Mobile Carriers Are Trying To Control Your Texting

mom-textWho owns your telephone number? According to Section 251(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, you own your number and can move it to the carrier of your choice. But who owns your texting phone number? It’s the same number, just used for a different purpose. The law says nothing about texting so the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are claiming that number is theirs, not yours, even if you are the one paying a little extra for unlimited texting. And the way they see it, unlimited is clearly limited, with carriers and texting services not offered by the Big Four expected soon to pay cash to reach you.

Georgia Tech’s $7000 polyester masters in computer science

Productivity is good but wage stagnation is not. This trend will only be exacerbated by the trashing of U.S. education standards.

In case you missed it, the Rambling Wrecks of Georgia Tech will next year begin offering an online masters degree in computer science for a total price of just under $7000 — about 80 percent less than the current in-state tuition for an equivalent campus-based program. The degree program, offered in cooperation with AT&T and courseware company Udacity, will cost the same no matter where the students live, though two thirds are expected to live and work outside the USA. Time to complete the degree will vary but Georgia Tech thinks most students […]

Prediction #4: Motorola buys TiVO

What’s going to happen with TiVO?  The pioneering Digital Video Recorder company is still in business with around a million subscribers and it has lately been settling patent infringement cases with big companies like Echostar and — just this week — with AT&T, but the longer term prospects for the company are dim. Yes, they’ll likely rake in hundreds of million more in settlements from companies including Verizon, but at the same time their subscriber base is dwindling and a point will come when their hardware will simply disappear as the company loses manufacturing economies of scale. That is unless they want to start shipping each new unit with a $100 bill attached — something […]

By |January 3rd, 2012|2012|64 Comments

Still wired after all these years

Verizon Wireless announced Friday that it was paying $3.6 billion to three cable TV companies — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks — in exchange for wireless licenses the companies bought in an FCC auction in 2005. Pundits are describing the deal, and especially its cross-marketing provisions, as revolutionary with the potential to change the way we communicate and are entertained. I doubt this. Rather, I think it reflects a failure of the cable companies to compete in other markets.

I remember this license auction and wrote about it at the time. New spectrum was being released and the MSOs were afraid Verizon and AT&T would snap it up to compete with […]

By |December 4th, 2011|2011|75 Comments

Ivan the Terrible?

If you were Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, faced with suddenly becoming the number two mobile phone company in America following an AT&T/T-Mobile merger, what would you do?  You could try to buy Sprint, and for all I know Seidenberg will do just that.  You could make a counter-offer for T-Mobile, but that would just be too darned expensive. If I was Seidenberg, though, I would try to poach customers — millions of customers — from T-Mobile.

AT&T is paying $1300 per T-Mobile subscriber and by the time the deal is finished extra costs will probably raise that to $1400 or more.  Were I Seidenberg, then, I’d spend right up to that level to snag customers from […]

By |March 22nd, 2011|2011|42 Comments