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GAO finds wireless customers benefit despite few carriers

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/26/10 05:00 PM

A new report from the Government Accountability Office confirms there’s not much competition among wireless service providers. Nonetheless, wireless customers are getting lower prices and better coverage than they were 10 years ago.

Photo by Valerie Everett

Comments | Filed Under: wireless cell phone GAO Verizon T-Mobile AT&T Sprint

Toss out your wallet, keep your phone

Posted: 08/03/10 06:00 AM

There are a few things you always make sure you have when you leave the house: keys, wallet, phone. What if you could skip the wallet?

Imagine going to the grocery store, getting all the stuff you need, and then, when you’re at the cash register and it’s time to pay, you don’t need to bother digging up your debit card. Instead you reach your phone, waggle it around a bit, and you’re on your way.

And hey - why stop there? If your financial information can be on there, why not your driver’s license too? Why not your ID card at work? Your library card?

Sounds futuristic but it may be fast approaching. Wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are reportedly about to start testing a technology known as Near Field Communications or Contactless Payment in a few different cities. Everything you would need from your wallet would be on your phone.

We talk to Marc Rysman, Associate Professor of Economics at Boston University, about how the technology works. We also speak to Rachel Schneider, Innovation Director at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, about how the technology could be made even simpler, maybe just a sticker on the outside of a phone or anywhere you cared to put it.

Comments | Filed Under: phones wireless at&t verizon t-mobile

today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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