FCC moves on possibly mandating 700MHz unity
The FCC in an Open Commission Meeting Wednesday morning unanimously voted to pursue possibilities for significantly improving 4G's use in the US. It would verify whether there would be any adverse effect to making the 700MHz A, B, and C blocks of spectrum interoperable, letting one roam on the other. Agency officials would want outside input on what the rules would be if there were little to no interference, as well as whether any interference might be cut back.
Dish completes buyout of TerreStar, DBSD
Dish Network has now completed its court-approved purchases of satellite operators TerreStar and DBSD. The satellite TV provider plans to use the operators' wireless licenses to offer 4G cellular access and thus compete with cable TV and phone companies. This would be a first for a satellite provider, as they can't provide Internet access to many homes and when they can, the speeds aren't as fast as those offered by cable providers.
FCC says Dish must wait on 4G waiver
The FCC on Friday delayed a decision whether or not Dish could get a waiver for a satellite-free version of its proposed 4G phone network. The agency decided that the "rulemaking process" was necessary for the public good. It didn't give details of when a decision was expected, although claims by a pair of Reuters sources had a decision targeted for the end of the year.
Dish CEO positive on cellphones if FCC clears it
Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen believed his company had an 80 percent shot at succeeding with its potential 4G phone network. It hinged on the FCC giving the LTE network a waiver to run, but he called it both a core part of Dish's plans. Cellphone service could even be a "transformative strategy," Ergen said.
4th deal this year for Dish founder Charlie Ergen
A US Bankruptcy Court in NY has approved Dish Network's proposed purchase of TerreStar. The deal has been valued at $1.38 billion. The main asset that Dish will be getting is the bankrupt satellite communications provider's 20MHz of wireless spectrum.
Dish now near certain buyer for TerreStar
Dish Network's hopes to buy out TerreStar may have come true as reports have surfaced Tuesday that it's now the only bidder for the satellite smartphone creator. A deadline Monday night has passed with only a nearly $1.38 billion bid from Dish still around, giving it a near-certain win. Cellular carrier MetroPCS had considered a bid to get much-needed wireless spectrum, Reuters says, but has since backed out for unknown reasons.
Outbids MetroPCS and others
Dish Networks is close to reaching an agreement to purchase bankrupt satellite smartphone provider Terrestar Networks for $1.2 to $1.4 billion, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday. Terrestar declared bankruptcy in October of last year and its assets include wireless spectrum.
TerreStar opens satellite phone to home users
TerreStar today opened the doors to its Genus satellite smartphone and began selling it to the wider public. The once work-only phone can now be bought just for personal use. Its creator imagines it being used by wilderness hikers, boaters and others who might leave cell coverage but still need to get online.
TerreStar files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
As expected, satellite phone maker and carrier TerreStar Networks has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a Tuesday report. The company and 12 of its affiliates had more than $1 billion of liabilities, with $1.4 billion of assets and $1.64 billion of liabilities as of June 30. TerreStar's largest secured creditor, satellite TV provider EchoStar, will help TerreStar with $75 million of operating capital to keep it working through the bankruptcy.
TerreStar satellite phones may face bankruptcy end
In spite of just releasing its Genus satellite smartphone, Terrestar may already be on the edge of bankruptcy after a scoop today. The company is reportedly in talks with creditors and could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as early as Sunday. The WSJ hints that TerreStar would already have a restructuring plan in place and would have both $75 million to last the reorganization and stock sales to help clear the $1 billion in debt.
TerreStar Genus ships with satellite and GSM
After almost a year's delay, AT&T today began selling the TerreStar Genus. The Windows Mobile 6.5.3 phone is the first of any OS to include both a satellite phone and a traditional cellphone in one device. It can switch to satellite for a connection in very remote areas where even GSM isn't an option. Using satellite access carries a monthly premium, but the service uses only one phone number and serves as a boost to roaming coverage in the US.
Harbinger Capital Partners to launch 4G network
Harbinger Capital Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, has last week revealed it plans to build a nationwide LTE network using terrestrial spectrum that is owned by satellite networks. The firm filed its plans with the FCC on Friday, after getting approval to purchase North American satellite network operator SkyTerra. The company plans on being wholesale only and offer data services exclusively, and use an open access platform. It could become a competitor to LTE networks from established wireless providers that include AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
AT&T Genus phone has cellular, satellite support
AT&T on Wednesday announced it has partnered with TerreStar Networks to offer the Genus, a rare dual-mode cellular and satellite smartphone. The Windows Mobile-based, keyboard-equipped handset uses AT&T's 3G and GSM/EDGE phone networks most of the time but can tap into the satellite for a connection in remote areas where no cellular coverage is available, such as offshore or in the wilderness. Its 2.6-inch display is touch-capable, while Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi are all built-in.
AT&T TerreStar phone
AT&T has plans to launch a hybrid smartphone capable of both 3G and satellite connections sometime in 2009, reports say. Working in conjunction with TerreStar, a provider of voice and data networks via satellite, the branded handset will have coverage in the mainland US as well as Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It is being marketed mainly at travelers and sailors, who would not otherwise receive a signal in many remote areas.