Rogers delays LTE launch in Winnipeg to 2013

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Dec 082012
 

RogersRogers has had a busy 2012 when it comes to deploying LTE. Announcements of new coverage have occured several times over the past year. The last one was in early October when Rogers launched LTE in 18 new markets. With 2012 wrapping up, at least one market Rogers had been hoping to get to will have to wait until next year unfortunately.

Rogers earlier this week announced that the Winnipeg launch would be delayed until 2103:

Rogers now expects to launch LTE in Winnipeg next year. Rogers offers the largest and growing selection of the most popular LTE smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet devices. LTE-enabled, devices work on the Rogers 4G HSPA+ network in Manitoba today and will be ready when we launch LTE in Manitoba. In addition, as Rogers customers travel across Canada their Rogers device will automatically benefit from LTE coverage in the many markets where LTE has already launched.

No reason was given for the delay.

Read more: Rogers RedBoard (Source: MobileSyrup)

Amazon launches Kindle book sales in Canada

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Dec 072012
 

AmazonAmazon today began selling Kindle Books on its Canadian store. The new site features Canadian pricing and a spotlight on Canadian fiction. Unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are not yet on sale on the site.

The move does suggest that Amazon will eventually launch Kindle hardware in Canada. Whether it will happen before Christmas so that Canadians can buy a few Kindles for the holidays remains to be seen. It might well start with its Kindle e-readers with the Kindle Fire to launch when Amazon can line up additional content such as TV shows, movies, and music.

For now, Canadians will need to rely on the Kindle apps to get their reading fix but at least ebook buying is a bit easier. The Kindle app is available for Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows devices.

Read more: Amazon.ca

Nokia sells and then leases back head office building

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Dec 052012
 

NokiaTo turn its fortunes around, Nokia has not only bet heavily on Windows Phone but has also made significant changes to the company itself. In its latest move, Nokia yesterday announced that it has agreed to sell its head ofice building in Espoo, Finland to Finland-based Exilion. At the same time, it will not move out as it has agreed to lease its facilities back.

“We had a comprehensive sales process with both Finnish and foreign investors and we are very pleased with this outcome. As we have said before, owning real estate is not part of Nokia’s core business and when good opportunities arise we are willing to exit these types of non-core assets. We are naturally continuing to operate in our head office building on a long-term basis,” said Timo Ihamuotila, CFO, Nokia.

The sale of its headquarters will net €170 million (about CA$221 million). The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2012.

HTC appoints new Chief Marketing Officer

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Nov 282012
 

HTCHTC today announced the appointment of a new Chief Marketing Officer as it looks to turn its fortunes around in 2013. Benjamin Ho will take over as Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for worldwide marketing and branding, in January 2013.

“We welcome Benjamin to HTC and look forward to integrating the global marketing capabilities he brings to the company, said Peter Chou, CEO HTC. “Our growing brand, centered around our world-class innovation and design capabilities, will provide a global platform not just for HTC, but for Taiwan culture and innovation.”

Ho already has his first assignment. A project internally called Marketing 2.0 will see Ho look to refocus “HTC’s efforts around holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach.”

Benjamin Ho replaces the departing John Wang.

Read more: HTC

RIM loses WLAN patent battle to Nokia

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Nov 282012
 

Research In MotionAfter some recent good news, Research In Motion today was dealt yet another setback. A dispute with Nokia over WLAN patents has gone in Nokia’s favour. In a U.S. court filing seeking to enforce the ruling, Nokia indicates that RIM was found to be “in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia.” Similar cases have been filed in Britain and Canada.

Unless RIM can come to terms with Nokia, likely additional royalties, it could face a sales ban on its BlackBerry devices. The ban would also extend to RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices.

Nokia and RIM first entered into a cross-license agreement covering standards-essential cellular patents back in 2003. The agreement was amended in 2008. In March 2011, RIM sought to have the license extended to cover WLAN patents. The decision, finally reached on November 6th, went in Nokia’s favour, prompting the court cases.

Read more: Reuters

TELUS extends LTE coverage to Oshawa and Whitby, Ontario

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Nov 232012
 

TELUS MobilityTELUS today announced that it has extended its LTE network to cover both Oshawa and Whitby in Ontario. As in other areas, it will offer top download speeds of up to 75Mbps with average speeds between 12 and 25Mbps.

