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Categories: wireless

Wireless Net Neutrality: Dead?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 06

The effort to let any Web service run over wireless networks may be dead. On April 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Federal Communications Commission couldn’t tell the U.S.’s largest cable company, Comcast, not to interfere with certain types of traffic.

Pantech Hires New Execs, Readies to Storm AT&T

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 18

Wireless handset maker Pantech is bolstering the senior ranks of its U.S. division to help it win more business from AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile phone service provider. South Korea-based Pantech named David Ronis as its chief marketing officer, a newly created position, the company plans to announce on March 19. Pantech also said that Charles Park became CEO of its U.S. operations in December.

Americans Pay More For Mobile Apps

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 17

Consumers in North America pay more by far for mobile applications than people in all other regions of the world, according to a new study by wireless consultant Chetan Sharma….

Clear’s Mobile Users Really Use The Service

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 16

Listen up, wireless industry. If you promise users high-speed mobile Web access — and your network actually delivers — subscribers will flock to your product. Ask Clearwire. An average Clear service user consumes more than 7 Gigabytes of data per month, says Clearwire.

Nokia Revises Market Share Numbers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 12

Nokia’s cell phone market share in 2009 wasn’t as big as the company previously announced. Nokia said its products accounted for 34% of the global market for cell phones, compared with 38% previously announced. The company blamed a flood of Chinese and fake phones — devices often marketed under a brand close to Nokia’s but manufactured by others.

J.D. Power: Wireless Call Quality Has Declined

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 18

Wireless call quality is getting worse, according to a new study. “….reported call quality problems have increased considerably in 2010,” according to the Feb. 18 report from J.D. Power & Associates. Out of 100 calls placed, 13 experienced some problems, up from 11 six months ago. In particular, the number of reported dropped calls has increased to six per 100 calls, up from four six months ago.

Leap and MetroPCS: Can This Marriage Work?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 12

MetroPCS has hired several advisors to explore a potential purchase of rival Leap. But can this combination work

Symbian Goes Open Source

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 03

On Feb. 4, the Symbian Foundation will release the first completely open-sourced version of its mobile phone operating system, a move it hopes will make it easier for developers to improve the software and create applications for use on Symbian-based phones. Starting tomorrow, programmers will be able to download, modify and use the software at no charge.

Leap Wireless: No Easy Sell

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 01

Leap Wireless has hired Goldman Sachs and asked its board members to consider selling the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. Leap’s shares jumped 13.1% today, to $14.92, amidst investor hopes of a quick deal. Chances are, selling Leap won’t be easy, however.

Mobile Phone Market Rebounds

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 29

After retrenching for five consecutive quarters, sales of cell phones returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, reports consultant IDC. In that period, mobile phone sales rose 11.3%, and vendors including Nokia, Samsung and LG shipped 325.3 million units worldwide. Full-year sales were still down 5.2%, to 1.13 billion handsets vs. 2008, according to IDC. IDC analyst Kevin Restivo called the rebound “dramatic.”

iPad: Pushing More Americans to Pay More for Wireless Service

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 27

On Jan. 27, Apple said it will soon make available a version of its iPad tablet computer able to run over AT&T’s wireless network, as long as you pay $15 or $30 a month for service. The device could usher in the era of more people paying wireless charges for multiple mobile devices.

Sprint Nextel’s Ad Spending Skyrockets

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 22

Ad spending by wireless companies is going through the roof. Sprint Nextel’s ad spending might have hiked 40% in 2009 over 2008, according to Jan. 22 report from Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett and TNS Media Intelligence. It now adds up to 4.4% of Sprint’s revenues — double the level of its peers.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Use Shifts from Laptops to Handhelds

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 23

More people are accessing Wi-Fi hotspots at cafes and airports via smartphones vs. laptops, according to a new study from In-Stat. While, last year, handhelds accounted for 20% of total connects to Wi-Fi hotspots, in 2009 that number jumped to 35%. And by 2011, smartphones should account for half of hotspot connects — and challenge laptops’ dominance of Wi-Fi hotspots, In-Stat estimates.

Mary Meeker: Mobile Internet to Surpass PC Web

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 16

More users will access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within five years, according to a Dec. 16 report from Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker, one of the analysts who predicted the original Internet boom. “The mobile Internet is ramping faster than desktop Internet did,” according to the report.

Pico Projectors Gallore

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 09

Long talked about, smartphone pico projectors — small accessories that allow phones to project video and photos onto 40- to 60-inch screens — have finally begun to ship.

Smartphone Use Drives Online Shopping

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 01

As holiday shopping ramps up, an increasing number of consumers are using their smartphones to locate stores, to get coupons and to make purchases. More than 40% of 173 iPhone users surveyed by Sanford C. Bernstein reported a substantial increase in their online shopping, the result of greater use of smartphones, according to a Dec. 1 report. Nearly 30% of 187 BlackBerry users surveyed had reported to have experienced the same effect.

Giffgaff MVNO Taps Into Crowd-Sourcing

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 25

Launched on Nov. 25, British wireless service provider Giffgaff is focused on costs, and it plans to use its customers to slash them. The company, which uses O2’s network, awards customers points for answering customer service calls, suggesting ways to grow revenues, and creating marketing materials.

DT to Seek U.S. Partners for T-Mobile USA

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 20

T-Mobile USA’s parent Deutsche Telekom is looking for U.S. partners to help fund the U.S. wireless carrier’s network build-out, according to a report from Reuters and a German newspaper. Potential partners may include Clearwire, MetroPCS or Leap, according to the report.

FCC to Speed Wireless Tower Approvals

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 18

With network neutrality rules in the works and an investigation into handset exclusivity deals underway, the Federal Communications Commission has not been a great favorite of the wireless industry of…

In-Stat: Carriers to Sell 1/3 of All Notebooks by 2013

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 18

By 2013, carriers will sell 31% of all notebooks, according to a Nov. 18 report from consultant In-Stat. What this means is, in three years, nearly a third of new laptop buyers will be paying carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T a monthly laptop service fee, which stands at around $60 in the U.S. today. That fee would come in addition to what consumers pay for their mobile phone service.

Money Transfer: The Top Mobile App of 2012?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 18

Money transfer will be the No. 1 consumer application in year 2012, according to Nov. 18 report from consultant Gartner. The app is expected to have more revenue potential than mobile search and browsing, mobile health monitoring and mobile music. In fact, mobile transfers are expected to be an even bigger business than various types of mobile payments, such as using cell phones to pay for produce at grocery stores.

Gartner: Gray-Market Phones Get Better

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 12

Cell phones made by no-name manufacturers in China are “no longer just ultra-low cost models,” according to a Nov. 12 report from consultant Gartner. “Gartner has torn down several gray-market products that showcase enhanced-phone features.” Distributors report that gray-market shops are moving to incorporate 3G technology and high-resolution cameras into their devices, threatening businesses of everyone from Nokia to Apple.

Droid: The New Android Marketing Brand

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 05

This morning, Verizon Wireless announced Droid Eris, a new phone from HTC. The announcement comes on the heels of another, of Motorola Droid, another smartphone device based on Android software developed by Google and its partners. So Verizon Wireless has decided to develop a single brand for all Android-based phones it puts out: Droid, a company spokesperson confirms.

This is What Verizon’s Largest Marketing Campaign Buys

Posted by: Spencer Ante on November 04

Last Thursday, I went down to Union Square in downtown New York City and ran into Verizon’s marketing juggernaut for its new Droid phone. The new Motorola device, which was…

Droid Shatters the Competitive Landscape

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 29

Not since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 has the announcement of a new product had as dramatic an effect on the competitive landscape of the smartphone business…

Zong Debuts Payment Service Linked To Cell Numbers

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on October 29

For year I’ve been waiting for the day when I can pay for something with my wireless phone. Technically I guess that day has been here for awhile — you…

Google Maps Navigation: Another Shot at iPhone

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 28

Amid rising competition between Google’s Android mobile operating software and the iPhone, Google this morning is sending another shot Apple’s way. It’s debuting a free beta version of a new…

U.S.: Leading the World in Mobile eBook Use

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 27

A year ago, most U.S. ebook publishers predicted a bright future for ebook reading on mobile phones — in other countries. The going assumption had been that, in the U.S., people will buy special ebook readers, like the Amazon Kindle, instead, while mobile ebooks will become a hit in emerging markets, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, where people don’t have the money to buy specialized devices. Well, it looks like the publishers had been wrong.

Symbian: Regaining Momentum?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 23

There are signs that Symbian could stage a come-back in the coming year. Attendance at next week’s Symbian Exchange & Exposition in London is expected to rise 20% to 25% from year-ago levels, says Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation. Despite the global recession, Symbian also expects to see more exhibitors on the show’s floor. And Symbian Foundation’s membership is up 60% since the beginning of the year, to 160 members, including some of the world’s largest carriers and handset makers.

Maine Bill to Mandate Cell-Phone Warning Labels

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 16

Early next year, Maine Rep. Andrea Boland plans to introduce a bill that would require all cell phones and their packaging to carry a warning label, advising children and pregnant women to keep the device away from their heads and bodies.

