#TBT: Call quality improves; Online video prompts industry introspection; Analog sunset hits OnStar … this week in 2007

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the highest headlines from the previous. Fire up the time machine, placed on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and benefit from the reminiscences!

Wireless prospects report improved name quality

Wireless prospects are experiencing fewer name issues than in the previous a number of years, based on the latest survey of cell name quality by J.D. Power and Associates–and the change is not less than in half because of the industry evolution to 3G networks. The semi-annual examine discovered that because the final two reporting intervals in 2006, the variety of customers who report making calls with not less than one drawback has declined by 14 %.
J.D. Power stated that “appreciable enhancements have been made with regard to interference/static, voice distortion and echoes,” with the primary two issues down 33 % from the final reporting interval in 2006, whereas the incidence of echoes has decreased 20 %. “Wireless suppliers have clearly made nice strides in enhancing name quality,” stated Kirk Parsons, senior director of wi-fi companies at J.D. Power and Associates. “Carriers that supply superior community quality usually tend to entice new prospects and enhance buyer retention. In truth, enhancing community quality is a useful monetary incentive for wi-fi carriers, as prospects experiencing not less than one name quality drawback are nearly 4 instances extra more likely to positively swap carriers in the long run.” Parsons added that the transfer to 3G networks has in half contributed to the advance in community quality and that customers who make calls from 3G-enabled cell gadgets have solely about half the issues of subscribers utilizing telephones with older expertise. … Read more

Online video prompts industry introspection

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Online video is right here in an enormous means. If it wasn’t validated by Google Inc.’s $1.6 billion buy of YouTube final October, it certain was final week when media conglomerate Viacom Inc. sued Google and YouTube for $1 billion, claiming rampant, unauthorized use of its programming on-line. Old has turn into new once more. With the current inflow of on-line video-sharing websites, cult classics and content material from yesteryears is discovering new and outdated followers in a medium that has no shelf life and no expiration date. It’s clear that the gamers, new and outdated, need a piece of the increasing pie, however is there actually any cash to be made in this new distribution mannequin? Sure, Viacom contends that nearly 160,000 clips of its programming have been uploaded illegally onto YouTube’s web site and considered greater than 1.5 billion instances, however did Viacom actually stand to revenue handsomely from all of this re-hashed content material? Even nonetheless, maybe Viacom is best off perpetuating the lifespan of its content material by and exploiting the chance to additional promote its model. These questions and extra have been addressed on the Digital Media Summit in Hollywood, Calif., final week as members of the music, film, tv, Internet and cell industries converged for 2 days of often-tense dialogue on the way forward for media in the digital and cell age.
“Anytime there’s a brand new expertise. There’s going to be battle,” Handheld Entertainment CEO Jeff Oscodar stated throughout a present panel. “Traditional Hollywood distributors want to start out fascinated with issues in a different way” very similar to the music enterprise needed to do when Napster hit the scene, he stated. “We’re going to combine all of this collectively and provides our customers the leisure they need to see.” … Read more

Trying to make LBS occur

It’s solely March, however 2007 seems to be shaping up because the yr of location-based cell companies. No, actually, it could be true this time. Honest. Loopt Inc. this week is ready to announce a significant associate win, unveiling a deal to combine its friend-finding utility with AOL L.L.C.’s prompt messaging service. Loopt customers will be capable to message one another on their telephones by way of AIM, including “presence”-the means to know whether or not buddies can be found, busy or away from a phone-to the more and more common cell utility. “It’s been a part of our go-to-market technique for a while to tug in some world-class companions to tug in consciousness and adoption,” stated Mark Jacobstein, Loopt’s govt vice chairman of company growth and advertising. “We imagine the AIM deal helps cement our place because the chief in the area.” The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm’s GPS-enabled utility seems to gaining traction as rapidly as it’s attracting consideration. Loopt, which is accessible solely by Sprint Nextel Corp.’s iDEN-based Boost service, permits customers to see the place their pals are, ship location-sensitive messages and set alerts primarily based on the proximity of their buddies. The firm has garnered consideration from nationwide media retailers and is plugging the providing with a high-profile TV business marketing campaign that includes wi-fi customers asking one another “Where you at?” Perhaps extra importantly, the appliance is being utilized by greater than 100,000 Boost subscribers, and can be embedded on each one of many service’s handsets starting in a number of weeks. The firm claims that the common person invitations “between 5 and 6” pals to affix the service, and plans to strike extra service offers in the approaching weeks. … Read more

