Archive for the ‘metropcs’ tag
Dyle Mobile TV – remember this? That’s the consumer-facing brand for a new mobile TV service from Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a group of broadcasters that includes FOX, NBC, ION Television, Bahakel, Univision, Telemundo, and Pearl LLC (Pearl is: Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media). Earlier this year, the company promised the first Dyle Mobile TV handset would arrive on MetroPCS sometime in 2012. That’s still in the works, if you’re curious. Now the company is attempting to drum up consumer interest with the results of a new survey indicating consumer desire for such a service.
In its “Dyle Mobile TV report” released this month, the company tapped a third-party research firm to poll a representative sample of 510 U.S. consumers, ages 18-54 to find out how they watch TV and video, and more importantly, whether they would be interested in a live, mobile TV service on their handset. And surprise, surprise, survey says yes. But maybe for once, survey isn’t lying?
After all, if I remember correctly, there were a few excited comments about Dyle’s original announcement.
According to the survey data, 26% of those asked had streamed video on a mobile device over the past thirty days, 22% on an iPad or tablet. 68% said they would probably watch more TV if they had access to a live, mobile TV service and 61% even said they were somewhat or very likely to switch to get it.
Now, I’m not a huge fan of self-serving reports like this, but one thing jumped out at me when I spoke with Erik Moreno, Co- General Manager of MCV and Senior VP of Corporate Development at Fox Networks Group – and that’s the timing of the launch, in light of the crackdowns on mobile carriers’ “unlimited” data offerings, and the expense of getting all your devices under one umbrella.
Dyle’s planned service would operate in a parallel network to that of the carriers. “We’re moving into a data cap world, where even watching YouTube or watching Netflix on your cell phone, or on your tablet if you’re on an LTE network, is going to cost you and it’s going to cost you a lot,” says Moreno, “and consumers are waking up to that fact. We’re going to be showing up an alternative.”
MCV still won’t announce the launch date or model of the MetroPCS phone (it’s 4.5-inch Android device coming “soon,” meaning “months”). It’s also planning to offer dongles for iOS devices, and the company is working with tablet OEMs and auto companies in order to support more form factors. Pricing on what all this will cost you is still vague (dongles should be “the price of an iPad case,” we’re told, but that can be a wide range.)
But these things might hit at a good time for consumers. We’re bumping into our data caps left and right around here, YouTube alone eats away at 25% of mobile network data, and audio and video streaming account for more than half of mobile data in North America. If Dyle can hit the sweet spot in its own pricing, it could help make live TV still matter in a world where time-shifted and on-demand programming now has consumer mindshare.
“Live television,” Moreno says, ”it may be old, it may be stodgy, but it’s at least familiar.”
Aww, poor ol’ live TV, I almost feel bad for it now.
Huawei Launches $149 Activa 4G For MetroPCS, Cleverly Avoids Competition With Its First U.S.-Bound 4G LTE Device
Huawei has been relatively quiet of late. Aside from Ascend D Quad smartphone we saw announced back at MWC, the company hasn’t been very present on U.S. shores. But with LTE hitting its stride, the company has today announced its very first 4G LTE handset: the Activa 4G.
MetroPCS will carry the prepaid device, which is a Android 2.3 Gingerbread-powered handset. It sports a 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen with a 5-megapixel rear camera (LED flash-enabled) and a VGA front-facing camera for video chat.
“We are honored to bring our first 4G LTE device to U.S. audiences with the support of MetroPCS’ powerful and expansive network,” said EVP of Huawei Device USA Michael Chuang. “MetroPCS is committed to providing customers with advanced, flexible and affordable smartphone options through its no-annual contract services, and is the ideal partner for Huawei’s entrance into a new era for smartphones and handsets.”
While Huawei is a bigger player in Asia, the company has yet to make waves here in the States in any tangible way. That said, MetroPCS seems like a good fit for this device as it won’t have as much competition from other flagship devices as it would on Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint.
The Huawei Activa 4G is available now in MetroPCS stores and online for $149, which is a little high for a mid-range device, but you can make it back up by being free from a contract.
T-Mobile USA’s parent Deutsche Telekom today reported earnings for the quarter that ended March 31, with revenues and earnings in slight decline compared to a year ago: sales for the carrier came in at €14.4 billion, a decline of 1.1 percent; and earnings of €4.48 billion ($5.8 billion) were down by 0.1 percent. Both figures, however, still managed to beat forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg.
