AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”

Apple, Verizon Cited as Disagreeing Over Pricing Terms for 2010 iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPhone

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With rumors of Apple and wireless carrier flying that the two companies are in negotiations over a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, Verizon is apparently angry with Apple over pricing structures.

According to AppleInsider, in a new note to investors Tuesday morning, Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research said that a new iPhone is expected to launch in mid-2010. Whether that phone would be available for Verizon’s CDMA network remains to be seen.

“We believe a CDMA-iPhone is also in the works,” Um wrote, “though believe Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing.”

Um also stated that even if Apple and Verizon can’t arrive at terms, a CDMA iPhone is a possibility in 2010, as China and Japan include carriers which operate on CDMA networks.

Last fall, conflicting reports within chip maker Qualcomm suggested a Verizon-capable iPhone could arrive in mid 2010. Whether that handset would be a dual-mode world phone, or a Verizon-only CDMA model was disputed.

Though Qualcomm plans to release dual-carrier chips that would allow future phones to work on CDMA/EVDO carriers such as Verizon and Sprint, as well as rival 3GPP carriers using UMTS/HSPA+ technologies like AT&T and T-Mobile, those chips will not arrive until the second half of 2010. Some have said that timeframe would not allow Apple to release a dual-mode phone until 2011 at the earliest.

And others believe a Verizon iPhone deal is more wishful thinking than anything else. Given that both companies tend to be focused on consumer control, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers has predicted that the conflicting interests of the two companies would get in the way of an agreement.

Currently, it is estimated that Apple gets a favorable US$700 average selling price per iPhone, subsidized through exclusive carrier AT&T. Compare that with the ASP of the Motorola Droid, exclusive to Verizon, which costs an estimated US$450 per sale.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have your own two cents on this, we’d love to hear them.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.5.7 Update

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 05:10
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.5.7 of its Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17.6 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed a common stability issue.
– Fixed a problem with how updates were being presented to users.

Firefox 3.5.7 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run.

If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.