“TELUS is committed to offering the best customer experience and launching our 4G LTE service in Oshawa and Whitby is an excellent example of how we’re doing that,” said Johnnie-Mike Irving, managing director of Business Solutions, TELUS. “With a 4G LTE device, our customers can enjoy the fastest wireless technology available in the world today – we are continuing to expand this new technology, community by community, so that by the end of the year many more Ontario residents are expected to have access. It’s an ambitious undertaking.”

TELUS is not quite done for this year. It still expects to have LTE coverage for Sudbury and Brantford by the end of the year.

Read more: TELUS

WIND Mobile launches Windsor, Ontario Home Zone

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Nov 212012
 

WIND Mobile today officially launched its latest Home Zone in Windsor, Ontario. It made the announcement via Twitter:

Windsor: Come celebrate our official launch today at our brand new store in Devonshire Mall!

CEO Tony Lacavera made a similar announcement as well a bit later in the day.

WIND Mobile Windsor Home Zone coverage

WIND Mobile launched its Kingston Home Zone earlier this month and will officially launch its Peterborough, Ontario network next week.

Along with over 510,000 subscribers (and likely more by year’s end), the expanded coverage is definitely a great way to wrap up the year!

Read more: WIND Mobile [via Twitter] and Tony Lacavera [via Twitter]

SaskTel to launch LTE network in February 2013

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Nov 212012
 

SaskTel today announced that it will launch its LTE network in “early February 2013.” The first phase will cover Regina, Saskatoon and their surrounding communities. Customers will see download speeds up to 100Mbps and upload speeds up to 50Mbps with appropriate devices.

“Once SaskTel deploys LTE commercially, SaskTel will have the largest 4G LTE network in Saskatchewan, providing data speeds approximately 5 times faster than the current 4G network,” said Don McMorris, Minister Responsible for SaskTel. “Saskatchewan residents will continue to benefit from the most advanced wireless technology available.”

“When we launch 4G LTE, it will be significantly faster than the competing LTE network in Saskatchewan and at the time of introduction it will have more than double the towers with that coverage advantage growing throughout 2013,” said Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO. “And only 4G LTE capable devices purchased from SaskTel or its authorized dealers will operate on the 4G LTE portion of the SaskTel network.”

SaskTel LTE launch

SaskTel will continue to expand its LTE network throughout 2013. Additional deployments will cover Estevan, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn and Yorkton.

SaskTel already offers a number of LTE-enabled devices including the Samsung Galaxy S III [product information], the Apple iPhone 5, and the upcoming LG Optimus G [product information] and Samsung Galaxy Note II [product information].

Read more: SaskTel

Mobilicity outlines 2013 Golden Horseshoe network expansion plans

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Nov 212012
 

MobilicityMobilicity today revealed its plan to grow its wireless coverage in 2013. Multiple launches next year will take place across Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region. By September 2013, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa will have launched with Milton, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton/Stoney Creek to follow by December 2013.

“To the hardworking people living in Oshawa, Hamilton and everywhere in between, we want to let you know that your days of being overcharged for wireless are numbered,” said Lyons. “Mobilicity is on its way. Our engineering team has been working on network builds in your areas and we’re looking for new dealers and employees to help us deliver the value you deserve through Mobilicity’s no-contract, affordable unlimited data, talk and text service.”

There is no word yet on Mobilicity’s plans (if any) for expansion in the other regions it operates (Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver).

Last month, Mobilicity upgraded its network to HSPA+.

Read more: Mobilicity

WIND Mobile now has over 510,000 subscribers

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Nov 202012
 

WIND MobileWIND Mobile continues to grow its customer base. As in the past, Orascom Telecom which owns a 65% indirect and non-voting equity share in the Canadian carrier, revealed the latest numbers in its own financial results.

At the end of Q3 2012, WIND Mobile had 510,484 subscribers, up from 456,886 a quarter ago and up from 357,983 the same quarter a year ago. The company attributed its success to strong marketing and a number of key handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S III [product information]:

the company enjoyed a strong back to school season. A new, vibrant media campaign and promotional offers were launched to support the important selling season. With respect to handsets, the strength of the Samsung Galaxy SIII continued throughout the quarter. In addition, Wind Mobile continued to add to its high-end Android devices with the introduction of the Motorola Razr V, the Huawei Ascend P1, the HTC One-S and the BlackBerry 9320.

WIND Mobile also saw its ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) rise slightly to CA$27.90 per month in Q3 from CA$27.70 per month in Q2.

