Perhaps you've noticed tantalizing flickers of AT&T 4G LTE on your handset in recent weeks. That's a sure sign something about to break loose, and now it has. AT&T is firing up LTE in 22 new markets and expanding coverage in 10 others. Most of the new markets are mid-size cities, which really tells you how far along AT&T is in its rollout.
Better late than never, I suppose. Today Sprint announced that it's bringing new LTE service to Boston and Framingham, Mass., Austin and Bryan-College Station, TX, Fort Wayne, IN, and Western Puerto Rico. The latter is actually not the first round of 4G coverage for the territory, as PR has had coverage in a few southern cities for a while. Additionally, the carrier improved its 3G services throughout the entire island.
It's a good start for 2013 as Sprint continues its Network Vision plan, which should only ramp up this year as a variety of deals—including the Softbank acquisition, the Clearwire buyout, and spectrum purchases—finalize.
Have you heard that T-Mobile is working on an LTE network? It's true. According to an interview with the carrier's USA EVP and CTO Neville Ray over on FierceWireless, the company is "days away" from flipping the switch on its new towers. The initial rollout will take place in Las Vegas (where T-Mo had hoped to debut in time for CES, but was delayed), followed closely by Kansas City.
Today, Sprint announced that it would be spending $2.2bn to acquire the remaining (roughly) half of Clearwire that it doesn't already own. The transaction, which is naturally subject to regulatory approval, will give the carrier ownership of all of Clearwire's significant share of spectrum, which will be a huge boost to Sprint as it attempts to build out an LTE network to compete with Verizon and AT&T.
Of course, these deals can take forever to close, so in the meantime, the two companies have entered into a rather brilliant agreement: Sprint has promised to buy roughly $80m worth of Clearwire stock every month starting in January 2013 for up to ten months (or a total of $800m, and slightly more than 1/3rd of the total Clearwire purchase price).
Sprint would like you to know that, while LTE coverage has not yet been activated in these areas just yet, the Now Network has plans to rollout the shiny new towers to cities like San Francisco and Napa, CA, Naples and Cape Coral, FL, and several markets in midwest and southern states. The network is not live yet, of course. As with the carrier's previous announcement, this is simply to let people know what's coming.
Previously, we'd heard rumors and whispers that T-Mobile (by way of its parent company Deutsche Telekom) would be acquiring MetroPCS. Today, both companies' boards have approved the merger and, pending regulatory and MetroPCS shareholder approval, the deal should be completed by mid-2013. The two companies will have a combined subscriber base of about 42.5 million customers, which still leaves it in fourth place in the U.S. behind Sprint with 56 million and AT&T/Verizon who each have over 100 million users.
The games are underway in London and the whole world is watching. If you'd like to follow the course of the events without spending the next couple weeks glued to your television, Yahoo! may just have you covered. The app is decidedly slick-looking, though some users have reported some trouble with the app, however in our test runs, it's worked adequately. Your mileage may vary.
The app has sections for news, photos, and quick access to which countries have won what medals for which events.
Starting Sunday (February 26), the world's biggest dedicated mobile technology conference will kick off in Barcelona, Spain - Mobile World Congress 2012. Tens of thousands of journalists, exhibitors, and booth girls, along with millions of business cards and promotional knick-knacks, will swarm the provincial capital of Catalonia like a Baskin Robins on Free Scoop Night. Countless tons of tapas and sangria will be consumed. Few hours of sleep will be had.
Verizon may have gotten a head start, but did you know AT&T is building an LTE network too? It's true! In fact, today the mothership activated new networks in Raleigh, NC and Tampa, FL and surrounding areas including Sarasota and Manatee counties, and Durham, NC. So, if you've been living near, but not quite in these cities, this is your time.
AT&T still has a ways to go before they reach Verizon's level of network saturation, but new markets are always welcome.
Folks, in less than 24 hours, the busiest, craziest, and most exciting (for gadget geeks anyway) event of the year will begin in Las Vegas and continue non-stop through all of next week. Of course, I'm talking about the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where almost 130 thousand people are going to be touching, drooling, ogling, and playing with countless products put on display by companies from all over the world, big and small.