Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
Once upon a time … the wireless data ‘hockey stick’ growth was just a prediction
NEW YORK – Although widespread adoption of wireless data remains more goal than reality, network operators, device makers and wireless applications developers have not wasted their efforts building the foundation for its eventual surge, said Jason Tsai, wireless services and data analyst for C.E. Unterberg, Towbin. “Enterprises and carriers have been the only ones willing to invest in wireless data so far. It’s too soon for wide consumer adoption because the applications, phones and networks are limited. … Bluetooth will drive consumer adoption of wireless data,” he said at the New York-based investment bank’s recent “Wireless Internet” conference. “The situation mimics a lot of what we saw with the wireline Internet five years ago, but it is far more daunting to implement wireless data.” The Year 2000 was a foundation-building period, laying the groundwork for a “hockey stick” escalation of wireless data deployment and usage in 2001, Tsai said. Within five years, Unterberg, Towbin projects there will be 600 million data users of wireless phones, up from about 30 million in 2000. The number of handheld computers in use will rise to 150 million from 11 million last year. “There is no consumer market today for wireless data, despite a lot of pressure to put it into retail. … We estimate the take rate of retail is in the 2-percent range, but you need shelf space and mind share, so companies are positioning themselves for an eventual retail market,” said Joseph Korb, president of GoAmerica, Hackensack, N.J., at the conference. “Business requirements are very complex, and secure, scalable access to corporate databases is more important than cost.” … Read more
Utilities seek spectrum exemption from FCC auctions
WASHINGTON-Nine utilities from across the country are urging the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its decision last year that allowed private-wireless spectrum to be auctioned. “It is irrational for the commission to state that Congress intended to exempt services used by utilities and that the legislative history refers to `users’ as being exempt and still conclude that the prime utility bands used by utilities are subject to auctions. … It is impossible for utilities, which Congress clearly intended to be exempt from competitive bidding, to benefit from the exemption from competitive bidding because of the way in which the commission allocated the spectrum,” said the utilities. Last November, the FCC released an order implementing the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which expanded the FCC’s auction authority to include all spectrum allocations. The debate is not new. Utilities long have argued they should be exempt from the auction process, citing congressional language that says they should be exempt because they use the spectrum for public-safety purposes. Congress specifically exempted public safety from auctions but there has been a continuing debate around what it meant by public safety. … Read more
Voicestream, AOL team up
BELLEVUE, Wash.-America Online Inc. and VoiceStream Wireless Corp. reported a comprehensive services, content and marketing agreement to provide America Online’s features and services to customers as part of VoiceStream’s wireless Internet service. Under the multi-year agreement, AOL members, AOL Instant Messenger users and VoiceStream Wireless customers will have access to the AIM service, across both wireless Internet capable devices and two-way, interactive short messaging service. “We’re committed to delivering our industry-leading services to consumers by working with top wireless carriers like VoiceStream,” said Dennis Patrick, president of AOL Wireless. … Read more
NTT DoCoMo recalls i-mode terminals
TOKYO-NTT DoCoMo, the leading carrier in Japan, is going to recall more than 100,000 cellular terminals that may have some defects in software, the firm announced. The recall will cover four types of terminals manufactured by Sony, Japan Radio, Hitachi Kokusai Electric and L.M. Ericsson. NTT DoCoMo will exchange the handsets with new ones for free. The Sony model SO502iWM, which can replay music stored on a memory stick inserted into the device while browsing i-mode sites, is automatically switched off when a user gets a call while playing music. … Read more
Handset sales surge by 46% in a year
Despite some `hiccups’ within the industry and key supply channels, phone sales worldwide grew 46 percent to 412.7 million units last year, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Group Inc. This rosy picture was, however, sullied by a general slowdown as the year ended. “Persistent rumors of a market slowdown that dogged the industry throughout the year started to prove true toward the end of 2000,” said Bryan Prohm, senior analyst for Gartner Dataquest’s worldwide telecommunications group. He explained further that the “afterburners that propelled several years of consistently high growth areas now suddenly seem to have been switched off.” He said the figures have some bearing on this year. “Indeed, there is some significant stock carryover to the beginning of 2001, meaning the number of total shipments in 2000 was about 6 million units lower than previous estimates.” According to the report, Finnish phone maker Nokia Corp. led the way in sales with 126,369 shipments, representing 66 percent growth over the previous year and about 30 percent of the market share. … Read more
In rhythm with an economy on the retreat, telecommunications giant Lucent Technologies Inc. seems to be on the decline. Against a background of outsized estimates, employee downsizing, technological miscues and a haunting investigation of its accounting practices, the company’s credit rating suffered downgrades from two critical agencies. Both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service cut the ratings for what they regarded as operational problems. Standard & Poor’s lowered the ratings from BBB+ to BBB- while Moody’s cut its from Baa1 to Baa3. Standard and Poor’s cut its commercial paper rating from A-2 to A-3 while Moody’s cut its rating from prime-2 to prime-3. These ratings, which placed Lucent a stratum above junk-bond status, will require the company to pay higher interest rates to borrow money by selling bonds or notes. It was not all bad news for the equipment maker last week. An analyst report published by Mobile Lifestreams bucked the trend by giving Lucent a strong rating in the core technology necessary for the successful rollout of next-generation mobile networks. … Read more
Broadband consolidation ahead?
To know what the broadband industry is going to do tomorrow, just look at what the cellular industry is doing today. Year after year, several key cellular carriers and vendors have systematically acquired or merged with competitors to form vast corporations offering diverse product and service portfolios. And so it seems the wireless broadband industry is traversing the same path, except more rapidly, as factors such as the stock market slump and the increase in demand for bandwidth push companies-especially equipment providers-into diversifying in order to survive. “I think it’s (the wireless broadband industry) really setting itself up to consolidate,” said Tom Kuchler, director of strategic marketing, broadband wireless access, Nortel Networks. “If you look in the millimeter wave space, and you see companies out there that have some interesting technology, you kind of wonder whether they will continue to exist. It’s a difficult business to execute on.” … Read more
Vodafone denies delay for Verizon Wireless IPO
LONDON-Vodafone plc denied reports that it plans to delay its planned flotation of U.S. joint venture Verizon Wireless, saying it is simply waiting for market conditions to improve. The Times of London reported Vodafone is planning a delay from its end of March timeframe, promoting speculation the British telecom giant may make a cash offer for the United States’ largest wireless carrier. The initial public offering, first scheduled for last August, is expected to raise $10 billion. … Read more
Sprint adds Voice Command
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Sprint PCS introduced Voice Command, a nationwide network-based, voice-activated dialing and information service, allowing subscribers to access 500 phone numbers using their voice. Sprint said the service allows subscribers to dial, look-up directory names, modify their address book entries and perform speech-enabled functions from any Sprint PCS phone. Customers can organize and enter names from a personalized Web site provided by Sprint PCS. The Voice Command service is offered free to Sprint PCS subscribers with a service plan of $50 or more per month and a Sprint PCS Advantage agreement. … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.