Few Gleanings from my perusing the Internet.
FCC Recommends New Contractor for Phone Number Database – The Federal Communications Commission delivered a setback to Neustar, recommending that a crucial telecommunications database contract the company has held for about two decades and which accounts for about half of its revenue be transferred to a rival. At issue is the task of keeping track of every phone number in use so that subscribers can take them with them when they switch carriers. The number-porting service is key to the smooth initiation and cancellation of phone service contracts and has become a linchpin for law enforcement agencies seeking to set up wiretaps or conduct surveillance. On Wednesday, the FCC’s wireline competition bureau recommended that the contract be awarded to Telcordia Technologies, a subsidiary of Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson. The full commission still needs to approve the draft order.
Softcard to Shutter after Google Mobile Payments Deal – Softcard, the carrier-backed mobile payments initiative, is shutting down its app after striking a deal to help expand the reach of Google’s mobile payments system. The joint venture between AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile announced Wednesday it would disable its mobile app and close all customer accounts on March 31. As part of the deal announced last month, Google acquired Softcard’s technology, while the U.S. carriers agreed later this year they will load the Google Wallet app onto Android smartphones running KitKat or higher.
Sling TV Bulks up Base Package with AMC and IFC – Dish Network’s newly launched streaming video subscription service Sling TV announced Wednesday the addition of two more channels, AMC and IFC, which will now become available as part of its $20 core package aimed at cord cutters. In addition, Sling TV customers will also be able to subscribe to a new movie-focused add-on pack called “Hollywood Extra” for $5 per month, which includes content from EPIX and Sundance TV. The “Hollywood Extra” also introduces a replay feature which will let viewers watch programming that’s up to a week old on demand, as an alternative to using a DVR.
Sling TV’s Service Attracts At Least 100,000 Sign-Ups In Its First Month – Sling TV, Dish Network’s Web-TV service, has been open to U.S. customers for just over a month. And so far, it seems like Sling has generated some attention: Sources say at least 100,000 people have signed up to check out the $20-a-month service. A Dish Network rep declined to comment. One executive familiar with the service described early results as “encouraging.” Dish and Sling say they’re targeting an audience of around 10 million millennials who have broadband access but don’t have traditional TV subscriptions, though Sling’s marketing suggests it’s also going after cable-TV customers.
Sources: CNET; Boy Genius Report; Engadget; Gigaom; SlashGear; TechCrunch;Re/code.The Wall Street Journal, online; PhoneScoop.
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