While many consumers of data on cellular networks are having fun with 3G, others are looking forward to the next big thing, 4G.
Two different standards are battling it out for the one that gets adopted, LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and WiMAX.
AT&T has asked the FCC to deny requests by Sprint and Clearwire radio spectrum licenses.
Guess which one AT&T is backing.
AT&T’s request will not impact the upcoming WiMAX launch in Baltimore, but if the licenses are not granted there cannot be a nationwide deployment of WiMAX.
The problem that AT&T has with the deal is that, according to their filing, Sprint and Clearwire are attempting to avoid the FCC’s normal review process by minimizing the current spectrum holdings each has. AT&T says that Sprint and Clearwire’s application was “fatally defective” and should be dismissed.
Sprint and Clearwire, on the other hand, maintain that they have “exhaustively documented all of their spectrum holdings, including a county-by-county breakout and described the myriad public interest benefits of the transaction.”
It’s no secret that cellular carrier Sprint has been struggling for a bit. No buyout news at the moment, but in an effort to raise some cash the company will be selling off some of its cellular towers to private equity company TowerCo.
The exact number of towers hasn’t been finalized, but it’s expected to be around 3,300 which would be most of the towers they own.
The deal could get Sprint around $670 million, which could be used to pay down some of its $24 billion debt and I’d imagine another chuck of it will go towards it’s WiMAX venture with Clearwire.
In order to keep it’s cell business open, Sprint will lease back use of the towers from TowerCo but no lease prices were mentioned.
Look for more info on the deal to be announced within the next 90 days.
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Sprint and China Mobile are each experiencing delays with their Android-based handsets and don’t expect them to launch until 2009.
T-Mobile, another carrier working on an Android-based phone, says that their device is still on track for a 2008 launch but if the others are delayed there’s a decent chance that theirs will miss launching in 2008 as well.
The reasons for the delays at Sprint seem to be that they want to ship their device with some of their own applications pre-installed instead of just using Google’s default system. Sprint may also be skipping 3G and jumping right to 4G (WiMAX) support, but that’s not official yet.
Over at China Mobile the delays seem to be wanting to install their own pre-installed applications as well as some difficulty with translating Android’s interface into Mandarin.
No word yet from Google on these rumored delays.
I wouldn’t say that Android is DOA, but these delays are pretty disappointing if they prove true. I’m sure we’ll see Android-based devices actually ship by mid 2009 (hopefully earlier), but with the iPhone, iPhone 3G, BlackBerry Bold and touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder how relevant will Android-based devices be?
Google doesn’t like to lose, but neither does Apple and RIM. I could see Android as more of a threat to Windows Mobile-based devices than to those by either Apple or RIM.
While the Computex Taipei expo doesn’t open until tomorrow, the WiMax Expo show is open and Asus is showing off their WiMax-enabled Eee PC 901.
Specs of the WiMax-enabled 901 include:
- 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor
- 8.9 inch screen
- 1GB of memory
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Card reader that supports MMC/SD/SDHC cards
The WiMax-enabled 901 will be available with either Linux or Windows XP. The Linux version will come with a 20GB SSD (solid-state drive) while the Windows version will come with a 12GB SSD.
No official pricing info yet.
Look for more info about the 901 without WiMax support tomorrow when Computex opens.
If you’ve been holding off buying a new notebook until Intel releases its upcoming Centrino 2 (aka “Montevina”) platform you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer.
Intel spokesman Bill Kircos said in an email to PC Magazine, “there were two minor issues we found during final testing – one with our integrated graphic chipsets, which we have found a workaround for but need to re-screen our parts, and second around our wireless wi-fi chip, which was a paperwork and certification mistake we made.”
“Both of these led us to establishing a launch date for our mobile processors and discrete chipsets of the week of July 14th, and taking a couple of weeks to get the right readiness and volume for the rest of our components…We’re looking at early August for that.”
In case you’re not familiar with Centrino 2, it’s the next generation of Intel’s Centrion platform that will include support for WiMAX and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
[Via PC Mag]
Similar to the 700MHz auction the FCC held recently, the Canadian government today will begin its own auction for wireless spectrum in the 2GHz range that they’re calling the Advanced Wireless Services spectrum auction.
27 companies are bidding on licenses to operate wireless equipment in different regions. Technologies such as 3G HSPA and 4G WiMAX and LTE (Long Term Evolution) can operate in this band.
The auction could result in a 4th major cellular carrier being created in Canada (currently there are three: Bell, Rogers, and Telus).
For more info check out this press release by Industry Canada.
This morning Via announced the next version of its NanoBook UMPC, the OpenBook.
The OpenBook is a reference design, meaning that its design being distributed as a CAD file under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license so Via won’t be making the notebook itself but OEM’s will be able to using Via’s design.
Features of the OpenBook design include:
- 1.6GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor with dedicated side video processor able to play HD movies
- Using new VIA VX800 chipset
- 8.9-inch LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution
- WiMAX, HSDPA and EV-DO
- 3 USB ports
- 4-in-1 card reader
- 2 webcams
- Up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM
- Room for a 2.5-inch hard drive
- Supports Windows XP, Vista or Linux
- 4-cell battery with around 3 hours of life
Since VIA won’t be manufacturing the notebook itself they can’t give a for sure price point for OpenBook’s but expects the price to be around $600.
For more info about the OpenBook and to download the CAD files check out www.viaopenbook.com.
To see a hands-on video check out Engadget’s post here.
While Asus has been showing off integrated WiMAX in their upcoming Eee PC 901, DigiTimes is reporting that models with integrated WiMAX will only be offered as an option to contract customers initially.
According to DigiTimes’ source, “after two quarters of evolution, Asustek believes the WiMAX market will not reach maturity in 2008, and has therefore decided to push WiMAX only in its 14.1- to 15.4-inch notebooks, mainly in the US market.”
No official word from Asus on this yet.
Tough times at Sprint. Sure, they announced a big WiMAX deal last week but they’re still seeing subscribers jump ship with more than one million leaving in just the first quarter alone.
Sprint’s net loss has grown to roughly $505 million and CEO Dan Hesse has decided to layoff 4,000 people and will be closing outlets as well as discounting wireless plans to try and turn things around.
In a conference call with investors, Hesse said that selling off it’s Nextel unit would involve “significant complexities” but he did not deny that it was a possibility.
“Nothing is off the table completely…we will always periodically reevaluate all of our options.”
This morning Sprint announced their first quarter results and as expected had bad news for investors. The companies profits were down roughly 9 percent, or $9.3 billion, over this same time last year.
The customer defection away from Sprint seems to be continuing as Sprint announced that they had lost 1.09 million subscribers in the first quarter but has hopes that its WiMAX service, Simply Everything plan and upcoming Samsung Instinct phone will help turn things around.