Competitors’ Unlimited Plans Good News, for T-Mobile

    Unlimited data plans from Verizon and AT&T are having an impact on network performance and the competitive landscape, according to research by OpenSignal.

    The beneficiary is T-Mobile, which ran the table in the testing. It won in 4G download speed, 3G download speed, overall download speed, 4G latency, 3G latency and 4G availability. The firm attributes the return of unlimited plans for the results, and says that Verizon was hit the hardest. Sprint and T-Mobile increased their speeds and surpassed Verizon in LTE availability.

    This is the result of one battle. The longer war will continue:

    T-Mobile may have had the upper hand in our nationwide metrics, but in our city analysis, Verizon and T-Mobile were in a heated battle for dominance. One of the two operators either won outright or tied for our 4G speed and availability awards in all of the 32 markets we examined.

    The firm conducted more than 5 billion measurements on almost 173,000 test devices between the end of March and late June.

    It’s All Geek to Me

    Those who want to see great things in the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) can easily do so. Those focusing on the great dangers can point to ample evidence, as well.

    Here is another item for the latter group. Facebook has shut down its AI engine researchers at Facebook AI Research Lab after it saw that its chatbots, according to Forbes, were “creating a language that humans can’t understand.”

    This was, the story said, “simultaneously a glimpse of both the awesome and horrifying potential of AI.” This is also an important development in the recent back and forth between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Concluded Forbes:

    Artificial Intelligence is not sentient—at least not yet. It may be someday, though – or it may approach something close enough to be dangerous.

    Vertical Systems Group Tracking On-Net Buildings

    Vertical Systems Group (VSG) has inaugurated tracking buildings that are on-net, or directly connected to carrier networks. The qualifying number of buildings for inclusion in the top category of the Leaderboard, the press release says, is 10,000.

    The initial carriers listed, in order of the number connected, are AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast, Level 3, Cox, Lightower, Zayo, Altice USA and Frontier. The company also inaugurated a Challenger tier. In alphabetical order, the list includes Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, Electric Lightwave, Fairpoint, FiberLight, FiberNet Direct, FirstLight, IFN, Lumos, Southern Light, Sunesys, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber, Windstream and XO.

    VSG says that companies with direct connections to buildings enjoy advantages in serving tenants. The firm is also tracking organizations with less than 2,000 on-net buildings.

    EIS Winners Named

    The federal government has announced winners of contracts in the 15-year, $50 billion next-generation telecommunications project. FCW reports that AT&T, BT Federal, CenturyLink, Core Technologies, Granite Telecommunications, Harris Corp., Level 3 Communications, MetTel, MicroTech and Verizon were named.

    The Enterprise Infrastructure Services (EIS) is the “foundational contract” for the General Services Administration’s NS2020 Strategy, which is the next vision of federal communications platforms and services.

    IDC: Smartphones Slightly Down in Second Quarter

    It’s been a topsy-turvy year for smartphones. IDC said that the first quarter beat expectations, reported this week that smartphone shipments declined slightly during the second quarter.

    The firm’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker found that shipments declined 1.3 percent from the year-ago quarter and 0.8 percent from the first quarter of the year. Almost 3.42 billion units shipped. IDC points out that the second quarter decline was not felt among the top five vendors. The two leading companies, Samsung and Apple, were relatively even. Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi all grew.

    IDC experts say that smartphones will enjoy year-over-year growth during the third and fourth quarters. That would mean that 2017 would be a rebound year for the industry.

    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 and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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