Dish Network Corp.
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DirecTV Could Unleash Its Own Ad-Zapper
Here's what's pushing cable's and broadband's buttons Tuesday morning.Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) apparently does not have the market on automatic ad-zapping technology cornered. Rival satellite TV service provider DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) could enable its DVRs to do the same thing, CEO Mike White said Monday, reminding folks at the Reuters Global Media and Technology Summit in New York that DirecTV bought rights to similar ad-skipping technology five years ago from now-defunct DVR pioneer ReplayTV. "We haven't chosen to use it," White said. "It's not clear to me there's a raging demand from consumers for it." Or, here's another reason why DirecTV might want to hold back: Dish and some major TV broadcasters are fighting it out in the courts over Dish's new AutoHop service. (See Ad-Zapper Counters OTT Threat, Dish Chief Says and Dish, Broadcasters Go to War Over Ad-Zapper .)Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s NBCUniversal LLC unit and Dial Global Inc. have teamed to create NBC Sports Radio Network, a firm that will focus on national and regional programming and take on ESPN Radio, reports Bloomberg. The service, expected to launch in September, follows a recent deal between NBC and Dial to create a 24-hour radio news service called NBC News Radio Networks.Comcast's app for the Xfinity Home security/automation service now supports Android (versions 2.2/Froyo to 2.3.7/Gingerbread). Comcast has already introduced a similar app for the iPhone as it prepares to deploy Xfinity Home to most markets by year's end. The app lets users check the status of the home security/monitoring system, manage and control lighting, thermostats and alarms, and stream video from home-side security cameras. (See Comcast Goes Big With Xfinity Home .)Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) scored a deal to provide video processing gear to power Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED)'s HD coverage of the 2012 London Olympics from the BBC. Under the deal, Virgin will use a mix of Harmonic's Electra 8000 encoders, ProStream 1000 multiplexers, alongside the vendor's digital service manager and video analytics software platform to deliver 24 HD feeds dedicated to the Games in MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats.
Euronews: Telcos Should Eat Each Other
Neelie Kroes, KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), Telefónica Deutschland GmbH and eircom get in line for today's roll-call of EMEA headlines.Neelie Kroes, the European Commission 's vice president for the Digital Agenda, may have raised a few eyebrows with her latest proclamation at a conference on Monday: Reuters reports that famed antitrust fiend "Steely" Neelie expressed her support for consolidation among European telcos, saying that having just a few pan-European operators that are strong in the cross-border market "would not necessarily be bad for competition," and would indeed help speed up fiber rollouts in the region. (See Steely Neelie's FTTX Face Off and Brakes Stuck on Europe's FTTH Ride.)And talking of consolidation, a noted antitrust lawyer has said that the proposed merger of KPN's German unit, E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , with Telefónica Deutschland could face lengthy regulatory scrutiny, reports Bloomberg. The merger is being considered as a defensive measure by KPN against Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , which is looking to take control of the Dutch incumbent. (See Euronews: Slim Makes His Move on KPN and Slim's Dutch Drama .)Elsewhere on the Slim-versus-KPN front, Reuters reports that the billionaire is piling the pressure on KPN by buying more of the Dutch telco's stock at a lower price than he had just offered for up to 27.7 percent of the company. América Móvil's holding in KPN now stands at 7 percent.Irish incumbent eircom has moved out of examinership (a process akin to administration) and is now in the hands of the senior lenders, according to the Irish Times. In its new form, Eircom Holdings (Ireland) Limited, it is carrying 40 percent less debt than it was before. (See Lenders to Lean on Eircom.)
Qualcomm to Make Dish's Mobile Broadband Chip
Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) are working on a dual-core 3G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) chipset that will also support satellite-based data links, part of Dish's attempt to build out its own wireless broadband network.Dish is also investing "millions of dollars" in the project, a spokesman says. The companies aren't saying when the chip will be ready.The idea is to add the satellite component to Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM8960, which already lets devices toggle between 3G and LTE mode. Qualcomm said the new satellite air interface is a 3G-based standard called Enhanced Geostationary Air Link (EGAL).That chip will snap into "future Dish wireless devices" that can operate in both terrestrial and satellite modes in the 2GHz/AWS-4 bands.Why this matters Dish is evidently preparing for any outcome from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , which is going to vote on a proposed rule that would let Dish apply its Mobile-Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum licenses to terrestrial-only services, without having to support satellite communications.But the FCC isn't expected to vote until later this summer, so this Qualcomm chipset lets Dish hedge its bets The technology partnership and costs demonstrate how difficult it is for a company to start a wireless network from scratch, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett told Light Reading Cable via email. "One on hand, they get to take advantage of the newest technologies. But on the other, they have to grow an entirely new ecosystem around a new spectrum band. It's a fallacy that you can put a number on what it costs to build a network. The reality is that building a network is never done. This kind of investment is a gentle reminder of that."Some analysts speculate that Dish might need to spend $5 billion or more to build its own wireless network, and that the proposed plan is merely a bluff to help jack up the value of its spectrum and help Dish forge partnerships with carriers such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile USA .
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