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.

MotoGoogle

Last week I announced that I’m planning my own Android phone and the next thing you know Google does the same thing!  Coincidence? I think not.  Our motivations are somewhat different, however, and their budget, at $12.5 billion, is marginally higher. I’ve had plenty of time to think about this as I drive the dogs across country to our next home in California and there’s quite a bit more to this Motorola deal than other pundits have been saying.

Yes, it has a lot to do with patents and that might well explain Google’s goofy bidding behavior during the recent Nortel patent auction. Maybe Google already knew it was going for Moto at that point. Certainly with these 17,000 patents plus the $1 billion worth […]

By |August 16th, 2011|2011|104 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

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