via @stopthecap: A Deal With Charter, Comcast Could Further Burden Sprint’s Poor-Performing Network

A Deal With Charter, Comcast Could Further Burden Sprint’s Poor-Performing Network

With Sprint and T-Mobile reportedly far apart in prospective merger talks, Sprint has given a two-month exclusive window to Charter Communications and Comcast Corp. to see if a wireless deal can be made between the wireless carrier and America’s largest cable operators. But any deal could initially burden Sprint’s fourth place network with more traffic, potentially worsening performance for Sprint customers until additional upgrades can be undertaken.

The two cable companies are reportedly seeking a favorable reseller arrangement for their forthcoming wireless offerings, which would include control over handsets, SIM cards, and the products and services that emerge after the deal. Both Charter and Comcast also have agreements with Verizon Wireless to resell that network, but only within the service areas of the two cable operators. Verizon’s deal is far more restrictive and costly than any deal Charter and Comcast would sign with Sprint.

Such a deal could begin adding tens of thousands of new wireless customers to Sprint’s 4G LTE network, already criticized for being overburdened and slow. In fact, Sprint’s network has been in last place for speed and performance compared with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon for several years. A multi-year upgrade effort by Sprint has not delivered the experience many wireless customers expect and demand, and Sprint has seen many of its long-term customers churn away to other companies — especially T-Mobile, after they lost patience with Sprint’s repeated promises to improve service.

PC Magazine’s June 2017 results of fastest mobile carriers in United States shows Sprint in distant fourth place.

At least initially, cable customers switching to their company’s “quad-play” wireless plan powered by Sprint may find the experience cheaper, but underwhelming.

Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son was initially aggressive about upgrading Sprint’s network with funds advanced by parent company Softbank. But it seems no matter how much money was invested, Sprint has always lagged behind other wireless carriers. In recent years, those upgrades seem to have diminished. Instead, Son has been aggressively trying to find a way to overcome regulator and Justice Department objections to his plan to merge Sprint with third place carrier T-Mobile USA. Likely part of any deal with Charter and Comcast would be a substantial equity stake in Sprint, or some other investment commitment that would likely run into the billions. That money would likely be spent bolstering Sprint’s network.

A deal with the two cable companies could also give Sprint access to the cable operators’ large fiber networks, which could accelerate Sprint’s ability to buildout its 5G wireless network, which will rely on small cells connected to a fiber backhaul network.

Less likely, according to observers, would be a joint agreement between Charter and Comcast to buy Sprint, which is currently worth $32 billion but also has $32.6 billion in net debt. Sprint’s talks with Charter and Comcast do not preclude an eventual merger with T-Mobile USA. But any merger announcement would likely not come until late this summer or fall, if it happens at all.

Wall Street is downplaying a Sprint/T-Mobile combination as a result of the press reports indicating talks between the two companies appear to have gone nowhere.

“We didn’t give a Sprint/cable deal high odds,” wrote Jonathan Chaplin of New Street Research.  “While a single cable company entering into any transaction with Sprint has a strong likelihood of regulatory approval, a joint bid raises questions that add some uncertainty. However, the deal corroborates our view that Sprint isn’t as desperate as many thought and T-Mobile didn’t have the leverage that most seemed to assume.”

Malone

“An equity stake or outright acquisition is less likely in our view, but not out of the realm of possibility,” said Mike McCormack of Jefferies. “In our view, this likely suggests major hurdles in any Sprint/T-Mobile discussions and could renew speculation of T-Mobile and Dish should Sprint talks falter.”

Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo believes Comcast will be “the ultimate decision maker” as to which path will be taken. Amy Yong of Macquarie Research seems to agree. “We note Comcast has a strong history of successfully turning around assets and could contribute meaningfully to Sprint; NBCUniversal is the clearest example. But she notes Charter is likely to be distracted for the next year or two trying to integrate Time Warner Cable into its operations.

Behind the cable industry’s push into wireless is Dr. John Malone, Charter’s largest shareholder and longtime cable industry consigliere. Malone has spent better than a year pestering Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to join Charter Communications in a joint effort to acquire a wireless carrier instead of attempting to build their own wireless networks. But both Roberts and Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge have been reluctant to make a large financial commitment in the wireless industry at a time when the days of easy wireless profits are over and increasing competition has forced prices down.

For Malone, wireless is about empowering the cable industry “quad play” – bundling cable TV, internet, phone, and wireless into a single package on a single bill. The more services a consumer buys from a single provider, the more difficult and inconvenient it is to change providers.

Malone also believes in a united front by the cable industry to meet any competitive threat. Malone favored TV Everywhere and other online video collaborations with cable operators to combat Netflix and Hulu. He also advocates for additional cable industry consolidation, in particular the idea of a single giant company combining Charter, Cox, and Comcast. Under the Trump Administration, Malone thinks such a colossal deal is a real possibility.