Will Moto Fracture the Android Market?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 07

On Oct. 6, Motorola introduced its so-called signature apps for its upcoming devices based on Android software for cell phones. Created by third-party developers including Accuweather, Comcast Entertainment Group and Barnes & Noble, the apps have been especially tailored to Moto devices’ menus. And they could offer a glimpse into a potential problem facing Android.

RIM’s Balsillie Loses Bid To Buy Bankrupt Hockey Team

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on September 30

Blackberry billionaire James Balsillie has lost his fight for control of the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes hockey team, about which I wrote last month. An Arizona bankruptcy judge today rejected both…

At Last: IEEE Approves 802.11n Wi-Fi Standard After 7 Years

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on September 13

People who criticize companies like Microsoft and Apple for pursuing their own de facto standards instead of working through formal standards bodies might consider the long, strange history of Wi-Fi….

Sprint Unveils Its First Android Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 03

On Sept. 3, Sprint Nextel announced it will soon start selling HTC Hero, a device that’s already won accolades in Europe. The smartphone, which will become available on Oct. 11 , is the first device from Sprint to feature Android, a phone operating system developed by a consortium of companies lead by Google. When it comes out, the Hero just may be the snazziest Android-based device around.

Is Nokia’s Netbook Too Expensive?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 02

On Sept. 2, Nokia announced the specs of its first netbook, the Nokia Booklet 3G. The netbook, which comes with a global positioning system and runs Nokia mobile services, will cost $819. Most analysts I’ve talked to expected it to cost less than $500, which is the price of premium netbooks today.

Motorola to Launch Its Android Phone on Sept. 10

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 25

I just received an e-mail invitation to a Sept. 10 Motorola event in San Francisco. The invite provides no details on the mysterious event, but it features the fun little robot that represents Androidwhich is software for mobile phones created by a coalition of companies led by Google. It’s clearly not a stretch to call this invite what it is: An invitation to the launch of Motorola’s first Android-based phone.

Nokia Unveils Netbook, Beats Apple to the Punch

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 24

On Aug. 24, Nokia unveiled its first netbook. Called the Nokia Booklet 3G, the long-rumored device features a 10-inch screen, weighs 2.75 pounds, runs Windows, and can connect to Wi-Fi as well as to cellular wireless networks.

AT&T to Require Data Plans for Smartphones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 21

Starting on Sept. 6, AT&T will require all new smartphone users to subscribe to the carrier’s wireless data plans, the company confirms to

FCC to Examine Wireless Industry Competition

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 21

On Aug. 27, the Federal Communications Commission will consider whether to examine the state of competition in the wireless industry. The agency may decide to look more closely at the industry’s largest players, including Verizon Wireless and AT&T

ZTE Makes Inroads Into the U.S.

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 13

On Aug. 13, ZTE announced that Verizon Wireless will carry its wireless broadband USB modem. This is the first time for Verizon to offer a ZTE product. The deal could be the precursor of more wins to come ZTE’s way.

Clearwire to Buy Huawei Gear

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 11

On Aug. 11, emerging wireless services provider Clearwire announced it selected Huawei as a provider of certain wireless networking gear. Huawei joins vendors Motorola and Samsung, which have already signed up to provide Clearwire with base stations that transmit wireless signals at cell sites. “It’s another proof that we are serious about the North American market,” Charlie Chen, senior vice president of marketing & product management for Huawei USA tells

Amazon, eBay Sell More Cell Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 05

A quarter of mobile phones recently sold in Western Europe had been purchased through online vs. physical stores, research project TNS ComTech found. Amazon and eBay facilitated the majority of the online purchases, according to the survey, which was based on responses from 60,000 consumers.

Opening the Wireless Internet: The Importance of Carterfone

Posted by: Spencer Ante on August 03

Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has come out swinging. You have to applaud his boldness. In the FCC’s first major inquiry since Genachowski took over the agency on June…

iSuppli: Handset Shipments Return to Growth

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 31

Nokia, Samsung, LG and Motorola now have a reason to rejoice: Sales of handsets are starting to pick up. Global shipments of cell phones rose 4.7% in the second quarter, ending nine month of sales declines, according to consultant iSuppli.

MetroPCS Falls in User Satisfaction Rankings

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 30

Of all prepaid wireless services out there, consumers are least satisfied with MetroPCS’s service, according to a new survey from J.D. Power & Associates. Last year, MetroPCS placed first among U.S. prepaid carriers in user satisfaction.

Vonage Jumps on Your Mobile

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 29

Web-calling provider Vonage will come out with a version of its service for smartphones in the second half of 2009. “The time is right to take advantage of the penetration rate of smartphone devices and Wi-Fi by providing branded mobile applications,” Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner tells’s apps could prove to be a major wake-up call for Skype, Truphone and other companies that already offer cheap calling via the iPhone and other mobile devices.

Verizon, Qualcomm Mobile Venture Attacks Embedded Market

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on July 28

As all types of machines get “smarter” with wireless connections that allow for two-way communication, chipmaker Qualcomm thinks it has the right stuff to go after the burgeoning market. The…

Pew: African Americans, Wireless Web’s ‘Pace Setters’

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 22

African Americans’ use of mobile Web has more than doubled in the past several years, according to a Pew Research Center survey released on July 22. Not only are African Americans the most active users of the wireless Internet, but their use of the mobile Web is also growing the fastest.

Verizon to Curb Handset Exclusivity

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 17

On July 17, Verizon Wireless announced that it will voluntarily start limiting the terms of its exclusive deals for handsets to six months. Is this a big deal? Well, sort of.

Nokia Dumps Symbian Services Unit

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 17

Is this the beginning of the end for Symbian? On July 17, Nokia announced it will sell its Symbian professional services unit to Accenture.

Symbian Horizon: Dialing Developers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 16

Late on July 15, mobile software maker Symbian previewed Symbian Horizon, an application-publishing program that would make it easier for developers to publish apps in multiple carrier and handset makers’ app stores. In effect, Symbian is trying to come up with an alternative to creating its own app store. Will it work?

AT&T: Wireless Industry “A Model” of Competitiveness

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 08

In a July 8 letter, AT&T fires back at allegations of anti-competitive conduct. Some of the company’s arguments don’t quite add up.

Why DoJ Won’t Get You a Verizon iPhone

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on July 07

News (subscription required for full article) that the Justice Dept. has launched an antitrust investigation into wireless phone carriers probing, among other things, whether handset exclusivity arrangements violate antitrust laws,…

Sirius XM’s iPhone App Surpasses 1 Million Downloads

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 06

Today, Sirius XM announced that, in two weeks of availability, its iPhone app has surpassed 1 million downloads on iTunes. That’s quite impressive, considering that Sirius only has 18.6 million subscribers, and that shock jock Howard Stern’s talks shows haven’t even been made available through the app.

Mobile Media Mergers Jump 46%

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 02

According to a new report from investment banker JEGI, mobile media and technology sector had seen a 46% increase in mergers and acquisitions in the second quarter of 2009. In the first half of the year, the mobile industry had struck 16 deals valued at a total of $146 million. That’s up from 11 deals valued at $107 million in the first half of 2008. What is going on?

Survey: Americans Confused by Smartphone Offers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 01

A survey of 1,000 American adults that was commissioned by Best Buy Mobile reveals consumers’ confusion over smartphones, which are souped-up cell phones able to download applications and to surf the Web.

Microsoft to Allow For Mobile App Returns?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 30

When Microsoft launches its Windows Marketplace later this year, it will apparently allow buyers to return mobile apps they don’t like. I am not sure that’s a good idea.

U.S. Government Has Same Wireless Monitoring Ability as Iran

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 30

It’s hard to tell whether the problem is ignorance or hypocrisy, but Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are making fools of themselves with their war on Nokia…

Comcast Launches Wireless Laptop Access in Portland

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 29

Comcast is dipping its toes into wireless services once more. On June 30, the nation’s largest cable services provider will start selling its own brand of high-speed wireless data service in Portland, Ore. The service will be provided via network of Clearwire, where Comcast is an investor.

App Stores for Femtocells?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 24

Do you think app stores are just for cell phones? Think again. This week, industry group Femto Forum has begun encouraging companies to create apps for small at-home cellular base stations.

Sirius XM Launches iPhone App — Without Howard Stern

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 18

On June 18, Sirius XM finally launched its highly anticipated application for iPhone and iPod touch devices. The company originally promised to release the app, which provides access to 120 channels of satellite radio programming, in the second quarter.

Kids to Buy Cell Phones With Game Points

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 16

On June 16, online games service SmartyCard announced an interesting deal with kajeet, a cell phone service made for kids. Starting today, tweens can redeem SmartyCard points earned in games for kajeet’s pay-as-you-go mobile phones.

AT&T Haters May Get Their Chance at Senate Hearing

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 15

People who love the iPhone and hate AT&T may get a chance to do some vicarious venting on Wednesday when the communications subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee convenes a…

Is the Wireless Industry Drought Over?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on June 11

Is the wireless industry poised to lead a rebound in tech spending? Business isn’t exactly booming again, but Qualcomm says orders for its wireless chips are doing well enough to…

LG Wants to Become World’s No. 2 Handset Maker

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 11

LG Electronics is aiming to become the world’s No. 2 handset maker by 2012, according to the head of the company’s handset division. “We will become the global No. 2 in 2012, and that goal applies to smartphones as well,” Skott Ahn, president and CEO of LG’s mobile communications division, said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

Virgin Mobile Introduces Prepaid Wireless Broadband

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 10

On June 10, Virgin Mobile entered the Web access business for laptops by introducing its first prepaid data access offering. Existing service providers — fixed and mobile — have got to watch out.

