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Telecom Daily

Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.

Friday, May 18...

Google Once Again Revamps its Premium Music and YouTube Subscriptions
Google has once again tweaked the parameters of its premium YouTube and music streaming services. With this latest iteration, the company's YouTube Red service will now be renamed YouTube Premium. This subscription provides essentially all of the same features as its predecessor, including access to exclusive content as well as ad-free videos with background streaming support. However, the new service will be priced as a $2 add-on to the company's $10 per month YouTube Music subscription service. This new music streaming option is designed as a replacement for Google's existing Google Play Music offering, with additional features such as AI-based music curation, music video access, and more. YouTube Premium and YouTube Music will initially launch in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and South Korea, with plans to expand the services to Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK in the near future.

Sprint Introduces New Plan for the 55+ Crowd
Sprint introduced a new subscription plan specifically targeted at customers aged 55 years or older. The new offering, dubbed "Unlimited 55+," provides customers with access to two lines for $35 per month, per line. This includes unlimited talk, text, and data for both lines. Other features include support for Sprint Global Roaming, which offers access to no-charge usage in 185 countries worldwide markets; unlimited mobile hotspot usage at 3G speeds; video streaming at up to 480p resolution, music streaming at 500Kbps, and online gaming at up to 2Mbps. Users wishing to upgrade their throughput rates can also pay an additional $10 per month to enhance their plan with 10GB of 4G hotspot usage, as well as 1080p video streaming, 1.5Mbps music streaming, and 8Mbps online gaming. It should be noted that two lines are required for the $35 per month price point, with the first line being priced at $50 per month and the second coming in at a discounted $20 per month. The Sprint Unlimited 55+ plan is available now to those with a valid ID showing their age.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless Announce Plans to Carry RED's Hydrogen One Smartphone
Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced that they will carry the upcoming RED Hydrogen One smartphone. The Android-based device is the first smartphone from a company known primarily for extremely high-end camera equipment. As RED's reputation would suggest, the smartphone itself is also designed to be decidedly high-end, with pre-orders already having been taken at a $1,295 price point for an aluminum version of the Hydrogen One and $1,595 for a titanium version. Despite the hefty asking price, RED has still been extremely tight-lipped about what the smartphone's actual specs and capabilities are. However, the company has revealed that, predictably, the video and photo capture capabilities of the unit will be designed to exceed anything else currently on the market. However, the most intriguing feature teased by RED may be the Hydrogen One's "four view" display. According to the company, this "holographic" display is capable of handling 2D, 3D, AR, mixed reality, and virtual reality content, without the need for any external hardware. This is made possible by a never-before-seen screen technology, which the company has yet to reveal to the public. Thankfully, the reality of the pricey new hardware should become clear as RED and AT&T have released plans for a reveal event during the first week of June. It remains to be seen what the pricing or release date for the device on either carrier will be.

... Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services

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