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#TBT: iPad Air debuts; Qualcomm under pricing pressure; What would 5G look like? … this week in 2013

Editor’s note: RCR Wireless News is in on “Throwback Thursdaydays,” tapping into our archives to relive the headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, wear those sepia shades, set a date for #TBT and relive the memories!

Strong iPad sales for AT&T

AT&T appears to be so happy with sales of Apple’s recently updated iPad lineup that it announced that sales over the past weekend were 200% higher than last year’s weekend launch. The carrier claimed that the increase was driven by demand for the latest iPad Air model and the “popularity” of AT&T Mobile Share plans that allow customers to add a tablet for $10 to share a set of data. Apple unveiled the latest version of its iPad line last month with the iPad Air taking first place in the lineup. The device went on sale on November 1, and is thinner and lighter than previous iPad models. Prices go up to $799 and 128GB of storage is for Wi-Fi tablets only. For iPad Air models with cellular, prices start at $629 before support and go up to $929 before support. AT&T’s comparison to last year’s launch can be somewhat muted by the fact that the iPad “4” launched last fall was just a minor update to the new iPad “3” unveiled in early 2012. Both models were They are visually similar to the previous iPad 2, while the latest iPad Air differs greatly in appearance, size, and weight. … read more

What would 5G look like?

“5G” is the collective title of what scientists, inventors, software developers, universities and a wide range of companies involved in developing and operating communications networks are working on as the next generation of infrastructure expected to reach the airwaves around 2020 and beyond. TIA brought together Ericsson, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Virginia Tech, Lemko and other companies to discuss how they envision the next standard for developing communications, and the work currently in progress. The continuous growth of online video, the proliferation of machine-to-machine products and services, new industries such as wearable technology, and new uses of data such as augmented reality – all mean that service quality must be high, ubiquitous access and data rates able to meet customer demand Sustainability of customer price points and costs of operations are low enough to allow for data-driven profitability. 5G is a set of concepts including new wave frequency management, software defined networking, network function virtualization, and more together that may result in new, lower latency and lower cost infrastructure. … read more

Qualcomm under pressure

With Samsung and Apple dominating the mobile market, Qualcomm is feeling the pressure as these powerful buyers push for chip prices to drop. Qualcomm (QCOM) is a leading supplier of modems and application processors for high-end smartphones, but the company says the high end is “increasingly concentrated” and that “concentration in the industry leads to purchasing power.” On the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said his company won’t be able to sustain its recent growth rates. “Looking forward to fiscal year 2014, we expect strong growth but at a lower rate than we have delivered in the past few years,” Jacobs said. “This is partly due to the very strong year we just completed.” In fact, 2013 was a very good year for Qualcomm, culminating in fourth-quarter earnings of $1.5 billion on revenue of nearly $6.5 billion. The company said it expects to ship nearly 1.1 billion 3G and 4G devices this year. Next year’s shipments will be between 1.2 billion and 1.3 billion units, but a large portion of those segments will go to high-end devices made by Apple and Samsung. … read more

FCC issues fines for lifeline fraud

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed fining three wireless carriers with nearly $33 million in fines linked to violating the government’s Lifeline program. The FCC explained that Conexions Wireless, I-wireless, and True Wireless violated rules restricting Lifeline connections to one account per household, thus receiving payments for “thousands of consumers who were already getting Lifeline service from the same company.” The FCC made it clear that each operator knew or should have known based on internal data that “consumers are not eligible because they were already receiving service from that carrier.” “This duplicate support is expressly prohibited by federal law,” the FCC noted in its decision. Conexions was fined $18.4 million for violating the rules over eight months in Arkansas, Maryland and West Virginia; I-Wireless was fined $8.8 million for violating the rules over a seven-month period in Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, New York, Indiana and South Carolina; And True Wireless was fined $5.5 million for violating the rules over eight months in Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma and Texas. The FCC added that it was proposing an additional $300,000 fine against Conexions for failing to provide requested information to the FCC in a timely manner. … read more

AT&T / Vodafone rumors

Rumors continue to swirl about AT&T’s interest in buying European telecom giant Vodafone in a deal that would lead to a supercar carrier with a market capitalization of more than $250 billion and serving more than 500 million customers worldwide. Vodafone currently controls telecommunications operations in 21 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States at present. Vodafone ended its last quarter with more than 450 million wireless customers, while AT&T ended the quarter with more than 100 million wireless customers. Earlier this year, reports surfaced that AT&T was looking to partner with local rival Verizon Communications in a joint bid to buy Vodafone worth up to $245 billion. Those rumors indicated that Verizon would take a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless controlled by Vodafone, with AT&T acquiring the remaining Vodafone assets. Verizon quickly put a kibosh on that rumor, claiming that it had no plans to “merger with or make an offer to Vodafone, either alone or in combination with others.” In early September, Vodafone accepted a $130 billion offer from Verizon to buy its stake in Verizon Wireless. AT&T earlier this year began selling its stake in Latin American telecom operator America Movil, in a move the carrier said was designed to maintain its position in America Movil after recent share buybacks by that operator. … read more

AOptix Experiments with Radio Frequency and Laser Assisted Link

CAMPBELL, CA – A small California company with defense contractor pedigree is looking to create a buzz in communications networks, using a new dual-technology wireless connection for mobile data transmission, and we hope it will entice first-tier carriers with fibers happy to adopt its solution with the promise of costs lower than Fiber and “5-9s” reliability. Campbell-based AOptix already has its Intellimax wireless product in several trials, including the North American Tier 1 wireless carrier and Anova Networks, which provides financial institutions with low-latency connections. AOptix uses both radio frequency and optical light to transmit data, with both links sending the same data simultaneously in order to maintain high reliability regardless of weather conditions. The real-time packet selection algorithm selects the best data from among the two frequencies to ensure high accuracy. AOptix has a background as a government contractor for the military, with adaptive optics technology being used for the first time for image correction for deep space telescopes in order to adapt to atmospheric distortion, according to Dean Sener, the company’s chairman and CEO. Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was one of the founding investors in the private company, which has spent 10 years developing and proving adaptive optics. Eventually AOptix was tasked with solving air data communications problems for military data. … read more

Check out the RCR wireless news archives for more stories from the past.