Palm Pre: Is It Exclusive to Sprint Or Not?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28

For months now, Sprint Nextel has been drumming up publicity for the soon-to-be-launched Palm Pre smartphone. Due to go on sale on June 6, the phone was supposed to be exclusive to Sprint, and to help the wireless carrier combat rivals and stem subscriber losses. But just how long is the phone exclusive to Sprint for?

AT&T’s Stephenson: The Road to 4G

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 27

The two largest U.S. wireless carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, will be using the same technology, a European standard called LTE, for the next generation of their wireless networks. That…

A Phone to Watch: Archos

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 18

A lot of new, highly anticipated smartphones are due to launch this summer. There’s the Palm Pre, the new iPhone (or several), new Samsung phones. But there’s one gadget that’s not getting as much hype as it should: Archos’s upcoming smartphone.

AT&T: The U.S. Smartphone Carrier?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 15

Carrier AT&T announced today that it has twice as many smartphone users as any other U.S. mobile operator. Nearly 32% of its postpaid subscribers now use an integrated device. AT&T, of course, is the exclusive service provider for the Apple iPhone in the U.S.

Boost Mobile: Getting a Boost

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 05

Today, I talked with Boost Mobile’s president Matt Carter, and he says he’s only getting started in marketing the prepaid offering. On May 1, Boost hired car racing champ Danica Patrick to promote its service in ads. At the end of May, Boost will roll out its first phone equipped with a Qwerty keyboard, Motorola’s i465. It’s also preparing to open a slew of retail stores.

Juniper: App Stores to Generate $25 Billion in Sales

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 28

Direct and indirect revenues from mobile applications should exceed $25 billion by 2014, “with growth fuelled by a raft of store launches targeting both high-end and mass market handsets,” according to a new report from Juniper Research issued on April 28. Can this be right? You bet.

Qualcomm Sees Orders Stabilizing

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on April 27

Is Qualcomm calling a bottom to the wireless industry downturn? In the company’s second-quarter earnings statement today, CEO Paul Jacobs suggests he never saw much of a downturn to begin…

Bluetooth Headset Wars

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on April 23

Who knew the mobile headset market could be so contentious? With Bluetooth wireless headsets becoming as trendy as iPhones and Blackberry’s, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the increasing…

Wireless Carriers Help Jobless Consumers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 22

Lost a job? Your wireless carrier may be able to help you out. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel can move people who’ve lost their jobs to lower-cost service plans without charging extra fees. Virgin Mobile USA has recently announced it will wave three months of service charges to certain customers who become unemployed.

Hulu’s iPhone App To Bump Up Cell-Phone Bills?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 20

Video Web site Hulu is developing an iPhone app, according to a report. The application will allow users of the iPhone and iPod touch to stream movies and TV shows via cellular or Wi-Fi connections. But while a Hulu app is sure to become a hit, I wonder how it will affect Phone service provider AT&T.

T-Mobile Sidekick Goes Social

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 17

On April 17, T-Mobile USA unveiled a new version of its popular Sidekick device. Besides improvements in hardware, the new Sidekick LX features a slew of cool social-networking features that aren’t yet widely available in the U.S. The phone will pop up Facebook, MySpace and Twitter status updates and notifications directly into an application a user is in. They will appear as screen overlays. You’ll be able to see the full text of a tweet, for instance.

Cell-Phone Multi-Player Gaming Posed for Take-Off?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 15

Today, developer Smule announced a new multi-player game for the iPhone. With Leaf Trombone World Stage, which is available from the App Store for 99 cents, users can play virtual instruments for other players. They can also judge each others’ performance. Depending on the app’s popularity, thousands if not millions of players could potentially take part in these music contests.

Should Apple Offer a See-Though Keypad iPhone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 30

Apple has always been able to spot promising new technologies, often already used by others, and to use them to create new products with tremendous mass-market appeal. If you’ll recall, Apple was not the first to create a highly capable touch-screen smartphone that could be navigated with a finger. LG had beat Apple to the game with its Prada cell phone. But it was Apple’s iPhone, offering some of the same functionality, that’s captured popular imagination. That makes me wonder if Apple could next do something with the coolest innovation in touch screens today: see-through dial pads.

Is WiMAX Losing Its Edge?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 25

The big advantage of WiMAX in the race to provide fourth-generation wireless services was supposed to be as a first mover: WiMAX boosters were counting on a lead of a…

Clearwire Announces New CEO

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 09

After the market close today, wireless broadband provider Clearwire announced a new CEO. Bill Morrow is taking over the role from Ben Wolff, a co-CEO or CEO of the company since 2004. A long-time sidekick of Chairman Craig McCaw, Wolff will stay on as co-chairman.

At DEMO 09: Meet Coveroo

Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on March 03

Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that makes for a successful business. Among those presenting at here at the DEMO 09 conference in Palm Desert, Calif. to which this applies…

Mobile Apps: A Waste of Money?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 23

Pinch Media just published an interesting report: It claims that only 30% of iPhone owners who buy an app use it the next day. Fewer than 5% of people use the app after 20 days.

Employees Back Sprint CEO Dan Hesse

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 18

In a recent survey, Sprint Nextel’s CEO Dan Hesse has received the highest employee satisfaction score among carrier CEOs, of 50%. By comparison, CEO of AT&T Mobility only received a 36% rating. What gives?

Econo-collapse? Not Us, Says RIM (Updated)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 11

The world may be full of gloom and doom, but in Waterloo, Ont., the sun still seems to be shining brightly. BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion today increased its forecast for…

Will Smartphone Sales Flatten?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 10

Nomura analyst Richard Windsor sounded an alarm this morning. While most cell-phone manufacturers still expect smartphone sales to grow 10% to 20% this year, he believes that they will hardly grow at all. “I find that the industry view that there will be good growth in smartphones in 2009 to be fundamentally flawed,” Windsor writes. “I see 2 years of almost no growth before a strong bounce back in 2011.” Could this be right?

Boost Unlimited: Not Cannibalizing Sprint

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 06

I just spoke with Matt Carter, president of Boost Mobile, about Boost Unlimited, a $50 a month prepaid monthly plan that launched in January. The plan includes unlimited calling, text messaging, wireless Web, and walkie talkie service. When it launched, some analysts feared the plan could encourage some postpaid customers of Sprint Nextel, whose network Boost uses, to switch to Boost for a cheaper service. Well, it’s not happening.

The (Not Very) Magical Properties of Obama’s BlackBerry

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 02

Coverage of President Barack Obama’s BlackBerry keeps ascribing what seems to be great technical prowess to government wizards who have managed to add all sorts of extra security features to…

Speculation Over: Obama’s BlackBerry is a BlackBerry

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on January 30

When President Barack Obama won his argument to continue carrying a BlackBerry, there was a lot of speculation, based on not much of anything, that aides were using the term…

Obama, BlackBerrys, and Secure Communications

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on January 22

News coverage of the fate of President Barack Obama’s BlackBerry has generated a lot more heat than light. What seemed the most definitive word, an Atlantic blog post by Marc…

RIM: A Strong Buy or A Sell?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 20

Is Research in Motion a good buy or bad one right now? It’s looking like things could get pretty bad for the makers of the BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Storm…

Google Loses Verizon Mobile Search Deal to Microsoft—But How Big a Loss Is It?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 08

Google just lost a big mobile search deal to Microsoft. On late Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the software giant’s Live Search will be the default search service on…

FCC’s Martin Drops Porn Filtering Idea

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 30

Even though Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin is leaving in a matter of weeks, he still hopes to push through a major policy decision he’s been backing for months: One that would create a nationwide free wireless broadband network for use by all.

T-Mobile G2 In the Works?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 22

There’s talk that HTC, the maker of the T-Mobile G1, the first phone based on software developed by a consortium of companies lead by Google, is at it again: The company is within months of releasing a new version of its first device.

Samsung to Introduce Android Phone in Q2

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 19

According to this story this morning, Samsung will launch a phone based on Android, the software developed by companies including Google, in a matter of months. The phone will become available in North America the second quarter of 2009 from Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, which currently offers the only Android phone available in the U.S., the G1. The story implies the phone may look similar to Samsung Instinct.

BlackBerry Storm: Still Loving It

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on December 18

One of the frustrations of reviewing products is that I always have to write before I have spent enough time with a product to feel really comfortable about my assessment….

Microsoft’s Zune to Offer VoIP?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 10

What does Microsoft plan to do with Zune next? There’s a good chance that the Redmond giant may enable Web-calling functionality.

BlackBerry Storm Updated

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on December 08

Research In Motion and Verizon have released updated software for the new BlackBerry Storm. Unlike some folks, I did not have serious problems with the original Storm release, but the…

S&P Cuts Moto’s Rating to Junk

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 05

Just when many investors thought that situation at Motorola couldn’t get any worse, it has: On Dec. 5, Standard & Poor’s (which is, just like, a division of McGraw-Hill Cos.) cut the handset and infrastructure maker’s rating to junk. Earlier this week, rating agency Moody’s warned it may cut Motorola’s rating as well.

