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DoJ Could Nix a Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

Carl Weinschenk

T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth largest wireless companies, have been discussing merging for a long time. Those talks have heated up recently. Reuters this week reported that the U.S. Department of Justice would likely say no to the carriers combining on antitrust grounds.

The report is based on conversations with three people familiar with the department’s thinking. The problem is that there is a huge gap between Sprint and the fifth largest carrier, U.S. Cellular. This raises issues related to the level of competition that would remain.

The story suggests that an important issue is the effect on financially strapped subscribers:

If combined, T-Mobile U.S. Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N) would have more than half the market for pre-paid plans, favored by people with little or poor credit, which will likely figure in competition considerations.


Project Loon Headed for Puerto Rico

Using a stationary balloon to provide telecommunications coverage started as an odd sounding concept. The name of Alphabet’s X innovation version of the idea, Project Loon, did nothing to help its credibility.

Now, however, Project Loon is being taken seriously. eWeek reports that the platform, which was developed by Alphabet’s X innovation lab, is set to help in Puerto Rico, which is seeking to reestablish its telecom network, which was shredded by Hurricane Maria. Project Loon will connect LTE stations on the ground by bouncing signals from a phone or cell site to another Loon balloon, which will complete the call.

The story says that X is working with Puerto Rican authorities and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the initiative. The key is integrating Loon with a telecommunications network on the island. The FCC has granted an experimental license for the initiative.

Colt Uses AI for Virtualized Networking

Virtualization and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the most common buzzwords in the industry. Colt plans to combine the two.

At the SDN NFV World Congress this week at The Hague, Mirko Voltolini, the vice president of Technology and Architecture at Colt Technology Services Group, said that automation, in the form of AI, is a goal of the carrier.

The goals of the AI initiative, called Sentio, are to develop fully automated service management capabilities, according to Light Reading. These include traffic flow classifications, fault prediction, wide-area network (WAN) path optimization, capacity management, security, intelligent bandwidth-on-demand and service modification and restoration through automated scaling of virtual network functions (VNFs).

Most of Colt Technology Services Group’s business is providing services to enterprises in Europe and Asia.

Dell Creates IoT Division

Dell is jumping enthusiastically into the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI worlds. The company this week announced The Dell Technologies IoT Division. The initiative will adopt what it calls a distributed core computing model that will feature AI and machine learning. The goal, the company says, is to create “smarter, more predictive systems.”

Dell will invest more than $1 billion in IoT research and development during the next three years. The new division will be led by Ray O’Farrell, the CTO and Executive VP of VMware.

The release offered two examples of what Dell plans. The Dell IoT Vision Workshop will identify and prioritize “high-value business uses cases for IoT data” and IoT Technology Advisory will develop IoT architecture roadmaps for implementation.

Android/DoubleLocker.A Encrypts and Changes PIN

While frightening malware attacks are nothing new, ESET has uncovered one that merits special attention.

Android/DoubleLocker.A, the company says at its WeLiveSecurity website, uses a banking Trojan to extort money from victims. The malware doesn’t gather credentials as a way to steal money, however. Instead, it profits by encrypting the user’s data and changing his or her PIN.

An ESET researcher said that a test version of the malware was seen by the company as long ago as May. It is distributed as a phony Adobe Flash Player.

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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