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!

Vodafone willing to part with Verizon
International telecom giant Vodafone confirmed this morning that it was in talks with Verizon Communications over a possible sale of its 45% stake in domestic operator Verizon Wireless, following years of rumors. In a statement, Vodafone said: “Vodafone notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of Vodafone’s U.S. group whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless. There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached.” Vodafone has been rumored to be selling off its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for years, with those reports heating up in the past several months, including potential prices of up to $130 billion. Last month Vodafone Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee told investors that the telecom giant would be open to a potential sale of its 45% stake in the U.S. wireless carrier. … Read more

To Galaxy Gear and beyond
Talk of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Gear device has been circulating ever since the Korean company filed trademark applications for the name earlier this summer, but now Bloomberg is reporting a launch date for the wristwatch that could double as a smartphone. Samsung will reportedly unveil the new product September 4, two days before the IFA consumer electronics show starts, and six days before Apple is expected to launch its newest iPhone. The Galaxy Gear is expected to be an Android device worn on the wrist that can make phone calls, send texts and emails, and surf the Internet. It would be the first such product to hit the market; existing “smart watches” can load mobile apps but cannot make calls. Wearable wireless is emerging as an increasingly interesting category for device makers, and many think consumers are much more likely to wear a device on their wrist than to attach one to their head. Although Google’s Glass has generated tremendous interest and media attention, its practicality and affordability are unproven. … Read more

European market consolidation?
The battle for KPN’s German business is the latest wave in a flood of mergers and acquisitions in the European telecom sector. According to Dealogic, telecom was the most active sector for European M&A during the first half of the year, representing 18% of deal volume in the region. Telecom M&A in Europe is at its highest level since 2003, and observers expect it to pick up even more steam if regulators approve the deals that are currently on the table. “A rising tide of deal making in Europe’s troubled telecom sector is spurring more companies to dip their toes in the water, raising hopes for a long-awaited wave of consolidation,” according to Rutberg & Company. The firm says deals are motivated by low interest rates, possible regulatory changes, and executives who fear their companies will be left behind if they do not act. … Read more

Android dominates the device market
Android has 79% of the smartphone market according to the latest research from Gartner. The firm estimates that in the second quarter of this year, 178 million Android phones were sold to end users, out of a global total of 225 million smartphones. For the first time, sales of smartphones exceeded sales of feature phones worldwide. Without a new release during the second quarter, the iPhone had just 14.2% of the market. That compares to 18.8% during the year-ago quarter. Apple (AAPL) exceeded analysts’ expectations by selling 31.9 million iPhones during the second calendar quarter (Apple’s Q3), but the company continues to lose ground to Samsung and other Asian manufacturers of Android devices. … Read more

FirstNet turns one
FirstNet, which is planning a nationwide public safety LTE network, marked its first anniversary by approving a business plan for 2014 and signing its second spectrum lease — while running into such troubles with three potential pilot projects that it concluded that agreements could not be reached. The board adopted a $194 million budget. “A goal without a plan is a dream, and today the Board adopted a 2014 business plan,” said Bill D’Agostino, FirstNet general manager. “The 2014 business plan sets the course for us to continue building the foundational elements of the organization and network infrastructure. We will also identify the ultimate structure for public/private partnerships that are essential for FirstNet to achieve and sustain our mission.” … FirstNet also signed its second spectrum lease, with the state of New Mexico. The lease is the first step toward New Mexico being able to access funding from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program that was suspended with the formation of FirstNet. FirstNet said that if the funding is resumed, the key issues from the New Mexico project include the use of a network core located remotely; spectrum management and network use issues along the U.S.-Mexico border; and shared use of a state network with a large number of federal users. … Read more

BlackBerry on the verge of breakup
Ten years after it launched its first smartphone, BlackBerry (BBRY) may be nearing the end of an era. Today the company said its board has formed a special committee to explore strategic alternatives. The Canadian company’s largest shareholder, Prem Watsa of Fairfax Financial, is resigning from the board due to potential conflicts of interest that may arise as the board explores options that will almost certainly include a breakup or sale of the company. BlackBerry currently has less than 3% of the smartphone market, and analysts say it has cut orders for the Z10 and the Q10 to a combined total of just a million a month. BlackBerry’s new Z10 and Q10 smartphones were meant to instigate a turnaround for the company whose products have been eclipsed by iPhones and Android devices during the last five years. … Read more

Moto in America
The first smartphone to be made in America costs less to make than Samsung’s Galaxy S4, according to a teardown analysis prepared by IHS iSuppli. The research firm estimates the total production cost of the Moto X at $226, lower than the 16GB S4’s estimated $237, but higher than the $207 that it costs Apple to make the 16GB iPhone 5. Google’s decision to build the Moto X smartphone in the United States has added a bit to its manufacturing costs, but those costs are just a small fraction of the overall production cost. IHS says the labor cost of each Moto X smartphone is $12, about $4.00 more than it costs to make a similar smartphone in Asia. … Read more

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

The post #TBT: Vodafone willing to part with Verizon; FirstNet turns one; Android devices dominate … this week in 2013 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.