The post A Deal With Charter, Comcast Could Further Burden Sprint’s Poor-Performing Network was originally published by Stop the Cap! For more, please visit: Stop the Cap!.

Infinite Loop: With iPhone, Apple showed AT&T and Verizon who’s boss

arstechnica….

Enlarge / A poster announces the arrival of Apple’s iPhone at the AT&T store in Orem, Utah, Monday, June 18, 2007. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Ten years ago today—on June 29, 2007—many waited (in line or online) for the first iPhone’s formal release. Apple’s now-signature product has made a lasting mark not only on our communications, but on many unexpected walks of life. This week as the iPhone turns 10, we’re examining its impact and revisiting the device that changed it all.

The first iPhone changed the technology industry in a lot of ways, mostly because it was a great device that lots of people wanted to use. But looking back at the device’s first decade, one of the most beneficial changes the iPhone brought about for consumers didn’t have much to do with the phone itself.

One of Apple’s biggest decisions before releasing the iPhone was to retain control of software updates. Apple gave AT&T exclusive rights to carry the iPhone in the US beginning in 2007 with the phone’s release. But Apple, not AT&T, would be in charge of updating the software.

Read 25 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via @theloop: Why I’m still surprised the iPhone didn’t die

www.loopinsi…

The Apple iPhone: 2007, meet 2017

cnet


Reviewing our original iPhone review

A decade after testing the first iPhone, CNET editors annotate their review to see what they liked, what they hated and how the phone has changed.

I know that it’s popular to hate on the iPhone and spread predictions of its impending doom, but what surprises me isn’t how popular the iPhone is now, but that it survived the first couple of years to become the influential cash-generating machine that it has become.

Also: Six features the iPhone 8 needs to stay ahead of Android | Get your iPhone or iPad ready for the iOS 11 public beta | This is what the iPhone 8 will (probably) look like | Steve Jobs was driven to create iPhone by obnoxious Microsoft guy with stylus

I’m just going to come out and say it — the original iPhone was junk. I know, that’s a scandalous thing to say, but to say otherwise is to do a disservice to the memories of the awesome handsets of the time. Call quality was terrible, it didn’t support multimedia messaging, and data speeds were slow even for 2007 because Apple chose not to support 3G.

It wasn’t even a phone first. You had to fire up the Phone app — although we didn’t call it an app back in the day — to make calls, which seemed strange for a phone.

It was also pretty awful as an iPod. Four gigabytes of storage on the base model really didn’t go that far (and Apple knew this, because it binned it in September of 2007), and Bluetooth 2.0 didn’t support stereo.

The iOS operating system — it was called iPhone OS back then — was also very lacking, missing even basic features such as the ability to cut/copy/paste (we had to wait until iOS 3.0 for this feature to finally appear). There was also no support for third-party apps, and Apple relied heavily on Google to make up the shortfall in its services (of the 16 “apps” that appeared on the iPhone’s screen, the Maps app used Google Maps, and there was a built-in YouTube app).

It’s not until you go back to an early iPhone or iPod touch that you really appreciate how far along iOS has come. Back then, even platforms such as Windows Mobile had a massive features advantage over what Apple had to offer.

So how did the iPhone survive?

While some would point to the “Apple effect” and how after the iPod there was huge consumer interest in the company, and that it was this that propelled the iPhone into the stratosphere, I’m skeptical. Someone who was happy with their iPod doesn’t automatically become the sort of person who was going to shell out hundreds of dollars for an iPhone that’s tied to a contract.

Nah, I don’t think the success of the iPhone was down to the iPod.

What I think made the iPhone what it is today was a combination of two things.

First, excellent design. Yes, a slab that’s mostly screen seems obvious, but it’s clear that Apple put a lot of engineering effort into making the iPhone that way, and that meant making unpopular compromises, such as making the battery non-removable.

A testament to just how good the initial iPhone design was is how little it’s changed. Yes, the phone’s gotten bigger and thinner and such, but the overall design remains the same. In fact, the biggest change Apple made to the design outside of the bigger screen has been moving the headphone jack — it started out on the top, moved to the bottom with the iPhone 5, and then eliminated with the iPhone 7. Outside of that, some materials changes, tweaks to the dimensions, and swapping the 30-pin port for Lightning, the original iPhone design has survived the test of time.

Another factor in the iPhone’s success was the quality of the display. The 3.5-inch 480×320 touchscreen display wasn’t just nice to look at, it was really smooth to use, something that couldn’t be said of most touchscreens back in 2007. Apple cut a lot of corners with the original iPhone, but not when it came to the display, and that was a clever move because it was the bit that people interacted with the most.

I truly believe that if the display had been poor, the iPhone would have sunk into oblivion like Apple’s other foray into phones, the truly execrable Motorola Roker E1.

