FCC Asks for Public Input on Lightsquared

On Saturday, the FCC announced a request for comments (pdf) on the LightSquared situation. Comments are due by Feb. 27, and responses promised by March 13. LightSquared applauded the move.

Lightsquared filed a petition for declaratory ruling to the FCC last month. The request is for input on LightSquared’s request for a finding on the FCC’s decision that GPS gear doesn’t merit legal protection from interference caused by LightSquared’s proposed wireless service.

On January 13, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing found GPS interference would result from LightSquared’s original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network.

LightSquared wants to operate a 4G network using radio spectrum next to the GPS band. Tests have shown interference between that proposed network and GPS, and under a conditional waiver from the FCC, LightSquared can’t launch until interference concerns have been resolved.

In other news, AT&T urged the FCC to impose buildout conditions on DISH similar to those imposed on LightSquared (260M POPs within 5 years 9 months). AT&T also asks for conditions to be imposed on DISH’s 700MHz spectrum in line with the conditions imposed on AT&T’s recent purchase of spectrum from Qualcomm.

This submission is a blatant attempt by AT&T to put a thumb on the scales, opines satellite consultant Tim Farrar.

Markey: No Tracking Without Consent

A new bill being introduced by Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey would require cell phone makers and network operators to inform consumers about any location-tracking or information-sharing software/services that are installed on the device.

Rep. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, today released a discussion draft of “The Mobile Device Privacy Act,” legislation (pdf), that would require companies to disclose to consumers the capability to monitor telephone usage, as well as require express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring.

Last month it was revealed that Carrier IQ software was installed on millions of smart phones and mobile devices, tracking keystrokes and sending information back to the software company without user knowledge or permission. Markey asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Carrier IQ was being unfair or deceptive toward consumers.

“Consumers have the right to know and to say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” said Rep. Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

The “Mobile Device Privacy Act” would protect consumers by requiring:

  • Disclosure of mobile telephone monitoring software, including when a consumer buys a mobile phone; after sale, if the carrier, manufacturer, or operating system later installs monitoring software; and if a consumer downloads an app and that app contains monitoring software.
  • Disclosure to include the fact that the monitoring software has been installed on the phone, the types of information that are collected, the identity of the third party to which the information is transmitted, and how such information will be used.
  • Consumer consent be obtained before monitoring software begins collecting and transmitting information.

Markey was also one of eight U.S. lawmakers who sent a letter to Google expressing concern that a planned consolidation of user information may make it more difficult for consumers to protect their privacy.

In a separate statement, Markey said: “I plan to ask the Federal Trade Commission whether Google’s planned changes to its privacy policy violate Google’s recent settlement with the agency.”

Related Dailywireless articles include Carrier IQ Questioned, How Your Location & Preferences are Recorded, Behavioral Targeting: Kill/Capture, Google Vs The Feds, Inside the Libyan Uprising, Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, Communications Law: Net Neutrality & Surveillence and Spy Squirrels Captured.

Samsung 11.6” Tablet?

Android Pit says Samsung’s next great Android super phone could in the form of an 11.6” Samsung tablet. The massive 11.6” display may feature 2560×1600 pixel resolution and could be driven by a 2 GHz Exynos 5250 dual-core processor.

Last year’s Mobile World Congress saw Samsung introduce the Galaxy S2, notes Android Pit, which became a huge, world-wide hit. Samsung sold five million Galaxy S2s just in South Korea since the phone’s late April debut, accounting for 1 in 4 of all smartphones sold in South Korea.

The Galaxy S3, Samsung’s smartphone follow-on ,could have similar resolution and processing power with a Samsung Exynos 4412 chipset, a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, or a Exynos 4212 chipset, a dual-core ARM9 chipset. The S-3 would likely feature Ice Cream Sandwich with a 4.5″ screen and 4G connectivity.

Meanwhile, rumors abound for the iPad 3. Apple’s anticipated A6 processor may be a quad-core or a more power-efficient dual-core processor. Many are hoping for a “Retina” display, doubling the current iPad’s resolution to 2048-by-1536. DigiTimes says it’s scheduled to launch at the end of the first quarter (March).

