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07/29/2005 Google Maps Hack - Cell Towers

At the rate developers are coming up with new uses for Google Maps, we may just have to make this a daily feature. Here's the latest, courtesy of our peeps at Hackaday: It's the cell phone tower search from Mobiledia. They've taken the FCC's public data on cellphone tower locations, put it into a database and created a front-end to let you search the database and display your town's towers via Google Maps; now you know where to go to avoid dead spots!

07/29/2005 FCC staff urges Sprint-Nextel OK

In the strongest indication yet that the Federal Communications Commission will complete its review of Sprint Corp.'s $35 billion acquisition of Nextel Communications Inc. ahead of the informal late August deadline it has set for the deal, agency Chairman Kevin Martin has circulated a formal report on the merger to commissioners for review, sources said.

The FCC's wireless telecommunications bureau has recommended clearing the transaction with only minimal divestitures from Sprint and Nextel. Commissioners are expected to vote on the merger by August, according to people familiar with the agency.

07/29/2005 Surge in text messaging makes cell operators

It takes the number of characters in this paragraph - just 160 - to flirt, avoid traffic jams, balance your checking account, help Africa and win a generation.

Text messaging on cell phones is finally taking off in the USA. It has been around for years and is a huge part of life in Japan and South Korea. But in the U.S. market, text messaging had caught on only among teens and American Idol fans voting for their favorites - until the past year or so.

Complete Article

07/28/2005 RSS More Important Than VoIP and Skype?

According to Marketing Studies-

The Shareware Industry Awards Foundation certainly seems to think so, since they awarded top honors in the 2005 Awards to FeedForAll, the desktop RSS publishing tool.

FeedForAll won in the Best Internet Communication category, even beating Skype.

What this shows is that RSS is becoming increasingly recognized as a key internet communications tool, in addition to starting to establish a place for itself in the entire communicational mix.

07/28/2005 Yahoo, Motorola Partner In Mobile Market

Motorola Inc. and Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday said they planned to collaborate in bringing Yahoo's online services to Motorola's Linux-based devices, broadband home products and its upcoming iRadio service.

Under the agreement, the companies intend to offer wireless operators and consumers Motorola cellular phones and other devices that are optimized for direct access to Yahoo's web mail, entertainment, financial, shopping and other online services. The devices are scheduled to ship next year.

07/27/2005 Internet phone providers given more time on 911

Internet telephone service providers are getting a month longer to get their customers to acknowledge they know about the limitations of dialing 911 for help, U.S. communications regulators said on Tuesday.

Concerned by several high-profile incidents where people had difficulty reaching emergency dispatchers, the Federal Communications Commission had asked Internet telephone companies to obtain customer acknowledgments of the limitations of the service by July 29.

07/27/2005 AOL Mobile Search

America Online plans to begin testing a new service that lets wireless phone users search the Internet and link to regular Web pages that it will reformat for tiny cell-phone screens.

The test of AOL Mobile Search Services is an attempt to move away from the computer, where its position as the dominant Internet provider is being undermined as users defect to cable operators and telephone companies offering high-speed Internet access.

07/26/2005 Bad time for T-Mobile USA buy

Vodafone (VOD.L) does not consider the time right for an acquisition of T-Mobile USA, a unit of Germany's Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), Vodafone's chief executive was quoted as saying in a German newspaper interview.

Arun Sarin told Welt am Sonntag, "This would not be a good time. T-Mobile is the last of four competitors and it does not have a third generation mobile network. This is a difficult situation."

07/25/2005 New York Sues Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile Over Ads

New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Thursday said it is suing Nextel, Sprint and T-Mobile over deceptive advertising that it said could mislead consumers.
"You can't promise a great deal in the headline and hide the true costs in the fine print," DCA Acting Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said in a statement. "If a cell phone company promises free long distance, consumers should get free long distance - period. While clamoring for competitive consumer attention, these major cell phone companies crossed the clear line between promotional gimmicks and deceptive advertising."