The other thing that made the iPhone great was the browser. I trash-talk Safari a lot, but back in 2007 mobile browsers ranged from terrible to really, really terrible. Safari was a breath of fresh air, and turned mobile browsing from being a chore to a pleasure. It’s impossible to describe how bad mobile browsing was before the iPhone. You just had to be there to appreciate just how easy web browsing on the iPhone was compared to other devices.

It was a total game-changer, and it was amazing how much real browsing you could do on a 3.5-inch display (despite the painfully slow cellular speeds).

Then there was the price-cut. Originally, the 4GB iPhone sold for $399, and the 8GB version for $599, but in less than three months Apple discontinued the 4GB version, while at the same time dropping the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200, with early adopters getting $100 store credit (but only after venting their spleen at the late Steve Jobs).

So, some aspects of the original iPhone were terrible, but what was good was not only very, very good, but it also upended the entire mobile device ecosystem, and completely changed the smartphone for the next decade with such force that almost every other smartphone looks (and, as much as possible, feels) like the iPhone.

But no matter how much the competition tries to emulate the iPhone, they just can’t quite capture what makes the iPhone the success it has become.

via @daringfireball: Using Today’s Web Without JavaScript

sonniesedge….

As I write this it’s raining outside, and I’m trying to avoid having to go out into the murk and watch the Germans conduct their annual diversity maneuvers. I’ve therefore decided to pass my time by doing the one thing that counts as a religious crime in web dev land: I’m going to turn off javascript in my browser and see what sites work and what sites don’t.

I know, I know, my life is simply too exciting.

Now, I know that because I write a lot about the universal web and progressive enhancement, people assume that I must hate javascript.

This would be an incorrect assumption.

I simply hate people relying on brittle client-side javascript when there are other alternatives. In the same way as I wouldn’t rely on some unknown minicab firm as the sole way of getting me to the airport for a wedding flight, I don’t like relying on a non-guaranteed technology as the sole way of delivering a web app.

For me it’s a matter of elegance and simplicity over unnecessary complexity.

Too many tabs

So, for my dreary grey day experiment I restricted myself to just the things open in my browser tabs. For normal people this might be two or three sites.

Not for me. I have approximately 17 shitmillion tabs open, because I Have a Problem With Tabs.

No seriously. I can never just close a tab. I’ve tried things like One Tab but I just can’t get down to less than 30 in any one window (“I’ll just save that tab for later” I think, each and ever time). Let’s just agree that I need some kind of therapy, and we’ll all be able to move on.

Anyway, there’s nothing fancy to this experiment. It was a case of turning off javascript in the browser and reloading a site, nothing more. To quickly disable the browser’s JS with one click I used Chrome and the Toggle Javascript extension – available, ironically enough, via the javascript-only Chrome web store.

Oh, and for you, sweet reader, I opened these tabs in new windows, so you don’t have to see the pain of 50 tabs open at once.

First impressions

So how was it? Well, with just a few minutes of sans-javascript life under my belt, my first impression was “Holy shit, things are fast without javascript”. There’s no ads. There’s no video loading at random times. There’s no sudden interrupts by “DO YOU WANT TO FUCKING SUBSCRIBE?” modals.

If this were the only manifestation of turning off javascript, I’d do this for the rest of time. However, a lot of things don’t work. Navigation is the most common failure mode. Hamburger menus fail to internally link to a nav section (come on, that’s an easy one kids). Forms die when javascript is taken away (point the form to an endpoint that accepts GET/POST queries ffs). Above the fold images fail to load (you do know they’re streaming by default, yes?).

The sites

Let’s get to it. I think I’ve got a pretty representative list of sites in my open tabs (perhaps due to the aforementioned Tab Problem). Howl at me on Twitter if you feel I missed anything particularly important.

Feedly

My very first attempt at sans-JS and I get nothing but a blank white page. Fuck you feedly.

sighs, runs hands over face, shouts after Feedly

Wait no, Feedly, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. It was the coffee talking. Can we talk this over? I like using you to keep up with blog posts.

But why do you work like this, Feedly? Your devs could offer the site in basic HTML and use advanced features such as, er, anchor links, to move to other articles. Then when JS is available, new content can be loaded via JS.

Verdict: Relationship counselling.

Twitter

Twitter shows the normal website (with full content) for a brief moment, then redirects to mobile.twitt… (the old one, not the spanky new React one, of course). This is really frustrating, as the full site would still be great to load without javascript. It could use the same navigation method as the mobile site, where it sets a query parameter to the URL “?max_id=871333359884148737” that dictates what is the latest tweet in your timeline to show. Simple and elegant.

Verdict: Could try harder.

Google Chrome

The Google Chrome download page just fails completely, with no notice, only a blank white page.

Sigh.

Verdict: No Chrome for you, you dirty javascriptophobe!