Why Obama Should Keep His BlackBerry

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 17

The news over the weekend was full of stories about (the AP’s, for example) how Barack Obama will have to give up his beloved BlackBerry once he enters the White…

Obama’s New Lobbying Rules May Affect FCC Chief Selection

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 11

Henry Rivera, an influential Washington lawyer who was expected to be key in selecting the next chairman of the Federal Communications Committee, may have to help Obama with something else, instead. Blame new lobbying rules the Obama team announced today.

NPD: People Are Using Their Smartphones More

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 11

Consultancy NPD came out with a new survey today that shows that consumers are spending a lot more time using their portable electronic devices, such as PlayStation Portable, the iPod and the iPhone.

HTC Touch Pro: Much Better With a Keyboard

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 10

I was not at all impressed with the HTC Touch Diamond when I took a look at it in September. The main difference between it an its big brother, the…

White Spaces: The Wait for Devices

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 05

The FCC’s decision to open up more spectrum for mobile wireless, reported yesterday by my colleague Olga Kharif, is a big step forward. But it’s going to be some time…

FCC Makes White Spaces Free for All

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 04

On Nov. 4, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously approved to allocate a swatch of wireless spectrum for public uses similar to Wi-Fi.

White Spaces Vote Still On… For Now

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 03

A news story is going around, claiming that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to cancel its vote on white spaces tomorrow. Well, I just checked with the FCC, and was told, “That is not true.” So the vote, which could provide more wireless spectrum for free public use, is still on, for now.

Subscribers to Trim Wireless Spending?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 28

Wireless services were the one bright spot during the last economic downturn. Americans cut down on cable TV, cars, house purchases. But they’d kept their cell phones. This time around could prove to be different.

Cox to Enter Wireless Services in 2009

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 27

Cox will enter wireless services market in the second half of 2009, according to an announcement out today. The news that the cable company will effectively start to compete with AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel is hardly surprising: Cable companies including Cox and Comcast have made no secret of their wireless ambitions. Several years ago, they even acquired billions dollars worth of wireless airwaves needed to build a wireless network. What I am surprised by is that Cox is going ahead with these plans.

BlackBerry Bold Finally Lands at AT&T

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 22

The long delayed BlackBerry Bold will finally arrive in the U.S. on Election Day. Research In Motion announced today that AT&T will have the Bold in retails stores on Nov….

Unlocked Android? No So Fast

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 16

T-Mobile has said the buyers of the new G1 Android phone will be able to unlock it 90 days after purchase so it can be used on other networks. But…

FCC’s Kevin Martin Supports Freeing White Spaces

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 15

The push by the likes of Google to make a bunch of airwaves available for free, unlicensed use gained additional momentum today. On Oct. 15, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced his support for using white spaces, which are airwaves that will be freed up in the upcoming digital TV transition, for unlicensed use, similar to Wi-Fi.

AT&T to Service Devices Other Than Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 15

Today, AT&T announced a new initiative to offer wireless service plans to devices other than handsets. The announcement could signal that this huge market opportunity is finally ripe for picking.

Welcome, Distress Discount Packages

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 10

Ranjan Mishra, founding partner of consultancy ESS Analysis, has an interesting idea: To help out customers stuck between a rock and a hard place in the current financial crisis, he suggests that wireless companies start offering “distress discount packages.” Various assistance programs could be modeled after what’s already implemented by utility industries and gyms, which have long given a free month or two of membership to customers who have lost their jobs.

Xohm WiMax: A First Look

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 08

Sprint and ClearWire officially launched their Xohm (pronounced Zome)WiMax service today in Baltimore, the only city where the service is officially up and running. I didn’t get to spend a…

Visa and Google Team Up on Mobile Payments

Posted by: Spencer Ante on September 25

Mobile commerce was one of the most over-hyped trends during the dot com boom. And it still has yet to gain any significant traction in the U.S.—despite a surge in…

Wireless Plans Go Month to Month

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 24

A huge sea change just happened in the wireless industry this week. Verizon Wireless has stopped requiring subscribers to sign up for long-term service contracts. It’s voluntarily giving up on a very effective way to retain its subscribers.

White Spaces and Block D: Dead In the Water?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 23

Tomorrow, execs from Google, Microsoft and Dell will converge onto Washington, D.C., to promote allocating certain airwaves for unlicensed use. Their idea is for the public to use this spectrum in the same way we already use Wi-Fi and cordless phone frequencies — for free. Well, whether you are a proponent or an opponent of this move, chances are, a decision on these so-called white spaces will not come down this year. And neither will a decision on block D public spectrum, expected to be discussed Friday.

Five More Android Phones to Come?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 23

I just got off the phone with Jason Bremner, a director of product management at Qualcomm, whose chips power the new T-Mobile G1 phone, the first phone based on Android software developed by Google and its partners. He says Qualcomm is actively working on additional Android phones with five different handset manufacturers.

American Consumers Cut the Cord

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 18

Consultancy Nielsen Co. estimates that 17% of all Americans — 20 million of us — already rely on cell phones to make all calls. They have cut the cord, and are no longer paying for landlines. And their numbers will only increase in the next few months, as consumers battle rising gas and food prices.

T-Mobile USA Provides Revenue Share Details to Developers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 18

T-Mobile USA just announced the financial terms that will govern its new developer’s program. Applications submitted through the program will be featured in an app store, due to come online in the fourth quarter. But developers can already use T-Mobile’s special revenue calculator to figure out how much money they will make.

Skype: Wireless Networks Are Not Opening Up

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 16

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission dated Sept. 12, Chris Libertelli of Web-calling service Skype reported that he believes that U.S. wireless carriers have had a change of heart about opening up their networks.

The HTC Touch Diamond Reviewed: Good Touch Gone Bad

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on September 14

What were they thinking? The HTC Touch Diamond from Sprint ($250 after mail-in rebate, with two-year contract) is a richly featured smartphone, thin and light, with a big and gorgeous…

Would You Buy a 3G Laptop?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 12

Later this year, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo will put out their new 3G laptops. While these will likely first debut in Europe, U.S. carriers I’ve spoken to are seriously considering rolling these devices out as well, and possibly selling them through their stores. The big question is, Will U.S. consumers take to 3G laptops better than they have in the past?

T-Mobile USA to Launch Mobile Developer Program

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 12

Remember we told you that T-Mobile USA is prepping an iTunes-like App Store? Back then, T-Mobile wouldn’t confirm this assertion. But it turns out we were spot on.

Apple vs. Motorola: Moto Phone Users Browse the Web More?!

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 10

Today, we assume that users of Apple’s iPhone access the Web far more than users of other devices. Not true, according to AdMob’s data. Surprisingly, users of Motorola’s Razr V3 are more than four times as likely to access mobile Web sites (as measured by the number of ad requests they submit whenever they access sites in AdMob’s network).

Smartphone Prices Fall

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 08

The going assumption is that Apple’s iPhone’s has reinvigorated the smartphone market. Everyone wants an iPhone in order to look cool, and to be able to surf the Web and answer e-mails. That’s certainly true. But there is another reason why U.S. consumers snapped up 9 million smartphones between January and July — that’s up 84% year over year, according to consultancy NPD Group. Simply put, smartphones are getting cheaper.

iPhone 3G vs. Samsung Instinct

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 04

There’s an interesting section dominating the top of Sprint Nextel’s Web site. It offers users a comparison between Samsung’s best-selling Samsung Instinct and AT&T and Apple’s legendary iPhone 3G. According to Sprint, the Instinct often comes out on top.

3 Makes Mobile E-Mail More Affordable

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 04

Ask anyone what the wireless killer apps are, and they’ll tell you: voice and e-mail. Well, for years now, mobile e-mail has been the prerogative of the well-to-do: You had to buy a BlackBerry or another expensive smartphone and an expensive data plan to use it. Well, that’s about to change.

Android Developer Challenge Results in Some Mighty Cool Apps

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 29

The Android Developer Challenge, in which software programmers competed for cash awards to see who will create the coolest applications for upcoming Android-based cell phones, has ended. Reading the list of winners, I was pleasantly surprised: Many of these applications are nothing like what other cell phones — yes, even the iPhone — offer.

Google’s FreeTheAirwaves Push

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 18

Today, Google has launched yet another publicity campaign. asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to carve out a piece of available airwaves, called white spaces, for free public broadband use. But while the idea sounds good, and has gained support from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, I just don’t see it going anywhere any time soon — despite this additional pressure from Google.

Do You Use Several Phones?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 07

I am looking to talk to people who use several phones at the same time. If that’s you, could you please e-mail me at Thank you very much for your help!

Wi-Fi Hotspot Explosion Continues — in Europe

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 17

This year, the number of hotspots globally will rise 40%, according to consultancy ABI Research, which notes that “the greatest growth and the largest number of hotspots continue to be found in Europe. While the UK has long led in European Wi-Fi hotspots, there is also marked growth in France, Germany, and Russia.” Which begs the question: Why isn’t the U.S. market growing as fast?

Nokia: Only 3% of Cell Phones Get Recycled

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 08

Clearly, handset makers and carriers aren’t doing enough to encourage cell-phone recycling. World’s largest cell-phone maker, Nokia, just released results of a survey that suggests that only 3% of people have ever recycled their old handsets. After years of industry efforts, “three out of every four people added that they don’t even think about recycling their devices and nearly half were unaware that it is even possible to do so,” according to the survey. Nokia interviewed 6,500 people in 13 countries, including the U.S.

