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Louisiana Becomes Second State To Approve AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

The Louisiana Publci Service Commission voted to approve the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile USA. Louisiana is the second state to approve the deal joining the Arizona Corporation Commission. While there 3 other reviews still pending these approvals show that states are seeing the benefits to the merger once they look at the facts. The commission in Louisiana could have rejected the filing if they felt that the merger was not in the public interest. Theri approval shows that they do not believe that to be the case. Their report states:

“The Louisiana commission is empowered to reject AT&T’s filing if it is found to be against the public interest, but the staff report argues the deal will result in at least $8 billion in investments, some of which will be in Louisiana, along with increased rural broadband coverage and new jobs in the state, thanks to AT&T’s pledge to deploy next-generation wireless broadband nationwide.

ATT/TMobile Merger Will Not Hurt Poor, Misinformation From People Like Malkia Cyril Will

Recently MALKIA CYRIL wrote a post on politico.com titled ” AT&T/TMobile merger hurts poor” I’m glad that is was called an opinion piece because i could not find much fact in.it. The piece talks about how low income communities  and people of color rely heavily on wireless access. This is only partially true. People of color do currently over index in mobile use compared to the majority but lumping people and color and low income in the same sentence is a gross mis-characterization  and borderline offensive. It makes the leap that either all low income communities are populated by by people of color or all that all people of color have low incomes, both of which i can tell you are not true. The next leap of fallacy that the piece makes is the AT&T merger will immediately raise barriers to heavy users of mobile, limit access, and monopolize the industry. All without any facts to back any of these claims, just her opinion. I wanted to make sure that people were given points based on facts so here are a  few:

  1. The merger will actually provide more access, not less: Once the merger is complete there will be end to end wireless coverage is states that currently have spotty coverage and also are heavily populated by African Americans.  States like W. Virginia, S. Carolina and Mississippi to name a few will now have more opportunities for people to get connected who currently have no access.  Don’t take my world for it. Read about it here . http://www.businessinsider.com/map-of-the-day-att-2011-3
  2. The merger will actually increase competition and better pricing, not lessen it: I’ve seen more Sprint commercials since the merger was announced than ever. Then shortly after Sprint announced their all in one pricing plan. If that’s not an example of  competition making things better for the consumer, then I’m not sure what is.

So anyone who chooses to right about these issues should lead wit facts instead of assumptions and opinions. The issue is too important to misinform people.

The Black Caucus Steps In To Fight For Digital Equality

The AT&T merger has been the talk of the Internet since it was announced. Groups like Free Press immediately jumped in (which was no surprise) to make claims that this merger will bring the end of competition but if you have seen the sprint commercials lately you realize that it’s having the opposite effect. The one huge positive about this deal that no one seems to be highlighting is what this means for connecting minorities and people in rural areas to the Internet. The problem is highlighted in inner cities on a regular basis. for example an article in the sun times quotes ” A 2009 study by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Iowa found that 40 percent of all Chicagoans have little or no Internet access. Surveys showed that one in four Chicagoans are completely offline and another 15 percent have limited access.”
The same article highlights that the Black Caucus sees that void and is getting involved to make sure that needs of African Americans are served. By this group being involved and pushing the to make sure things like free or reduced-rate Internet access is available for the digitally disadvantaged. With this group pushing for the interest of their constituents and the end to end coverage in places like Mississippi, S. Carolina, Michigan and West Virginia. So while you hear some groups make “claims” that this deal is bad for everyone. The “reality” is that benefits are real for minorities and groups like the black caucus are making sure we get the equality we have been longing for.

A Few Points To Think About Before You Grab A Verizon iPhone

First of all I have to admit to all of you that I love my iPhone.  I can honestly say that there is not a thing that I’ve tried to do in my professional and personal life that I have not been able to find an app to make it easier. I was huge blackberry fan until I had pushed my BB to the max in terms of what I asked it to do. This forced me to break down an IPhone in the first place.  When people I meet ask me about my IPhone I tell them straight away how great it is  and  a lot of times I hear the phrase “ I’m going to wait until it comes to Verizon because I heard  all the problems  the phones have on the AT&T network.” I would just have to  say ok  but you don’t know what your missing .

But now the wait is over and the IPhone is coming to Verizon and of course people are ready to flock to the Verizon store to buy an IPhone. But before you do that I raise a few points to consider.

  • There has never been a phone that created a network effect like the IPhone. I don’t even believe that AT&T expected it to change the way people access cellar networks and the user behavior would change forever.
  • Verizon has never had a data intensive phone before. People will say the Droid phone is comparable but that effect was shared across multiple carriers and no single carrier had to bear the weight of that effect. So will the flipside occur that you can always make calls but not always have speedy access to your apps?
  • The IPhone ecosystem is massive now so a new IPhone more to choose from. When the IPhone launch the concept of an app store was brand new but now with thousands of Apps and billions of downloads the leap from new user to data hungry user is short.
  • Will you be able to make calls and use apps? If not then I don’t even need to say anymore.

I could think of more reasons to consider but I believe that is enough for you to ponder before you stand in line at VZW store in Febuary. So  if you decide to switch come back and let me know how it goes. On last point, are the guaranteed to get the IPhone 5 in June?

WiFi Can Keep the Dream of Mobile Broaband A Reality

As wireless companies race to deploy 4g networks, the hunger for access to for existing consumers grows and the need for access for those that are with out becomes more important.  Even if the 4G networks were live in full today the carriers still are  have trouble keeping up with increasing demand. An Article on GigaOm suggests that Wifi may be the answer we are looking for.

Recently Towerstream, A company that offers tower based high speed internet conducted a test in Mahattan recently. As the article shows that achieved great success in offloading some of the burden off of the wirelesss networks. I’d like to see a similar test done in a more urban area where the lack of services if affecting the overall quality of life so that people cab really see the how deployment can  change lives.

People seem to forget that our appetite for data is growing exponentially and  it’s mobile. I believe with wifi networks overlapping coverage from carriers can give us the mobile broadband experience we are hoping for.

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Minority College Students Win Mobile Development Contest And I Think We Need More

spelman college
Image by waynetaylor via Flickr

Blackweb20.com recently ran a story that caught my eye for several reasons.  Two young women from Spelman College participated in a contest put on by ATT : the AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge encourages college students to build engaging mobile apps. I was especially excited to see two women of color be the winners to this years contest. I’ve made no secret, for some time now, of my desire for more students of color to take advantage of the huge opportunities in mobile.  I think this contest by ATT is a good start, but I hope we push to do more. I hope to not only see contests but incubation programs, that show students the value of app creation and how to build businesses around it. I’m happy for these young women and will be downloading their app. You should too! Click here

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