17/05/2013 - Telus agrees to acquire Mobilicity for $380 million, despite Canada's push for increased mobile competition
Regulators in Canada have been making a push to enhance competition in the mobile space, with Industry Minister Christian Paradis going so far as to lay out a set of rules for the nation's upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction that he promises will give citizens "more choices and more access at better prices." Granted, that ideal world only works if the carriers can stay afloat long enough to bid. According to William Aziz, Mobilicity's own chief restructuring officer, the operator has been "losing a significant amount of money every month." To that end, he reckons that an "acquisition by Telus is the best alternative," and he seems to think that the $380 million deal will receive a hasty approval considering the circumstances.
The purchase price is thought to be high enough to cover the debts looming over Mobilicity, and it'll give its 150 employees a secure job at Telus. If it sails through, a quarter-million Mobilicity customers should see no interruption in service as the integration takes place. Of course, a secondary benefit for Telus is gaining access to the spectrum Mobilicity currently uses. The end result for customers in the world's nicest country? We'd love to say that one fewer player will result in better service, lower prices and greater fulfillment for all... but something tells us that's probably wishing for a bit much.
[Image credit: Andrew Currie, Flickr]
Between buying Instagram and calling Facebook Home the "next version" of his social network, it's fairly clear Mark Zuckerberg's obsessed with the prime real estate on your smartphone. Israeli newspaper Calcalist is reporting that Zuckerberg and Co. are eyeing up crowdsourced GPS app Waze, which generates mapping data by pulling it from its users' devices in real time. The paper says that Facebook entered into discussions around six months ago, with prices in the $800 million to $1 billion range being mentioned -- and while that sounds like a big number, it's still only a dollar per user.
Source: Calcalist (Translated)
Samsung's desire for deep integration of TV services was painstakingly obvious when it unveiled the Galaxy S 4's WatchON feature. However, that may prove to be just the tip of the televisual iceberg: it's buying MOVL, the developer of Samsung's own SwipeIt media sharing as well as the MOVL Connect Platform and KontrolTV. We don't know exactly how the two sides will mesh, but MOVL expects to merge its connected TV savvy with the "scale and innovation" of its new overseer, according to a company statement at TechCrunch. The only safe prediction is that existing support for generic Google TVs and iOS will likely take a back seat.
Taxi hailing apps have had a rough time getting started in the Big Apple. After the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) put the kibosh on Uber and subsequently blessed e-hailing apps with a 12-month test, the TLC faced a setback of its own: a lawsuit. Filed in March by 10 livery (black car) service outfits against the TLC and New York City, the suit packed seven complaints and temporarily put the pilot on hold. Among the claims were concerns that the program clouds the legal distinction between black cars and yellow medallion taxis, that it puts the elderly at a disadvantage and would enable cab drivers to discriminate by refusing service to certain passengers. Today, a judge dismissed the suit and lifted the order, clearing the way for the year-long trial to progress. There's no word on just when Uber and the likes of other e-hailing apps will be allowed to operate, but with legal hurdles out of the way, that should happen fairly soon.
Via: The Washington Post
Source: City of New York
Canadians have been enjoying a minor renaissance in wireless competition since its AWS auction allowed a slew of smaller carriers to join the fray. Unfortunately, that diversity might be shrinking soon. The Globe and Mail reportedly has documents showing that Telus has been in active talks to buy Mobilicity through a share buyout deal. While the apparent leak doesn't mention the exact motivations, it's thought to be a spectrum grab when LTE on major Canadian carriers primarily leans on the very AWS frequencies that Mobilicity also uses for its 3G service. Neither Telus nor Mobilicity is commenting, although we'd note that there may be a few roadblocks (however temporary) if the scoop is accurate. Rules meant to preserve competition will prevent Telus from buying any newcomers' spectrum until early 2014, and Mobilicity left the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association just this week while accusing the industry group of being a puppet for bigger networks like Telus. If negotiations are real and still in progress, there could be some very awkward meetings ahead.