Tracking flights by way of free texts

Global flight data agency OAG has tapped mBlox to ship textual content alerts to vacationers in the Star Alliance community.The pact, which can be introduced this week, permits OAG prospects to make use of their telephones to trace the flights of the Star Alliance’s 17 member airways. The service consists of alerts of flight delays, terminal adjustments and a affirmation of flight standing previous to take-off, and is free except for service messaging fees. The information marks yet one more win for mBlox, which claims to have processed greater than 1.4 billion messages valued at $500 million final yr. And it underscores a rising development amongst consumer-facing companies: providing free textual content companies in an effort to extend stickiness and entice new prospects. Financial establishments, supply companies and healthcare suppliers are only a few of the industries which might be working to increase their choices by way of free cell companies. … Read more

Senate approves public security comms, wi-fi 911 payments

The Senate final week accepted laws to enhance public-safety communications interoperability and location-based wi-fi 911, two important homeland safety parts that stay weak hyperlinks greater than 5 years after the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist assaults and the lethal, harmful hurricanes of 2005. The invoice, which enacts remaining suggestions of the 9/11 Commission, represents a possible boon for wi-fi public-safety distributors due to the infusion of an extra $3.3 billion for public-safety interoperability grants and the quick availability of $43.5 million for enhanced 911 upgrades. Whether the funding ranges in the Senate invoice will stay intact will depend on the end result of negotiations with the House, which handed the same 9/11 measure earlier this yr. “Providing important communications gear for our first responders that’s interoperable in emergencies and establishing a strategic reserve to revive communications in the quick aftermath of a catastrophe are important to defending the bodily and financial welfare of the American folks,” stated Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Inouye championed a invoice part offering steering on a $1 billion grant program for interoperable public-safety communications assigned to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The NTIA, which contracted with the Department of Homeland Security to manage the grant program, insists it can retain management over the method. The legislation requires the public-safety interoperability grants to be awarded by Sept. 30, however in actuality states possible is not going to see any cash till 2008. … Read more

Analog to digital transition impacts OnStar service

General Motors should dump 10 % of its OnStar subscribers-about 500,000 users-because OnStar should minimize off service to automobiles geared up with outdated analog telematics gear. Next yr, cellular telephone service corporations–which offer OnStar with its communications hyperlink to prospects–are finishing the transition from analog to digital service. When the swap happens on Jan. 1, OnStar dangers shedding prospects who bought a GM automobile earlier than the 2003 mannequin yr. That’s when OnStar launched digital telematics service. OnStar is sending letters to these subscribers providing a yr of free service. What’s the catch? They should purchase or lease a brand new GM automobile to benefit from the provide. OnStar offers a variety of telematics companies, together with the fundamental Safe & Sound plan for $199 a yr. Subscribers get 24-hour roadside help, stolen-vehicle monitoring, distant door unlocking, automobile diagnostics and different companies. Ninety % of OnStar’s 4.5 million subscribers personal automobiles that already function on the digital community or may be retrofitted. Customers with older automobiles that may be retrofitted can purchase a $15 gear improve at a dealership. For OnStar, eliminating analog service will trigger a big lack of income. If all subscribers who personal older automobiles and vehicles don’t purchase new automobiles, OnStar will lose not less than $100 million in annual income. “It’s a irritating scenario for us and our subscribers,” says Bill Ball, OnStar’s vice chairman of public coverage. “We are hopeful and assured that a few of these subscribers will take the provide of an extra yr of free service and purchase or lease a brand new GM automobile.” … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for extra tales from the previous.

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