|To resolve an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau, AT&T and its former subsidiary Southern New England Telephone (SNET) have agreed to pay $10.9 million in penalties for overbilling the FCC’s Lifeline program, a program which helps ensure low income consumers have access to a phone line. An FCC investigation showed that AT&T and its affiliates continued to provide service to landline customers in the program without recertifying the eligibility of the customers within the 35 days required by Lifeline program rules. As a result of these failures, the companies overbilled the Lifeline program when they requested reimbursement for participating in the program. The $10.9 million in penalties resulting from these settlements are in addition to the refund payments that the companies have previously made to fully reimburse the Lifeline program for ineligible customers.|
“American consumers trust that the companies who receive federal funds will use that money appropriately,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We expect companies to be vigilant in protecting public funds and complying with FCC rules.”
|The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) officially announced the formation of the Bluetooth® Smart Mesh Working Group. This working group will build the architecture for standardized mesh networking capability for Bluetooth Smart technology. As Bluetooth Smart sensors proliferate in the home, mesh networking will become an integral component to ensure consumers’ Bluetooth enabled smart locks, lights, HVAC systems, and even appliances work together to deliver a seamless smart home experience.|
“The Bluetooth SIG is very good at standardizing its technology and creating platforms that ensure product interoperability, while allowing members the flexibility to innovate,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “Our members are extremely interested in mesh networking, not just for the smart home, but for every vertical using Bluetooth Smart. Given the sheer number of companies coming into the working group, this is clearly a priority for our members.”
Over 80 member companies already volunteered to serve on the Bluetooth Smart Mesh Working Group, among the highest of any SIG working group and demonstrating the strong industry backing for this initiative. The group is comprised of companies from a broad array of industries, including automotive, mobile phone/mobility, industrial automation, home automation, consumer electronics, and computing. Rather than focusing on one specific use case, the objective of the group is to build a common platform all members can develop to. The group is assessing many user scenarios that would benefit from mesh, including lighting, HVAC control, asset tracking, and security.
|Intel Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Lantiq, a leading supplier of broadband access and home networking technologies. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in approximately 90 days. Deal terms were not disclosed.|
Smart gateways and intelligent access networks are important elements in Intel's efforts to make everything smart and connected, best with Intel. This acquisition would expand Intel's success in the cable residential gateway market and broaden its offering to other gateway markets, including DSL, Fiber, LTE, retail and IoT smart routers.
"By 2018, we expect more than 800 million broadband connected households worldwide," said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Client Computing Group. "Intel has been a global leader in driving broadband into the home and to connected compute devices. The combination of our cable gateway business with Lantiq's technology and talent can allow global service providers to introduce new home computing experiences and enable consumers to take advantage of a more smart and connected home."
The combined team would have a comprehensive range of connectivity solutions and home cloud technologies for OEMs, service providers and companies innovating new applications for the home. Together with Intel's IoT solutions, Intel® Security products and Intel-based client devices, Intel can deliver exciting new connected experiences for consumers.
|Alaska Communications, has closed the sale of its wireless assets to General Communication, Inc.. Net proceeds from this transaction will be used to pay down debt. A stronger balance sheet, combined with revenue and earnings growth, better positions the company to pursue additional opportunities to create shareholder value.|
“We can now focus on our business broadband and managed IT solutions strategy, which provides our greatest areas of growth and highest levels of profitability. Our broadband assets are already yielding industry-leading revenue growth. As we focus our attention and resources on reliable broadband and managed IT solutions, we look to be the partner of choice for Alaska businesses fortifying our customer relationships by delivering improved service,” said Alaska Communications President and CEO Anand Vadapalli.
|Today announced that they updated Facebook (FB) Search to make it easier to find the posts that have been shared with you.|
Users have given FB a ton of feedback on the Graph Search beta. They told FB the most important thing is being able to find posts they have seen before. With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer.
If you want to search using phrases like “My friends who live in New York,” you still can.
Your search results are personalized and unique to you and, as always, you can only see things that have been shared with you.
Users have also told FB they need better search on their phone, so today’s updates were designed for mobile — they’ll be available on Facebook for iPhone in addition to desktop.
Search at Facebook is a long-term effort. Today is a step toward helping you tap into the experiences and perspectives of your friends.
These updates will roll out this week in US English on iPhone and desktop.
The President’s statement is an important and welcome addition to the record of the Open Internet proceeding. Like the President, I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation, and economic growth. We both oppose Internet fast lanes. The Internet must not advantage some to the detriment of others. We cannot allow broadband networks to cut special deals to prioritize Internet traffic and harm consumers, competition and innovation.
As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding. We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act.
|ZTE Corporation, a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, welcomes the final determination of the United States International Trade Commission to reject the patent complaints of InterDigital Inc.|
InterDigital’s case alleging violations of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 was terminated by the ITC, which upheld an initial determination made in June. In December 2013, the ITC issued its final determination in favor of ZTE in an earlier complaint filed by InterDigital. During the past year, the ITC also ruled in favor of ZTE in Section 337 cases initiated by Technology Properties Limited LLC and FlashPoint Technology Inc.