Sprint Opens Developer Contest for Instinct

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on July 08

In a recent column, I noted that while the Instinct, Samsung’s would-be iPhone slayer, was a very nice piece of hardware, the reason it doesn’t pose a significant challenge to…

Wireless Industry’s Staggering Impact on U.S. Economy

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 07

I just read some staggering data: By 2016, U.S. wireless industry will help bring about more productivity gains — $427 billion annually — than auto and pharmaceutical industries combined, according to a recently released report.

Sprint’s Airave Femtocells to Arrive July 15?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 02

Rumor has it that Sprint Nextel’s Airave femtocell technology will go on sale nationwide this month. Airave, which has been available in a couple of markets since September, is similar to T-Mobile’s Hotspot @Home service, which allows you to make calls from home via your mobile phone. And since the Hotspot service has been available for a year, a lot of experts have said recently that Sprint is offering too little, too late. I disagree.

Motorola Slips Further

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 01

Today, AvianResearch released its latest monthly survey designed to gage which handsets are selling well — or not — at retail stores of AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. And Motorola isn’t doing well.

Sprint to Help Virgin Mobile-Helio

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 27

Now that Virgin Mobile is all set to buy Helio, their network provider, Sprint Nextel, has offered to reduce the combined company’s network fees and to pay Virgin for acquiring new subscribers. Was that a smart move for Sprint? I am not so sure.

Mindshare Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 26

A couple of days ago I received a pitch from a company called CellSpin for a program that lets Palm Treo and Centro users post to popular blogging and social…

Can Android Vanquish the iPhone (and Walk on Water)?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 24

A theme runs through a large number of the many comments posted to my column on the iPhone and iPhone wannabes: Phones based on Google’s Android operating system will soon…

Taking Symbian Open Source: This Could Take a While

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 24

The big story today: Nokia’s decision to transform Symbian, an operating system for smartphones, into an open-source project. News headlines scream that the new, open-source Symbian will eat Google’s Android mobile OS effort alive. Well, I say: Not so fast.

Nokia Gets Symbian in Fighting Shape

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 24

Mention Symbian on this side of the ocean and you’re likely to get little more than a blank stare. Although it is the world’s most popular smartphone operating system by…

FCC to Extend Do-Not-Call List Indefinitely

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 17

Today, the Federal Communications Commission has amended its rules to require telemarketers to honor registrations with the National Do-Not-Call Registry indefinitely. The previous rules provided that registrations would expire after five years. Good news for consumers everywhere.

GestureTek: A New Way of Interacting With a Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 17

Thanks to the iPhone, Americans are going ga-ga over playing mobile games using the phone’s accelerometer. Interestingly, the Japanese might have gone through that phase already.

A New Twist On Wireless Early Termination Fees

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 12

After opposing federal regulation of early termination fees for years, telecom companies appear to have made an 180-degree turn recently. Faced with dozens of lawsuits in different states, companies like Verizon Wireless have asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to get involved. The result may be not what Verizon bargained for.

Six Questions (So Far) About the New iPhone

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 09

Now that I’m out of Steve Jobs’ famous reality distortion field, I have a few questions about the iPhone 3G announcement. But please add your own as well, since you…

Liveblogging Steve Jobs’ Keynote: New $199 3G iPhone

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 09

Wireless gods permitting, I’ll be liveblogging Steve Jobs’ keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference from Moscone Center in San Francisco, along with about a gazillion other press. It begins shortly,…

megaSIM: A New Way to Keep Wireless Subscribers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 06

This morning, SanDisk CEO Eli Harari told me of a really interesting new memory product his company is betting on that could help wireless carriers lock in subscribers. Called megaSIM, this type of memory will become from carriers in Europe in the second half of 2008.

Mark Cuban: Tiered Broadband is Wonderful

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 05

Mark Cuban, the former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant and TV services investor, is all for tiered broadband. “If the choice is between your being able to download more movies or other video and my getting the best possible speed from my internet connection, I’m thrilled when you get kicked off,” he wrote in a post on his blog. “It can’t happen soon enough. Speed is what I need. Take all your P2P downloads and get the hell off my internet.”

Coffee and Free Wi-Fi: Now That’s Service!

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 04

Starbucks just made a really smart move: It began offering its loyal customers free Wi-Fi. Until recently, T-Mobile charged $10 a day for the service inside Starbucks. And many customers opted to work out of other cafes, offering free Wi-Fi access, instead.

Trouble With Mobile Advertising — Or Not

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 04

Laura Marriott, president of the Mobile Marketing Association, just resigned. I called her to catch up today, and to find out the reasons for her departure. After all, mobile advertising has developed slower than many analysts anticipated and I wondered if Marriott’s departure was yet another sign of trouble in the industry.

Wireless Early Termination Fees: Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 02

In the past few months, U.S.’s largest wireless service providers — AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA — began prorating, or announced they would prorate their early termination fees (Verizon Wireless began offering proration in 2006). What that means is, if your contract is half-way through, you owe the carrier only a portion of the penalty someone who’s just signed up will pay. In the past, all customers have had to play a flat early termination fee. Is this change resulting in more customer turnover?

Can Start-Ups Make Money Off Of Mobile Web?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 28

Mobile Internet is viewed as the next big thing in wireless today. Lots of start-ups are getting funded, lots of new mobile Web companies are opening up. And yet, Web entrepreneur Joi Ito just posted a blog questioning whether it will be possible for entrepreneurs to make money off of the mobile Web.

Are You a Mobile Web User?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 27

Do you use a smartphone to browse the Web? I’d love to talk to you about your experience for a story. Please e-mail me at Thanks for your help!

Moblyng: Mobilizing Multimedia

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 21

I talked to an interesting company this morning. Moblyng, which received $5.7 million in funding from MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures and Deep Fork Capital today, allows consumers to mobilize existing social media like Slide and RockYou slide shows, YouTube videos and MySpace videos slide shows and photo albums.

Will Someone Take on Philly Wi-Fi?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 16

On May 19, Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Green will address his local chapter of global wireless networking group Mobile Monday. The title of his speech: “Why and how Philadelphia must react to EarthLink’s pullout.” What I thought was interesting is that reps from Motorola, AT&T and several other wireless technology companies are going to be present at that meeting.

RIP, Free Muni Wi-Fi

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 14

Earthlink’s announcement that it was throwing in the towel on an ambitious plan to bring public Wi-Fi to the entire city of Philadelphia marks the end of a glorious, but…

Android Developer Challenge, Round One

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 13

The results are in. Google has published a list of 50 applications that a panel of some 100 jusges selected of 1,800 entries from 75 countries. These applications are deigned to run on top of the new Android operating system for mobile phones, the first of which will debut in the second half of the year.

EarthLink vs. City of Philadelphia

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 12

Philadelphia’s Wi-Fi project is in jeopardy. Over the past year, Wi-Fi builder EarthLink has exited a number of municipal Wi-Fi projects claiming they were unprofitable. Now, it appears that the company is preparing to exit its most ambitious municipal Wi-Fi project: Philly. But the city isn’t about to let that happen without a fight.

FTC to Police Wireless Content?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 09

At a meeting yesterday, a Federal Trade Commission commissioner said his agency intends to start policing wireless content offers. The commissioner wants mobile content sellers to provide more diclosure related to the games and video service’s price. Think of it as Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes. That’s good news for consumers — but bad news for carriers and content providers.

T-Mobile USA: Android Coming in Q4

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 05

Is support for Google’s Android strengthening or waning? T-Mobile USA says it plans to put out “a new device” running Android in the fourth quarter of this year. But what about other carriers?

T-Mobile Limps Into 3G Service

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 05

T-Mobile launched it’s long awaited 3G service in New York today, but subscribers should be forgiven if they are left wondering just what the excitement is about. Beyond being limited…

Whither WiMAX?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 01

The wait for a U.S. commercial launch of the new WiMAX mobile broadband technology may finally be coming to an end. Struggling Sprint Nextel has repeatedly pushed back its planned…

iPhone = Free Wi-Fi

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 01

Exclusive U.S. iPhone seller, AT&T, is supposedly offering buyers of the Apple gadgets a really sweet deal: They can access all AT&T Wi-Fi locations for free. Do you know, can you still use AT&T’s hot spots if you use an unlocked iPhone?

Wireless Carriers to Pay for Customers’ Switching?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 22

Yesterday, small carrier Cellular South announced an unprecedented offer: It will cover customers’ early termination fees if they switch to Cellular South’s service. This could be the beginning of the biggest price war to hit the wireless industry yet.

Earth Day: Unplug Your Cell Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 16

According to Nokia, if we were all to unplug our phones as soon as they are charged, we would do Earth some good. You’d be surprised how much, actually — I know I was.

Public Safety Spectrum Scuffle Heats Up

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 15

Who should fund and be allowed to build out a nationwide public safety network in the U.S.? This topic has been the topic of much debate in Congress this week.

