Press Box: August 2015
- Why pay more? From the Art of Being Cheap blog, Andy takes a thorough look at the new Republic Refund plans and discovers that turning off cellular data for individual apps is a super easy way to save.
- With student debt sky rocketing, it makes sense to examine expenses carefully. Check out what Kiplinger’s personal finance magazine has to say in 13-Things College Students Don’t Need.
- Like some guacamole with our salsa – Wireless industry publications are starting to tune in to a simple fact: While WiFi use is on the uptick with numerous carriers, all seamless connectivity is not created equal. There is no question that Republic Wireless is leading the way – now making seamless handover from cellular back to WiFi as tested in “Project Salsa” official and available for everyone. Read more about what Fierce Wireless has to say.
- Thanks to WiFi evangelist Claus Hetting for having us on WiFi-Now, a new online TV program produced by RCR Wireless.
- Just say NO! There is a massive battle brewing over the future of WiFi. Several of the Big 4 carriers and the equipment makers who stand to make billions selling to them, aim to use WiFi networks to broadcast their cellular signals. These carriers want to introduce LTE-U, a modified version of the LTE cellular standard that will switch to the least congested channel, which includes WiFi frequencies. It eases the load on the carriers’ networks, but it could also burden WiFi networks, reducing speed and quality.
Mobile networks and WiFi have their own ranges on the airwaves. Cellular operators provide services using licensed spectrum, which they typically pay billions to use exclusively. Meanwhile, WiFi takes advantage of a vast swathe of spectrum known as the unlicensed airwaves, which costs nothing. That distinction is one of the main reasons why connecting to WiFi is cheap, while connecting to a mobile network is not.
What does this mean to you? Kevin Fitchard of Fortune puts it in plain English: “A push by major mobile phone companies to use unlicensed frequencies could end up pushing consumers off of their own networks.”
The bottom line: The debate over the new technology comes as the price for licensed airwaves is increasing. The FCC's last auction raised more than $40 billion, and an auction set for 2016 might raise more. Hence the carriers interest in less expensive airwaves. Stay tuned and we will report more as the FCC investigates. In the meantime, hats off to the great reporters like Kevin Fitchard, Thomas Gyrta and Ryan Knutson who are looking out for your best interests.
- Waste not, want not … Don’t waste the crumbs has quickly become one of our “must read blogs” – It’s an upbeat and encouraging blog dedicated to helping families eat real food and live healthier lives without going broke in the process. Check out Tiffany’s 31-day Challenge starting October 1, 2015.
- Imitation is the best form of flattery. Verizon announced they are finally eliminating two-year service contracts and the phone subsidies that come with them. Perhaps leading to rephrasing their iconic “Can you hear me now?” ad campaign with “Can you afford me now?” Seriously, a subsidy that brings that $600+ phone down to something quasi affordable in exchange for chaining you to a service provider contract was a boon for certain handset manufacturers … without that subsidy, we predict things are going to get very interesting as consumers are incentivized to shop around.