[Image credit: Andrew Currie, Flickr]
Source: The Globe and Mail
While executives at T-Mobile and MetroPCS may be ready to close their merger, some shareholders aren't -- major advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services has been recommending that MetroPCS investors vote against the deal unless T-Mobile can sweeten the pot. Consider it sweetened. T-Mobile's parent Deutsche Telekom has made a "final offer" that would slash the debt owed by the post-merger company by $3.8 billion (to $11.2 billion), reduce the interest rate on that debt by half a point and prevent Deutsche Telekom from selling its shares in the merged firm for 18 months, rather than the original six. The reshuffled finances may not sound very exciting on the surface, but they're enough to put MetroPCS in a tizzy: the carrier is delaying a shareholder vote on the deal from April 12th to the 24th to allow for some reevaluations. There's no guarantees that the new offer is enough to please the naysayers. Still, we'd venture that T-Mobile will get a warmer reaction than the last time it tried a corporate alliance.
Source: Deutsche Telekom IR (Twitter)
Canadian carrier Wind Mobile has faced no small amount of tumult in recent months, culminating in direct control by Orascom and talk of shopping the provider around to the highest bidder. We didn't entirely anticipate just who would take up the offer, however: Fongo, best known for its former Dell Voice initiative, has made an overt bid for Wind. The VoIP provider wants to extend Wind's network network across the country while moving subscribers over to Fongo within the space of a year, theoretically creating a perfect match between cheap cellular access and free internet calling. Before anyone pops champagne corks, we'd warn that there's heavy amounts of publicity and symbolism involved in the acquisition attempt. Fongo is offering $1 and a 49 percent stake in its own venture -- that draws attention to its service, but might not hold up in a fierce bidding war. There may be more involved, but we'll have to wait before we know just how serious the move could be. Wind's parent Globalive has declined comment, while Fongo tells us it's waiting on a formal response before putting more of its cards on the table.
Puppet shows and tech rarely ever mix so succinctly: Insert Coin finalist Gal Sasson has taken the ages-old art form and put it on a motorized stage powered by Arduino, making it more entertaining and interactive in the process. The product, dubbed Make a Play, consists of a stage and control board (complete with buttons, knobs and joysticks) all hooked into a nearby computer, and we had the chance to play around with it at Engadget Expand. After decorating the background and adding puppets and toys onto the stage, kids can control the lighting, move two motorized carts to change the position of each puppet and they can even turn on tiny LED lights attached to the toys. But it goes one step further: you can record all of the puppets' movements and audio associated with your play, which means that your creations can be played back and reproduced on the stage whenever you want. Gal is still working on his launch strategy, so pricing and availability have not been officially announced. We take the stage for a spin in the video and image gallery below, so take a closer look.
Filed under: Mobile
That was fast. It was just a month ago that Mailbox launched its unique (if queue-ridden) email client for iPhone users, and today we're hearing that it's been acquired by Dropbox. While the two aren't explicit about their plans, the Mailbox crew makes clear that a Dropbox union will help scale its client, including to non-Gmail providers and more devices. The team also isn't shy about speculating about what could happen if Dropbox's cloud storage was "connected" to Mailbox. We'll just have to give the new partners some time to produce what could be an alluring software hybrid.
In a sudden joining of former leaders in the mobile browser arena that have seen their fortunes turn, Opera announced tonight that it has acquired Skyfire for about $155 million in cash and stock. According to the press release, Opera believes one of the things the two can help each other with is its WebPass program that provides short-term mobile data, by further optimizing user's data requirements. Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck will become an executive vice president at Opera and oversee joint offerings for the two, as well as remain CEO of Skyfire as an independent but wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera.
If you're still using Skyfire don't expect it to go away anytime soon, as the two indicate its browser will continue to be developed and supported. The company says three large US mobile operators are already customers for its Rocket Optimizer tech, meant to speed up all manner of data even as mobile connections have gone from dial-up to broadband speeds. Opera claims its advertising chops can help the Skyfire Horizon mobile browser and toolbar applications as well. The deal is expected to close before mid-March, and the two will be taking meetings at MWC 2013 later this month to show mobile operators how much better they are together.