With the future of T-Mobile USA still in play — there are reports that the carrier may be merged with MetroPCS, in the wake of T-Mobile’s merger with AT&T getting scuppered by regulators — Deutsche Telekom noted in a separate release that the carrier performed well with earnings up by eight percent to $1.3 billion (€1 billion) even as revenues were down by 2.3 percent to $5 billion. And customer retention issues still persist at the carrier — the last major mobile operator in the U.S. not offering the popular iPhone: it lost over half a million (510,000) contract subscribers in the quarter.
And that loss in higher-value contract customers was not offset by gains in lower-value prepay subscribers, which grew only by 187,000. Still, Philipp Humm, the chief executive of T-Mobile USA, noted that the contract churn is the company’s lowest-yet in seven quarters.
DT says T-Mobile USA is “well on schedule” in its $4 billion LTE migration for 2013 — a big part of the company’s bid to refresh the T-Mobile brand under its so-called “Challenger Strategy”. It’s building that 4G network using spectrum it picked up from AT&T as a consequence of that deal falling through, and adding to it by refarming some of its own older spectrum. As part of DT’s relaunch of the network, the company also says it plans to expand its sales and marketing activities.
Despite the loss of contract subscribers, T-Mobile is managing to make some good gains in the U.S. ARPU was up slightly to $58 from $56 a year ago. Although it noted in its release that it was the first carrier to offer a Lumia smartphone from Nokia in the U.S., it did not give out details on how well it sold.
DT is also trying to look to the future and build out new services, like its multi-screen entertainment business, in a bid to further offset declines in its traditional retail phone business. In Germany, “Entertain,” as DT’s TV service is called, now has 1.7 million subscribers, the company says, up 37.2 percent compared to last year, with 173,000 new customers picked up in the quarter. DT’s approach with TV has been one of multiple technologies, and in Q1, 81,000 of those new subscribers actually look a satellite-based rather than fiber-based service.
DT’s home market remains the single-biggest operation for the company with revenues of €5.7 billion ($7.4 billion). Overall that figure was down by “only” 2.3 percent, with the decline fuelled by strong competition in both mobile and broadband services, but slowed by a strong performance in wholesale. Overall mobile revenues were down by 1.8 percent in Germany, although mobile data revenues grew by 20 percent to €462 million.
T-Mobile is acting tough with its edgy new marketing campaigns, but the fourth-place U.S. wireless carrier is still in a vulnerable position after its acquisition by AT&T fell apart, and it’s losing subscribers like crazy.
So what is T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, to do? Apparently, it’s considering merging T-Mobile with MetroPCS, America’s fifth-largest carrier, according to a Bloomberg report.
The deal would potentially be a stock-swap transaction, sources tell Bloomberg, that would leave Deutsche Telekom in charge of the combined company. But it seems other options are on the table for T-Mobile, including an IPO or sale of T-Mobile as it is, the sources said.
Not surprisingly, neither T-Mobile nor Deutsche Telekom are commenting on the news.
Deutsche Telekom is announcing its quarterly earnings tomorrow, and it’s projected to report a loss of 470,000 T-Mobile subscribers. That’s on top of a steady drop in subscribers over the last several quarters. After its last earnings report in February, T-Mobile announced a $4 billion “Challenger Strategy” to roll out LTE in 2013 — which seemed too little, too late for the struggling carrier.
DT would have an easier time passing a merger between T-Mobile and MetroPCS past U.S. regulators, who surprised industry watchers by squashing the $39 billion AT&T deal. As the fourth and fifth-place U.S. wireless carriers, a merger wouldn’t have the monopoly concerns that the AT&T deal did (which would have made AT&T the largest carrier in the U.S.).
Japanese phone-maker Kyocera has a long way to go before it can really penetrate the U.S. market in the smartphone realm, but its just-announced Rise smartphone — running Android 4.0 and sporting a pleasant physical keyboard — might help.
Kyocera introduced the new phone at the CTIA Wireless conference where we had a chance to test the device out and see what it has to offer. While the phone is not impressive in any one way, it’s a solid all-around package that will likely appeal to those on pre-paid carriers like Boost and MetroPCS.
The specs aren’t terribly impressive: the Kyocera Rise offers a 3.5-inch screen with 480-by-320 resolution, a 1-GHz processor, a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash, and a 1,500 mAh battery. Up close the screen looked terrible, with dull colors and a cheap-feeling plastic case. But on the plus side, the device is lightweight, the keyboard offers a nice typing experience, and its basic performance was fluid thanks to the Ice Cream Sandwich software.
The pre-paid market doesn’t get the sexy hyped phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC Droid Incredible 4G, but those who prefer more reasonable plans on the pre-paid carriers still want power and versatility out of their devices. That’s a completely fair expectation, and it is admirable Kyocera is tackling that. In the same category as the Rise is the Kyocera Hydro, a waterproof smartphone with Ice Cream Sandwich that was also announced at CTIA.
