AT&T acquires T-Mobile USA, while Frost & Sullivan suggests European usage of smartphone apps is low

AT&T acquires T-Mobile USA, while Frost & Sullivan suggests European usage of smartphone apps is low

AT&T announced that it will buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at roughly $39 billion. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the agreement. If also approved by US regulators, the deal would make AT&T the largest cell phone company in America and would drop the total number of wireless carriers with national coverage in the US from four to three. AT&T says the deal will improve its network efficiencies and increase its network density by 30 percent in some of the most populated areas. “This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation’s future,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people.”

A week after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged parts of Japan, aftershocks were still reverberating around the international automotive industry. Numerous parts for vehicles assembled in American and European plants originate in Japan (including GPS gadgetry) and access to those parts has dried up. Toyota and Honda shut down their assembly plants in Japan through March 22.

Although Japan shifted 13 feet due to the 9.0-magnitude quake, Garmin and other PND manufacturers assured that satnavs are still functioning accurately in the country. In the coming months, engineers will drive through affected areas of Japan with GPS locators to change the official coordinates of streets and addresses.

NAVTEQ launched an indoor mapping product, Destination Maps. The program moves beyond interactive floor plans into a three-dimensional data model that recognizes stairs and lifts as well as different floor levels, allowing it to understand movement between floors and thus generate accurate indoor routes and guidance.

Telogis added advanced business analysis tools to Telogis Route, the company’s multi-vehicle route planning, optimization, and scheduling system. These tools expedite the integration of customer requirements into the software and build intelligent routes that take into consideration variables like driver schedules, customer delivery windows, and customer preferences.

Stagecoach announced a multi-million-pound investment in a hi-tech eco-driving system for its bus operations in Scotland, England, and Wales. Come April, some 13,800 Stagecoach drivers will start using GreenRoad technology, which uses a dashboard light system to provide drivers with real-time feedback on their driving style. Stagecoach hopes to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions and cut the risk of accidents.

Ford received two patents related to SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a solution designed to help hybrid drivers change driving behaviors and maximize fuel efficiency. SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two full-color LCD screens on either side of the analog speedometer that can show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels as well as average and instant miles per gallon.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, a waterfront park located in the shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge across from Manhattan, unveiled the first electric vehicle charging station in New York City. The solar-powered station will charge the park’s electric service vehicles and save an estimated $200,000 in gasoline costs over the 25-year lifetime of the project.

A recent Frost & Sullivan survey on smartphone apps and usage within cars found that, unlike the general perception that awareness and usage of such apps is soaring, actual awareness among European car owners is limited and daily usage is, in fact, low. The consulting firm surveyed 1,911 customers across Germany, Italy, the UK, and France to assess preferences and willingness to pay for smartphone apps and usage inside the car. “The most popular smartphone apps are navigation and live traffic information, yet they are used less than one hour at a time,” said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Praveen Chandrasekar. “Thus, for car manufacturers looking to add car-related apps, the emphasis should be on providing basic drive and vehicle information apps while recognizing that these apps may be used at first in a limited capacity.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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