Youtube

Youtube really really wants to load. Really, reallllllly, wants to. But then it fucks things up at the last nanosecond and farts out, showing no video, no preview icons, and no comments (that last one is perhaps a positive).

Even if the site is doing some funky blob loading of video media, it wouldn’t be hard to put a basic version on the page initially (with preload="none"), and then have it upgrade when JS kicks in.

Verdict: Can’t watch My Drunk Kitchen or Superwoman. 🙁 🙁 🙁

24 ways

I’ve had this open in my tabs for the last 6 months, meaning to read it. Look, I’M SORRY, okay? But holy fuck, this site works great without javascript. All the animations are there (because they’re CSS) and the slide in navigation works (because it internally links to the static version of the menu at the bottom of the page).

Verdict: Class act. Smoooooth. Jazzz.

Netflix


I’m using netflix to try and indoctrinate my girlfriend into watching Star Trek. So far she’s not convinced, mainly because “Tasha slept with Mr Data? But it’d be like fucking your microwave”.

Anyway, Netflix doesn’t work. Well, it loads the header, if you want to count that. I get why they don’t do things with HTML5 – DRMing all yo shit needs javascript. But still :(.

Verdict: JavaScript-only is the New Black

NYtimes

Not sure why this was in my tab list, but tbh I’ve found rotting tabs from 2015 in there, so I’m not surprised.

The NY Times site loads in 561ms and 957kb without javascript. Holy crap, that’s what it should be like normally. For reference it took 12000ms (12seconds) and 4000kb (4mb) to load with javascript. Oh, and as a bonus, you get a screenful of adverts.

A lot of images are lazy loaded, and so don’t work, getting replaced with funky loading icons. But hey ho, I can still read the stories.

Verdict: Failing… to not work. Sad!

BBC News

It’s the day after the latest London terrorism attacks, and so I’ve got this open, just to see how the media intensifies and aids every terrorist action. The BBC is the inventor and poster-child for progressive enhancement via Cutting the Mustard, and it doesn’t disappoint. The non-CTM site works fully and while it doesn’t look the same as the full desktop site (it’s mobile-first and so is pretty much the mobile version), it still works.

Verdict: Colman’s Mustard

Without JS, Google search still does what it’s best at: searching.

Okay, there’s no autocomplete, the layout reverts to the early 2000s again, and image search is shockingly bad looking. But, in the best progressive enhancement manner, you can still perform your core tasks.

Verdict: Solid.

Wikipedia

Like a good friend, Wikipedia never disappoints. The site is indistinguishable from the JS version. Keep being beautiful, Wikipedia.

Verdict: BFFs.

Amazon

The site looks a little… off without JS (the myriad accordions vomit their content over the page when JS isn’t there to keep them under control). But the entire site works! You can still search, you still get recommendations. You can still add items to your basket, and you can still proceed to the checkout.

Verdict: Amazonian warrior.

Google Maps

Discounting Gmail, Google Maps is perhaps one of the most heavily used Single Page Applications out there. As such I expected some kind of fallback, like Gmail provides, even if it wasn’t true progressive enhancement. Maybe some kind of Streetmap style tile-by-tile navigation fallback?

But it failed completely.

Verdict: Cartography catastrophe.

Overall verdict

This has made me appreciate the number of large sites that make the effort to build robust sites that work for everybody. But even on those sites that are progressively enhanced, it’s a sad indictment of things that they can be so slow on the multi-core hyperpowerful Mac that I use every day, but immediately become fast when JavaScript is disabled.

It’s even sadder when using a typical site and you realise how much Javascript it downloads. I now know why my 1GB mobile data allowance keeps burning out at least…

I maintain that it’s perfectly possible to use the web without javascript, especially on those sites that are considerate to the diversity of devices and users out there. And if I want to browse the web without javascript, well fuck, that’s my choice as a user. This is the web, not the Javascript App Store, and we should be making sure that things work on even the most basic device.

I think I’m going to be turning off javascript more, just on principle.

Haters, please tweet at me as you feel fit.

$JCP News: JCPenney CEO: Postal Service Is Really Online Retailers’ Biggest Problem

JCPenney CEO: Postal Service Is Really Online Retailers’ Biggest Problem
As bricks-and-mortar retailers attempt to attract more customers and make more sales, they are increasingly courting online shoppers. But all of those two-day shipping services and other free shipping guarantees are putting pressure on delivery companies …

$JCP News: JCPenney activates $1 billion in inventory

www.homeandt…
New York – Pure play etailers will soon face a squeeze that bricks & mortar formats don’t, according to JCPenney ceo Marvin Ellison. It all comes down to fulfillment capacity. Speaking yesterday at the Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference in Manhattan …

$JCP News: Macy’s shares plunge 6% as company warns margins might co…

finance.yaho…?.tsrc=rss
Macy’s shares dropped 6% following company warning about eroding margins.