Carrier Catch-Up: A Look At The Latest Buzz From Today’s Largest Telecoms


Power Moves Only

The country's largest telecoms came out in full force in September, pushing ahead with merger plans, rebranding existing products and introducing new offerings. At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission moved to go full steam ahead with 5G.

CRN took a look at what some of the largest telecoms were up to in September. Here are some of the headline-grabbing news items from some of the country's industry-leading service providers.

FCC Proposes To Override Local Rules To Speed 5G Deployment

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The FCC in September passed a proposal that will restrict local government control over 5G infrastructure construction. The proposal, according to the FCC, is aimed at speeding up investment in and deployment of 5G infrastructure by streamlining the small cell deployment process.

The proposal was met with minority objection but praise from telecom providers because it could help cut red tape around small cell permits, especially in rural areas of the country.

However, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called the proposal an "extraordinary federal overreach" and said that the litigation could ultimately slow the country's 5G plans. Local government officials are concerned about losing valuable revenue in order to provide a small discount on deployment costs to large carriers.

U.S. Carriers Reveal Solution To Kill Passwords

The four largest carriers in the wireless carriers in the country—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint—revealed more details about their joint effort, Project Verify, which is aimed at creating a more effective identification and authorization system that doesn't include passwords entered on mobile devices.

The Mobile Authentication Taskforce, comprised of the four carriers, gave the industry a first look at its authentication solution at Mobile World Congress Americas 2018 in September. The prototype uses multi-factor authentication methods to determine a user's identity using a device-based ID that serves as a user profile on the user's device, according to the taskforce.

FCC Pauses Review Of Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

The FCC paused its review of the proposed merger between the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the country, T-Mobile and Sprint.

The FCC said it needed more time for a thorough review of recently submitted and anticipated modeling from the companies, and that the "clock would remain stopped" until both Sprint and T-Mobile submitted additional economic modeling to support the deal and for a third-party to review to newly submitted information.

CenturyLink Exec Heads To T-Mobile

CenturyLink CFO Sunit Patel said he would be leaving the company to join T-Mobile as the wireless carrier's executive vice president, merger and integration lead, ahead of the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile merger. Patel will report to T-Mobile President and COO Mike Sievert.

In other hiring news, Monroe, La.-based CenturyLink in September brought on Chris Betz as its chief security officer. Betz previously held security roles for Apple, Microsoft, CBS and the National Security Agency.

T-Mobile Rebrands MetroPCS Business Unit

Wireless giant T-Mobile is rebranding its MetroPCS prepaid service to "Metro by T-Mobile," the Bellevue, Wash.-based company said in September.

In October, the Metro by T-Mobile service will include two new unlimited plans. The first plan, for $50 per month, will include Google One as a cloud storage offering. The highest tier of plan, at $60 per month, will include an Amazon Prime membership.

T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS five years ago.

Ericsson And Sprint Partner To Create Dedicated IoT Network

Networking and telecom company Ericsson and Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint have partnered to build a virtualized core network dedicated to the Internet of Things, as well as an IoT operating system.

The new system, according to the companies, is designed to create an optimal flow of device data, as well as immediate, actionable intelligence at the network edge for end users and enterprises. The network provides provide low latency and high availability, with nodes distributed to enterprises' premises as needed to cut distance between devices generating data and those processing it.