Filed under: Mobile
You may not be very familiar with mFoundry's name, but you'll probably know its work if you're reading this site: it's part of a deal with MasterCard for NFC-based mobile payments, powers many banking apps and wrote the earliest mobile app code for Starbucks. As such, it's no small deal that payment giant FIS just bought full control of mFoundry for $120 million. FIS isn't shy about its aims and sees mFoundry as the ticket to covering a mobile banking space that's growing quicker than other fields. Not that mFoundry will necessarily feel like a pawn -- its audience potentially grows to the 14,000 banks that FIS has for customers. We'll just need to wait until after the deal closes later in the current quarter to see what the union will bring.
This one is expectedly drawing a big no comment from RIM, but Bloomberg is reporting today that Lenovo has at least considered the possibility of acquiring the company or forming some other type of strategic alliance. That word comes straight from Lenovo's Chief Financial Officer, Wong Wai Ming, who said at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos that "we are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others," adding that, "we'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders." That interest has apparently extended as far as speaking to RIM and its bankers about various possible arrangements, but it's not clear when that happend or how far along the talks went. He also unsurprisingly didn't offer any indication as to when Lenovo might make a decision on the matter. As Bloomberg notes, such a deal would also a number of regulatory hurdles, including a review by the Canadian government.
Alltel's retail shops, 585,000 customers and the chunks of the 700MHz, 900MHz and 1900MHz bands it operates will soon be part of the AT&T family. Pending an FCC review, of course. This morning the former Ma Bell announced that it would be purchasing the American assets of Atlantic Tele-Network, which uses the Alltel brand here in the US, for $780 million. While the additional customer revenue will surely be welcome, it's clear that AT&T is primarily after the spectrum here, which it calls "largely complimentary" to its current holdings. The smaller carrier is particularly popular in the rural areas of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina -- places that the nation's second largest mobile network could use a boost in.
Besides regulatory approval, which shouldn't prove to be a major obstacle, the company also faces challenges integrating Alltel's existing infrastructure with its own. Currently the smaller carrier operates a CDMA network on its frequency bands, which must be retooled to work with AT&T's GSM, HSPA and LTE technologies. Customers will also need to be migrated from their current handsets to AT&T compatible ones. So, while rural customers could see a significant improvement in coverage, we wouldn't expect the deal to bear fruit immediately. For more, check out the PR after the break.
AT&T To Acquire Wireless Spectrum and Assets from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc., Enhance Wireless Coverage in Rural Areas
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AT&T* today announced that it has signed an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (ATNI) to acquire the company's U.S. retail wireless operations, operated under the Alltel brand, for $780 million in cash. Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 585,000 subscribers.
ATNI operates under the Alltel name in the U.S., and its network covers approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across six states - Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and is largely complementary to AT&T's existing network. ATNI currently operates a retail CDMA network for its subscribers in these areas. AT&T expects that as it upgrades the network, ATNI customers and existing AT&T customers who roam in these areas will enjoy an enhanced mobile Internet experience.
AT&T expects integration costs for network conversion from CDMA will not result in significant dilution to EPS or impact to cash flow. The transaction is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice and to other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second half of 2013.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates - AT&T operating companies - are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse(R) and AT&T ?DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.
Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com/aboutus or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.
(C) 2013 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. 4G not available everywhere. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.
Via: The Next Web
If you ran Dish, how would you get extra leverage when fighting Sprint for control of Clearwire? Try to put SoftBank's acquisition of Sprint on ice, that's how. The satellite TV provider has asked the FCC to pause its review process over "unresolved contingencies" with Sprint's proposed buyout of Clearwire. Among the concerns, Dish warns that Sprint might not get full control of Clearwire or its spectrum, skewing the final value of the takeover, and that approval of the SoftBank-Sprint union might give the combined entity an unfair edge. Dish also makes a case for preserving wireless competition, but the company is still fairly conspicuous in its ultimate aims -- it wants a better shot at buying Clearwire, or at least to eke some LTE-friendly spectrum out of Sprint before SoftBank can move in. Just filing a request isn't a guarantee of action, however, and it's likely that Sprint will push back against any attempts to derail what's likely its deal of the decade.
