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AT&T Wins Statewide Cable Television Franchise in Ohio

American telecom giant, AT&T Inc., has become the first provider to win a statewide license to offer pay-TV services, under the terms of Ohio’s new statewide cable franchising legislation.

The regulatory authorization was granted on November 7, for a term of ten years. It covers all 192 of AT&T’s telephone exchange areas in the state.

AT&T has already launched its U-verse fiber-optic television service in 38 Ohio communities in Cuyahoga, Portage, Summit, and Lake counties, under local cable franchises. A further nine communities in Union, Delaware, and Franklin counties will soon be added to this list, the company noted in its statewide franchise application.

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December 12, 2007 Posted by | Business, Regulation, Telecom Services, Television | , , | Leave a comment

Wireless Services Drive 46% Increase in Bell Canada Profit

Canada’s biggest telephone provider, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc., reported a 46% increase in third-quarter profit yesterday, boosted by the back-to-school cell phone rush.

The company’s net income came in at $440 million, or $0.50/share, compared to $302 million, or $0.36/share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2% to $4.49 billion, driven by an 8% jump in wireless revenue.

BCE managed to expand its wireless customer base by 137,000 users, by releasing several advanced new mobile handsets, including Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 8830 email device, which features web and music capability.

“I think it was a very strong quarter for us,” commented Bell Mobility president, Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility, who believes that these results will please the private equity investors who recently agreed to purchase BCE’s operations.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Business, Corporate, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment

SK Telecom to Continue Funding Helio; EarthLink Accepts Diluted Share

American internet service provider, EarthLink Inc., confirmed on Wednesday that it will not invest any more money in wireless joint venture, Helio, leaving its partner, South Korea Telecom to fund the joint venture for the foreseeable future.

SK Telecom apparently plans to invest up to an additional $270 million in Helio, diluting EarthLink’s 50% share in the startup, but leaving it with a significant minority stake.

“This new agreement enables EarthLink to retain a substantial ownership position in Helio without investing any more cash into the joint venture, and these changes should result in our prior investment having real future value as the joint venture continues to grow,” commented EarthLink president and CEO, Rolla P. Huff.

EarthLink retains the right to make additional investments in Helio if and when its own finances improve. If it chooses not to invest further in the venture, and SK Telecom injects the full $270 million, EarthLink will be left with a stake of about 22%.

EarthLink has agreed to relinquish one Helio board seat as part of the deal, giving SK Telecom effective control of the company.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Business, Cell Phones, Corporate, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , , | Leave a comment

Sprint Nextel Cancels WiMAX Partnership with Clearwire

American mobile phone carrier, Sprint Nextel, has scrapped plans to partner with wireless broadband startup, Clearwire, on a nationwide WiMAX network.

The partnership was reversed after Sprint decided to dismiss its CEO, Gary Forsee, last month. The collapse of this partnership is being seen as a major blow to Clearwire, whose stock price dropped more than 25% yesterday, to close at $13.49 on the NASDAQ.

Clearwire’s losses have swelled significantly for the past three years, and its third-quarter sales totaled just $41.3 million, or less than one hundredth of Sprint’s.

“The Sprint deal was really good for Clearwire, and it’s bad that they lost that,” commented Jefferies & Co. analyst, Jonathan Schildkraut. “Clearwire will have to shoulder a bigger burden to get broader network coverage.”

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Business, Corporate, Internet, WiMAX, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment

Vonage Expects to Settle AT&T Patent Lawsuit by Month’s End

Vonage has reached an “agreement in principle” to settle its intellectual property dispute with AT&T, the VoIP pioneer announced yesterday.

The deal under discussion would have Vonage pay $39 million over five years, in exchange for AT&T dropping its patent infringement lawsuit. Vonage would also agree to drop its counter suit against the telecom giant.

“We’re moving in the right direction with regard to AT&T and are focused on finalizing our agreement by the end of this month,” said Charles Sahner, a spokesman for Vonage. “We would like to be able to put AT&T behind us together with Verizon, Sprint and our other recent settlements.”

Vonage’s new strategy of settling patent infringement complaints has been a convenient and effective way of avoiding crippling injunctions against its technology, but it has also been very costly, cutting into the unprofitable company’s ever-dwindling supply of cash.

“The company’s cash requirements in the fourth quarter increased due to the release of $78 million of restricted cash to Verizon, an additional $2 million to Verizon, $40 million placed into escrow and reported as current restricted cash until the Verizon appeal is decided, $80 million to Sprint and $2 million in other IP litigation settlements,” the company said in its most recent financial statement.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Business, Law, Telephone, VoIP | , , | Leave a comment