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 those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Sprint to launch IoT network

Sprint said it will launch an LTE Category 1 network within the next three months, and will follow up with Category M1 technology deployed throughout its network by the middle of next year. LTE Category 1, which is part of 3GPP Release 8, caps download speeds at 10 megabits per second and caps upload speeds at 5 megabits per second. Category M1, part of Release 13, caps both speeds at 1 megabit per second. Since Category M1 uses much less bandwidth than Category 1, the IoT endpoints that use this protocol are smaller and less expensive, and can run for longer on a single battery. Sprint said it is the world’s seventh largest provider of IoT devices. The carrier said IoT devices that support vehicle telematics and industrial applications will use Category 1 LTE, while industrial sensors, asset trackers, and wearables will use Category M1. In addition, Sprint plans to deploy narrowband IoT across its network next year. NB-IoT uses even less bandwidth than Cat M1, but it may require hardware upgrades to the network, whereas the LTE protocols for IoT can usually be deployed through software upgrades. NB-IoT network equipment is made by Ericsson and by Huawei. … Read more

AT&T launches an IoT network, too!

Two days after Sprint shared its IoT network plans, AT&T said it has launched its Category M1 LTE network ahead of schedule. The carrier said it was able to deploy the technology throughout its network via software updates. AT&T had previously said it would launch Cat M1 LTE by the end of the second quarter. Category M1 LTE caps upload and download speeds at 1 megabit per second. Because the bandwidth and power requirements are low relative to other LTE categories, Cat M1 chipsets are relatively inexpensive and can operate for long periods of time without recharging. Modem chipsets that support the technology are made by Qualcomm, Sequans and Sony’s Altair Semiconductor, which is a longtime AT&T partner. AT&T said modules that incorporate Cat M1 modems and AT&T SIM cards will sell for as little as $7.50, and will be much smaller than the carrier’s current M2M modules. AT&T said it will launch new rate plans with LTE-M, with monthly plans starting for as little as $1.50 per month per device. Last year, AT&T became the first U.S. carrier to announce an IoT data plan, but those plans started at $25 per month. In order to encourage developers to create connected devices for the AT&T network, the carrier has an IoT starter kit. … Read more

Sprint/T-Mo merger rumors

Sprint and T-Mobile US stocks surged briefly late last week on published reports that preliminary merger discussions have started between Sprint, its parent company Softbank and T-Mobile US parent company Deutsche Telekom. Bloomberg reported that executives from Sprint and Softbank have been in touch with Deutsche Telekom and that financial firms are angling to facilitate any deal that might come together. Now that the quiet period for the federal 600 MHz auction has ended, telecom companies who participated in the auction can now hold merger-related discussions — and the end of the quiet period has meant ramped-up anticipation of a possible T-Mobile US/Sprint deal. The fresh T-Mobile US/Sprint merger rumors come just days after Softbank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son told investors on the company’s results call that T-Mobile is the “real first synergy” for Softbank to consider in terms of potential mergers in the U.S. market. “T-Mobile … would be the first priority. And I would like to be very sincere in trying to start a negotiation,” Son said. … Read more

T-Mo wins ‘Tappy’ lawsuit against Huawei

A jury has awarded T-Mobile US $4.8 million in a lawsuit against Huawei Devices that accused the Huawei subsidiary of stealing information about a device testing robot which T-Mobile US had developed in order to improve handset quality. The trade secrets conflict over the robot ultimately led to T-Mobile US dismantling its device supplier relationship with Huawei. The suit was filed by T-Mobile US in 2014 in U.S. District Court in Washington state. T-Mobile US said it had developed a device testing robot that was “easily adaptable to test any handset at minimal cost and with little training or labor needed”. “Tappy”, as the robot was nicknamed, “[performed] touches on the phone the same way a human being would – only much more frequently in a shorter period of time – and [recorded] the results. Simple in concept, but difficult in execution, the robot has reduced the costs of testing and increased the quality of the diagnostic results. Since implementing testing using the robot, phone returns for T-Mobile have declined significantly and testing time has decreased dramatically,” T-Mobile US said in its original filing. According to the complaint, T-Mobile US had put multiple non-disclosure agreements and security procedures in place so that information about the testing robot at the company’s labs in Bellevue, Wash., was protected. T-Mobile US said that it banned one Huawei employee from the lab after he took … Read more

FCC votes along party lines to undo net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to start the process of rescinding the “net neutrality” rules that treat broadband providers as telecommunications operators under the regulatory authority of the FCC. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and fellow Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly voted in favor of the proposed rulemaking process to repeal the regulations. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, voted against it. In her statement on the subject, Clyburn said that the move to repeal the regulations “deeply damages the ability of the FCC to be a champion of consumers and competition in the 21st century. It contains a hollow theory of trickle-down internet economics, suggesting that if we just remove enough regulations from your broadband provider, they will automatically improve your service, pass along discounts from those speculative savings, deploy more infrastructure with haste, and treat edge providers fairly.” Pai called the proposal a return to “light-touch regulation” and blamed net neutrality regulations for recent reduced network investments among the nation’s top 12 largest internet service providers. … Read more

Growth in gigabit

A new report tracking the progress and availability of gigabit broadband deployments shows there was a 72% increase in global deployments since August 2016. The report, called the Gigabit Monitor, was published by network test, monitoring and assurance vendor Viavi, formerly called JDSU. Key findings of the report include:

  • 219 million people have access to gigabit internet speeds, which is about 3% of the global population
  • There are currently 603 gigabit deployments around the world
  • The U.S. has 57% of deployments, followed by Europe with 26% and Asia with 7%
  • Australia has 4% of deployments, the Middle East has 3% Africa has 2% and South America has 1% of global gigabit broadband networks

Viavi’s CTO Sameh Yamany weighed in on the market growth and looked head to role emerging technologies will play in future growth: “2016 was a turning point for gigabit connectivity, as many cities around the world reached the point whereby gigabit internet was available to most of its residents. Yet the gigabit revolution shows no signs of cooling down in 2017. As bandwidth increases, so does consumer appetite for it. Likewise new business models have been quick to take advantage of new bandwidth, as we’ve seen with streaming video and audio in the recent past – and which we believe will continue in the near future with VR, AR and the internet of things.” … Read more

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

The post #TBT: AT&T, Sprint launch IoT networks; T-Mo wins ‘Tappy’ lawsuit; FCC rolls back net neutrality … this week in 2017 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.