Source: FCC (PDF)
08/01/2013 - Dish Network makes an offer to buy Clearwire, even though Sprint was already buying Clearwire
Surprise news this afternoon as Clearwire announced it's received an acquisition offer from Dish Network, even though Sprint was already on the hook to snap up the company for $2.2 billion. According to the press release, a special committee of the Clearwire Board of Director's has decided to negotiate with dish based on its proposal, although it has not changed its recommendation of the current Sprint transaction. Predictably, Sprint is not taking the news well, producing a series of bullet points about why Clearwire can't and shouldn't sell to Dish.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most extravagant flashy lifestyle, the deluxe villa, the fly palace of Samsung Semiconductor Inc. It only exists as a pile of architects' drawings right now, and probably looks nothing like the Minecraft wonderment shown above, but when it's finished the 10-story San Jose structure will boast the following:
- A new sales and R&D center, built in the stead of some existing Samsung offices, with floor space totaling 1.1 million square feet.
- A layout that seeks to "encourage interaction among staff" and "foster connections with the community," while ultimately improving Sammy's "soft capabilities"
- A parking garage and an "amenity pavilion" (whatever that is, we just know we can't afford one)
So, that's pretty much it in terms of detail. But to put all this into perspective, we're talking about an HQ that will be slightly bigger than Apple's recent 3,600-worker expansion in Austin, Texas -- or around a third the size of an infinite loop.
[Image credit: MinecraftModsDL.com]
Sprint's situation continues to get even more complicated, as it's being reported by CNBC that the Now Network is currently in "active negotiations" to acquire the remaining half of Clearwire, just two months after it took 51 percent stake in the company and had 70 percent of its own entity acquired by Softbank. That said, there is no guarantee that this particular buyout will occur, as the deal will have to get the Japanese carrier's blessing before proceeding. According to the all-knowing "people familiar with the matter," Sprint's vision in fully acquiring the company is to add Clearwire's spectrum to its own. It aims to close the deal around the same time the Softbank deal is finalized, which both companies are hoping will take place in March or April.
Via: Wall Street Journal
06/12/2012 - Nokia Siemens Networks hands business support division to Redknee, reaffirms focus on mobile broadband
There aren't too many surefire ways to get oneself focused in the business world, but completely detaching a corporation from a business division ain't a bad tactic. Just two days after Nokia Siemens Networks announced that it'd be selling off its optical business in order to focus on LTE, the firm has relinquished absolute control over yet another division. Dubbed a "planned acquisition" by Redknee CEO Lucas Skoczkowski, his company will be taking ownership of NSN's Business Support Systems. For Nokia Siemens Networks, it means 1,200 fewer employees to handle (they'll be moving to Redknee, not fired), and who knows how many saved headaches.
The division is presently responsible for providing "real-time charging, rating, policy, and customer care solutions to more than 130 communication service providers, including half of the top 100 global mobile operators." In other words, precisely the type of baggage you'd hope to drop if looking to "focus on mobile broadband," as stated by NSN CEO Rajeev Suri. Nothing like a little spring cleaning in December, huh?
Source: Nokia Siemens Networks
How amped is Microsoft to get developers into the Windows Phone 8 Store? The company announced today at Build that it's lowering developer registration to $8 -- that's down from $99. Got to get in there quick, however -- that price is only good for the next eight days. Seems to be some kind of theme here, no?
Update: Looks like the discount situation is a little more involved than just that. According to Microsoft, "You'll be charged $99 USD or equivalent in your local currency, and we'll refund the difference in the next 30 to 45 days." Ninety-two percent discounts don't just happen overnight, after all.
Microsoft drops Windows Phone Store developer registration to $8 for eight days originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 30 Oct 2012 13:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Windows Phone Dev Center | Email this | Comments
Rumors of Sprint's $12 billion acquisition by Softbank weren't exaggerated, they were understated: according to CNBC, the Now Network will announce a $20 billion transaction with the Japanese network on Monday, granting Softbank a 70 percent stake in the company. According to people familiar with the matter, Softbank will purchase $8 billion in shares directly from Sprint, snagging an additional $12 billion in stock at $5.25 a share from other shareholders.
