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Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant. If you would like to receive Telecom Daily emailed daily to your desktop, please click here: TelDailyEmail.

Friday, January 24...

First day of FCC's 1900MHz H Block Auction Sees 78 Potential Winning Bids
The results of the first day of bidding in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) 1900MHz H block spectrum are beginning to roll in. According to a report from RCR Wireless, the first three rounds of bids on day one have already generated more than $221 million in commitments from those vying for airspace. Up for grabs are 176 total spectrum licenses. 78 of those lots already having received potential winning bids, while 98 remain completely unclaimed. Notable markets without a bid yet include Sacramento, California; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Cleveland and Akron, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Although this is still the earliest days of the auction, Fierce Telecom has already discovered that DISH Network is participating in the proceedings under the pseudonym "American H Block Wireless," a practice which the news site claims is commonly used in these circumstances to mask a company's commercial interests. This is the first major spectrum auction to be held by the regulator since 2008. The FCC has said it will not release the names of any winning bidders until all rounds of the auction have been completed.

Comcast to Upgrade San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium in 10-Year Deal
Comcast signed a new, ten-year agreement with the San Francisco 49ers and their home at Levi's Stadium. The goal of the alliance is to "deliver an unmatched in-stadium fan experience" by leveraging the assets of several of the cable company's business units, including Comcast Cable, Comcast Business, the local regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and local NBC owned station NBC Bay Area. Planned upgrades for Levi's Stadium include fiber-based Ethernet and video capabilities throughout the venue, sponsorship of free Wi-Fi for attendees, and cloud-based voice and unified communications services for employees at the stadium itself, as well as at the team's corporate offices. As part of the same agreement, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area will also construct a new, 1,100 square foot studio on-site, for gameday broadcasts and other 49ers-related programming. No financial terms for the long-ranging agreement were disclosed.

FOSS Patents: Huawei Becomes Latest Company to Settle with Rockstar Group Over Android Patents
Huawei has become the latest company named in the now-infamous Halloween 2013 lawsuit filed by the "Rockstar Group" to settle out of court FOSS Patents reported. The Rockstar Group, which consists of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft and Sony, now holds several hotly contested patents which Google failed to acquire from the defunct Nortel during its intellectual property fire sale. Since that transaction, Rockstar's members have been using those patents to extract licensing fees and financial settlements from Android device makers. Despite the fact that Google designed the operating system, 23 parties have already signed agreements in order to avoid litigation with Rockstar, thanks to the fact that the Nortel patents in question were heavily involved in the original development of the Android platform. FOSS notes that, aside from Google itself, the remaining defendants in the case that have not entered into a settlement agreement are Samsung, ZTE, LG, HTC, Pantech, and ASUSTeK. The details of the court document revealing Huawei's settlement can be found at FOSS Patents.

Nokia Posts Declining Revenues, Profits During Last Year as Devices & Services Owner
Nokia posted its financial results for the fourth quarter and 2013 fiscal year. For the quarter, the company's net sales totaled EUR 3.47 billion, down 18% from the EUR 4.4 billion posted for the year-ago quarter. This resulted in an operating profit of just EUR 274 million, down 17% from the last fourth quarter's EUR 329 million. The accompanying net earnings per share were EUR 0.05, compared to Q4 2012's EUR 0.06. For the year, Nokia's net sales reached EUR 12.7 billion, a 17% drop from 2012's EUR 15.4 billion. Operating income here was EUR 519, compared to operating loss of EUR 821 million suffered by Nokia a year ago. Earnings per share followed suit at EUR 0.05, compared to the previous year's EUR 0.21 loss per share. This is the last full quarter during which Nokia's Devices & Services business will be part of the company, with the planned sale of that division to Microsoft scheduled to close during the first quarter of 2014.

Google Opens Sign-Ups for iProvo Fiber Customers
Google announced that customers living in the service area of the iProvo portion of its Google Fiber network can now begin signing up for services. This marks one of the single largest deployments in the company's ongoing Google Fiber project, and the first service availability for the hotly contested iProvo network. Despite opposition from incumbent telecom operators and other parties in the area, Google is now able to offer its standard selection of services from the network, which was formerly owned by the city of Provo, Utah. Customers in the region can now select from a trio of service plans: the Gigabit Internet plan, which offers its titular speeds for $70 per month; the Gigabit Internet + TV plan which adds "hundreds of TV channels," and a DVR for $120 per month; and the Free Internet plan, which offers a basic 5Mbps Internet connection to customers in the region for a one-time connection fee of $30. Google has guaranteed the availability of the free tier on the iProvo network for a minimum of 7 years. Although sign-ups are now available for all parts of the iProvo network, Google said it plans to handle the task of connecting subscribers in waves, beginning with the "North Park area next month and finishing in the Foothills area hopefully by the end of this year." Additional details and a list of sign-up deadlines can be found on Google Fiber's Press Page.

... Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services

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