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Mobile

AT&T Eyeballing Smaller Wireless Companies

Because there hasn’t been enough weirdness in wireless news, it’s being reported that analysts predict Leap and Metro PCS may be taken over by one of the monolithic carriers.

Businessweek says AT&T and T-Mobile USA are eyeing the smaller pay-as-you-go wireless companies because the AT&T/T-Mobile merger fell through this month amid antitrust problems. Vision2mobile.com also writes that the deal would be more likely to get approval. Metro PCS, based in Texas, has 9 million subscribers and Leap, 5.7 million. T-Mobile, by comparison, is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., with 33 million subscribers.

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Verizon Learned Nothing from BofA, Will Charge ‘Convenience Fee’

A leaked memo posted on Engadget reveals Verizon’s plan to start charging customers $2 for each one-time online payment or bill payment over the phone on January 15. Verizon confirms this ridiculous plan. And they’re calling it a “convenience fee.”

Remember the uproar when Bank of America tried to charge $5 for debit card purchases? Apparently, Verizon doesn’t. Ultimately, BofA had to dump the plan because of the backlash and other banks, taking a hint, decided to dump theirs as well.

Both Engadget and CNET suggest alternatives to charging a fee, such as stiffer late fee penalties and (gasp!) a reward for loyal customers who sign up for an automatic bill pay.

Charging people more when they’re recovering from holiday spending during a tough economic period is simply wrong-headed. It’s made even more so when telecom companies were among those on a “most-hated” list published just a couple of months ago. Folks on Twitter and on blogs are already complaining. Moreover, this is happening while service outages are a problem. Let’s see how long this lasts.

Guest Post on Mobile: ‘Separating the Signal from the Noise’

Mobile, mobile everywhere. News from the mobile space keeps coming as the technology and business of mobility continues to sort itself out. For PR pros, it’s an area rife with opportunity.

In today’s guest post, Jonathan Heit, partner and head of digital media and technology, Allison+Partners, takes a closer look at some of the big stories and trends in mobile moving forward.

Click through for his thoughts and click here for more on the firm’s Naked Culture blog. And if there’s anything you’d like to add to the conversation, the comments section is open.

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Everyone’s Getting Connected with the Boob Tube

If Fred is the future of connected TV, please allow me to disconnect.

It is a time when TVs that are aligned with and act like our computers – smart TVs – are the ones on two-thirds of people’s shopping lists. And 40 percent of consumers say they will upgrade their TVs in 2012. Sites like YouTube are prepared to sidestep the television industry all together as video stars like Fred and The Annoying Orange (“Hey apple? Apple? Hey apple?”) launch their own channels.

Going to Saskatoon? This App’s Got You Covered

Saskatoon at night

Planning a trip to Canada soon? I wish this app was out when I was offered a free trip to a Slayer concert in Saskatoon last summer.
The Canadian Tourism Commission has launched a social media platform and mobile app called “Explore Canada Like a Local,” which offers locals and visitors’ inside tips on the best of Canadian attractions while traveling through the country.

Users can build an itinerary on the site or app and follow it on their smartphone while traveling; they can connect with other travelers and add photos and reviews, and more.

For example, had I used this app I could have learned there was a Fox & Hounds Pub and Brewery in Saskatoon.

“Chicken fingers and cross-tracks, enough said,” the description reads.

More Ways to Win at Cannes Lions in 2012

Tom Eslinger

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced that it will award the top campaigns in mobile starting in 2012, and leading the Mobile Lions jury will be Saatchi & Saatchi’s Tom Eslinger.

Mobile Lions will be handed out to the best examples of campaigns which work through a mobile device, app, or mobile Web, according to a press release from the Cannes Festival.

Campaigns will be judged on creativity, execution, relevance to the mobile platform and results.

What categories will be up for grabs?

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Tech Round Up: Google Stories Abound, and More

A lot is going on this week with our daily technology tools, and some of it is not going over well.

Google Reader has been updated with some changes, has been reviewed poorly, leading one to even call it an “epic tech fail.” The “like” button has been banished, and replacing it with the +1, a Google Plus option, is not everyone’s cup of tea. People like having a choice on how to share an article.

And Google’s not done yet. It also revamped the Gmail program, boosting the inbox search capabilities and the density of the layout, so users can see more emails per page on a smartphone or tablet.

Insiders speculated these Google announcements were to be followed by an even bigger launch: a Gmail app for the Apple iPhone. That would be useful if it worked!

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Research: Mobile is Emerging in Emerging Markets

For anyone needing further proof of the global proliferation of mobile devices, a comprehensive survey conducted by research firm TNS in sixty countries offers more evidence. The worldwide study, along with in-depth research and case studies from OgilvyAction, found that in some mobile usage areas, such as banking and shopping, developing countries are pioneering new trends. Both companies highlighted their findings at an AMA/American Marketing Association New York chapter event on Tuesday.

Below are the key takeaways.

Mobile has transformed communications, business, and entertainment in developing countries. “There mobile is not just a way to phone one’s friends, it’s a new portal,” Charles White, SVP at TNS, noted. “In many emerging markets, consumers’ first access to voice, news, Internet, and music was through mobile devices,” he added. Even for basic tasks, research results showed higher usage overseas. Worldwide, 65 percent of personal electronic messages were sent via mobile compared to 37 percent in North America.

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After Hype, Disappointment With Apple Announcement

Photo: Apple

Yesterday at 1 p.m. tons of people were pumped, seated in front of their computers with a nice beverage, prepared to be wowed by the latest Apple announcement. Instead, there’s been a collective “meh” heard around the world.

According to CNET, while the new iPhone 4S has some great stuff under the hood, the rumors of a super phone had inflated people’s expectations for an iPhone 5. Now the question is, “Who will buy the souped up iPhone 4S?”

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Tips to Launch Your Mobile Marketing Efforts

The world is going mobile, and so is marketing. While it seems technology is plowing ahead too fast for everyone to keep up with, Jeff Judge, CEO of Signal, says, reassuringly, that’s not true. Things are just getting better, which gives publicists and marketers a chance to experiment and launch campaigns with mobile components without feeling as though they’re being left behind.

“The experience will get stronger with faster networks and more processing power,” Judge told us. ”Apps will get more sophisticated. And people are going to take a more well-thought-out approach, tying things together across devices.”

So the first tip is to take a deep breath. We’re going to be here for a bit.

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