T-Mobile Wants Smartphone Manufacturers to Add Support for VoLTE and E911

by Istvan Fekete on August 31, 2015

T-Mobile wants smartphone manufacturers who include Band 12 support to also support Voice over LTE and E911 capabilities, a company spokesperson has said to FierceWireless, clarifying earlier rumours claiming the carrier was forcing OEMs to drop support for its 700 MHz A Block spectrum using LTE Band 12.

An earlier Android Police article claimed that Motorola had dropped support for Band 12 in the new Moto E because it didn’t support VoLTE, hence it didn’t meet T-Mobile’s requirements.

In a statement sent to FierceWireless, T-Mobile spokesman Viet Nguyen explained that T-Mobile is not asking smartphone manufacturers to pull Band 12 support. Instead, there are some requirements that need to be met in order to use LTE Band 12. Unfortunately for Motorola, it didn’t complete T-Mobile’s VoLTE and E911 certification processes, so the manufacturer decided to drop Band 12 support.
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Layoffs Hit Lab126 as Amazon’s Mobile Efforts Flameout

by Matt Klassen on August 31, 2015

Building on a heavily modified version of Android, e-commerce giant Amazon broke into the mobile market last year with its own branded Fire phone, a high end handset that boasted the ability to create 3D images with four front facing cameras. That said, the phone failed to ignite any significant consumer interest, and now, just over a year later, it looks like the company is scuttling its mobile efforts, reportedly laying off “dozens” of engineers related to the Fire project.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the exact number of engineers cut from the company may never be known, as it’s likely non-disclosure agreements will prevent anyone from speaking publicly. That said, the job cuts are the first that have hit Amazon’s secretive Lab126 research facility, the division responsible not only for the Fire smartphone, but both the Kindle and Kindle Fire as well.

But like other tech companies of late who have found the pointlessness of attempting to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the mobile hardware sector, Amazon isn’t giving up on mobile technology, just taking another approach at it, reportedly redirecting resources into its new connected home division.

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The Rise of “Malvertising”

by Jeff Wiener on August 28, 2015

While I would guess that most of us are annoyed by the unending deluge of online advertising that floods our online experience every day, just imagine how much more annoyed you’d be if simply having that advertising displayed on your screen was enough to infect your computer with a host of malicious software.

To put it another way, if malware was a headache for users and advertisers alike before, it’s a veritable migraine now, as a recent report from Cyphort Labs claims that malware threats imbedded in seemingly innocuous advertising has risen a staggering 325 percent over the last year.

The reasons behind the influx of malicious advertising are not hard to find. First, it’s incredibly easy money for hackers, as infecting advertising offers cybercriminals access to a large number of prospective victims. Second, given the success of so-called “malvertising,” hackers are increasing their efforts towards this vector, knowing that further investment on their part will reap even better results.

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Fast Food May Hold the Key to the Mobile Payment Revolution

by Matt Klassen on August 28, 2015

For several years the tech world has collectively wondered what it would take to really fuel the launch of the mobile payment revolution. Like any other consumer technology, mobile payments really won’t take off until it’s widely available, easy to use, and doesn’t alienate us from the payment solutions we’re all used to, but mobile payments has seemingly needed more to grease the wheels of mass adoption.

We all thought Apple’s entry into the mobile payment arena might be the jolt the burgeoning technology needed, particularly when it comes on an Apple branded watch, but that has yet to reap any significant rewards. Then we thought Google’s revised Android Pay system may finally be the answer, but many questions still remain.

But then a story came across my desk this week and it was a Eureka moment for my take on the mobile payment revolution. What this radical reformation of financial transactions has needed has not been the right technology, or the right tech companies, or a unified platform, but adoption from a key industry partner: Fast Food.

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Facebook Announces Hybrid Virtual Assistant, M

by Istvan Fekete on August 27, 2015

Some lucky Bay Area Facebook users opening Messenger will be greeted my M, a new virtual assistant. Just as Apple did with Siri, M will prompt them to test it, giving some examples of what it can do: It can make a restaurant reservation, book a weekend getaway, or even find a birthday gift.

But there is much more than that, vice president of messaging products at Facebook David Marcus revealed to Wired. Fact is, M launches at a time when Siri and Google Now are doing a decent job and learning from millions of users every day.

As a result, Facebook has had to come up with something unique to lure away Siri and Google Now users, since you need to download an app to be able to access M. By comparison, if you hold down the home button on your Apple device, Siri will promptly listen to your command.
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Microsoft’s Nokia smartphone blunder evidence that tech and mobile telecom just don’t mix

by Matt Klassen on August 27, 2015

With the announcement that most of Microsoft’s Nokia related operations in Finland have been closed, this effectively draws to a close the failed marriage between the computing giant and the once great mobile superpower. Microsoft also confirmed that along with the closure of Nokia Oyj’s former handset product development unit in Salo,Finland, that 2,300 jobs will be cut as well, part of the widespread cuts the company announced in July.

That being said, this closure has not stalled Microsoft’s mobile aspirations entirely, as the company noted its remaining two Nokia operations sites in Finland will remain open (for now) and recently affirmed the company’s commitment to first-party mobile operations.

Nevertheless, with the $7.5 billion write-off of its Nokia operations, Microsoft has learned the same very expensive lesson ($7.5 billion) that other tech and Internet giants have also learned of late: the mobile market is a peculiar, finicky thing, a quagmire of technology, emotions, and hype where even the largest, most accomplished companies can get bogged down.

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Cable Companies Use LTE-U Tests That Rely on Extremes, T-Mobile Says

by Istvan FeketeAugust 26, 2015

LTE-U opponents claiming that the technology will adversely impact Wi-Fi operations are using data from testing with parameters set at extremes that have nothing to do with reality and do not reflect actual LTE-U specifications, T-Mobile says in a recent FCC filing. “While cable companies defend these tests by noting that carriers have the ability [...]

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New York Attorney General Asks NYPSC to Investigate Verizon

by Istvan FeketeAugust 25, 2015

In a formal letter to the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC), New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked the regulator to investigate Verizon and look at how telecom market deregulation affects businesses and customers. The letter was penned after the AG held a series of public hearings in various locations throughout the state [...]

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Rogers to Honour All Mobilicity Plans – For Now

by Istvan FeketeAugust 24, 2015

Rogers recently spent $465 million acquiring one of its (dying) competitors, Mobilicity. As a result, all 150,000 customers it acquired will be transitioned over to the Rogers network. This won’t be a one-day process, but the most important question is: Will Rogers honour the low-cost plan existing Mobilicity customers have? MobileSyrup tried to find out. Not [...]

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Verizon Tops AT&T in Network Quality, Sprint Makes Strong Gains over T-Mobile

by Matt KlassenAugust 24, 2015

Last week wireless network testing firm RootMetrics posted its biannual rankings for U.S. wireless networks, testing data reliability and network speeds as well as call and texting performance across the nation. The results, for the most part, were predictable, with Verizon taking the majority of the awards for local, state, and nationwide coverage, with AT&T [...]

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