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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.

Wednesday, May 25...

Microsoft Axes Remaining Nokia Staff
Microsoft announced plans to "streamline" its smartphone hardware business by eliminating what remained of its Nokia holdings after the company was sold to a subsidiary of Foxconn. The move will result in a total of 1,850 terminations, and an associated impairment restructuring charge of $950 million, $200 million of which will go towards funding severance payments. 1,350 of the eliminated jobs will be at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, while the remaining 500 will include employees stationed elsewhere around the globe. Microsoft Oy, a subsidiary of Microsoft Sales that was also located in Finland, will not be affected by the cuts. Microsoft noted that the transition will be "substantially complete" before the end of 2016, with it reaching total completion by July 2017. This essentially puts an end to Microsoft's presence in the entire mobile phone hardware industry, and closes the book on what most consider to have been one of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's worst decisions during his time leading the company.

Google to Add "Branded Pins," Expanded Business Listings to Google Maps
A forthcoming update to Google Maps will allow companies to purchase "branded pins" that will show up when users are nearby or searching an adjacent area. The pins will serve the same purpose as the existing red pins that have populated the navigations software's search results for years, but will feature that brand's own logo at the head of the pin instead. Branded pins will be visible both before and during navigation, meaning that users will potentially be enticed by upcoming restaurants or attractions they could stop at while on the road. As part of the same update, Google is making its business listing pages within Google Maps more customizable, with support for features such as a searchable inventory for retail stores, as well as a place to post promotional offers for a given business. The new advertising features are expected to reach the iOS and Android versions of Google Maps some time in the coming months.

AT&T Raises Data Allowance by 1GB on Two Tiers of GoPhone Plans
AT&T announced that customers on its $45 per month and $60 per month AT&T GoPhone plans will now receive an extra gigabyte of data per month. This means that $45 tier users will receive 3GB of high-speed data, while $60 tier users receive 6GB per month. This joins the recently announced benefit for the $60 tier of unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico at no additional charge. AT&T noted that the offer is available to both new and existing customers, and that current subscribers do not need to do anything, but will automatically receive the bumped-up data allowance for their next billing cycle.

... Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services


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