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!

Intel: “WiMAX is real”
With WiMAX being deployed all around the world, Intel Corp. officials are satisfied with the progress the technology has made in the United States and are hopeful federal stimulus funds can help accelerate the technology’s deployment. Sean Maloney, Intel EVP, said this week that not only is Clearwire Corp. making progress with its WiMAX service in the U.S., but the technology is flourishing worldwide and will continue to have a head start on competing next-generation technologies. “WiMAX is real,” he said in a conference call with reporters and analysts. “It is here today with deployments and users.” So far, Clearwire and its partner Sprint Nextel Corp. have launched WiMAX networks in Portland, Ore. and Baltimore. Despite the economic downturn, Maloney said Clearwire has the capital to continue expanding its network and could benefit from the $789 billion stimulus package that has been approved by Congress. Grants set aside by the government for broadband total $6 billion. … Read more

iPhone spurs mobile games — and development
After years of treading water and failing to live up to outlandish hype, mobile games finally may be starting to make progress. And it’s the Apple’s iPhone – and, to a lesser extent, other multimedia-friendly smartphones – that’s moving the needle. Which is why carriers are beginning to rethink their strategies. Once regarded as the killer mobile app that’s just around the corner, mobile games have been a perennial disappointment among wireless data applications. (How’s that for a dubious achievement?) Only Electronic Arts Inc. and, to a lesser extent, Gameloft, appear to have made any real money in the space, while solid second-tier publishers such as Glu Mobile Inc. have struggled to earn profits thanks largely to onerous porting costs, burdensome carrier revenue-splits and nightmarish carrier decks that have led to the industry’s failure to surpass the “golden nickel” – the 5% or so of mobile users who download a game. The iPhone addresses all those issues, and it does so with a sexy device supported by a familiar, easy-to-use storefront in Apple’s App Store. Not only does the storefront offer widespread, easily accessible distribution, Apple keeps only 30% of revenues and allows developers to pocket the rest, presenting a far more attractive model than carriers traditionally offer. … Read more

Nokia’s mea culpa after server crash
Nokia Corp. begged for forgiveness from consumers after its new cloud-based service broke down.
The Finnish manufacturer – which is striving to evolve into a mobile Internet services company – said its Contacts for Ovi offering shut down after a cooler failed, causing a server to crash. The service was down for several hours Thursday and – more importantly – all customer updates for the past three weeks were lost. “Words can’t explain how incredibly sorry we are for the inconvenience,” wrote Kristian Luoma, contact manager for Contacts on Ovi, on the company’s blog. “We’re sorry for the lost contacts in your phonebooks. We’re sorry that the profile pictures you love, and we love too are gone. Nothing can make this right, we know, but we’re hoping that you can forgive us and give another chance to give you good service.” The failure underscored the dangers of offering a cloud-based service for personal information, which has become a white-hot space as Apple, Microsoft and others woo consumers by acting as a kind of storage locker for consumers’ data. … Read more

Cricket launches in Chicago
Cricket Communications Inc. continues its nationwide rollout with its Chicago launch today, bringing its total covered pops to 77.5 million. The carrier, parented by Leap Wireless International Inc., is scheduled to double its covered pops this year. Cricket recently launched service in pockets of the Midwest, most recently in parts of Wisconsin. “Chicago is the largest Cricket market to date, and brings Cricket’s greater Upper Midwest footprint to nearly 20,000 square miles,” said Leap CEO and President Doug Hutcheson. … Read more

Boosting iDEN
Boost Mobile’s decision to refocus its efforts on parent company Sprint Nextel Corp.’s iDEN network may be just what the doctor ordered – or a way to make the iDEN network a more attractive acquisition target. After launching a trial of an unlimited offering on Sprint Nextel’s CDMA network to compete with the likes of Leap Wireless International Inc. and Metro PCS Communications Inc., Boost last month unveiled a $50 per month all-you-can-eat plan that will operate on the iDEN network, where Boost originated its service. Further, Boost noted that no new customers would be added to the CDMA network. “The CDMA trial was always a trial,” said Justin Brennan, director of prepaid services for Boost Mobile. “The same opportunity could have been present with CDMA, but iDEN was a better fit for our demographic.” This demographic includes connection-centric customers, more so than data-centric customers, Brennan said. Boost aims to recruit customers whose main concerns are making voice calls and sending texts. The iDEN network is more appropriate for that, Brennan said. “The iDEN network does not deliver data speeds comparable of CDMA right now,” Brennan said. “It scratches the surface, but it is not for downloads or mobile TV. If you want streaming video and streaming music, Boost isn’t right for you.” … Read more

Verizon adapts Alltel’s “MyCircle” after acquistion
Alltel Communications L.L.C customers can relax; Verizon Wireless announced it will offer its own version of Alltel’s long-standing MyCircle calling plan, just with a different name.
Ever since Verizon Wireless announced it would acquire Alltel, customers and industry watchers began to wonder if the regional carrier’s MyCircle offering would disappear. No more. Verizon Wireless said beginning Feb. 15 all customers can enroll in its new Friends & Family feature, which allows users to pick five or 10 off-network numbers to place unlimited calls to. The feature also covers landline numbers. Eligible single-line rate plans begin at $60 per month for 900 anytime calling minutes and allow customers to choose five Friends & Family numbers, while family plans begin at $90 per month for 1,400 anytime minutes and allow customers to choose 10 Friends & Family numbers, to he shared across the multiple lines. … Read more

Economic downturn impacts enterprise wireless spend
Faced with uncertain financial conditions, corporations are cutting capital and operating budgets and the outlook for information technology spending this year – where wireless spend resides – has contracted from last year. “The outlook for 2009, based on pre-year forecasting, indicates an average planned increase in IT of around 2.8%,” according to a new Gartner study of IT metrics by analyst Linda Tracy and colleagues. “This is much less optimistic than last year, when the planned increase was 5%.” “Due to the recent turmoil in the financial markets late in the year,” the report added, “organizations’ spending plans may have been re-forecast with an even less optimistic outlook.” Typically, 40% to 50% of technology spend under the “networks and communications” portion of those shrinking IT budgets goes to mobility, including wireless local area networks, cellular and 3G data services, wireless voice and smartphones and personal digital assistants, according to Gartner analyst Phil Redman. The upshot is simple. “Companies are looking to do more with less,” Redman said. “That’s the challenge.” … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News’ Archives for more stories from the past.

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