AT&T to Absorb Wisconsin's Element Mobile
AT&T has agreed to take control of Element Mobile's CDMA network, which operates in Wisconsin, and eventually transition it to an HSPA-based network. AT&T will form a new company with Element Mobile's assets, called Lake Mobility, that is 60% owned by AT&T. It will market and sell products under the AT&T brand to consumers in the central Wisconsin area. According to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T will operate Element's CDMA network for at least a year while it builds out its own HSPA network in the region. It will eventually transition Element's customers to its own network over time with no loss of service. "AT&T will offer each postpaid subscriber a HSPA+ handset comparable to their existing CDMA handset without requiring a contract extension," said AT&T. "For postpaid CDMA subscribers with term contracts (other than month-to-month contracts), AT&T plans to honor the majority of such subscribers' contracts for the life of those contracts by providing them with substantially similar AT&T service plans." Financial details of the transaction, which requires FCC approval, were not shared.
MetroPCS CDMA Network Shutdown On Track for June 21
MetroPCS plans to switch off its legacy CDMA network on June 21. MetroPCS parent T-Mobile says about 190,000 customers are still using CDMA handsets in the three markets that offer CDMA coverage, down from 300,000 about a month ago.
AT&T's Cricket Brand to Cut Off Lifeline Service
AT&T recently indicated via its support web site that it will eventually discontinue offering Lifelife service through its Cricket prepaid brand. Lifeline allows qualified Americans to receive free or heavily discounted wireless service through Cricket.
MetroPCS CDMA Network to Go Dark in June
T-Mobile intends to shutter MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network by late June, according to information on the carrier's web site. The company recently said it had three major metro markets — and about 500,000 customers — still using its CDMA network.
AT&T CEO Believes Phone Subsidies Will Eventually Vanish
Phone subsidies and two-year contracts are on their way out the door, according to Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's CEO of mobile and business solutions. "I think it is one of those options that is going to go away slowly," said de la Vega to Recode, "not because we insist on it but because customers will choose it less often." AT&T has made changes recently to limit the availability of subsidies and contracts.