CNBC: Softbank to pay $20 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 17:25:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | CNBC | Email this | Comments
While recent rumors suggested Sprint could be interested in snatching up Metro PCS, it may actually be the target of an acquisition.The Nikkei, Reuters and Wall Street Journal report it is in final talks with Japanese carrier Softbank. Just over a week ago Softbank snapped up rival eAccess in a billion dollar deal that added 50 percent more base stations to its LTE network and will move it from third to second largest in the country when it is completed. It got to third place with a leveraged buyout of Vodafone's Japanese arm back in 2006, and CEO Masayoshi Son mentioned last week that he has his eye on the number one spot. We're not exactly sure how a buyout of the third place American carrier fits into its plans, but we're betting Softbank's CFO is just trying to keep Son away from any juicy looking eBay "Buy It Now" auctions.
Japan's Softbank in 'advanced talks' to acquire Sprint for $12 billion originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 11 Oct 2012 07:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Wall Street Journal, Nikkei, Reuters | Email this | Comments
Who needs a marketing department when you have a personal Sina Weibo account? So reasoned ZTE's marketing strategy manager, Dennis Lui, as he posted the above photo of three ZTE Windows Phones to the internet. The right-hand device is just a regular ZTE Tania and, although it looks like it's running Windows Phone 8, the screen is actually a dead ringer for a certain "WP8 simulator" app available for WP7 phones. The remaining two devices are obscured by a generous helping of blur, but the handset on the left could well be running legit WP8, as evidenced by the shrunken live tiles, hinting that ZTE may be among the first wave of manufacturers diving into the new OS. To further whet our budget hardware appetites, Lui also posted a photo of a Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet (shown after the break), which suggests that ZTE is getting into that game too.
ZTE marketing guy goes crazy with unknown WP8 handset and Gaussian blur originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 18 Sep 2012 10:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink WMPowerUser, Winp.cn | Sina Weibo | Email this | Comments
17/09/2012 - Google buys Snapseed developer Nik Software, raises the eyebrows of Instagram shutterbugs
Google makes a lot of acquisitions, some of them more important than others. Its latest purchase might skew towards the grander side, as it just bought imaging app developer Nik Software. While the company is known for pro photography apps like Capture NX and its Efex Pro series, the real prize might be Snapseed, Nik's simpler image tool for desktop and iOS users. Both Nik and Google's Senior Engineering VP Vic Gundotra are silent on the exact plans, but it doesn't take much to imagine a parallel between Facebook's buyout of Instagram and what Google is doing here: there's no direct, Google-run equivalent to Instagram's social photo service in Android or for Google+ users, and Nik's technology might bridge the gap. Whether or not Googlegram becomes a reality, the deal is likely to create waves among photographers of all kinds -- including those who've never bought a dedicated camera.
Google buys Snapseed developer Nik Software, raises the eyebrows of Instagram shutterbugs originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Sep 2012 14:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink The Verge | Nik Software, Vic Gundotra (Google+) | Email this | Comments
10/08/2012 - Dish Network rumored to have bought Clearwire's $400 million debt in secret transaction
We're not in the habit of entering the dry world of corporate debt notes, but Sprint's latest financial release might disguise a juicy bit of news. There's a rumor in the business press that Dish Network might have bought around $400 million of Clearwire's debt -- helping relieve the pressure on Sprint, which has been keeping its subsidiary alive on handouts. Unsurprisingly, no-one's commenting on the rumors, although Dish CEO Joseph Clayton did say he was open to a partnership (or acquisition) with Sprint / Clearwire late last year. If true, it could signal that it's getting ready for a fight against AT&T -- or maybe it just wanted to throw Dan Hesse a bone.
Filed under: Wireless
Dish Network rumored to have bought Clearwire's $400 million debt in secret transaction originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 10 Aug 2012 07:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Pujet Sound Business Journal | Email this | Comments