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Mobile Miscellany: week of September 16th, 2013

Zachary Lutz

If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought additional details of the upcoming Jolla smartphone, along with an unusual showing of cooperation between Verizon and T-Mobile. These stories and more await. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of September 16th, 2013.

Jolla reveals qHD display for upcoming phone

Mobile Miscellany week of September 16th, 2013

Jolla was unusually coy when it revealed its first smartphone, but in the buildup to its release, the manufacturer has now revealed a few important details. First and foremost, we now know the Sailfish device will pack a 4.5-inch, qHD display -- rather mundane by modern standards -- and a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon SoC (unknown generation) from Qualcomm. The previously known 8-megapixel rear camera will be joined by a 2MP shooter on the front, and the phone will also pack 1GB of RAM. Meanwhile, NFC capabilities will be available through an optional smart cover. [PocketNow]

AT&T reportedly mulling sale of cell towers

A recent report from Bloomberg suggests that AT&T is actively trying to sell its roughly 10,000 cellular towers to a third-party operator, and it's reportedly seeking $5 billion for the assets. Research analysts currently peg AT&T's towers as generating $326 million annually, but it's thought that a third-party group such as American Tower or Crown Castle could squeeze more profits from the tower sites by leasing space to multiple carriers. A successful sale on AT&T's part would be part of a trend, as T-Mobile leased 7,200 towers to Crown Castle for $2.4 billion just one year ago. Meanwhile, Bloomberg suggests the sale would allow AT&T to focus on more profitable areas of its business while also helping finance its $14 billion outlay in network upgrades. Everything is very hush, hush at the moment, however, as AT&T has yet to confirm these dealings. [Bloomberg]

T-Mobile and Verizon find common ground for upcoming 600MHz auction

Mobile Miscellany week of September 16th, 2013

In an odd showing of unity, T-Mobile and Verizon have joined together to persuade the FCC to adopt a series of technical principles regarding the upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction. The two carriers are arguing for a 35x35MHz FDD pairing, which they believe would maximize the amount of paired spectrum available. What's more, the carriers suggest this implementation would need only a single 3GPP band class, which could facilitate handset interoperability across all paired blocks of the 600MHz band. The two carriers may disagree about how the spectrum is actually auctioned off, but it seems they have a rather compelling argument for the FCC to consider. [FierceWireless]

Other random tidbits

  • Nexus 7 shoppers will now find that Google is selling a version of the 7-inch tablet that comes bundled with an AT&T SIM card. Likewise, now through December 31st, the carrier is offering a $100 bill credit to all those who sign a two-year agreement for the new tablet. [Android Central]
  • Sprint activated 34 additional LTE markets this month -- nearly a third of them in Texas -- which allows the Now Network to boast of 185 LTE markets total. [Business Wire]
  • The 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega is now available at US Cellular, where you'll find it for $150 on a two-year contract. [US Cellular]
  • C Spire is welcoming the BlackBerry Q10 into its lineup, but the carrier has yet to reveal pricing or a release date. [Business Wire]
  • AT&T made it known that the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini would hit store shelves on September 27th for $1 on a two-year contract. [AT&T]
  • Sprint is expanding its existing retail partnership with Costco, which will bring Now Network phones to an additional 100 Costco warehouse locations. [Sprint]
  • SoftBank has increased its ownership of Sprint to over 80 percent (as opposed to the initial 78 percent), which was reportedly done for tax purposes. [FierceWireless]

Must-read mobile stories

[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]

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