Republicans, Democrats skeptical of AT&T deal

Reuters

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed skepticism on Thursday that AT&T's proposed buy of T-Mobile USA would lead to the consumer benefits that the wireless company has promised.

The huge deal has been attacked as a bad idea because it would further reduce the number of wireless carriers.

Additionally, critics say the loss of discount carrier T-Mobile could lead to higher prices for consumers.

AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson painted the proposed transaction as a way to extend the company's reach into the countryside and other underserved areas.

Google unveils pay-by-phone system, partners with Sprint

Reuters

Google Inc (Mountain View CA) and four bank and telecommunications partners on Thursday unveiled "Google Wallet," taking U.S. shoppers a step closer to paying by waving their mobile phones at the checkout counter.

The Internet search company's system that lets people pay with phones instead of cards, hoping to win a race against major rivals including Visa, top U.S. banks and mobile network operators.

Neuralitic expands its customer base with StarHub

Neuralitic Systems (Canada), a provider of mobile data intelligence solutions for mobile operators, has expanded its presence in Asia with the signing of a new deal with StarHub (Singapore), a fully-integrated info-communication company. The mobile operator will utilize Neuralitic’s SevenFlow software suite to understand the data usage profile of its customers and monetize data traffic.

Charles Schwab launches brokerage and banking mobile deposit for iPhone

Charles Schwab (San Francisco, Calif.) today launches mobile deposit capabilities for iPhone users, enabling brokerage and Schwab Bank clients to deposit checks remotely by taking a picture of a check with their iPhone camera. Schwab is one of the only financial services firms to provide its clients with mobile deposit capabilities and integrated banking and brokerage mobile services, including money transfer.

Pardus urges Clearwire to reconsider spectrum sale

Reuters

Activist investor Pardus Capital Management (New York, N.Y.) called on Clearwire Corp (Kirkland, Washington) to resume efforts to sell wireless airwaves in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with majority owner Sprint Nextel.

Pardus also complained of what it sees as conflicts of interest on Clearwire's board that could "adversely impact" company decisions, in a letter addressed to Clearwire's chairman and interim chief executive, John Stanton.

Alipay gets license to set up e-payment system

Reuters

The Alipay system affiliated with Jack Ma's Alibaba Group has received a license from China's central bank to operate an electronic payment system in the country, the company said on Thursday.

The license would allow Alipay to handle foreign exchange transactions, Internet payments, mobile payments and debit card services, Alipay said in a statement.

Alibaba Group restructured Alipay's ownership structure, giving Ma full ownership control of the payment business.

Niger signs off on Libyan deal for state telecom firm

Reuters

Niger has confirmed a deal with Libya's LAP Green Network for a ten-year majority share in state telecommunications firm Sonitel and its mobile arm, Sahel Com, according to a government statement.

Under the deal, Green Network - part of the Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP) - will pay $65.86 million for a 51 percent share in a ten year license for the communications firms, which will be fused into one.

U.S. smart grid to cost billions, save trillions

Reuters

A planned modernization of the U.S. national power grid will cost up to $476 billion over the next 20 years but will provide up to $2 trillion in customer benefits over that time, according to industry experts.

The so-called "smart grid" will save energy, reduce costs and increase reliability by delivering electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way communication that can control appliances, the charging of electric vehicles and the flow of power from renewable sources at customers' homes.

ZTE to launch LTE devices, expand U.S. footprint

Reuters

ZTE Corp, China's No.2 network equipment maker, plans to launch LTE (long term evolution) devices in the United States along with smartphones based on Microsoft's Mango operating system to expand its U.S. footprint.

The Shenzhen-based company plans to roll out LTE devices in the United States in the second half of this year and aims to launch its Mango smartphones early next year, ZTE's U.S. CEO Cheng Lixin told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday during a company event.

Google to unveil mobile payments

Reuters

Google Inc will take the wraps off a mobile payment system on Thursday that lets consumers pay at checkout with phones instead of cards, a source said, hoping to beat Visa and others to the punch.

The Internet search and advertising leader will work with MasterCard Inc, the world's second-largest credit and debit card processing network, to launch the system, the source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Google has teamed with MasterCard and Citigroup Inc to develop the system, the Wall Street Journal reported in March.

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