A Kyocera spokesperson told me on the floor of the convention that Kyocera doesn’t even register in the top 10 manufacturers by smartphone market share in the U.S. But its strategy of putting cheap Android phones on carriers like Cricket, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, and Boost Mobile seems a smart way to gain traction since the post-paid market is overcrowded with Android phones.
Pricing and availability for the Rise are both up in the air, but Kyocera said the device will arrive on pre-paid and post-paid carriers. We expect the device to be free with a 2-year contract or less than $200 upfront on a pre-paid carrier.
Check out our slideshow of the Rise:
Filed under: mobile
It seems like everyone and their mother are looking to roll out their own LTE networks these days: Verizon and AT&T continue to build theirs out, Sprint is busy laying the groundwork (possibly without LightSquared’s help), and MetroPCS and U.S. Cellular are offering LTE on a more local scale.
Now an even smaller operator is looking to join the fray — C Spire Wireless (formerly known as Cellular South) aims to light up LTE service in September 2012. The only catch is that you’ll have to be in Mississippi to use it.
C Spire seems to be taking things nice and easy for right now, as their LTE network is expected to go live in 20 markets throughout Mississippi, though there’s no word yet on their plans beyond the Magnolia State. As the eighth-largest wireless provider in the country, their wireless purview only includes Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Tennessee and Florida, so here’s hoping for a quick and painless process for their customers.
I’ll admit, it may seem a bit weird for such a small company to sink money into building out an LTE network, but I doubt that customers will have much room to complain. A quick look at Verizon and AT&T’s coverage maps proves that there’s no other LTE to be had in the state, save for a small pocket of Verizon high speed data in Mississippi’s northeast corner.
Even less is known about what kind of hardware C Spire customers will have access to, though I don’t feel particularly bad for them: they’re the only ones who can score an iPhone 4S on contract for $150.
There’s been plenty of news about HTC of late. If you’ve been following our MWC coverage, you know all about it and I won’t bore you. Instead, I’ll just let you in on a little tidbit that we learned here at HTC’s New York roundtable and give you a few of my impressions of HTC’s One V.
This is a CDMA/HSPA+ device, will be available both on-contract and as a prepaid phone from various carriers. We weren’t all that thrilled with HTC’s decision to offer its flagship One X smartphone on only one carrier (AT&T), but at least the Taiwanese phone maker is spreading out the love when it comes to their more mid-range handset. As of right now, we can confirm that the One V will be available on-contract from U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile, and as a pre-paid phone on Virgin and MetroPCS.
Obviously there’s still no word on pricing and these babies aren’t even available until spring, but if you’re already planning out your next phone this could be helpful information.
I just got up close and personal with the One V, and I have to say it feels pretty damn good. Where HTC is really winning is in that aluminum unibody design with soft-touch. I’ve been noticing that phones from all the big guys — Samsung, LG, and Motorola — are all feeling increasingly plastic-y, something I attribute to their desire for “thin and light.”
HTC’s new phones may not be the lightest, but at least they don’t feel like toys. I’m also pleased with the One V’s size, sporting that 3.7-inch display. The phone itself is almost exactly the same size as an iPhone, and while big beautiful displays are all the rage right now, the One V took me back to a place where phones were actually comfortable in the hand.
The phone sports a little chin, much like the HTC Status or G1, and the black bezel takes over the entire front portion of the phone. Though the screen itself doesn’t go edge-to-edge, it certainly gives off the impression that it does. You’ll notice that there are only three capacitive buttons down below.
HTC didn’t have the software running on the One V, so I’m focusing mainly on hardware here. However, I’m told that the software is the same across all of these One devices, except for carrier bloatware of course. That said, Sense 4.0 is really snappy. You’d expect Sense (one of the heavier vendor overlays) would slow down Android even more than it already lags, but I didn’t find this to be the case.
At least on the One X, Sense only brings a new layer of dimension to the phone rather than bogging it down. HTC’s weather and clock widget are still beautiful, as per usual, but where we’re really seeing some huge UI changes is in the camera app. Sense has brought way more controls into the camera app, along with a continuous shutter mode which takes five pictures a second.
That’s right. The One series shutter snaps pics in .2 seconds, which far surpasses anything we’ve called snappy before. I’d say it just barely beats out the iPhone 4S, but it’s hard to say without a stop watch. The One phones send a snapped picture straight to the little review square on the bottom left, whereas on the iPhone you watch a virtual shutter as the picture’s being loaded into your gallery. This makes it hard to tell which is really the fastest, but it doesn’t really matter since both are super snappy. The One V, on the other hand, has a camera downgrade to 5-megapixels from 8-megapixels.
