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Verizon Offering Money Back to Subscribers when iPhone4 Released: [20th Jan 2011]

Verizon is offering people who recently purchased a phone a $200 rebate if they switch to the Verizon iPhone when it is released. They say that many customers may have wanted to buy an iPhone but couldn't because they did not know when it would be released. Now that the date has been set Verizon are happy to offer money back. The amount will depend on the type and value of the phone purchased and will only apply is customers purchase an iPhone at the full retail price from Verizon.


AT&T have responded to the news that Verizon will be releasing the iPhone in February with some changes to their SMS pricing. They will be eliminating their $5 for 200 messages plan and replacing it with two plans. One will cost $10 and give 1000 messages while the other will offer unlimited messages for $20. Despite the range of other message services available online, the use of text messaging is still popular.


A report released by the UMTS Forum has suggested that there could be one billion devices connected to the mobile broadband by 2016 and will outstrip the use of wirless broadband in just five years. Chairman Jean Pierre Bienaime has commented that he expected the biggest growth to be in devices like gaming consoles, in-vehicle entertainment and home appliances and healthcare. The reports points out that spectrum fragmentation and chip prices could be a barrier to mobile broadband. It is believed that a combined approach between operators and manufacturers is required.


Internet law experts have predicted that the net neutrality rules imposed by the FCC will lead to lengthy court battles. It is thought that questions will be asked as to whether the FCC had the authority to make rules affecting Internet providers and questioning if the rules are arbitrary. The rules prevent providers from slowing or blocking web traffic. The thoughts were expressed at the Congressional Internet Caucus State of the Net conference. None of those who commented could predict what the outcome of such lawsuits would be, but it is thought that congress may be forced to make changes. Other experts believe that the FCC should be focusing on more important issues such as clearing spectrum and reforming the Universal Service Fund.


HBO has suggested that NetFlix should increase the price of its streaming service from $8 to $20. Jeff Cusson from HBO has commented that the company does not sell its own programming for streaming services on Netflix although does allow iTunes and Amazon to sell its content. It has been pointed out that if Netflix increased their prices then HBO would consider allowing them to sell its content. HBO seem to believe that they need to maintain the image of a premium service and that this can only be achieved by charging expensive prices.


The NBC and Comcast merger has finally been approved by the FCC in a 4 - 1 vote in favor. A press release has confirmed that the conditions set down for the merger were adhered to including the requirement for fair distribution of content for competitors and the requirement o provide standalone broadband at a reasonable price. Comcast have also agreed to offer $10 broadband to low income families and to supply an additional 400,000 homes and to rural communities. School and libraries will also benefit from the merger particularly those in under served areas. The FCC has commented that the merger conditions were fair and in the public interest. Critics have pointed out that many of the conditions expire after just seven years.

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