mention, and Blair gets quoted a lot on why we want huge bandwidth in urban areas as well as making sure everyone gets access to functional broadband.

Read More
Post

Public Knowledge Pleased with FCC Statement on BART Policy Adoption

December 2, 2011 BART , FCC , Mobile Communication , Press Release

Background: On August 11, 2011, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), anticipating protests and demonstrations in its stations, shut down access to cellular communications, disrupted mobile phone and data service to a massive number of consumers for up to four hours. Later that month, Public Knowledge along with eight other public interest organizations filed a Petition asking the FCC to declare that the BART’s actions violated the Communications Act. Yesterday, BART adopted a new policy on cell service interruption. 

The link to our August petition is here: https://www.publicknowledge.org/emergency-petition-declaratory-ruling-re-bart

The following statement is attributed to Harold Feld, Legal Director of Public Knowledge:

Read More
Post

Can AT&T Really Walk Away From The FCC While Keeping The T-Mobile Deal Alive?

November 25, 2011 Mobile Communication , Monopoly , Spectrum , Spectrum Licensing , Wireless

We remember the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse as the end of the Civil War, despite the fact that Confederate forces remained in the field for several weeks thereafter. The announcement by AT&T and Deutsche Telekom (DT) that they have told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismiss their application to transfer T-Mo to AT&T “without prejudice” is rather similar.

Read More
Post

Why DoJ’s Win Against H&R Block Is Bad News For AT&T/T-Mo.

November 2, 2011 AT&T , Competition , Mobile Communication , Monopoly , Wireless

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DoJ) just won its lawsuit to block H&R Block from acquiring its smaller, “maverick” competitor Tax Act. Even with the actual Order sealed for a month to let parties scrub out the trade secrets, a few important things stand out for why this is good news for DoJ in its lawsuit to block AT&T taking over T-Mo. In sports terms, this is like DoJ having a super strong exhibition season going into the regular season of play. While you still need to play the games to see who wins, anyone facing them ought to be worried.

Here are my major takeaways from what we know so far:

Read More
Post

Why AT&T Can’t Cut A Deal With MetroPCS

September 19, 2011 Antitrust , AT&T , Competition , FCC , Mobile Communication

The latest AT&T ploy to convince the gullible that it’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile remains TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY ON TRACK and that everyone should just ignore the minor little tiff it has with the Department of Justice (and 7 State Attorneys General) involves pretending to pick potential rivals as recipients of any divestiture agreement. I say “pretending” because AT&T has either conveniently forgotten that such transfers need FCC approval or has reassured everyone involved that the FCC will rubberrstamp any settment AT&T negotiates.

Read More
Post

Verizon Uses Throttling to Push Customers Away From Unlimited Data

September 19, 2011 Broadband , Competition , Data Caps , FCC , Mobile Communication

Verizon’s announcement that it is going to throttle the top 5% of its 3G wireless customers serves as a fantastic illustration of the difference between reasonable network management and using network congestion as a pretext to gouge your customers.

The basic details of Verizon’s new policy appear to be well within the scope of reasonable network management.  When a specific cell site is congested at a specific time, Verizon plans to throttle the connection of its heaviest users until the congestion clears or the customer moves to a less congested site.  Verizon plans to classify its top 5% of data users as its heaviest users. 

Read More
Post

What’s At Stake in the DoJ Challenge to AT&T/T-Mobile? The Future of Antitrust. (Part I)

September 6, 2011 Antitrust , AT&T , Competition , Mobile Communication , Wireless

The Department of Justice (DoJ) Antitrust Division challenge to the AT&T/T-Mo deal, United States v. AT&T, Inc., in addition to being a huge deal for us in the telecom world, is probably the single most important merger review case for the next ten years. In two ways, this has become a battle about the future of antitrust enforcement and the soul of the Antitrust Division.

Read More