Hopefully this guy doesn’t go for more than $200, though I’m thinking we’ll see it land south of $150. Truth be told, even for $200 this seems like a worthwhile offering.
Despite a clear desire to better compete with Verizon and AT&T, Sprint has vetoed a deal to takeover MetroPCS, a pre-paid wireless company and the fifth-largest U.S. mobile telecommunications network, according to multiple reports.
The carrier’s board of directors is said to have rejected the transaction, even though Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was a proponent of the deal, CNBC reported.
The deal, had it gone through, would have given Sprint additional spectrum and boosted its subscriber base by 9.3 million customers. The transaction would have valued MetroPCS at $8 billion.
Sprint reported a smaller than expected loss, thanks in no small part to sales of Apple’s iPhone, in its first quarter earnings, but the company has done little to boost its position in the market. Last year, Sprint launched a legal assault to block AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile (a deal that later fell through) to protect its position. But the third-largest U.S. carrier isn’t doing itself any favors by taking longer than expected to introduce 4G LTE phones.
The Sprint-MetroPCS deal, reported CNBC’s David Farber, was said to be fully negotiated and close enough to completion that it could have been announced after Sprint’s board meeting on Wednesday.
“It is not clear why the Sprint board rejected the deal after CEO Dan Hesse endorsed it and after months of talks between the two companies had already taken place,” Farber said. “I am told that regulatory concerns were not the reason the Sprint board vetoed the transaction, but again unclear as to why they would go against a deal that many of them were already well aware of.”
The answer, said Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher King in an interview, is that Sprint’s board of directors has lost confidence in Hesse, who’s future at the company may now be questionable.
“It certainly indicates a different line of thinking between Dan Hesse and his board,” King said. “Having this public a breakup on a deal that he’s endorsed is almost akin to no confidence.”
King said Sprint may next consider a takeover of San Diego-based Leap Wireless.
Photo credit: The Consumerist/Flickr
In an ironic turn of events, the fourth largest U.S. carrier T-Mobile is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt Verizon’s pending acquisition of additional wireless spectrum currently licensed by some of the nation’s biggest cable companies.
Verizon previously agreed to pay cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc., Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications) $3.6?billion to license a portion of wireless spectrum currently not in use. In return, the cable companies will cross-market Verizon’s phone, video, Internet and cell phone services to its customers. Additionally, Verizon has also agreed to halt any further build out of its FiOS broadband cable TV and Internet service.
T-Mobile is arguing that allowing the deal to go through would give Verizon an “excessive concentration” of spectrum, which in turn could stifle competition. Verizon, on the other hand, is defending the deal because it will allow the company to boost download speeds and better facilitate the growing number of data-hungry smartphone customers.
The fact that T-Mobile is against allowing any one company to control a vast portion of spectrum is interesting. Just months ago, the company unsuccessfully fought to for federal regulators to approve its $39 billion merger with AT&T. The merger fell through in December 2011, leaving T-Mobile once again as the smallest of the big fish carriers.
T-Mobile isn’t the only one urging the FCC to stop Verizon from obtaining more spectrum. The fifth largest wireless carrier MetroPCS and 10 special interest groups have also filed petitions with the FCC in regards to blocking Verizon’s deal.
It should come as no surprise that AT&T may have to make a few sacrifices to settle their pending T-Mobile deal, but a new report today reveals who exactly AT&T has been starting conversations with.
In order to help grease the wheels, AT&T is reportedly in talks with MetroPCS and Leap Wireless (parent company of insectoid bargain carrier Cricket) regarding the sale of spectrum access and subscribers.
AT&T appears to be engaging in preliminary talks with both companies, but Bloomberg’s sources report that they have also reached out to a handful of other companies about striking a deal. That short list includes CenturyLink, Dish Network, and perhaps most interestingly, Sprint-Nextel.
In light of the Department of Justice lawsuit filed on August 31, AT&T’s plan to sell off assets is meant to minimize concerns that an AT&T/T-Mobile merger would reduce competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. AT&T’s talks with their smaller competitors are likely to be very informal at this point, which could work out to AT&T’s advantage. By engaging in preliminary talks with competitors AT&T can say that they’re making efforts to address DOJ concerns and put on a cooperative face for the public (and their shareholders) in time for their first hearing on the 21st.
Even so, Bloomberg reports that even if an asset purchasing agreement were to be struck, it still may not be enough to sway the Justice Department. AT&T seems to be testing the waters here to see what kind of reaction their initial talks get them, but we’ll see how things really play out in just a few days.