Specifically, the DCA says that the vendors violated the city's Consumer Protection Law. The agency previously had similar charges against Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless, which has since been acquired by Cingular.

07/25/2005 Group Sues Sprint, Cingular For 'Cellular Cramming'

Consumer advocacy group claims that Sprint is charging for text messages advertising its own services and that Cingular refuses to remove improper messaging charges.

The Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) said in two complaints to California's Public Utilities Commission that the cellular operators are participating in "cellular cramming." It said in a statement that the "more pernicious" charge was against Sprint.

The group claimed in a statement that it has documented instances in which Sprint charges customers for text messages it sends unbidden to those customers advertising its services. The group further charged that Sprint refused to put those customers on a "do not spam" list and only gave the customers the option to receive no text messages at all.

07/22/2005 SBC Communications Profit Dips on Charges

SBC Communications Inc., whose purchase of AT&T Corp. will make it the world's largest phone company, on Thursday reported a drop in second-quarter profit due to charges related to the acquisition of AT&T Wireless by its Cingular Wireless joint venture last year.

Quarterly income fell to $1 billion, or 30 cents per share, from $1.17 billion, or 35 cents per share, last year. Excluding acquisition charges, SBC reported earnings of 43 cents per share.

07/21/2005 Cingular Drops Churn and Increases Subscribers

Cingular Wireless Wednesday reported modest gains in revenues and strong increases in profits and the number of new subscribers in the most recent quarter.

The company boasted a gain of 1.1 million new subscribers in the second quarter of 2005, giving it a total of 51.6 million. Those customers are apparently more satisfied as the company reported a "churn rate" of 1.8 percent, significantly lower than its similar rates in previous quarters.

07/21/2005 Cell Phone Sales To Top 1 Billion In 2009, Study Says

Overall worldwide mobile phone sales will increase 16 percent this year to 779 million this year and will reach the one billion unit milestone in 2009, according to a market study released Wednesday by market research firm Gartner.
In addition to sales of one billion mobile phones in 2009, the research firm predicted that there will be 2.6 billion units in operation that year.

"The world's appetite for mobile phones has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations," Ben Wood, Gartner's research vice president for mobile terminals, said in a statement.

07/20/2005 Ruggedized Mobile Phones

Symbol Technologies on Monday made a concerted effort to attack the low end of the mobile-computing market, introducing a Windows CE-based hand held device targeted at SMBs in the retail and manufacturing markets.

The ruggedized entry-level MC1000, which weighs 7.23 oz. including battery, is best suited for users who carry out data-capture and numeric-entry applications, including inventory management, stock checking, delivery confirmation and a number of applications involving scanning, company officials said.

07/19/2005 A Cell Phone, a Movie Lobby and a Message

This summer, moviegoers walking through theater lobbies in three cities might have felt a sudden vibration in their cell phones, the work of a nearby Bluetooth promotional kiosk.

Last month, 20th Century Fox signed a deal with Loews Cineplex Entertainment to distribute movie trailers, ring tones and pictures through kiosks in three Loews theaters, in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

07/26/2005 Few Care About Mobile Video, Survey Finds

Few mobile subscribers have any interest in receiving video on their phones, according to a survey released Monday by market research firm In-Stat.
Only one in eight respondents said they were interested in paying for mobile video, according to the survey. In addition, the handsets of two-thirds of the respondents aren't even capable of receiving mobile video, the survey found.

07/18/2005 Feds seek ability to monitor in-flight cell calls, e-mail

Federal law enforcement officials want the ability to tap suspicious in-flight cell phone calls and e-mail, fearing terrorists could use the technology to coordinate attacks.

07/18/2005 Future for Inflight Cell Phones Looking Grim

Passengers hoping to call Mom from 35,000 feet suffered a political setback last week in the U.S. House. At the first congressional hearing on the subject in years, members of a House subcommittee uniformly derided the proposal to lift the 14-year-old ban on using cell phones in flight.

