Unacast has developed a Social Distancing Scoreboard based on users' GPS phone location data that evaluates how well people in various states and counties are following the coronavirus stay-at-home advice by tracking their movements compared to those on a typical day. States scoring an "A" included Alaska, Vermont, Massachusetts and Nevada, while Wyoming received an "F" and the US overall earned a grade of "B."
Text messaging and voice calls have increased significantly during the coronavirus outbreak, with Verizon reporting 33% more calls per weekday than occur on Mother's Day, its normal peak event, and T-Mobile saying that texting is up 26%. Data use has remained normal, however, as most people turn to wired connections at home.
Residents of a small Maryland city will be able to contact medical specialists through an online portal during the coronavirus outbreak. The pilot project, on which the city is collaborating with Sprint, Amazon and two other companies, is based on Seat Pleasant, Md.'s smart city platform and the MimiRX app.
AT&T is giving its "front-line" employees a temporary 20% bump in pay as demands on carriers grow due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said its workers' mission is especially important due to the need to keep people connected and informed during the crisis.
Voice calling via wireless and landline devices has grown since the outbreak of the coronavirus, a reversal of previous trends in which the growth of texting, chat and social media had cut into talking, Verizon and AT&T reported. Verizon said its wireless voice segment was up 10% on March 19, compared to March 12, while AT&T said cellphone calls were 44% higher on March 22 than on most Sundays.
Ohio-based Watch Communications and Wisper ISP of Illinois are among the new members of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which plans to supplement rural broadband by using fixed wireless technology and TV white space. The two companies, as well as other WISPs, collectively won roughly half of the $1.488 billion available in the Connect America Fund's second auction.
Consumers who are under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic are spending more time online reading news, participating in online communities, and interacting with social videos and streaming events, which should be taken into consideration by businesses that want to stay connected with individuals and boost revenue potential, writes Andrew Hutchinson. He also predicts that some of these changes may continue after the pandemic ends.
T-Mobile sped up the introduction of a plan featuring two gigabytes of data for $15 per month and launched a promotion that provides YouTube Premium for two months at no cost in higher-end packages. The company, which is about to merge with Sprint, also earned praise from MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett, who termed it "the most compelling long in our combined Telecom/Cable/Satellite coverage universe."
Federal regulators need to accelerate their efforts to provide mid-band spectrum for 5G services to catch up with other countries, CTIA said after commissioning an Analysys Mason report. The group called on the Federal Communications Commission to create a "roadmap" to increase its mid-band push, saying the US has five times less availability than several nations.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to build 5G networks and will hasten the deployment of small cells and edge computing due to a new focus on remote working, business executives say. "The amount of work that will be done in a remote sense is absolutely going to change, and that is one of the things 5G enables," Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, told CNBC.