According to the Washington Post AT&T has just announced a new product called Sponsored Data. This allows subscribers to use specific websites without that usage counting against their data caps. Instead of the end user paying for the data third party companies will be fronting the bill saving you from paying more for monthly data. This concept isn’t new, but could be violating the concept of Net Neutrality, which is designed to keep all areas of the Internet open and equal. If third party companies are allowed to pay for data mobile users use that puts a distinct disadvantage on smaller retailers because more traffic will be generated to “paid for” sites where customers don’t need to worry about how much data they use.
Sponsorship deals have already been made with United Health Group, Aquto a mobile advertising platform and Kony Solutions, a company that provides mobile application platforms to businesses. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told investors that this would prevent data charges from spiraling out of control. AT&T is able to get around standard Internet guidelines because traffic discrimination only applies to wired ISP’s and not cellular carriers. One thing is for certain with Sponsored Data, if you’re not paying for it on your monthly AT&T bill the costs will likely be passed on to you somehow through their sponsors. The days where caps were used as an excuse to manage consumption seem to be going away in favor of anyone willing to pay big bucks to sponsor consumer data across their mobile devices.
Recently T-Mobile is pushing to get some of Verizon’s 700Mhz A-Block spectrum which could cost almost $2.4 billion. This should help add additional coverage for 158 million people in 21 of the top 30 US markets including New York, LA, Atlanta and Dallas. The lower frequency band will make deployment to suburbs and rural areas easier because the 700Mhz band has better penetration requiring fewer towers to cover a wider area. In the deal T-Mobile will also be transferring about $950 million worth of spectrum to Verizon in several markets where they need to deploy AWS LTE for additional bandwidth. The only roadblock to the deal is the FCC and DOJ that will need to give final approval for the deal to go through.
Starting today, AT&T* is offering T-Mobile customers the opportunity to upgrade their mobile lifestyle with value of up to $450 per line when they switch to AT&T and trade in an eligible smartphone.
In addition to a larger and more reliable 4G LTE network, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T will benefit from a superior smartphone line-up and award-winning customer service. With AT&T, customers can take advantage of AT&T’s new Mobile Share Value plans, which offer data and unlimited talk and text starting as low as $45 per month with no annual contract.** AT&T NextSM offers customers the chance to upgrade to a new smartphone every year for $0 down.
Beginning Jan. 3, under the limited-time offer, T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T can trade-in their current smartphone for a promotion card of up to $250, which can be used toward AT&T products and services. Trade-in values will vary based on make, model and age of the smartphone, but many of the latest and most popular smartphones will qualify for a value of $250. T-Mobile customers can receive an additional $200 credit per line when they transfer their wireless service to AT&T and choose an AT&T NextSM plan, buy a device at full retail price or activate a device they currently own.
According to DSLReports
Sprint is currently in discussion to combine the Boost/Virgin brands. Their game plan is to take the old Nextel name that they killed off last year and target business users using “Nextel” from everything that was Clear. The announcements should coincide with the introduction of “Spark” capable devices, which will include 2 hotspots and 3 tablet devices. Under the new Sprint Spark service they’ll be combining 800Mhz, 1.9Ghz and 2.5Ghz LTE spectrum to provide average download speeds of 50-60Mbps. There is also speculation that unlimited data service will be coming back to hotspot devices, but pricing will be tiered by speed similar to Cable/DSL service models. Both the Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brand names should be merged together under the new “Sprint Freedom” brand and it’s unclear how they’ll handle Boost/Virgin customers during the migration.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher King believes that Verizon will win against the FCC in court over network neutrality rules. The ruling should set a standard for industry pricing and services and dictate “if” specific providers could pay for an premium lane across the Internet to deliver services faster. Originally the FCC filed to bar Internet service providers from blocking specific Internet content or slowing down websites that don’t pay premium fee’s for faster access. King says "We believe Verizon and other telco and cable providers could gain new latitude to seek new premium (paid prioritization) deals with Internet edge/content companies," in a report
earlier this week. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler might be forced to rewrite the agency’s Net Neutrality rules based on the court's decision, which could affect today’s “Open Internet” as we know it where all sites are treated equal.
Recently Peplink released firmware build 6.1.0 which is in public beta stage one for customers. This version of firmware adds a lot of new features that customers have demanded for some time. Below you’ll find a list of all the new features supported in the latest release and which models they can be found on. The firmware is in beta right now so we don’t recommend running this as full time production software due to potential bugs, but this will be great for any companies that have additional Peplink/Pepwave boxes they could do testing on. 3Gstore can’t provide any technical support on beta firmware either because of potential bugs and will only offer support after a final build is released and certified for production environments.
- Pep VPN Support added for Balance 20/30 units
- SpeedFusion Performance Analyzer - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2, Surf SOHO
- NAT mode - 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2, Surf SOHO
- X.509 Certificate Support - Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (SpeedFusion version only), Max BR1 (Feature Unlock), Max 700/HD2
- AP Controller Free - Balance 20/30, Max 700/HD2
- AP Controller Pro - Balance 305/380/580/710/1350/2500
- Rogue AP Reporting - Balance 20/30/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max 700/HD2
- WiFi usage statistics - Balance 20/30/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max 700/HD2
Captive Portal Support:
- Support for wired/wireless LAN clients - Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (Load Balance/SpeedFusion modems) Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- Support Radius Authentication - Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (Load Balance/SpeedFusion modems) Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- Support LDAP Authentication - Balance 305/380/580/710/1350/2500
- Time and usage quotas on Open Access mode - Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (Load Balance/SpeedFusion modems) Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- Built-in customizable splash page - Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (Load Balance/SpeedFusion modems) Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- Connect on demand mode - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- X.509 Certificate Support - Balance 20/30 (Feature unlock), Balance 210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG (SpeedFusion model), Max BR1 (Feature Unlock), Max 700/HD2
- OSPF and RIPv2 Support - Balance 305/380/580/710/1350/2500
- VLAN on LAN Support - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2
- Fleet Management - Max BR1, Max HD2
- Static IP support for PPPoE - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2, Surf SOHO
- Extended DHCP Option support - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2, Surf SOHO
- Add VRRP HA Support - Max 700/HD2
- SNMP MIB Enhancement - Balance 20/30/210/310/305/380/580/710/1350/2500, Max OTG, Max BR1, Max 700/HD2, Surf SOHO
According to Reuters SoftBank Corp is in the final stages of acquisition talk with T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Earlier this year SoftBank already purchased 80 percent of Sprint and plans to pay for T-Mobile by using a portion of Sprint shares acquired in the merger. The deal is estimated to be worth more than $19 billion and SoftBanks goal is to have Sprint buy the majority of T-Mobile shares for control of the company. Nikkei news service says that SoftBank has thought of a stock swap but are also adding a tender offer and other kinds of deals as a backup plan. Sprint has been interested in combining their network wtih T-Mobile for years and both companies have said a consolidation is needed within the U.S. wireless market to create a stronger rival to Verizon and AT&T.