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#TBT: Cell phones at Blockbuster; Apple tests LTE waters; T-Mo gears up for network expansion … this week in 2012

#TBT: Cell phones at Blockbuster; Apple tests LTE waters; T-Mo gears up for network expansion … this week in 2012

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!



Pick up a movie and a smartphone at your local Blockbuster
Satellite tv operator Dish Networks is preparing to sell mobile phones through its Blockbuster video stores, according to a Bloomberg report. Dish bought the Blockbuster chain in April 2011 and has already started offering mobile phones on the Blockbuster website, so it seems logical that consumers will soon be able to purchase smartphones at the retail stores. The news comes less than three weeks after reports that Dish Networks and Google might be planning to launch a cellular network. Dish holds spectrum in the 2 GHz band and the 700 MHz band, and has said that it hopes to launch a wireless broadband business by finding a partner. In the past, the company has considered partnering with or buying a carrier, according to reports, but that looks less likely in light of the recently announced Sprint Nextel/Softbank merger and T-Mobile USA’s deal with MetroPCS. Blockbuster partners with nationwide U.S. carriers to offer the phones on its website … Read more


Contemplating OSS/BSS in the cloud
ORLANDO, FL—What parts of operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) should carriers move to the cloud? Should they use a private, public or hybrid cloud? These are tough questions that telecom operators are looking to answer while planning their future use of the cloud. Although cloud computing is a relatively new trend, several vendors are betting carriers will make the move. During a video interview at TM Forum Management World Americas, Ericsson’s Peter Briscoe said some planning, activation and media management activities can be moved to the cloud. He also discussed some of the regulatory hurdles that will impact efforts to move BSS to the cloud. “When we talk about OSS/BSS in the cloud, we see that it has become a tool for managing data center resources,” Mats Alendal, head of cloud strategy execution at Ericsson, told RCR Wireless News in an earlier interview. However, carriers are still in the early stages of adoption, noted Jaco Fourie, senior expert of business support systems at Ericsson … Read more


Verizon’s eight investment targets
ORLANDO, FL—Verizon has invested well over U.S.$150 billion in platforms, solutions and services over the past ten years. The company invested in fiber to cover 17 million people by 2004. It acquired MCI, looking to enhance its IP backbone. With 007, Verizon embraced security, and two years later it focused on LTE. Now the carrier is looking at cloud, machine-to-machine (M2M) and digital services. During this week’s TM Forum Management World Americas (check out all pieces and see our videos), Verizon’s senior vice president and CIO, Fari Ebrahimi presented Verizon’s eight focus areas for investment: LTE, fiber optics, global IP, cloud, healthcare services, security services and M2M as well as developing partnerships and joint ventures to deliver new products. Ebrahimi stepped on the stage during the the event’s keynote session, highlighting how the consumerization of IT has impacted the wireless industry. “Bandwidth-intensive mobile use and IP services will accelerate the needs of the connected world,” he said. In addition, Ebrahimi noted the impact of cloud computing and machine-to-machine applications. “Companies are spending more and more on cloud computing. Significant global enterprises are investing in cloud and M2M, so revenue opportunities exist,” he said. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.


Apple tests the LTE waters
Apple has turned the tables on service providers, running tests of the iPhone 5 on their 4G/LTE networks before allowing carriers to market the new smartphone. Now some mobile operators, who are used to testing their own networks when launching a new device, may find themselves unable to offer LTE service on the iPhone 5 even if they have the phone. Last week Swisscom launched its LTE network, but was not able to offer LTE service to iPhone 5 users. “Apple will provide a software update in due course,” Swisscom told frustrated iPhone 5 users. The carrier is waiting for Apple’s engineers to certify the phone according to their own tests, which they are conducting on Swisscom’s network. If the iPhone 5 passes the tests, Apple will push a software update that will allow the device to connect to Swisscom’s LTE network. Apple (AAPL) is the first handset maker to take control of the network testing process in this way. Although carriers usually get the blame when a device does not perform on their network, Apple apparently wants to minimize the chances that this will happen with the iPhone 5. … Read more


T-Mo gears up for network expansion …
T-Mobile USA’s plans to bolster its network and position in the domestic market received a financial boost late last week from its parent company Deutsche Telekom, which said it plans to spend $4.7 billion in 2013 and $3 billion per year in 2014 and 2015 on capital expenditures for its U.S. operations. The investment will focus on the build out of T-Mobile USA’s previously announced network migration plans that include the deployment of LTE services. The investment news accompanied an announcement that T-Mobile USA would begin offering Apple products in 2013, likely in line with its LTE rollout plans.DT noted that $4 billion of its 2013 investments would be focused on the LTE network plans, echoing previous comments from T-Mobile USA regarding the cost of its network initiative, and that total investments would be a significant improvement compared with the $2.7 billion average spent on T-Mobile USA capex over the past three years … Read more


…. And jumps on the Apple wagon
T-Mobile USA’s German parent Deutsche Telekom says the carrier will bring Apple products to its customers next year, meaning that all four of the nationwide service providers now have agreements with Apple. Even some regional carriers have gotten the iPhone, but so far T-Mobile USA has been passed over. Its 3G network is not currently compatible with the iPhone 5 and it does not have a live LTE network. A T-Mobile iPhone 5 would be more likely to debut on the LTE network of MetroPCS, after MetroPCS and T-Mobile USA complete their planned merger. Deutsche Telekom says the T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS merger should close in the first half of 2013, and that it expects to increase capital expenditures at that time. A press release outlining the carrier’s future investment plans contained a reference to its agreement with Apple, saying simply that T-Mobile USA and Apple have agreed to “bring products to market together in 2013.” With the MetroPCS merger on the horizon, Deutsche Telekom seems ready to renew its financial commitment to T-Mobile USA … Read more


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