Items tagged "Mobile Communication"

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Why Unlimited Mobile-to-Mobile Calling is Evidence of a Lack of Wireless Competition

February 9, 2011 FCC , Mobile Communication , Spectrum Reform , TXTSMS , Wireless

Today AT&T announced that it was offering a new feature to some of its subscribers: unlimited calling to any mobile number.  This comes after the news that they were also offering free microcells  (little boxes that boost reception in your home) to some iPhone users, and that Verizon was offering unlimited wireless data to its own iPhone subscribers.  Why is this flood of enticements evidence that there is not very much competition between wireless companies?

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FCC Inaction on Text Messaging Hurts Nonprofits and Charities

November 3, 2010 FCC , Mobile Communication , TXTSMS , Wireless

Text messaging has amazing potential to call citizens to action. In the right circumstances, charities and non-profits have had astounding success amplifying the voice and generosity of individuals. However, all is not well in the land of text messaging. Cell phone carriers have stepped forward to claim that they have veto power over every text message sent in America, and the FCC has still not acted on Public Knowledge’s 2007 petition to ban discrimination or censorship of text messages.

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PK In the Know Podcast

October 29, 2010 Innovation , Mobile Communication , MVPD , TV Everywhere

On today’s podcast, we talk the Fox/Cablevision retransmission battle, Comcast’s announcement that you don’t need to be on a Comcast Internet connection to get Xfinity video, Apple’s universal SIM card that will never be useful in the United States, the copyright protections that were the secret to Netflix’s success, and Amazon’s small step towards allowing book sharing on the Kindle.

You can download the audio directly by clicking here (MP3) or stream it using the player below:

Want to subscribe to our podcast? Click here for the MP3 feed and here for the mixed audio/video feed.

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PK In the Know Podcast

October 22, 2010 Competition , Innovation , Mobile Communication , Set-Top Box , TXTSMS

In this week’s podcast, we talk about TV networks fighting to keep the Internet off of your TV, tiered pricing on mobile data networks, the latest in SMS statistics, and interview the guys from MakerBeam, an erector set for the Internet age.

You can download and listen to the audio by clicking here (MP3) or stream it using the player below:

Want to subscribe to our podcast? Click here for the MP3 feed and here for the mixed audio/video feed.

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Genachowski Enters FCC In 12-Step Program To Stop Enabling Consumer Abuse

October 15, 2010 Competition , FCC , Mobile Communication , Regulatory Reform , Set-Top Box

“The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.” So goes the self-help cliché. For regulatory agencies, the first step is admitting that industry has a problem and that the wonderful happy world of the unregulated market – no matter how wildly competitive it might or might not be – doesn’t always protect consumers and that in fact, sometimes, free market dogma to the contrary, you actually reach the best result for everyone by having government set basic rules of disclosure and enforcement (the classic paper on this being economist George Akerlof’s oft-cited “The Market For Lemons.” The recent experience with the meltdown of the financial services sector and its ongoing tribulations provide rather vivid proof that “trusting the market” and waiting for “proof of a problem.”

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The Verizon Wireless Data Rip Off—A Case Study

October 14, 2010 Competition , FCC , Mobile Communication , Regulatory Reform

For several years now, without unilateral amends by the company, or intervention by the FCC, Verizon Wireless, has profited handsomely when subscribers push a wrong button on their handsets and unintentionally access the Internet.  15 million subscribers initiated data sessions generating over $90 million in revenues for Verizon.  The revenue number is so high, because many handsets offer one button Internet access and even a few seconds of access generated a $1.99 fee as data users, lacking a monthly plan, trigger a per Megabyte fee regardless of whether only a few bytes got transmitted.  See  <

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In this week’s podcast, we bring home the saga of T-Mobile and Weedmaps.com, discuss problems with the new generation of set-top boxes, summarize the Next Big Nashville/Digital Leadership Summit, the Open Hardware Summit, and the Open Video Conference.  We also talk to Aaron Dunn of Musopen, the free public domain classical music project about the project and about how you can help (hint: he doesn’t need any more money).

You can download and listen to the audio by clicking here (MP3) or stream it using the player below:

Want to subscribe to our podcast? Click here for the MP3 feed and here for the mixed audio/video feed.

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When Banning Works Better than Blocking: Bill Proposes to Make Prison Cell (Phones) Contraband

July 22, 2010 Competition , Enforcement , Jamming , Mobile Communication , Wireless

The Associated Press brings us the news that both house of Congress have passed parallel bills to ban the use of cell phones and other wireless devices in federal prisons. The bill, S. 1749, was introduced to curb the illicit use of cell phones within prisons to conduct criminal business from inside prisons.

This solution stands in stark contrast to one that had been shopped around not too long ago by vendors of cell blocking tech, where prisons would install jammers to block cellular signals in and around prisons. Fortunately, instead of trotting out a technological solution (with its concomitant negative effects on legitimate users) to what is a broader problem, this bill attempts to address the problem by using tools already in place within the system.

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AYCE and the Third Screen

June 7, 2010 Broadband , Mobile Communication , Wireless

AT&T recently announced that it plans to abandon All You Can Eat (“AYCE”) unmetered data pricing substituting usage-based plans.  One certainly can appreciate a strategy that eliminates cross-subsidies from light to heavy users.  But consider what eliminating AYCE does to the overall conceptualization of wireless broadband.

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What is the Opposite of Competitive?

June 3, 2010 AT&T , Broadband , Mobile Communication , Verizon , Wireless

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a market is competitive or not.  How many businesses need to be in a market in order to count as competitive?  How big do they have to be?  What counts as a business in the market? 

Other times, it is easy to tell if the market is competitive.  Are businesses doing things that are good for consumers but bad for their bottom lines?  If so, it is probably because competition is forcing them to act.

Take, as a completely random example, the world of dial-up Internet access in the early and mid-90s. 

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