US regulator reasserts goal to restrict AT&T, Verizon in auction

Reuters

The top U.S. telecommunications regulator on Thursday reasserted his commitment to helping smaller national wireless carriers get access to valuable lower-frequency airwaves in the upcoming spectrum auction.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a letter to Representative John Barrow, reaffirmed his plans to restrict how much spectrum the biggest U.S. carriers, Verizon Communications Inc (New York City, NY, USA) and AT&T Inc (Dallas, TX, USA), could buy in the auction scheduled for mid-2015.

Pakistan's long awaited 3G, 4G auction draws dismal response

Reuters

A dismal response in this week's auction for next-generation cellphone spectrum licenses means cash-strapped Pakistan will struggle to fund its budget this year, finance and IT ministry officials and telecom industry executives told Reuters.

Pakistan is set to hold long-awaited auctions for 3G and 4G network licenses on April 23, a step the government projects will raise $2 billion to boost foreign reserves.

But officials said there has been scant interest in Monday's bidding process and estimate Pakistan will raise no more than $850 million.

DigitalRoute, MetraTech to help operators monetise next-gen M2M

DigitalRoute and MetraTech have teamed up to help communications service providers with the monetization of next-generation services, including M2M and Intenet of Things (IoT) applications delivered over LTE networks.

The companies say they are already providing cloud-based metering, charging and billing services to a North America tier-one customer and aim to expand their offerings for other players as technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) gain traction.

u-blox 4G module wins Verizon Wireless certification

M2M hardware player u-blox says its new 4G LTE module has been certified for use on the network of US telecoms giant Verizon Wireless.

The Swiss company says certification opens the door to the development of M2M services and applications that will function on one of the country’s biggest 4G networks.

Customers will from now on be able to design the TOBY-L100 LTE module – as it is called – into devices operating on Verizon’s (New York City, NY, USA) LTE system.

Reliance Jio, RCOM form closer ties

Reliance Jio Infocomm has announced another network-sharing deal with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in a further sign of improving relations between India’s Ambani brothers.

The so-called Master Service Agreement will give Reliance Jio (Mumbai, India) access to RCOM’s (Mumbai, India) nationwide inter-city fiber network, which it hopes will help to speed up its deployment of a 4G network across India.

Reliance Jio said the agreement was based on “arm’s length pricing at prevailing market prices”.

New Zealand's 2degrees to launch 4G services in July

New Zealand operator 2degrees says it has kicked off a three-month trial of 4G technology with plans to introduce commercial services by July.

The operator – the smallest of New Zealand’s three mobile players – is running an LTE trial at ten sites in central Auckland, using 1800MHz spectrum.

The aim is to launch commercial services in central Auckland by July before expanding into the wider Auckland area and the cities of Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch by the end of the year.

Kore strengthens 2G capability with Jazz takeover

Kore Telematics has taken over Jazz Wireless Data to expand its footprint and expertise in the M2M connectivity area.

Under the deal, whose terms were not disclosed, Kore (Alpharetta, GA, USA) will acquire a “six-figure” subscriber base from Jazz (Raleigh, NC, USA), which provides M2M networking services in North America.

Raco to support Audi's LTE rollout

US MVNO Raco Wireless says it has won a contract to support German carmaker Audi with the rollout of 4G LTE services.

The news comes shortly after Audi (Ingolstadt, Germany) teamed up with US telecoms giant AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) on the launch of the 2015 Audi A3 sedan, which is being promoted as the first car in the US market that will include 4G LTE connectivity.

Audi plans to launch the 2015 Audi A3 sedan this spring.

Half of Africa to have 4G coverage by end-2018: ABI Research

Half the population of Africa will be covered with 4G networks by the end of 2018, according to a new study from ABI Research, as the number of base stations deployed across the continent increases at a compound annual growth rate of 40% over the next five years.

Even so, LTE network population coverage will be far from homogenous across the region, says ABI Research.

Kore, Multi-Tech to advise M2M players on 2G shutdown

Kore Telematics has launched an educational program in partnership with modem maker Multi-Tech Systems aimed at supporting M2M players facing a shutdown of 2G networks.

Leading US operators AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA) have both announced plans to switch off their 2G networks over the next few years and run all voice and data traffic over 3G and 4G infrastructure.

The plans have generated concern among companies that currently use those 2G networks for their M2M services.

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