Verizon Wireless topped the Tier 1 carriers in terms of customer satisfaction, according to an annual study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And wireless carriers overall reversed a two-year trend of deteriorating customer satisfaction with a 2.9 percent gain to achieve an overall score of 72, on a scale of 0-100, matching a 10-year high. Better call clarity and improved network coverage are being credited with making customers happier with their wireless service providers.
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The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4 per cent year over year in the seasonally slow first quarter of 2013 as smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time. According to the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker published by IDC, vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter, compared with 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012. In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in the first quarter, which marked the first time that more than half (51.6 per cent) the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones. The market grew 41.6 per cent compared to the 152.7 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2012, but was 5.1 per cent lower than the 227.8 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of last year. Release
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) appears to be planning to announce a new phone with a Qwerty keyboard on Wednesday, though it is not clear whether it will be a Lumia Windows Phone or some other class of device.
A Nokia post appears to hint at a yellow Qwerty phone.
Nokia said on its official Nokia Conversations blog that on Wednesday morning "we will be announcing something new, followed by a Q&A session with Neil Broadley from our Mobile Phones team and a special guest." The post includes an image of a yellow-colored phone showing the keys of a Qwerty keyboard.< /p>
Since the post mentions "Mobile Phones" and not "Smart Devices" it is likely that the phone will not be a Lumia product, since Nokia's Mobile Phones unit houses its non-smartphone devices. Further, Broadley is the director of sell in and technology marketing for Nokia's Mobile Phones division. A Lumia smartphone with a physical keyboard would be a first for Nokia and for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone platform. Given the timing of the announcement (3 a.m. for the East Coast) the device is likely aimed at Europe or Asia, Engadget noted.
The launch could be Nokia's opening salvo in a wave of new product announcements. Last week Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said on the company's first-quarter earnings conference call that "later this quarter a new Lumia device is anticipated to have hero status with a leading U.S. carrier," which will likely be Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).
Elop said this new Lumia will "mark the beginning of a season of new product introductions." According to the Financial Times, which cited unnamed sources, Nokia will release a number of flagship products this year, including its first "phablet." Nokia declined to comment on the report.
Nokia's total mobile phone shipments (including low-end feature phones and high-end smartphones) fell to 61.9 million in the first quarter, down 25 percent from 82.7 million in the first quarter of 2012. The company's shipments fell in every region around the world. During the first quarter Nokia shipped 6.1 million smartphones, of which 5.6 million were Lumia phones (500,000 were Symbian units). The 5.6 million Lumia shipments is a quarterly record for Nokia, up from 2 million in the year-ago period and 4.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
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NEW ORLEANS–Many Tier 3 operators dislike the notion of selling customers unlocked handsets because they believe unlocked handsets can result in a degraded customer experience.
Speaking on a roundtable discussion at the Competitive Carriers Association conference here Thursday, Ron Smith, president and CEO of Bluegrass Cellular, said that if a customer brings an unlocked handset to an operator's network, they make not receive the best service because they won't have the differentiators that carriers build into the network.
Craven Shumaker, president and CEO of iWireless, agreed. "We have to ensure the customer experience is good and we need that control. Unlocked devices do not get the same quality of service. There is a tradeoff."
Nevertheless, some operators believe that you should unlock phones for customers if they decide to leave your service and go to another provider. Jim Hyde, CEO and president of nTelos, said that if a customer is not satisfied with their service and they want to change operators, phones should be unlocked. "If you forbid them from unlocking the device after they are with you, then you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. You can't charge them an ETF [early termination fee] and then say they can't unlock their phone when they leave. That's wrong."
Unlocked phones have been in the spotlight recently after the Obama administration said it supports consumers who want to unlock their mobile phones without fear of breaking the law. The administration urged legislative fixes to remedy a recent government ruling on the topic that removed protections for people who do unlock their phones. The FCC is also looking into the issue.
Competitive carriers, like many in the industry, are closely evaluating T-Mobile USA's recent decision to offer customers unsubsidized phones that they can pay for with an installment plan vs. offering a subsidized phone with a two-year contract. However, many believe that T-Mobile's plan is not necessarily a good idea for the industry. "The customer is still on the hook to pay for the phone," Hyde said. "But they are not on the hook to pay for your service."
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Mobile operators in recession-hit Spain are continuing to lose subscribers to rivals despite efforts to stem the flow, as a near-record number of people switched to a different operator in February.
Reuters cited figures from telecoms watchdog CMT, which said 575,138 people opted for a different mobile plan over the course of February. That was 18 per cent higher compared to the same month year earlier, but lower than the record 633,616 people who switched providers in January 2013.
Vodafone Spain lost the highest number of subscribers to rivals at 95,115, followed by Telefónica's Movistar with 85,161 and Orange Spain with 5,757. Low-cost operator Yoigo, on the other hand, gained 32,424 mobile customers from competitors.
At the same time, fixed operators that have set up virtual network operators (MVNOs) are bucking the downward trend with a rise in subscriber numbers in the first quarter of 2013, benefiting from multi-play bundles that combine fixed broadband and TV services with mobile plans.
Citing unpublished data collected by the industry, Reuters said broadband specialist Jazztel and cable operator ONO gained more mobile customers than any other company in the first quarter: Jazztel took 208,850 clients from other operators in the first three months of the year, while ONO gained 135,201.
Nevertheless, Reuters noted that the two companies have a combined share of just 1.5 per cent of Spain's mobile market.
In contrast, Reuters said Telefónica and Vodafone Spain together lost more than half a million customers to rivals in the first three months. Telefónica's market share fell to 36 per cent in January from 40 per cent the year before.
The mobile operators are now fighting back with their own converged offerings such as Telefónica's Movistar Fusion, which bundles together mobile plans with fixed voice, broadband and TV services. Lluis Borrell, partner at consultancy Analysys Mason, told Reuters that companies offering multiple service bundles would have an edge on the Spanish market in future.
Reuters also noted that Telefónica added 12,088 broadband lines in February in a market that is seeing shrinking mobile lines but growing broadband connections. Figures from CMT show cash-strapped Spaniards shed a total of 250,024 mobile lines in February, while the broadband market added 52,681 connections.
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Analysys Mason: Fixed–mobile bundling has taken France and Spain by storm
Spanish MVNO Jazztel ups price war with cash-to-switch offer
Aereo, which streams local TV broadcast signals online to smartphones, tablets and other IP-connected devices for a fee, could strike a partnership with AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), according to a Wall Street Journal report. The report, citing unnamed sources, said Aereo has had talks with AT&T and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH). Under one idea that was discussed, AT&T would sell broadband or wireless data subscriptions paired with Aereo's video service, the report said. Aereo declined to comment on any specific talks. In January the company announced a plan to reach 22 markets in 2013, including Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The service is currently only available in the New York City metropolitan area. Article (sub. req.)