AT&T needs T-Mobile most for its WiFi

In the 36 hours or so since AT&T and Deutsche Telekom announced that the American carrier would be buying the U. S. subsidiary of the German phone company, there has been plenty of speculation (some of it right here) about what this will mean for customers and the wireless industry, but not very much, frankly, about why T-Mobile is worth $39 billion to AT&T. It’s about more subscribers, we’re told as though that is obvious, and back-office savings, plus extra spectrum with some special plans for 4G, but that’s not the biggest reason at all. The biggest reason why AT&T wants T-Mobile is because of WiFi.

Subscribers are nice, as are back-office and marketing savings, but […]

By |March 21st, 2011|2011|46 Comments

Will AT&T buying T-Mobile make jailbroken and unlocked iPhones finally legal?

So AT&T is buying T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in a deal that makes perfect sense if you are an RF engineer or a fat-cat telco tycoon, but my question is what happens to all the jailbroken and unlocked iPhones?

T-Mobile and AT&T are the USA’s only GSM wireless network operators, so if you had an iPhone and wanted to dump AT&T to allow things like free tethering, the obvious (and frankly only) way for Americans to do so was by jumping from cranky old AT&T to the much friendlier T-Mobile. And so tens of thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands — of AT&T customer did just that, and were gratefully accepted by T-Mobile.

But now with […]

By |March 20th, 2011|2011|61 Comments

Who ya gonna call? Supertanker!

At this point in the Japanese nuclear emergency it is coming down to the simple proposition of how do you drop enough water on the stricken reactors, and especially the spent fuel ponds, to keep further damage from happening? The Japanese Self-Defense Force is experimenting with helicopter water drops which are, frankly, stupid. The choppers can’t drop enough water to make a difference and they are so slow that they potentially expose their crews to excessive amounts of radiation.  Much better to use the Evergreen 747 Supertanker.

The unique Evergreen Supertanker is the largest piece of firefighting gear on earth, capable of dropping more than 20,000 gallons of water or chemicals at a shot (40,000 gallons per hour!), then streaking back for more at over […]

By |March 16th, 2011|2011|82 Comments

Hollywood's impending Internet revolution

New York Magazine wrote recently that YouTube was planning to throw large sums of money at celebrities who would then make short form (three minute) videos for the site. The numbers mentioned were staggering (up to $5 million per celebrity channel) but the business model is crazy. It’s the three minute thing that makes no sense. I’m sure if YouTube is planning something like this it is specifically for videos that are not three minutes long.
Youtube already owns the Internet market for three minute videos. While there are probably instances where YouTube might throw some significant money into getting the odd celebrity to do something in this space, it is traditional TV-length videos and movies where Youtube actually needs help.
Looking at total video […]

By |March 15th, 2011|2011|55 Comments

Is anything nuclear ever really super safe small and simple?

Absent some terrible news from Japan this will be my second and last column about the nuclear accidents unfolding there. It turned out I was right last time about the sodium polyboride or boric acid or whatever neutron absorber the Japanese authorities dumped in first one and now two reactors along with a lot of sea water in an attempt to quench the reaction heat. I think it is pretty clear, too, that most of these reactors will not be coming back online… ever. This column looks at what that can mean for the nuclear industry in Japan and I also want to look at how these accidents are or aren’t like Chernobyl — a comparison I am seeing far too often in news […]

By |March 13th, 2011|2011|162 Comments