AT&T Bidding Adieu to Its 2G Network

Carl Weinschenk

The coming of 5G means that there were four “Gs” before it. One of those, 2G, is nearing the end of its shelf life, at least for AT&T.

The network will shut down by the end of 2016, according to WirelessWeek. So far, 6 million subscribers have been moved elsewhere during the past year. Not everyone is happy, according to CFO John Stevens:

Though Stevens said AT&T expects most of the remaining base to make transition, he said the carrier expects to “continue to see manageable pressure in the last half of the year from subscribers, mostly connected devices, choosing not to make this migration.” While the change may impact revenues slightly, Stevens said AT&T is expecting to reap both cost and spectrum benefits from the move.

Five Companies Work to Accelerate Autonomous Driving


Many people believe that self-driving vehicles are the wave of the future. The question is how quickly that future will arrive.

A new lobbying group is trying to push the speedometer upward. Alphabet, Ford, Lyft, Volvo and Uber have formed the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets. Computerworld’s Lucas Mearian writes that the goal of the group is to convince the federal government to take control and supersede what he calls a “patchwork” of state laws.

The group will do what lobbyists do: Work with civic organizations, municipalities and businesses to gain support and exert pressure upward. David Strickland, the coalition’s spokesman and council, was the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2010 to 2014.

It’s Hard to Believe, but Ransomware Just Got Scarier

Ransomware – malware that encrypts data on victims’ devices until a ransom is paid – is frightening. Vai Vijayan at Dark Reading reports that a new iteration, “Dogspectus,” works a bit differently and in some ways is even more dangerous.

The most frightening part is that the new strain works just by being on a device:

Unlike other mobile ransomware tools, Dogspectus does not require users to interact with it in any way in order to infect a device. Rather, the malware takes advantage of several vulnerabilities in Android versions 4.x to install itself silently on a user’s device.

Dogspectus is a danger to tablets and phones running some older versions of Android. To get infected, a user must visit porn sites that carry advertisements that host the virus. Dogspectus is a bit different from other forms of ransomware, Vijayan writes. Instead of encrypting specific files, it in essence locks up the entire phone and makes any action -- other than paying the ransom of two $100 iTune gift cards -- impossible.

Skype for Business’ Mac Version Almost Here

The blending of Lynx and Skype into Skype for Business has been available to Windows users for a while. Now, according to eWeek, Mac users are in line to be able to use the Skype for Business platform.

The first phase of Skype for Business Preview for Mac has been released. Two stages will follow before public availability in the third quarter. Business customers can ask for the Mac client at SkypePreview.com.

The first phase employs users’ Outlook calendar to display meetings that day and the next. Instant messaging, presence and contacts will be included in the next preview. The third – due this summer – will offer telephony features.

FCC Moves on Special Access

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week proposed new rules to regulate the special access services, which also are known as business data services, according to Channel Partners.

The market is worth $40 million annually. The move resulted from tariffs filed by four local exchange carriers. The commission found them to be “unjust and unreasonable” and ordered the companies to refile. This is a big business:

Users of business data services include such varied interests as banks and retailers connecting ATMs; government and corporate offices linking branch offices and data centers; and mobile-phone providers offloading traffic from wireless networks, the FCC explained in a news release announcing its further notice of proposed rulemaking.

Cable operators and telcos criticized the move, which observers said represents a reversal of a policy of two decades of deregulation in this sector.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 



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