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Posts tagged: AT&T

Washington, Idaho get cash through AT&T ‘cramming’ settlement

About 40 U.S. attorneys general announced they arranged a $105 million settlement with AT&T Mobility to resolve consumer problems over the problem of cell phone “cramming” charges.

Washington will get about $807,000 from the settlement. Idaho will get about $230,000 from the settlement.

The news for consumers is better than that. Many are eligible to apply for a refund.  Washington has around 500,000 AT&T customers, according to a release from the Washington Attorney General office.

Cramming is the unauthorized addition of charges on cell phone bills, often done at the behest of third-party companies sending text messages or trying to lure customers into adding services.

Under the agreement, AT&T will make sure it has the customer's consent before billing for third-party charges.
AT&T will continue offering consumers the option to block all third-party charges. Other phone carriers, not just AT&T, offer third-party blocking service for free.

Consumers can find out more information about the refund process and submit claims by visiting the FTC.gov/att website.

To determine if you are eligible for a refund, you can also contact the FTC’s refund contractor at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.

Up to speed: AT&T unleashes 4G LTE network in Spokane County

AT&T announced it has turned on a 4G LTE network for the Spokane area.

A spokesman for AT&T said the company T&T made nearly 50 wireless network upgrades in Spokane last year that included activating new cell sites, adding capacity, and upgrading cell sites to provide fast 4G LTE mobile Internet speeds. So if that is something important to you and your cell phone, congratulations. You're now up to speed.

AT&T launches first Eastern Washington LTE (true 4G) service in Pullman

If you're a big fan of LTE (long term evolution) mobile data, AT&T has news.

The wireless provider announced it's deployed true LTE service in the Moscow-Pullman area.

So, to confuse things, the way mobile connectivity works, LTE is considered important because it qualifies as “true 4G” service. True 4G data speeds are generally 10 times faster than mobile 3G networks.

Verizon, Spring and AT&T all offer 4G service in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.  Verizon can properly claim to be the first wireless carrier with LTE service in Spokane.

AT&T hasn't said when it will bring LTE service into Spokane. At present, it offers a hybrid network here called 4G HSPA+. And that, according to an AT&T spokesman, is roughly four times faster than 3G.

Pullman and Moscow get AT&T’s first Eastern Washington LTE data network

If you're a big fan of LTE (long term evolution) mobile data, AT&T has news.

The wireless provider announced it's deployed true LTE service in the Moscow-Pullman area.

So, to confuse things, the way mobile connectivity works, LTE is considered important because it qualifies as “true 4G” service. True 4G data speeds are generally 10 times faster than mobile 3G networks.

Verizon, Spring and AT&T all offer 4G service in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.  Verizon can properly claim to be the first wireless carrier with LTE service in Spokane.

AT&T hasn't said when it will bring LTE service into Spokane. At present, it offers a hybrid network here called 4G HSPA+. And that, according to an AT&T spokesman, is roughly four times faster than 3G.

Vivo moving into third floor space in River Park Square mall

Still no word on who might take the 8,000 square feet of space last used by Abercrombie & Fitch in River Park Square, in downtown Spokane.

But Vivo, a Coeur d'Alene-based retailer of clothes and other household wares will take a spot up on the third floor, River Park Square announced on Monday.

Vivo has stores in CDA, Spokane Valley and North Spokane (at NorthTown Mall).

About Nov. 1, Vivo will move into the space between Claire's and the AT&T store. Vivo is owned by Dale and Shawnda Rainey of Post Falls.

River Park Square is owned and operated by the Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

How T-Mobile will help AT&T expand 4G service across most of the Northwest

While AT&T won't say when Spokane and North Idaho will have its own version of 4G broadband services, the company is presenting a visual map of plans covering the next several years, using a before-and-after map scheme. 

Both maps come from the marketing and communications department of AT&T. 
  Dark blue areas indicate 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service.   The map on the left is the projected 4G rollout — by 2013 —  for Washington and North Idaho. For now, AT&T is providing its version of 4G only in the Puget Sound. There is no 4G service in Spokane, though Verizon Wireless has said it plans to deliver it later this year. 
The right-side map proposes a significant AT&T 4G rollout across Eastern Washington and parts of North Idaho. Specifically the rollout looks to expand service up toward the Canadian border, and across the upper Panhandle to Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry.
No date is mentioned by the company for that investment, and it will be interesting if AT&T sticks to its plan to reach those less-populated areas.
Important: the right-side map only reflects what could happen if federal regulators approve the purchase of T-Mobile by AT&T.The map includes this wording: “The AFTER map shows the additional 4G LTE deployment that will occur due to (the T-Mobile) deal by the period ending five years after the deal closes.”
 
AT&T spokeswoman Colleen Smith added this comment about the plan and the value of the merger: 
“AT&T and T-Mobile USA customers will see service improvements including better voice quality and data service. At closing, AT&T will immediately gain cell sites equivalent to what would have taken on average five years to build without the transaction. The acquisition will increase AT&T’s network density by approximately 30 percent in some of its most populated areas, without constructing new cell towers.”

Explaining the Supreme Court ruling on corporations having no privacy right

Those of us who've already read the full 15-page opinion by the Supreme Court on the AT&T argument that corporations have some level of “personal privacy,” will want to look elsewhere for something to do.

For others who wonder how the court could have established two different ideas — that corporations (in the Citizens United ruling from 2010) have a right of free speech and that they don't have a personal level of privacy (in the March 1 ruling, FCC vs. AT&T) — should spend some time with a good legal blog.

Let us recommend the down-the-middle blog views of Scotusblog.com. Its entry from today gives a quick overview of the facts. Nicer yet, the blog post links to about a dozen helpful sources with additional comments on the case.

Supreme Court rules corporations don’t have personal privacy

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that corporations have no right of personal privacy to prevent the release of documents requested through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The unusual feature was an 8-0 unanimous ruling, at a time when some critics have said the current Roberts court tilts in favor of business. The court ruling is here.

The ruling was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. It reverses an appeals court ruling in favor of AT&T.

 “The protection in FOIA against disclosure of law enforcement information on the ground that it would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy does not extend to corporations,” Roberts wrote. “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.”

The case stems from requests by a trade group, which includes some AT&T competitors, for documents that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) obtained during an investigation of possible overcharges committed by AT&T in a government contract.

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled in favor of AT&T, and the trade group appealed that decision.

While the ruling states there is no “personal” level of privacy for corporations, this decision still leaves corporations protections from broad FOIA requests.

Current laws prohibit the release of trade secrets and information that allows people to be personally identified.

In the AT&T case, the FCC had released some of the information under an open records request, but withheld other documents because of concerns that business secrets or humans' privacy might be compromised. 

Justice Elena Kagan abstained from the ruling as she worked on the case on behalf of the FCC.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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