“We are pleased by the decision reached by the ITC,” said Guo Xiaoming, Chief Legal Officer of ZTE. “As a globally-leading technology innovator, ZTE respects the intellectual property of other companies, and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to resolve any IPR disputes amicably and rationally.”
|"Every day, people find all sorts of interesting items on Facebook that they don’t have time to explore right away. Now you can save items that you find on Facebook to check out later when you have more time. You can save items like links, places, movies, TV and music. Only you can see the items you save unless you choose to share them with friends.|
Save Once, View Anywhere
You can view the items you saved at any time by going to your saved items in the “More” tab on mobile or by clicking the link on the left hand side of Facebook on the web.
| According to Strategy Analytics' AppOptix platform, US Android smartphone users spent the bulk of their on-device use between 5 pm and midnight. The total time spent between this period amounts to 39% of the daily activity.|
The analysis is based on over one million individual application sessions on more than 1500 Android smartphone users in the US during the first half of the year. The results are powered by Strategy Analytics' state-of- the-art Consumer Telemetry Platform by leveraging three core components – a best-in-class telemetry application, an opt-in panel, and big data analytics framework to support rich analysis.
Proportion of App Use by Time of Day In terms of overall use, early morning (midnight through8 am) accounts for 17%, day-time session (8-12 pm) accounts for 18%, afternoon session (12-5 pm) accounts for 26%, and evening (5 pm- midnight) session captures 39% of the daily on-device activity.
ISIS is changing its name because of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which is also referred to as ISIS. The following is from the CEO of ISIS:
"From our inception, our vision has been simple: Use the power of the mobile phone to help consumers find a safer and better way to shop, pay and save.
Four years ago, we went in search of a brand that could embody this vision. We wanted a name that brought to life our company and our values. Above all, we wanted a brand that captured the simplicity of our mobile wallet experience. We chose Isis.
Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – often referenced by the acronym ISIS.
The ISIS militant group has been linked to sectarian violence against civilians and government forces in Iraq and Syria.
|SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash storage solutions, today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fusion-io, a leading developer of flash-based PCIe hardware and software solutions that enhance application performance in enterprise and hyperscale datacenters. The acquisition will be an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.1 billion, net of cash assumed.|
“Fusion-io will accelerate our efforts to enable the flash-transformed data center, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk president and CEO. “Customers will benefit from the addition of Fusion-io’s leading PCIe solutions to SanDisk’s vertically integrated business model. We look forward to working with the world-class engineering and go-to-market teams from Fusion-io to provide high-value solutions to customers around the world.”
Under the terms of the agreement, SanDisk will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Fusion-io for $11.25 per share in cash. SanDisk will fund the acquisition with cash available on its balance sheet. The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is subject to customary closing conditions, including clearance from relevant regulatory authorities and the completion of the tender offer. It is expected that the transaction will close in the third quarter of SanDisk’s fiscal 2014 and be accretive to non-GAAP earnings in the second half of SanDisk’s fiscal 2015.
|Meredith Attwell Baker, a veteran telecommunications executive and former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of CTIA-The Wireless Association, effective June 2, the association announced today.|
Baker, who worked at CTIA early in her career, will replace Steve Largent, 59, who announced his retirement last October. Largent has served as President and CEO since November 2003.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to use my experience in both the public and private sectors to help the vital and fast-growing wireless communications industry,” Baker said. “The wireless industry has grown significantly over the past decade and now permeates every part of our lives from education, and health care to energy and business. CTIA should be in the center of discussions about how wireless is reshaping our economy, our society and our culture. I look forward to continuing CTIA’s long tradition of finding bipartisan solutions to ensure adequate spectrum availability and opportunities to unlock the next generation of investment and innovation.”
“I plan to bring new ideas and new initiatives to the association that will take it from good to great. We will recruit and keep the best and brightest experts in spectrum and wireless communications,” Baker added. “CTIA must be the ‘go to’ organization on wireless issues for both industry and government.”
Among the innovations that Baker said she plans to pursue:
|The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to provide more spectrum for general consumer use, carrier-grade small cell deployments, fixed wireless broadband services, and other innovative uses, through the creation of a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The Commission proposed rules for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service in a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that advances the Commission’s efforts to meet the growing demand for spectrum by proposing to make 150 megahertz available in the 3.5 GHz Band.|
The FNPRM proposes innovative spectrum sharing techniques to unlock the value of the spectrum between 3550 MHz and 3650 MHz, and seeks comment on extending the proposed service to 3700 MHz. Specifically, the FNPRM proposes a three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents, priority access licensees, and general authorized access users. Together, the proposals seek to promote flexibility and innovation by leveraging advancements in technology to facilitate sharing between different users and uses, including incumbent government uses.
