A Foolish Week of Telecom

There’s no way to get away from it, but the biggest telecom news of the week was Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) unveiling of the iPhone 5. The biggest difference from the previous iPhones? LTE capability. The pricing for the 5 will start at $199 with a two-year contract. The iPhone 4s drops to $99, and you can have an iPhone 4 for $0.

All flummoxed over WP8
The counter to the release of the iPhone 5 was this bit of news from the U.S. carriers: AT&T is "bullish" on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, and Windows Phone 8 is "exciting," said T-Mobile USA.

Why are they having the vapors over WP8? Because, as Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam said last week, according to CNET, "The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third [smartphone] ecosystem … [O]ver the next 12 months I think … you will start to see one emerge.”

But for that to happen, according to Sprint Nextel’s ( NYSE: S) president of network operations, Steve Elfman, "Adoption is key." In other words, no matter how good an OS WP8 turns out to be, if the carriers can’t sell a lot of Windows Phone powered phones, some other OS will have to show up.

The two biggest players so far in the making of WP8 handsets are Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) and Samsung. However, one company, Sony, has said that it has no plans for phones running Windows Phone 8. Sony Mobile CEO Kunimasa Suzuki told Die Welt, "We have no current plans for it … Android remains the preferred partner."

Nada to bada
But a third ecosystem will not come from Samsung, according to Kevin Packingham, that company’s chief product officer. Further developing Samsung’s homegrown "bada" operating system is "not core to Samsung’s strategy," he said.

That was the company’s response to Verizon’s Lowell McAdam saying that if Samsung threw its weight behind developing its own OS, it could serve as a "dark horse" in the race for a third ecosystem.

Poking Mark Zuckerberg
Until this week, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB  ) CEO hasn’t made a public appearance since his company’s IPO. Who can blame him? The share price for Facebook has almost halved since the company went public in May.

Zuckerberg showed up at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco and admitted, "The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing."

Spitting in the eye may not be a good business strategy
Dish Network
has been raising eyebrows with its AutoHop technology, which automatically removes commercials from broadcasts of prime-time programming. Obviously, this is something that any broadcaster that relies on advertising dollars would find an anathema.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference that, "If [Dish] want to eliminate our commercials, we will not be in business with them."

Still some miles left in this old horse
Don’t bury WiMAX quite yet, says Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) CFO Hope Cochran. Speaking at the above-mentioned Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference, she said that, in spite of the inevitable move by wholesale customers to the faster LTE 4G technology, Clearwire’s WiMAX network is not ready for the glue factory. WiMAX will provide a "longer revenue tail than I anticipated," Cochran said.

Sprint will be able to use WiMAX at least through 2015. Other Clearwire WiMAX customers include FreedomPop, jolt Mobile, H2O Wireless, Voyager Mobile, and Leap Wireless.

Fake!
When things go wrong for Nokia, things really go south. First, its planned introduction of its newest Windows Phone 8 Lumia smartphones was upstaged by Samsung’s WP8 announcement several days before Nokia’s.

Next, the Lumia introduction itself was met with a big yawn, as the media and analysts were mainly concerned with the following week’s unveiling of the latest iPhone.

Now, Nokia is faced with an ethics scandal. Apparently, the video advertisement shown as a sample of what the Lumia 920 can do wasn’t actually shot with a Lumia 920.

As The Verge -- which pointed out the fake hours after the ad appeared -- said, "Nokia’s new PureView ad is amazing, too bad it’s faked." PureView is what Nokia calls its new smartphone camera.

This week’s iPhone 5 excitement merely underscores the effect Apple has on the whole tech world. To get the full scoop on one of the preeminent names in technology today, grab your copy of the Fool's new premium report on Apple. It comes with a full year of updates, as well as an overview of the must-know opportunities and threats for every Apple investor.

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of Nokia and AT&T. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple and Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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