Wireless Carriers Need to Open Up

One industry analyst suggests that price-cutting will plummet wireless carriers down the slippery slope of bankruptcy – unless they start differentiating their offerings. Speed alone is not sufficient to control the technology rat race. This article suggests a few ways that the wireless service providers might attempt to do this.     Read Full Story

Why Google’s MVNO “Nova” is just what the Wireless Industry Needs

Google has signed a deal with Sprint’s CEO Masayoshi Son, and is in negotiations with T-Mobile, to launch a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) service using Sprint and T-Mobile wireless networks. Google has stated that its new wireless service, known as “Nova”, will be “experimental” and that the end-goal is to provide best-case seamless connectivity to consumers. According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed source stated that Google has been working on the project for over a year, perhaps in hope that the FCC would have looked more kindly on a Sprint/ T-Mobile merger.  Read Full Story

NTelos Selling Assets – to What End?

NTelos, a regional wireless operator, serving 270K subscribers in VA and WV, sold the last of its cell towers to a private equity firm last month. Grain Management bought 103 cell towers for $41 million (~$400K per tower) and will lease back to nTelos with the option to reserve capacity. In December, nTelos sold its 1900 MHz spectrum licenses for $56 million to T-Mobile. NTelos stated that it is scaling back its eastern presence to build out in the west, where it currently serves just 180K subscribers.   We’ll keep you updated.  Read More

Is Dish Playing Roulette?

off-loading FCC Commission Ajit Pai says Dish Network has made “a mockery” of the FCC’s small business discount program that gave $25% discounts to qualifying businesses in the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction. Dish owns majority control of Northstar Wireless and SNR wireless, both which received discounts that Dish itself couldn’t qualify for, saving Dish over $3 billion.  Dish, via Northstar and SNR, was the #3 spender ($10 B), behind Verizon ($10.4 B) and AT&T ($18.2 B). Pai has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to investigate, saying that “arbitrageurs” and “creative end-runs” are not right. We tend to agree, but are not at all surprised by Dish’s ploy. Furthermore, we wonder what Dish will do with all this spectrum. It has a 2017 deadline to use 40% for mobile and 4G builds, which it’s not close to doing yet. Perhaps it will lease spectrum back to some of the Big 4 wireless carriers – or build on a partnership with Sprint or T-Mobile? Some analysts are wondering if Dish will seek to become the newest wireless service provider itself – but we doubt that it is ready to make the $10 billion investment in infrastructure builds. The likely result (as is the trend nowadays) is some kind of streaming video service..   Read More