07/14/2005 Cell Phone Sales Expected to Slow

Worldwide unit sales of mobile phones are on a record pace for the fourth consecutive year, but the rate of growth is slowing significantly, according to a market study released Wednesday by In-Stat.

The study found that, despite double-digit sales growth in the last few years, shipments of mobile phones will grow only six percent compared to last year.

"The slowing pace is a result of some mature markets at, or near, full penetration, and weaker-than-expected growth in some emerging ones," Allyn Hall, In-Stat's director of wireless research, said in a statement. "It's a sign of a maturing industry."

07/14/2005 Study: Hands-Free Cell Phones No Safer Than Hand-Helds

State legislatures considering laws to restrict cell phone use in moving vehicles would be best advised to forget the measures, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) response to a study finding that even hands-free phone devices don't reduce crashes.
"GHSA urges state legislatures to refrain from enacting hand-held cell phone bans because such bans send an incorrect message to drivers that as long as they are hands-free, they are safe," said Colonel Jim Champagne, GHSA Chair, in a statement.

"The message is clear: Drivers should not use ANY type of cell phone behind the wheel."

07/14/2005 Mobi on the Map

Following pressure by mobile phone players, including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT - news), a new Internet domain was approved for Web sites designed for wireless phones. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has greenlighted the ".mobi" suffix.

Scheduled to appear in 2006, Web sites using the new domain will be written for the limited resources of cell phones, including small screens, memory and bandwidth.

07/14/2005 Sprint and Nextel Marriage

The Sprint-Nextel merger is expected to get overwhelming shareholder approval. Some analystshowever, believe the FCC approval will come with some conditions that will result in the combined company -- which will be the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. -- selling off some wireless licenses or other assets.

07/13/2005 Text Messaging Prevailed In Wake Of London Blasts

Panicked residents and visitors in London during the terrorist attacks Thursday generally found their cell phones jammed. But those who had text messaging systems were often able to get messages through.

Text messages, which are usually limited to 160 characters on most cell phones, take up little bandwidth. In addition, there were anecdotal reports of e-mails and instant messages from London getting through to their recipients.

Complete Article

07/13/2005 Study Sounds Alarm on Driving, Cell Phones

Drivers using cellular phones are four times as likely to get into a crash that can cause injuries serious enough to send them to the hospital, said an insurance study released Tuesday.

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that using a hands-free device instead of a hand-held phone while behind the wheel will not necessarily improve safety. The institute said it was the first attempt to estimate whether phone use increases the risk of an injury crash in automobiles.

07/12/2005 Chicago's Partial Cell Phone Driving Ban Starts

Starting Friday, don't get caught driving in Chicago with a cell phone pressed to your ear.
A law imposing a $50 fine for those using cell phones while driving goes into effect Friday. The fine increases to $200 if the driver gets in an accident while talking on the phone. However, use of hands-free headsets is permitted.

07/12/2005 FCC OKs Alltel-Western Wireless Merger

Federal regulators signed off Monday on Alltel Corp.'s $4.4 billion acquisition of Western Wireless Corp. a union that would make Alltel the nation's fifth-largest cellular telephone service provider.

The Federal Communications Commission said the proposed merger "will serve the public interest, convenience and necessity." The commission concluded that the likely public-interest benefits of the merger outweigh the potential public-interest harms.

07/12/2005 High-tech cell phones aid rural Africans

Daniel Mashva heaved his sack of cabbages and sweet potatoes into a rickety shared taxi and traveled nine hours under the scorching sun to the market in Johannesburg.

By the time he arrived, half his tiny harvest was rotten and the 48-year-old father of five returned to his impoverished village just a few pennies richer.

That was before new cell phone technology changed his life.

Mashva now dials up to a virtual trading platform on his new high-tech phone and sells his produce direct from his small thatched hut on the fringe of the vast Kruger National Park.

"I check the prices for the day on my phone and when it's a good price I sell," he told Reuters from his village in the remote Northeast of South Africa.

Complete Article

07/11/2005 Crisis Strained Cell Phone Networks

Reports that wireless networks became clogged Thursday morning during the horrific bomb attacks in London came as no surprise to people in the United States.