The Truth About Wireless Alerts?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on April 11

It’s been interesting to hear the nation’s major wireless carriers applaud the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption Apr. 10 of a framework for a nationwide mobile alert system. The Commercial Mobile…

Sonopia: It’s Still Around

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 08

Rumors are swirling today that yet another mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) — Sonopia — has bit the dust. Not so, says CEO Juha Christensen. “Sonopia has laid off some of its employees, but is still here… ,” he told me in an e-mail.

An Android in Your Pocket? Openness and AT&T

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on April 08

AT&T is continuing to warm up to Google’s Android open wireless phone software, even though AT&T membership in the Open Handset Alliance may not be imminent, Ralph de la Vega,…

Artwork Made of Cell Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 04

If you happen to be in Boston next week, it might be fun to stop by this art exhibit opening April 10. Artist Rob Pettit used some 5,000 cell phones to create his masterpiece.

Guest Post: Rob Frieden on “Whose Wireless Handset Is It?”

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on April 04

Robert M. Frieden is a professor at the Penn State law school, a frequent commentator on network neutrality issues, and author of the New America Foundation’s white paper “Wireless Carterfone….

AT&T: Looking at Google’s Android

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 03

Over the past several months, quite a few people have begun to doubt Google’s ability to attract a significant number of carriers and handset makers to its Android operating system for cell phones. Well, today’s comments by AT&T at CTIA could change that.

Prepaid Broadband Access Coming Right Up

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 02

Up till now, we could only get prepaid phone cards and prepaid wireless service. Now, it appears that the idea of prepaid broadband access is taking off.

Wireless Net Neutrality: It Won’t Happen Yet

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 01

In his speach at the annual CTIA wireless industry conference, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin disclosed that he will not give a green light to a petition from alternative phone service Skype. The upshot: This could delay the emergence of open wireless networks in the U.S.

Of Course Google Lost the Spectrum Auctions!

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 20

I always thought it was crazy talk, all this speculation that Google was going to run a wireless network by buying up billions of dollars worth of spectrum. Why would…

Auction 73: And the Winners Are…

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on March 20

The Federal Communication Commission has released the results of the 700 MHz spectrum auctions and, as expected, AT&T and Verizon Wireless were the big buyers. As was observed during the…

Sprint: The Now Network

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 17

Today, Sprint will launch a new ad campaign, which will feature a new tagline, “Welcome to the Now Network. Its goal: To drum up excitement for an upcoming service, Q-chat, which Sprint hopes will help differentiate its service from competitors’.

Watch Ads, While Charging Your Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 17

A reader recently flagged an interesting company. GC Media puts charging stations at hotels and airports that can juice up 18 mobiles or iPods at a time. While their phone or music player is being charged, for 15 minutes or so, users watch ads on the charging station’s 17-inch monitor. What a great way to serve up ads while providing a useful service.

Wireless Auction to End Today?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 10

It looks like the Federal Communications Commission’s 700 Mhz auction might end today or tomorrow. Bids have slowed down to a crawl, with total amount going up by a mere $66,000 in the latest round. Were the FCC stop the auction, we could find out the names of the winning bidders as early as the end of this month.

Wireless Spectrum for the Masses?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 10

Spectrum Bridge claims to be the world’s first online, real-time marketplace where buyers and sellers can trade wireless airwaves, used for providing wireless services. If this idea takes off, it could be a game-changer for the wireless industry: It would allow individuals and smaller businesses to buy spectrum and launch their own wireless networks.

It’s Official: Stu Reed to Leave Motorola

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 07

Another day, another Motorola executive is leaving the company. On March 7, the cell-phone maker announced that Stu Reed, who used to head its mobile devices business, will be leaving effective immediately. Is this another sign that the business isn’t for sale?

Verizon Wireless: Pushing Its Unlimited Plan Hard

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 06

I just got a mailing from Verizon Wireless, urging me to buy the company’s new plan, which offers unlimited calling for $100 a month. Clearly, contrary to what analysts expected, Verizon doesn’t plan to “hide” this plan from users, the way T-Mobile USA does.

Should Wireless Carriers Sell Laptops?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 06

It looks like carriers everywhere from Russia to France are starting to sell laptops in their stores. Could the U.S. be next?

Sprint’s “Simply Everything” Plan: The War is On

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 28

The move wireless industry has feared just took place. Today, Sprint Nextel announced its “Simply Everything” plan, which, for $100 a month, offers users unlimited access to voice, the Web, e-mail, texting, Sprint TV and other services. An all-out price war in wireless is on.

Verizon 1.0: Coming March 19

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 25

On March 19, we’ll find out more information about just how open Verizon Wireless’s network will become. That day, at its Open Development Device Conference, the company will release Version 1.0, a set of technical specifications for new wireless devices that will work on its “Any Device, Any App” network-only service. This is a good first step toward open wireless networks — but only the first step.

Wireless Goes Unlimited: Implications

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 19

It’s a historic day in wireless. Today, Verizon Wireless unveiled its first unlimited calling plan. Within hours, AT&T and T-Mobile USA followed suit. The moves could carry huge implications for the wireless carriers, as well as for Sprint Nextel, Leap and MetroPCS.

Adieu to Analog (Phone Edition)

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 15

On Monday, most of the analog wireless phone networks, the ones that gave birth to cell phone service in the 1980s, will go dead. The Federal Communications Commission has given…

Google Debuts a New Version of Android

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 14

Google, which has been hard at work enhancing its Android operating system for cell phones, just came out with a new version of the software. The biggest change: A new digital menu design.

AT&T Nabs Wi-Fi Perks at Starbucks

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 11

Starting this spring, AT&T will be replacing T-Mobile as the official Wi-Fi provider at Starbucks stores, with all 7,000 locations expected to be switched over by the end of 2008. This could have a big impact on T-Mobile and AT&T’s future Wi-Fi strategy.

A Cheaper Alternative to a Mobile TV Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 11

On Feb. 11, mobile software company PacketVideo has released a much less expensive alternative to a dedicated mobile TV phone. Its PocketVideo Mobile Broadcast Receiver (MBR) is a tiny gadget the size of a matchbox. The device, which is expected to sell for around $100, lets any phone receive mobile TV and audio programs.

Auction 73: Winding Down?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 06

A closely watched auction of the airwaves needed to build a wireless network may be winding down — and the outcome bears faint resemblance to what analysts were expecting. For starters, the Federal Communications Commission has so far received nearly $19 billion in total bids, compared with $15 billion to $18 billion that Wall Street had forecast. What’s more, an open wireless network expected to be built using a chunk of the spectrum being auction may look quite differently than expected previously.

zzzPhone: A Dell of Cell Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 05

Folks at allow consumers to customize their cell phone orders the way Dell allows people to customize their PCs. This could mark the beginning of a new trend in deep cell-phone customization.

Wireless Block C: Sold?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 31

This morning, an entity bid $4.71 billion for an open-access chunk of wireless spectrum being auctioned off. That means that the spectrum will be sold. In fact, barring additional bids later on today, chances are, the bidder — most likely, Verizon Wireless or Google — will end up being the winner of the spectrum block.

Auction 73 Update: A Crucial Day for Google

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 30

Ever since the auction of wireless spectrum began on Jan. 24, bidding for a nationwide “C” block of spectrum, expected to lead to the creation of a new wireless network open to all devices and applications, has been slow. If buyers remain inactive tomorrow, chances of this block finding no takers will jump dramatically.

FCC’s Auction: Not Going According to Plan?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 28

Results of four days of bidding are in, and it appears that participants in Federal Communications Commission’s Auction 73 aren’t overeager to snap up several pieces of wireless spectrum with so-called “open” requirements. That could spell trouble for open networks initiatives everywhere.

Nokia Deals Google A Trolltech-Sized Blow

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 28

Nokia’s purchase of Trolltech could spell trouble for Google’s Android, the new open-source mobile operating system that’s been expected to take the market by storm. Now that it’s received Nokia’s backing, Trolltech may more effectively compete with Android for developers.

Market Crash’s Impact On Auction 73

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 23

Recent stock market drop could carry huge implications for the wireless spectrum auction due to start Jan. 24. Because bidders Google, AT&T and Verizon have lost significant chunks of their market values, they may be less likely to bid as much as was expected previously.

Sprint’s Store Closures: A Mistake?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 18

Today, Sprint Nextel’s stock fell like a rock on an announcement of deep fourth-quarter subscriber losses. But what I think investors should worry even more about is Sprint’s decision to close 125 stores, or 8% of its outlets. Once the stores are closed, Sprint may have an even harder time retaining and gaining subscribers.

Telescopic Lens…. For A Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 17

Here’s the latest nifty idea: telescopic lenses for cell phones. This gadget can turn your camera phone into a powerful photography tool — and help camera phone manufacturers eat further into stand-alone camera sales.

Frontline Closes Its Doors

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 08

Frontline just announced it’s closing its doors — and will not participate in an upcoming wireless spectrum auction. That’s bad news for the wireless industry: It means that it could take much longer for wireless networks to open up, the way Frontline envisioned.

OpenMoko To Enter Cell Phone Market

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 04

OpenMoko promises to enter the consumer market for cell phones this year. Could it become a viable competitor? Possibly. The company has several things going for it: Its focus on niche markets, for one.

ZTE Handsets to Enter the U.S. Market

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 19

On Dec. 19, ZTE announced it will make its handsets available in the U.S. through MetroPCS. This could be just the first of many of such deals to come ZTE’s way in the coming months.