Read more: Orascom Telecom [PDF document] (Source: MobileSyrup)

HTC dismisses Apple settlement fee rumours

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Nov 202012
 

HTCWhen HTC and Apple announced that they had entered into a new licensing agreement and dismissed current lawsuits between them, they did not reveal terms of the agreement. Speculation followed that HTC would pay Apple between US$6 and US$8 in licensing fees for each Android device it sells. HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, today responded to this rumour, dismissing the cited amounts as “outrageous.” Speaking at a carrier event in Japan, he said,

“I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is a outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number. I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending,” said Chou

The terms of the agreement are confidential and HTC has only said that it will not “have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company.” Details may yet come to light if a legal request by Samsung to see the terms is granted by the courts.

Read more: Reuters

Surface RT tablet sales to fall short of Microsoft forecasts?

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Nov 142012
 

Microsoft SurfaceSales of the Surface tablet may not meet Microsoft’s own sales forecasts if a report by Digitimes is accurate. Citing “sources from upstream component suppliers,”, the report suggests that sales started slowly and may only reach about 60% of Microsoft’s forecast by year’s end.

Microsoft is expected to continue to face challenging conditions over the holiday shopping season. Two reasons are provided for this: The first is a lack of a competitive edge in pricing and performance. The second is that the Surface lacks supporting software as previous Windows software is not compatible and relies instead on new software available from the Windows Store.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently described initial sales of the Surface RT as “modest” but pointed out that reception to the tablet had been “fantastic.” He expected sales to improve as availability improved.

The report concludes that Windows 8-based tablet sales may benefit from the slower than expected Windows RT uptake.

For its part, Microsoft has yet to provide any official Windows RT sales numbers.

Read more: Digitimes

Samsung unwilling to settle lawsuits with Apple

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Nov 142012
 

SamsungHopes that Samsung and Apple could settle their legal battles out of court appear to have been dashed. Speaking to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, J.K. Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division, said that Samsung would look to a legal resolution rather than a settlement. “We don’t intend to (negotiate) at all,” he explained, apparently leaving little room for compromise.

Samsung and Apple have been engaged in legal battles over the last few years. Most recently, Samsung sued Apple over some of its LTE patents. Before that, Apple won a US$1 billion award in a US patent infringement case. Other cases are still before various courts.

Legal distractions do not appear to have any effect on Samsung’s sales. Shin expects that fourth quarter smartphone sales will be “as robust” as they were in the previous quarter.

For its part, Apple appears to be taking a softer approach to its legal battles with various smartphone manufacturers. Its battle with HTC now appears behind it with the latter reportedly paying up to US$8 per Android smartphone it sells.

Read more: Yonhap News Agency (Source: CNET News)

Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft

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Nov 122012
 

MicrosoftMicrosoft today announced that Steven Sinofsky, Windows Live President, who led the Windows group, has left the company effective immediately. He will be replaced by Julie Larson-Green who will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller, already chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, will also assume responsibility for the Windows business.

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” Ballmer said. “The products and services we have delivered to the market in the past few months mark the launch of a new era at Microsoft. We’ve built an incredible foundation with new releases of Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and ‘Halo 4,’ and great integration of services such as Bing, Skype and Xbox across all our products. To continue this success it is imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings.”

No specific reason was given as to why Sinofsky, who had been with Microsoft since 1989, decided to leave less than a month after the launch of Windows 8. AllThingsD suggests that his departure was due to growing tension between Sinofsky and other top executives. Sinofsky was viewed as not being “the kind of team player that the company was looking for.”

It sounds a lot like the shakeup at Apple in late October.

Read more: Microsoft and AllThingsD

Microsoft Surface RT sales off to a “modest” start

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Nov 122012
 

Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft has yet to reveal any Surface for Windows RT tablet sales numbers but but CEO Steve Ballmer may have given us our best hint so far how things are going. In an interview with French-language Le Parisien, Ballmer described initial sales as “modest” but did not provide specific numbers.

Ballmer went on to explain that this modest start is due to the Surface’s limited availability. It is currently only available online from Microsoft and through a limited number of stores in the U.S (and Canada). Microsoft has also faced some supply challenges (something Ballmer described as a “good sign” and is working hard to address those as well. Sales should improve as it becomes available in more stores and more countries in the near future. Talking about sales numbers might make more sense then, added Ballmer. He also pointed out that reception to the tablet has been “fantastic.”

Ballmer also reiterated that Microsoft will launch a second Surface tablet, the Surface for Windows 8 Pro powered by an Intel processor, in early 2013.

Read more: Le Parisien (in French) [Google translation] (Source: Reuters