Federal and non-federal incumbents would be protected from harmful interference from Citizens Broadband Radio Service users. Targeted priority access licenses would be made available for a variety of uses, including mobile broadband. General authorized access use would be permitted in a reserved amount of spectrum and on an opportunistic basis for a variety of consumer or business-oriented purposes, including advanced home wireless networking.
|CTIA and participating wireless companies today announced the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment,” which is the most recent effort by the industry to deter smartphone thefts in the U.S. The safety and security of wireless users remain the wireless industry’s top priority, and is why this commitment will continue to protect consumers while recognizing the companies’ need to retain flexibility so they may constantly innovate, which is key to stopping smartphone theft.|
The “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” states:
Each device manufacturer and operating system signatory of Part I of this “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” agrees that new models of smartphones first manufactured after July 2015 for retail sale in the United States will offer, at no cost to consumers, a baseline anti-theft tool that is preloaded or downloadable on wireless smartphones that provides the connected capability to:
In addition to this baseline anti-theft tool, consumers may use other technological solutions, if available for their smartphones.
- Remote wipe the authorized user’s data (i.e., erase personal info that is added after purchase such as contacts, photos, emails, etc.) that is on the smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.
- Render the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user (e.g., locking the smartphone so it cannot be used without a password or PIN), except in accordance with FCC rules for 911 emergency communications, and if available, emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user (e.g., “phone home”).
- Prevent reactivation without authorized user’s permission (including unauthorized factory reset attempts) to the extent technologically feasible (e.g., locking the smartphone as in 2 above).
- Reverse the inoperability if the smartphone is recovered by the authorized user and restore user data on the smartphone to the extent feasible (e.g., restored from the cloud).
Each network operator signatory of Part II to the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” commits to permit the availability and full usability of a baseline anti-theft tool to be preloaded or downloadable on smartphones as specified in this commitment.
|The NFC Forum today announced the public availability of new versions of nine technical specifications, following approval by the Board of Directors. The new versions deliver greater interoperability, faster read and write performance, mediated handover, and lower power consumption, as well as additional functionality for products incorporating NFC technology. The revised specifications comprise an integrated and streamlined set designed to be used together, bringing greater efficiency to the process of developing standards-based NFC products.|
To date, the NFC Forum has completed 21 technical specifications, as the momentum for Near Field Communication devices and services continues to grow. ABI Research estimates that over 500 million NFC-enabled devices will reach the market this year.
The new set of specifications supports compatibility among NFC devices implemented with previously released versions. The revisions deliver on the Forum's commitment to developing and maintaining technical specifications of the highest possible accuracy and usefulness. The specifications are available at no charge from the NFC Forum website after completion of the Specification License Agreement.
The updated specifications are:
|At Mobile World Congress, MasterCard and Syniverse today joined forces to deliver a number of mobile and payment services to enhance peace of mind for mobile users when they are traveling abroad.|
The two companies are currently in pilot-phase for an opt-in service that will enable card transactions for users only when they have their mobile device switched on in a specific geolocation abroad.
This service aims to reduce consumers’ frustrations associated with having their payment cards used without their knowledge or having their own transactions unnecessarily declined when trying to make purchases in another country. Financial institutions will also have an additional tool that will help them make more effective decisions when approving or declining a transaction on behalf of their customers.
MastrerCard Syniverse Infographic
In addition, mobile users could also have a choice of prepaid data packages that they can purchase directly from their phones when they arrive in their destination country. Approximately 75 million mobile phone users travel outside their home country each month, yet today 70 percent of people switch their mobile data function off when they arrive, which is likely in an effort to avoid roaming charges.
Mobile network operators and brands can also benefit from the collaboration between MasterCard and Syniverse. In the future, they could implement targeted offers, which will be made more relevant by knowing the location of a mobile device, for example in close proximity to a retail store. A research report for Syniverse from economists at SEEC uncovered a market valued of as much as $44 billion for operators providing services to brands based on opted-in mobile subscribers’ information, behavior and location – known as mobile context.
|ZTE, one of the top global handset manufacturers, will unveil a range of high-performance smartphones and innovative products at Mobile World Congress 2014. With a focus on delivering a superior user experience, ZTE will launch brand new dynamic devices with the ultra slim Grand Memo II LTE with 6 inch screen, one of the first Firefox OS 1.3 devices, the ZTE Open C as well as its brand new user interface MiFavor 2.3.|
Adam Zeng, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices and Executive Vice President of ZTE Corporation commented, “This year, we are looking to work even more closely with our customers worldwide to develop the products they want and deliver a superior customer experience. They have told us that they want ever more innovative and high-performance products, so at MWC 2014 we are delivering this with the launch of two new high-profile devices, the ultra slim Grand Memo II LTE with 6 inch screen and the ZTE Open C in partnership with Mozilla and Telefonica. We expect 2014 to be our strongest year yet – and we’re putting our customers at the heart of everything we do to help us achieve that.”
| Qualcomm Incorporated and HP today announced that Qualcomm Incorporated has acquired a patent portfolio from Hewlett-Packard Company, Hewlett-Packard Development Co LP and Palm Inc. The portfolio, comprising approximately 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US and approximately 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from other countries, covers technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques. The acquisition further enhances the strength and diversity of Qualcomm Incorporated’s industry-leading mobile patent portfolio and will enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees. The purchase price was not publicly disclosed.|| |