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Telecom Daily

Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.

Wednesday, January 16... 

FCC Chair Refuses to Attend Emergency Congressional Meeting on Data Aggregators
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai has refused to appear at an emergency meeting requested by the head of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. Frank Pallone, Motherboard reported. According to the article, the meeting was called to discuss the customer tracking scandal that arose last week when a report surfaced describing how a bounty hunter was able to obtain a customers location data from their carrier for a mere $300. This led to an intense focus once again being brought down on the practice of most mobile carriers selling customer data to data . These aggregators then sell it to third parties, without the original customer's consent. Pallone requested Pai's presence in a letter, asking the Chair to weigh in on why carriers have been allowed to continue this potentially dangerous practice. Pallone stressed his concern over the ability for malicious parties to use this readily available information to bring harm to wireless subscribers. However, Chairman Pai apparently decided that the threat does not warrant his presence, pointing to the ongoing government shutdown as a reason why he cannot attend the meeting. According to Pallone himself, during phone conversation, the Chairman's "staff asserted that these egregious actions are not a threat to the safety of human life or property that the FCC will address during the Trump shutdown." However, there seems to be little actual basis for Pai to turn down the request, as he, unlike hundreds of thousands of other federal workers, has not been furloughed or denied pay. This means that he is still expected to perform all necessary duties inherent to his position. Pai's refusal is unlikely to improve the perceived image of him as an FCC Chair that is working in the best interest of the wireless carriers instead of the American public.

Verizon Wireless Makes Apple Music Subs a Permanent Part of Two Unlimited Plans
Verizon Wireless announced that two of its unlimited data plans now come with a permanent subscription to Apple Music. The affected plans are the company's Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited, both of which will begin seeing the new benefit on January 17. This new promotional offer replaces a previous one that provided six months of service for free. The company claims the decision to make it a permanent feature of two of the plans was based on the positive customer feedback it saw during the aforementioned six-month promotional period. It should be noted that the cheapest of Verizon Wireless' current unlimited plans, Go Unlimited, will not be getting upgraded to the permanent subscription. Instead, the plan will retain the original six-month trial. Both new and existing customers on the aforementioned unlimited subscriptions are eligible for this new benefit. Additional information on signing up for the offer can be found within the company's press release.

Google Launches New Recommendation Program for Android EMM
Google launched its new Android Enterprise Recommended program for Enterprise Mobility Management to help EMM personnel make better decisions about the hardware and services being used within their fleets of mobile devices. The initial list of partners for this program includes BlackBerry, Google Cloud, I3 Systems, IBM, Microsoft, MobileIron, Softbank, SOTI, and Vmware. Google said all of these companies have demonstrated adherence to the program's guidelines, which include "experience across multiple Android Enterprise management sets"; a proven ability to deliver security and management; a consistent deployment experience; documentation capable of providing best practices for Android Enterprise setup and configuration; Google-trained personnel in the field; and a commitment to staying updated on the latest Android Enterprise features and training parameters. Google said it expects to bring additional partners to the program in the future.

.... MIchael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services

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