Verizon customers call on FCC, White House funds smart cities … 5 things to know today
1. Verizon Wireless is investigating customer complaints of surging data use charges. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Federal Communications Commission saw a 10-fold increase last month in customer complaints about Verizon cell phone bills. The FCC is referring many of these complaints to Verizon, and the carrier says it is investigating all of them. Numerous people have come forward with four digit monthly cell phone bills, which may be related to phones that stay on Verizon’s LTE network when they could potentially move to Wi-Fi.
2. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $64 million in grants to support advanced wireless transportation projects. Private companies and investors will join the initiative to bring the total investment in smart city technologies to almost $170 million. Pittsburgh, Denver, Dallas and Portland are among the cities receiving grants. The grants will be administered by two agencies. The Federal Highway Administration is making eight grants and the Federal Transit Administration is making eleven grants.
3. The job cuts are not over for HP. Yesterday the company said it will cut as many as 4,000 jobs by 2020, in addition to the 3,000 jobs it is cutting this fiscal year. According to Bloomberg, HP has taken more than $18 billion in restructuring charges since 2000. The company currently employs about 50,000 people.
4. Sprint’s plan to sell debt backed by its spectrum gives the market a way to value the company’s vast spectrum holdings, according to Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche
“Based on Tuesday’s announcement, the simple math would dictate that $16.4 billion is the value placed on 14% of Sprint’s total spectrum (or $1.85 per megahertz pop),” wrote Fritzsche. “Back of the envelope math would suggest the total value is worth [more than] $117 billion ($16.4B / 14%). Sprint has included 10 megahertz of 1.9GHz spectrum in 54 markets (13 of the 20 largest), and 20 megahertz of contiguous 2.5GHz spectrum in select markets like New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Applying this valuation to Sprint’s total spectrum value alone, we estimate Sprint shares to be worth [more than] $21/share in spectrum value alone, after deducting $32 billion in net debt.”
5. Sprint parent SoftBank is teaming up with Saudi Arabia in an effort to become the world’s leading technology investor. The partners are establishing a venture capital fund that they said could invest up to $100 billion in technology in the years ahead. SoftBank said it will invest $25 billion and Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund will put in up to $45 billion.
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