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U.S. government files complaint against AT&T, T-Mobile merger

The proposed deal for AT&T to acquire T-Mobile has hit a snag.

Bloomberg.com reports a complaint has been filed by the U.S. government to block AT&T from acquiring T-Mobile arguing the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market.

AT&T amps up mobile broadband on N.C. campuses

AT&T has boosted its wireless network in areas hosting five N.C. colleges.

Areas surrounding Duke University, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill, and UNC -Charlotte received the improvements..

The company recently enhanced its mobile broadband with a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) which enhances network performance in indoor and outdoor spaces where geographical limitations – terrain, building construction, etc. – or crowd density might interfere.

iPhone reportedly coming to Sprint

Apple's new iPhone is reportedly set to join Sprint's smartphone lineup this fall.

The iPhone 5 is expected to go on sale in mid-October and it will be available through at least one more carrier according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sprint is the third largest carrier with 52 million subscribers. Verizon sits at the top with 106 million followed by AT&T with 99 million.

Offering the iPhone is likely to help Sprint retain and perhaps boost its number of subscribers, but the WSJ says it could also aid AT&T's case for acquiring T-Mobile. Sprint is set against the merger.

Meanwhile TechCrunch says it has on good authority that the iPhone 5 will be a world phone capable of using both CDMA and GSM networks. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA technology while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology. There is no mention of LTE which dampens the rumor that the next iPhone will be LTE compatible.

Also, a report from Reuters' claims Apple is working on a lower-cost 8GB iPhone based on the iPhone 4 to appeal to those deterred by the higher price of the iPhone 5.
 

Report: AT&T to only offer $20 monthly texting plan

Are carriers trying to kill off their text plans?

The word on the web is that AT&T Wireless is dropping its monthly $10/1000 messages plan leaving only the $20 unlimited option.

With advanced feature phones and smartphones there is little reason left to  pay for a text plan at all. I do have a minimal texting plan with AT&T, but I use Google Voice for most of my texting. If I were faced with only a $20 option I think I'd be inclined to pass. Facebook's new messaging app joins a bevy of third party messaging solutions used by millions.

The size of data for an SMS text is minuscule compared with the bandwidth required to make a call. It would seem to be a way for carriers to free up bandwidth.

Text messages are data which smartphone users already pay for.

I'm surprised we consumers have not applied more pressure on carriers to provide FREE texting plans. The cost for a carrier is insignificant and the monthly charges are pretty much legacy fees. It is a bit like still paying AOL for an email account that you can get for free at aol.com. It is still happening.

Understandably, carriers would be reluctant to pass on such easy revenue, but if a carrier could support a free option of just 100 SMS messages per month it would get the attention of frugal smartphone users.

Survey says mobile users fake it (phone calls) and have fun

Smartphone users do have more fun.

A survey says many mobile users in the U.S. depend on smartphones to avert boredom and avoid undesirable social interaction in some instances.

The survey from The Pew Internet & American Life Project indicates that 13 percent of adult mobile users in the U.S. have faked a call with thirty percent of those age 18 to 29 employing the oldest mobile trick in the book at least once in the previous 30 days.

42 percent said they used their phones for entertainment.

This seems a little low to me. Are there really that many users that never play a game, catch up with friends or read for personal interest?

Sorry, I gotta take this call.

Google needed to buy Motorola Mobility

Paying $12.5 billion, Google is acquiring mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility at $40 per share, 63 percent over its price at closing on Friday.

In a statement released Monday morning, Google CEO Larry Page says that the deal with "supercharge the entire Android ecosystem."

The acquisition should help Google's Android compete better with Apple, and stem what competition could emerge from the Microsoft-Nokia marriage.

Will Google be making moves to make Android development more like Apple's iOS referred to as "the walled garden" by critics? Fragmentation has been one of Android's gowing pains, but Google maintains that Android will remain open.

While Android may edge Apple's iOS on the pie charts in those monthly mobile OS surveys, it is done with dozens of Android devices from several makers. With rumors of Apple manuevering and its next iPhone volley into the market, the only better timing for Google to buy Motorola would have been sooner.

Who cares if Android is least open of open source mobile platforms?

According to a study from VisionMobile, Android is the least open among the eight open source mobile platforms.

Android, Eclipse, the Linux kernel, MeeGo, Firefox, Qt, Symbian (based on the governance model of the Symbian Foundation prior to the the platform's transition back to a closed model), and WebKit were analyzed.

While openness may seem all well and good for a platform's success, fans of the walled garden platform iOS may argue the other side. After all isn't investment an even more important factor in developing a quality and successful product?

I have and like Android, iOS, Linux and Symbian devices, but I can't tell any real user advantage to one being more open.
 

New iPhone reportedly coming even later

Those pining for a new iPhone suffered through the summer without Apple's customary update. Then came the rumors of a September release. Now they may have to wait even longer for that new iPhone.

The latest report shatters the rumored September release for the new iPhone.

John Paczkowski of AllThingsD says that rumors of a September release are wrong. The September timeframe is based on a report that AT&T has blacked out vacations during the last two weeks of the month for the new iPhone release, but Paczkowski's source says that is misinformation.

His source says look to October instead, but did not reveal any device details.
 

Verizon officially launches 4G LTE in Triangle today

Today Verizon Wireless officially launches its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the Triangle.

VZW says the high speed wireless network covers the areas of Cary, Durham, Apex, Clayton, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Wake Forest, Garner, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Gorman, Smithfield and of course Raleigh.

Verizon's 4G LTE to launch Thursday

Don't forget that Verizon Wireless' 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is scheduled go live in the Triangle on July 21.

VZW says the high speed wireless network will cover the areas of Cary, Durham, Apex, Clayton, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Wake Forest, Garner, Rolesville, Knightdale, Wendell, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Gorman, Smithfield and of course Raleigh.

We're expecting to have a compatible device in hand for the launch and I'll share my experience.

A few readers report seeing LTE service already.

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