After all, Americans went through the same frustrations on Sept. 11, 2001, when millions of citizens couldn't get through to friends and relatives on mobile networks.

As Londoners discovered on Thursday, an emergency puts enormous strain on wireless infrastructure.

"(Mobile) phones were erratic for a few hours," said London resident Stuart Williams, an IT manager.

Complete Article

07/08/2005 Sprint, T-Mobile Subscribers Can Share Pictures, Video

Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. on Thursday said they have agreed to let each other's subscribers exchange pictures and video.

The agreement has the two companies agreeing to "multimedia messaging services interoperability," which enables their subscribers to send and receive photos and videos.

07/08/2005 Instant images via cellphones

The most intimate images of the bomb blasts in London have come from cellphones with cameras and video recorders, as technology originally marketed as entertainment is bringing observers closer to the news.

The availability of the cameras, combined with the ability to transmit images and text instantaneously, is enabling the world to view news with the immediacy of a victim or spectator.

Complete Article

07/07/2005 New Whispering Wireless Promises Better Options for Rural Internet Users

In a world crowded with signals from pagers, cordless phones, television and other gadgets, a Florida-based company is hoping xMax, a new wireless-communications technique, will rise above the noise using just a whisper.

While popular wireless technologies (such as Wi-Fi and the forthcoming WiMax) operate in the 2.4 GHz spectrum, xMax operates over the older 900 MHz band. Even so, the company claims the new technology offers speeds of 40 Mbps over distances of 15 miles.

07/07/2005 Disney Plans U.S. Wireless Phone Service for Families

The Walt Disney Company's Internet Group, in partnership with Sprint, plans to establish a nationwide wireless phone service, dubbed Disney Mobile, in the United States, the company announced Wednesday. Using Sprint's PCS network, the service--which specifically targets families--is due to begin operations next year.

Simultaneously, Disney is planning to develop exclusive handsets and entertainment content aimed at families, the company said in a press release.

07/06/2005 Deutsche Telekom may sell T-Mobile USA

Deutsche Telekom has been sounding out institutional investors on whether to sell off U.S. mobile operator T-Mobile USA or spend billions of dollars to expand the business, according to fund managers.

Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA officials declined to comment on what they called market rumors.

Complete Article

07/05/2005 FineConnection Partners with NotePage, Inc.

NotePage, Inc. and FineConnection partnered up to integrate Monitor one with PageGate. The integration provides customers the best of both worlds, NotePage's expertise in sending critical alerts along with Monitor one's monitoring and analyzing capabilities.

Details on the Monitor one Integration

07/02/2005 Moving Beyond Ringtones

First, there were musical ringtones. Then came "ring-back" tones -- tunes that play while a caller waits for someone to pick up a mobile phone. Now cell phones are offering streaming music, with access to online music stores on the way.

The wireless industry is making a big push into the music business, taking cues from Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod and from its own success selling more that 182 million mobile phones.

07/02/2005 Purina Ringtones

The company is making available five ringtones -- with cat and dog noises, along with jingles and sounds from its offline advertising. Wallpapers consist of pictures of cats and dogs. Users can also sign up to receive pet care tips via SMS. While Moore admits there's not a compelling reason to offer such pet care content to people on the go, he says the company already had the content and felt there was no harm in testing whether users were interested.

Complete Article

07/01/2005 Etch-A-Sketch to Be on U.K. Cell Phones

For doodlers who can't get enough etching and sketching at home, Etch-A-Sketch is coming to a cell phone.

The nearly 50-year-old classic toy, adapted for the mobile phone by a company named In-Fusio, is being introduced in Britain on a wide array of handsets by the cellular carrier Orange. The cellular version can't replicate the look and feel of the original red-and-rectangular plastic toy, which is still produced by Ohio Art Co. And users will have to settle for a key pad rather than white knobs. But there is one key advantage: For the first time, In-Fusio said, doodlers will be able to save their drawings up to three in the phone's memory.

Complete Article

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