Carrier Catch-Up: A Look At The Latest Buzz From The Telecom Industry In February


Order In the Court

The telecom industry found itself in the courtroom often in February as the Department of Justice evaluated the potential Sprint/T-Mobile deal; a judge ruled in favor of AT&T's mega-merger with Time Warner once again, overturning an appeal attempt from the Justice Department; and net Neutrality was brought back into the spotlight by a federal appeals court.

From courtrooms to the latest in 5G, here's CRN's roundup from the industry-leading service providers and other attention-grabbing headlines in February.

Net Neutrality Back In The Spotlight

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February came in with a bang as a federal appeals court listened to arguments on the first of the month over whether the Trump administration acted legally when it repealed landmark Net Neutrality rules governing internet providers in December 2017.

House Republican lawmakers in February followed up by introducing three new legislative proposals aimed at addressing concerns such as consumer privacy, content censorship, and slowing or “throttling” of internet speeds. But the proposed bills won't bring back the Obama-era Title II classification, which subjects providers to "common carrier" rules. Net Neutrality advocates still oppose these bills that leave out the Title II classification.

DoJ Still Evaluating Sprint/T-Mobile Deal

The DoJ is still taking a look at the proposed $26 billion tie-up attempt by the third and fourth largest carriers in the U.S.—Sprint and T-Mobile, respectively. The reason? Antitrust concerns.

DoJ staff hasn't yet made a formal recommendation to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim about the deal. The two carriers need the DoJ and the Federal Communications Commission to sign off on the deal before it can close. The two carriers have said that one of the reasons they need to combine is to compete with Chinese telecom company Huawei in building out the U.S.’ 5G network.

AT&T Expands 5G Rollout Plans

AT&T has already launched 5G in 12 cities, and the carrier giant added two more to its 2019 5G road map: Minneapolis and Chicago. AT&T also said that it expects to have a nationwide 5G network by early 2020 with speeds that will "eventually" reach multiple Gigabits per second.

In other AT&T news, the Dallas-based carrier won the ultimate prize last month. AT&T's highly publicized Time Warner mega-merger is allowed to stand after a federal appeals judge ruled in favor of AT&T once again in its battle with the Justice Department over the $85.4 billion deal it closed last June.

Verizon Details Mobile 5G Service Plans, Devices

Like its Dallas-based competition, Verizon last month unveiled a series of updates to its 5G strategy. The carrier said that its mobile 5G service will be powered by its 5G Ultra-Wideband (UWB) network on the 3GPP 5G New Radio standard. Verizon also unveiled plans to launch its mobile 5G UWB Network in more than 30 U.S. cities in 2019.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based provider has revealed three devices so far that will run on its mobile 5G UWB network in the first half of 2019, including the Moto Z with 5G mod, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and the Inseego MiFi 5G NR mobile hot spot.

Cambium Networks, Facebook Team Up To Bring Connectivity To Challenging Geographies

At Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, wireless and networking service provider Cambium Networks said it has teamed with Facebook to deliver high-capacity connectivity to dense urban areas, the companies said.

Together, Cambium will embed Facebook’s Terragraph connectivity technology into Cambium's soon-to-come 60GHz multi-mode wireless technology. Terragraph technology can bypass the need for fiber broadband cables, which can be challenging in extreme geographies, the two companies said.

Cambium also works with Facebook within the social network provider's Express Wi-Fi program, which offers low-cost data in South Africa, India, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia, Tanzania and Nigeria.