FON’s Muni Wi-Fi Moves

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 17

Just as EarthLink is jumping out of the muni Wi-Fi market, FON is jumping in. The company has started seeding cities’ key municipal buildings, such as libraries, with free Wi-Fi routers. Can it make this business pay for itself?

Zumobi Goes Beta

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 14

Zumobi, a spin-off from Microsoft, just debuted in Beta today. The company is trying a different, less intrusive approach to mobile advertising.

TryPhone: Test-Driving Cell Phones, Virtually

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 10

I just stumbled onto, offering a cool new way to test-drive a cell phone without driving out to a carrier’s store. The site has posted pictures of phones such as LG Muziq that are interactive. You can press the phone’s buttons, scroll through digital menus, and get a feel for what operating the phone would be like.

T-Mobile @ Home: New Users Magnet

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 07

T-Mobile just released some statistics on its @ Home program, launched last summer. And it appears that the service is helping T-Mobile grab customers from rivals.

Cox’s Bid = The End of Pivot?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 03

Today, cable company Cox announced that it will bid for wireless spectrum in the upcoming 700 Mhz auction. That’s very bad news for Sprint, and a sign that its cable joint venture could be falling apart.

Google Goes It Alone on Spectrum Bid

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 30

After leaving us months to speculate, Google just announced it will indeed bid in the auction for a piece of the 700 MHz spectrum, filing Dec. 3 with the FCC….

Why Did Verizon Wireless Open Its Network Now?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 27

Why did Verizon Wireless announce it’ll open up its network now? There are several reasons, from trying to influence approval of the XM-Sirius merger to trying to lower prices in an upcoming wireless auction.

Space Data: Building Wireless Networks With Weather Balloons

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 21

Space Data has developed a new way to build wireless networks: with weather balloons. Sure, this approach seems out there. But the military is already using it.

Google’s Wireless Plans: Out of Favor With Analysts

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 19

Several financial analysts came out with reports today warning Google to back off from participation in the upcoming wireless airwaves auction on its own, without a partner.

Google’s High-Stakes Wireless Network Gambit

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 16

Or should I just call it poker? With fresh speculation in the Journal today, as well as BusinessWeek, that Google may be preparing to go it alone in a bid…

Helio: Shifting Gears?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 15

Helio, the money-losing wireless service started by SK Telecom and EarthLink, appears to be changing its market tactics: The company may have stopped going after only the high-end of the wireless market.

Helloo!…Any Bad Cell Phones Out There?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 15

Until recently, at least three or four of every 10 multimedia phones I’ve gotten to play around with were poorly designed. That’s changed now, as Samsung, HTC and others have finally figured out how to tack music and video capabilities onto phones without making them too difficult to use.

Coming Up: Wireless Rewards Programs

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 07

Until now, U.S. wireless carriers have done little to encourage customer loyalty. Well, that’s changing, as Sprint Nextel is preparing to unveil a consumer rewards program.

The Shadow Knows

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 29

For those of you who are frustrated seeing all the hottest handsets (other than the iPhone, of course) make there appearence in europe or Asia months before making it to…

700 Mhz Auction: Looking Pricier and Pricier

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 10

Yesterday, AT&T shelled out a cool $2.5 billion to buy Aloha Partners’ 700 Mhz spectrum. This purchase price could have huge implications for a wireless airwaves auction slated for early 2008, when more 700 Mhz will become available for sale.

Disney Mobile: Another MVNO In Trouble

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 18

It looks like Disney is evaluating whether to keep its Disney Mobile effort going. Frankly, I am not surprised: Disney’s offering just hasn’t been differentiated enough to attract more users.

Does Google Need the gPhone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 13

Does Google even need to come out with the gPhone? One expert believes it does not, anymore.

Sprint’s Comcast Pitch

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 20

Pivot, the wireless service from cable companies and Sprint, seems to work pretty well. What has your experience been?

Sprint’s Xohm: The Mother of All Dragons?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 15

Sprint is rumored to be planning to unveil its WiMax services brand called Xohm tomorrow. What in the world is Xohm?

Family Plans… For Wireless Devices

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 08

Lots of us currently buy family wireless plans. But if Sprint Nextel has its way, we’ll soon be buying wireless plans for devices.

Verizon Bows to Google

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 26

Verizon Wireless has just agreed to side with Google on a major policy issue. That’s indicative of a major power shift in the wireless industry.

Amp’d On The Auction Block

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 20

Bankrupt wireless service provider Amp’d has decided to split up its business and to sell individual parts. I bet there will be many takers for Amp’d Live.

A Cell Phone Charm That Works

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 17

Most cell phone charms are useless. But now, a lava lamp maker has come out with a charm that’s not all bling but also blink.

Having Fun With iPhone Apps

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 10

Developers have already come out with some 150 applications for the iPhone. Which are your favorites?

Sprint to Customers: You Are Fired, Take 2

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 06

I just talked to Sprint and got more details on why the company decided to let some of its customers go.

Sprint to Customers: You Are Fired

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 05

Sprint just kicked out a bunch of its own customers. Their offense? Calling Sprint’s customer service a lot. If you’ve been one of this letter’s recepient, please contact me.

More choices for Globetrotters

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on June 28

The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition is a very impressive smartphone for U.S.-based travellers who want to take advantage of superior CDMA wireless networks at home but have one phone they…

Sprint Ahead: Will Sprint’s New Campaign Work?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 27

Sprint Nextel just unveiled a new tagline, “Sprint Ahead,” and a new branding campagn. Will that help stop erosion of the company’s postpaid subscriber base? It might.

Could Qualcomm Scoop Up Amp’d?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 05

Could Qualcomm be interested in buying troubled wireless services provider Amp’d on the cheap? Possibly.

Amp’d Files for Bankruptcy

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 04

Amp’d Mobile just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company hopes to stick around. Will its users follow suit?

Do You Use MetroPCS’s Service?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 30

Do you use MetroPCS’s service? If so, I would greatly appreciate your help with a story.

Solar-Powered Phones: The Next Razr for Motorola?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 22

Motorola just received a patent for a solar-charging cell-phone screen. I believe a solar-powered phone could be a blockbuster, the next big product for Motorola.

Confused by Virgin Mobile USA’s S-1

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 03

On May 1, Virgin Mobile USA filed an S-1 form, stating its intention to go public. Perusing the prospectus, I found a lot of things in there to confuse and worry me.

Wi-Fi-Sharing Communities Rise Up

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 23

Time Warner Cable has just allowed its subscribers to turn their broadband connections into public Wi-Fi hotspots through a service called FON. This could mark the beginning of a sea change in Wi-Fi business. Muni Wi-Fi networks and commercial services like Boingo could fall by the wayside as Wi-Fi-sharing communities like FON take hold.

Sprint Nextel Picks A New Ad Agency

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 02

Sprint Nextel just picked a new ad agency to lead its branding and advertising efforts. Hopefully, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners will be able to ramp up fast, as Sprint needs a new ad campaign, pronto.

Muni Wi-Fi: Not As Good As It Gets

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 28

Most cities’ Wi-Fi networks aren’t up to snuff, independent research shows. The networks don’t perform well, and don’t even offer some basic services, like voice, that cities have set them up for in the first place.

mSpot Remix: A Threat to Music Phones, iPods Everywhere?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 13

mSpot just launched Remix, an application allowing users to access and listen to their music libraries, stored on their home PCs, via mobile phones. If it takes off, this application could become a serious competitor to iPods and music phones.

AT&T: More Hot Spots Than T-Mobile

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 08

Turns out, AT&T has twice as many hotspots now as T-Mobile. With its Web TV and new wireless offerings added into the mix, I have to say that AT&T has done a good job reinventing itself.

Billboards: Would-be Wi-Fi Competitors?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 27

Could CBS deploy the nation’s largest Wi-Fi networks through its billboards? The idea is certainly being tossed around. Whether it makes sense or not is another story, though.

Coming Up: SunRocket Wireless?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 21

I’ve written about Vonage’s plans to resell wireless services. Now, I am hearing speculations that Vonage’s much-smaller rival, SunRocket, may follow suit with a wireless offering of its own.

Mobile TV: A Service for the Masses?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 13

MediaFlo just signed up AT&T as a customer. This, latest win shows that mobile TV might have much broader appeal than initially thought.

A Prepaid iPhone in the Works?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 30

Could a prepaid iPhone plan be in the works? I believe such a plan would make perfect sense — and it could help significantly expand prepaid-calling user base.

Will iPhone Mess Up Cell Phones Upgrade Cycle?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 23

With the advent of touch-screen cell phones, I think consumers might stop replacing their phones every 18 months. Here’s why: Touch screens will allow users to drastically change their phones’ look and feel with simple software upgrades. So, why splurge on a new phone?