AT&T Gets Galaxy Note

Samsung’s Galaxy Note, the 5.3-inch smartphone/tablet hybrid device, will launch on Feb. 19 for $300 with a two-year contract from AT&T. Pre-orders begin Feb. 5.

The Galaxy Note’s 5.3-inch screen straddles the line between smartphone and tablet. The Galaxy Note will be powered by a 1.5-Ghz, dual-core processor, with 16GB of built-in memory. It has a stylus for handwriting recognition and will run on AT&T’s 700 MHz LTE network. The device has proven popular overseas, especially in Europe and Korea.

China iPhone Projections

Apple’s sales in China could soon reach 60 million per year, predicts Morgan Stanley. Apple sold 68.5 million iPhones worldwide in fiscal 2011, although the iPhone 4S, launched in October, sold more than half that many (37 million) in just one quarter.

Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty surveyed the buying patterns among China’s rapidly growing middle class and expects Apple to sign deals with both China Mobile (TD-LTE) and China Telecom (CDMA).

She says:

  • There are roughly 150 million high-end subscribers in China currently paying at least RMB 100 ($16) per month for mobile phone service.
  • China Unicom, currently Apple’s only official (GSM) carrier, has 15 million of those subscribers, or roughly 10%.
  • Late this year or early next, Apple will begin selling next-generation iPhones through China Mobile (120 million high-end subscribers) and China Telecom (15 million).
  • Assuming 20% penetration, Apple should see, at a minimum, 24 million addition iPhone sales in 2013.
  • As the iPhone catches on and the middle class expands, that number could grow to nearly 40 million next year, adding $10 to Apple’s earnings per share.
  • Eventually the iPhone in China will reach penetration levels comparable to those of AT&T, where 63% of smartphone customers currently choose iPhones.
  • In Morgan Stanley’s scenario, Apple within a couple of years will be selling an additional 57 million iPhones per year in China alone.

As of January 2012, China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile phone operator with about 650 million subscribers. By the June 2010, China had 420 million internet users. That’s greater than the population of the USA, however penetration rate is still relatively low at just under 32%

China Mobile is driving TD-LTE in China. The company is testing TD-LTE in 6 cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. Telecom giants such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE, have participated in technical trials of TD-LTE technology with China Mobile since the end of 2008.

Related LTE stories on Dailywireless include; Clearwire and China Mobile Announce TD-LTE Testing Plan, China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, China Mobile Talks Up TD-LTE iPhone, World’s First TD-LTE Service Launched by Mobily, China: The Big Picture, TD-LTE for China Mobile, China Mobile: Slow TD-SCDMA Sales, South Korea: SK Telecom Goes LTE, World’s First TD-LTE Data Call, End Near for Indian WiMAX?

Wifi + Zigbee Demo Smart Grid Interoperability

The Wi-Fi Alliance and ZigBee Alliance got together this week in a public demonstration of interoperability between Wi-Fi devices and ZigBee-enabled smart energy meters at DistribuTECH in San Antonio. They were promoting the new Smart Energy Profile 2.0, designed for energy meters.

The multi-vendor demonstration established Wi-Fi device connectivity to both Wi-Fi and ZigBee meters, reports Fierce Wireless. It was reportedly the first time that this kind of mixed technology has been publicly demonstrated.

Products to be certified with the Smart Energy Profile are expected to include thermostats, appliances, electric meters, gateways, electric vehicles, and countless other devices in the Smart Grid. Eight vendors: Aclara, Broadcom, Elbrys Networks, Gainspan, Grid2Home, Intwine Energy Networks, Qualcomm Atheros and Texas Instruments demonstrated interoperability.

Texas Instruments announced 2.4 GHz Zigbee radio, with an integrated ARM Cortex-M3 processor, Smart Energy 2.0 hardware security acceleration, enabling simplified, cost-effective, smart grid connectivity for electricity, gas or water smart meters and in-home displays.

ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh network standard. It runs on the 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz band, but is cheaper and slower than Bluetooth with a defined rate of 250 kbps. It’s used for intermittent data from sensors or input devices.

The Wi-Fi Alliance said it is now working to develop a certification program for SEP 2.0 products. Interoperability with WiFi will allow appliances to “talk” to to each other and connect to the internet.