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!

WiMAX lovers unite
BARCELONA – In the shadow of an overwhelming LTE-focused Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, the WiMAX industry gathered the night before the show’s official opening to provide an update on the “other” next generation technology’s progress. The gathering also came on the heels of the show’s organizers, the GSMA, commenting that WiMAX would never be a “mainstream” technology option in the market. The tone of the event was highlighted by the name given to the event, “2010: WiMAX is mass market,” as those supporting companies in attendance repeatedly touted the current available of networks utilizing the technology and the plans for continued expansion this year. “We are entering the second phase of WiMAX, where networks are getting ready to scale,” explained Sriram Viswanathan, VP of Intel Corp.’s Architecture Group and GM of the WiMAX Program Office at the chip giant. “We will be approaching 1 billion people covered with WiMAX signals around the world.” While not confirming Viswanathan’s numbers exactly, analysts firm Maravedis Inc. did release numbers during the MWC event showing that WiMAX subscribers worldwide had topped 4.7 million at the end of the third quarter of 2009 and that those using the technology’s mobile standard had surpassed those using the fixed version. … Read more

Googles proclaims its love for mobile
BARCELONA – As the second day of Mobile World Congress came to a close, the chairman and CEO of the seemingly dark horse not-so-long ago, Google, presented his thesis for why he thinks the ecosystem supporting mobility is coalescing around a point that will be “fundamental to human existence.”
Eric Schmidt outlined three factors – computing, connectivity and the cloud – that will be paramount to delivering a richer, more dynamic and personally fulfilling experience on mobile. “It’s like magic. All of a sudden there are things you can do that you never thought were possible,” he said. With low-power high performance chipsets on the burner, mobile players throughout the ecosystem will soon “have all the wonderful properties that we’ve seen in the computer industry,” he added. Connectivity, which has already proven to be a bottleneck problem for a variety of operators and their users, is the second “tremendous wave” that’s hit the industry, but Schmidt said he’s hopeful about solutions that are already in the wings. “The story is LTE,” he said. Seeing as how the United States has historically lagged behind Europe, South Korea and Japan in commercially deploying next generations of wireless technology he “was shocked to discover that the United States might actually deploy LTE soon.” … Read more

Google’s fiber plans set hearts aflutter
Google Inc.’s announcement that it plans to work with a few local municipalities to build high-speed broadband networks has the potential to change the broadband landscape in the United States, according to analyst Craig Settles, founder of Successful.com, which advises companies and government agencies on broadband strategies. “This one got my heart racing. Google is hitting for the stars,” Settles commented. On its blog yesterday, the Internet search giant announced plans for a broadband experiment using fiber technology. The company did not mention a wireless component to its tests, but Google has been aggressive in the wireless space in the last few years so it stands to reason wireless could be considered in its plan as it develops. “We’ve urged the FCC to look at new and creative ways to get there in its National Broadband Plan – and today we’re announcing an experiment of our own,” Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly, Google product managers, posted on their blog. “We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.” … Read more

BlackBerry CEO: ‘You don’t need 100,000 applications, you just need ones you love’
BARCELONA – The first official day of this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, kicked off with a high-powered, though low- energy, keynote address with heads of Vodafone Group plc, Alcatel-Lucent and Research In Motion Ltd. giving their perspective on the wireless industry. Though it must be said that RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis’ view was decidedly BlackBerry-based. Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao touched on a range of topics relative to the expanse of the carrier he oversees. Colao said that the current economic troubles were a perfect time for the wireless industry to invest into their operations in support of future growth. “Think of the next five years as the new seeding phase of the industry like the first half of the 90s where when we started the GSM world,” Colao said. This investment was especially important as a means to prop up ailing economies, which Colao said is often overlooked by governments. “Many governments have not yet recognized that mobile is a key sector for rebuilding the European economy,” Colao said, noting the benefits of enabling mobile voice and data services for consumers and businesses. Colao said carriers needed to make serious attempts to meet the increasing demand for data services, but added that no one consumer should be allowed to degrade the quality of service of others. … Read more

Verizon hooks up with the GSMA
BARCELONA – Verizon Wireless’ metamorphosis from champion of CDMA technology among the world’s largest carriers to a full-fledged member of the dominant GSM-based world took another step to completion today as the nation’s largest operator announced its membership of the GSMA trade association. The decision garnered considerable attention from the GSMA as the group hosted Verizon Wireless parent company Verizon Communications Inc.’s EVP and CTO Dick Lynch in attendance during a GSMA press conference at the GSMA-run Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain. “Verizon is very excited about being offered and accepted as a member in GSMA,” Lynch said during the press conference. “I know that my face and technology were not welcome here at one time. We have recognized that the opportunity for the customer today can only be described as worldwide. Having joined with the membership in the GSMA and participating more fully with the worldwide ecosystem is a value to Verizon.” Lynch added that with Verizon taking the aggressive step more than a year ago to launch LTE technology on top of its legacy CDMA-based network, it only made sense for the company to join the trade association. Lynch also provided an update on its LTE plans, though little new information was forthcoming. … Read more

Sprint isn’t feeling customers’ love
Sprint Nextel Corp.’s struggles continued during the fourth quarter of 2009 as the wireless industry’s No. 3 domestic carrier posted a net loss of nearly $1 billion and hemorrhaged more customers from its network. The news was not taken well by investors who sent the carrier’s stock down more than 9% in early Wednesday trading.Sprint Nextel said it lost $980 million during the fourth quarter though the result was a 40% improvement compared with the $1.6 billion the carrier lost during the fourth quarter of 2008. For the full year Sprint Nextel posted a loss of $2.4 billion, which was a slight improvement compared with the $2.8 billion lost in 2008. Sprint Nextel also increased capital expenditures slightly during the fourth quarter from $548 million in 2008 to $554 in 2009, though full-year capex spending was down 47% to $1.6 billion in 2009. Sprint Nextel lost 148,000 total customers during the quarter bringing the total number of customers served on its networks to 48.1 million by the end of the year. The carrier lost 504,000 postpaid customers during the quarter, including the loss of 507,000 customers on its iDEN network and the gain of 3,000 customers – including the transfer of 93,000 iDEN customers – to its CDMA network. Sprint Nextel noted the customer gains on its CDMA network was the first in six quarters. … Read more

Helping customers navigate new relationships with smartphones
Mobile operators realize they need customers to adopt increased data services to offset declining voice revenues but are not sure how to best implement strategies to facilitate that, according to a December survey of nearly 200 senior-level wireless operators, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by InnoPath Software. Of the 197 execs interviewed, 44% said they think data revenues will offset declining voice revenues in the next five years. Further, the survey said operators realize that open networks are the future, which means sharing revenues with content providers. Operators also are counting on advanced networks to contain operating costs, but 58% said usage-based pricing would help ensure profitability. “Operators recognise the challenge posed by non-traditional service providers such as Skype and Google, but they have not yet clearly defined their strategies for making their mobile data businesses more competitive,” says Katherine Dorr Abreu, senior editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. InnoPath, which offers customer relationship management services to global operators, conducted the survey in part to help introduce three enhancements the company is making to its ActiveCare CRM solution. With roots in over-the-air firmware updates, Innopath is adding more support for smartphones, which are the fastest-growing segment of handsets. Smartphones generate more revenue for carriers, but often require operators to spend more time on customer care for smartphone users because the devices are more complicated, said Dave Ginsburg, VP of marketing at InnoPath. Smartphone support can cost four times that of feature phone support, Innopath estimates. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Google professes affection for mobile, sets hearts racing with fiber plans; WiMAX lovers unite … this week in 2010 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.