Sprint Loses Its Wireless Data Crown

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 23

If we were searching for yet another proof that not all is well at Sprint Nextel, here it is: Today, IDC announced that Sprint no longer makes the most money…

Apple’s iPhone Is Misnamed

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 10

And no, I don’t mean because Cisco sued Apple over the name. Amid all the potshots at the iPhone for not having this or that feature of this or…

Taking Wi-Fi — And Wi-Fi Security — to a New Level

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 08

This morning, Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry association, announced its Wi-Fi Protected Setup certification program. It’s game-changing, I think. What it is: Today, when you buy a home Wi-Fi router, you…

Wireline: Coming Up In The World?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 02

Cingular Wireless, that familiar wireless brand, is about to go away. With the merger between AT&T and BellSouth approved, the combined company plans to change Cingular’s name to AT&T. Why…

Tired of Unwanted SMS Messages and Cell Phone Calls? Help Is On Its Way

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 21

In 2007, U.S. carriers will start allowing cell phone users to better manage their presence, contacts and incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages. It’s about time such services were offered.

Embarq: Wireless-Landline Call Convergence Is Finally Here

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 24

Embarq just unveiled two new business services allowing for seamless wireless-landline call transfers. The industry’s first, this offering is sure to spread to other carriers — and, eventually, to consumers.

802.11n Delay = Death of Wi-Fi?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 15

Ratification of the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard has been pushed back again. Is that a big deal? I would argue, the delay could push Wi-Fi out of mainstream use.

Muni Wi-Fi: Not Free For All

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 08

Hundreds of U.S. cities are talking of offering citywide Wi-Fi Internet access and paying for Wi-Fi operations through advertising. Unfortunately, advertisers aren’t too excited about the idea, according to a new survey.

Muni Wi-Fi: Bringing Expectations Back to Earth

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 30

Every city, nowadays, seems to be planning a municipal Wi-Fi network. Problem is, consumers’ expectations of these networks are often out of whack. Two most prevalent myths floating around are:…

Fixing Wi-Fi Security Problems: Hire Wardrivers

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 25

Westchester County in New York approved a law that will slap local businesses with warnings and fines for not securing their Wi-Fi networks. That’s a good move; but this and other counties that follow suit don’t have the resources to enforce such a law. One possible solution? Hire wardrivers.

Amazon: More Cell Power

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 20 has just made another step toward becoming the world’s larest seller of wireless devices and plans. On April 20, the company announced an agreement to market offerings from InPhonic, the No. 1 online seller of cell phone plans, on its site. This agreement could go a long way in boosting Amazon’s wireless sales.

Wireless Companies: Dabbling in Direct Mail

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 11

Wireless companies seem to be sending out a lot more direct mail this year. That’s telling me not everything is rosy in the wireless land.

The FDA To Look At Whether Cell Phones Cause Cancer

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 06

Is there a link between cell phone usage and cancer? The FDA is looking to find out. In the meantime, I figure I’d err on the safe side and wear a headset.

Daily Devotions… For Mobile Phones

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 04

Until now, cell phone content has been mostly limited to ringtones and games. Now, Hands-On is about to introduce Daily Devotions, a daily inspirational message service. That’s a sign that mobile content is about to get a lot more varied.

Wireless Citizen Journalists

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 28

British telco 3 lets citizen journalists get paid for photos and videos they snap with their phones. I wouldn’t be surprised if this proves to be a highly profitable service for 3.

Cell Phones: Intel Inside

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 23

“Intel Inside” labels will soon start popping up on cell phones. That should give Intel’s efforts to dominate the cell phone market a major boost.

AirPlayTV: Marrying Cell Phones and TV

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 20

I recently talked with Morgan Guenther, former president of TiVO, who on March 20 announced his latest venture, a very different kind of a mobile gaming company. AirPlayTV, which will launch in September, will make mobile games designed to be played while watching TV shows.

Why Would Vodafone Sell Verizon Wireless?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 14

There have been lots of media reports speculating that Vodafone will sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to joint venture partner Verizon. I think such a sale doesn’t make sense for Vodafone. Unless, that is, Verizon is willing to pay a super-fat premium.

Indie Cafes as Startup Offices? Nooooooooo!

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 22

Fed up with the loud music at Starbucks, Om Malik is looking for new cafes where he can get work done. His post has spurred a flurry of suggestions by…

Mobile TV: A Traditional TV Rival?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 07

For a long time, mobile TV hasn’t been considered to be a competitor to cable and satellite TV. But that could change soon, as mobile TV quality improves and people start using stand-alone, large cell phone screens.

WiMax… For The Home?!

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 31

A company called Radiospire is betting its future on WiMax, a technology commonly expected to offer blanket coverage within metro and rural areas. Only Radiopsire sees this technology as being used to stream video and other content within the home. This is the strangest use of WiMax I’d ever heard of. And yet, it could work.

Mobile TV: Beyond The Cell Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 24

Mobile TV networks could be used to beam video onto devices other than cell phones. They could potentially broadcast video into cars, portable media players and the iPod — and deal a blow to satellite TV.

Whither WiMAX?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 23

Remember when Uncle Sam used to talk about using the freed spectrum from switching analog TV transmissions to digital for emergency communications? According to Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary of Commerce…

Mood Cell Phones And Other MOTOFWRD Ideas

Posted by: Olga Kharif on January 17

Cell phone maker Motorola just announced the winner of its first-ever MOTOFWRD competition, challenging college students to come up with cool new cell phone products and applications. I found the…

V Cast Music: Simply Playing Catch-up?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 23

CNet says Verizon Wireless will launch its wireless music service in January. What I’ve read about the service so far seems to indicate that the company is simply playing catch-up to rivals rather than planning to unveil any unique features.

Of Buying Cell Phones and Lipstick…

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 29

If you come into a Sam’s Club store in Texas and a cell phone or a PDA you want isn’t available, the salesperson will now get the phone FedEx-ed to your home overnight. This is one more step toward turning cell phone buying — typically, a long and torturous process — into an enjoyable experience.

AT&T and BellSouth: Cingularly at Odds

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 22

USA Today reports that now that SBC has completed its acquisition of AT&T, it will resell Cingular Wireless’s service under AT&T brand (remember, Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless a while back)….

Mobile Karaoke, Anyone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 08

This summer, Grammy Thailand, a mobile carrier, had launched a mobile karaoke application. You can play a song over your phone’s speakerphone and sing along. Better yet, you can record…

Yours, Mine & Ours?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on November 07

Interesting announcement today from Good Technology. With companies saying their numero uno priority is maintaining the security of the network and their data as the consider deployments of mobile email…

Nokia Does Good

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on September 13

As if Research in Motion didn’t have enough headaches, it looks like smaller rival Good Technology is teaming up with big fish Nokia to try to finally bring the Canadian…

Rrring! Your Parking Has Expired

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 29

This week, a major U.S. city will allow its residents to pay for parking with their cell phones. That just goes to show that the U.S. is quickly catching up to Japan and Korea in wireless technology.

That iTunes Phone is Coming, Again…

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 23

We just got another confirmation that the iTunes phone will come out, and soon. Frankly, I am surprised that anyone has had any doubts that this phone will be released — by September, as Motorola has previously said.

Parental Controls … For Mobile Phones? You Bet

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 16

Parents can already control Web sites and TV programs their children view. Next up: parental controls for mobile phones.

Why Did Providence Hire Michael Powell?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 14

I’ve been thinking about why Providence Equity Partners just recruited former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell. Perhaps Providence is readying a major move. My theory: It could try to acquire T-Mobile USA.

Good News For Local Wireless Data Services

Posted by: Heather Green on July 20

Survey finds U.S. consumers more interested in local weather and traffic alerts via text messaging than groovy next gen wireless TV services.

In Store for Wireless Customers: Apple-like Stores

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 10

Some pretty important people — Mort Rosenthal, the founder of Corporate Software, at one point the world’s largest PC software distributor, and Staples founder Tom Stemberg — are plotting a new kind of a wireless venture. A wireless reseller that would revolutionize the wireless industry, to be exact.

DT to sell T-Mobile? Come again?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on July 05

The idea that Deutsche Telekom would want to get rid of T-Mobile USA is ridiculous. It just doesn’t make any financial sense.

Cell Phones vs. Credit Cards: The Battle Begins

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 28

Wireless service providers might soon compete head to head with credit and debit card companies in facilitating payments.

Rudetones: Ringtones Are Getting Rude

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 24

New kinds of ringtones, called rudetones, are making a splash — and they could grab a chunk of the $500 million ringtones market.

Intelligent Ringtones on the Way?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 22

Doree Duncan Seligmann of Avaya Labs, in a panel at Supernova 2005, says the communications network company is looking at an interesting idea: intelligent ringtones. They needn’t merely serve as…

Sky Dayton’s New Flight Plan

Posted by: Heather Green on June 22

Sky Dayton paid a visit to BW last week to chat about his new venture SK EarthLink.

Demise of Wi-Fi cafes?

Posted by: Heather Green on June 14

Are cafe owners disillusioned with Wi-Fi or not? One industry player, quoted in many news articles on the subjects, says no.

Talking on Your Cell? Then Gesture!

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 07

Gestures recognition on mobile phones? Sure, why not. One University of Glasgow researcher believes his gestures technology could stop cell phone users from bumping into walls and reduce the number of phone-related car accidents.

The Third Screen?

Posted by: Heather Green on May 17

JupiterReasearch finds that nearly half the 2,337 people online respondants surveyed in March do want to video on their phone. But they want it gratis. Only 19% of those surveyed are willing to pay.

Is Nokia regaining its swagger?

Posted by: Stephen Baker on May 04

Nokia new handsets could wake the phone giant from its funk


BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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