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Ill. broadband connections outnumber landlines

The number of broadband Internet connections in Illinois has exceeded the number of phone landlines for the first time, a sign that the use of traditional phone service continues to decline. Get the full story »

Verizon, others bring 4G to more Illinois areas

A number of metropolitan areas in Illinois are getting wireless speed boosts this year as Verizon Wireless, Clearwire and T-Mobile expand and upgrade their 4G networks.

Verizon announced Tuesday that it is adding 59 markets to its 4G network, launched in December in Chicago and 38 other markets. By the end of the year, Bloomington/Normal, Carbondale, Champaign, Rockford and Springfield will also be on the network. Get the full story »

AT&T: T-Mobile 3G phones will need to be replaced

AT&T says that if its deal to buy T-Mobile USA goes through, T-Mobile subscribers with “3G” phones will need to replace those to keep their wireless broadband service working. Get the full story »

U.S. Cellular to launch 4G network by year’s end

Mary Dillon at U.S. Cellular's corporate office in Chicago in June 2010. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

Chicago-based wireless carrier U.S. Cellular plans to launch its 4G network by the end of the year, Chief Executive Mary Dillon said Thursday.

Responding to an audience question at a breakfast sponsored by the Executives’ Club of Chicago, Dillon said the company has recently finished trials for its 4G network, which uses a technology called Long-Term Evolution, or LTE. Verizon Wireless and AT&T use the same technology, though the latter company has yet to commercially launch its LTE network. Get the full story »

Advocates for blind sue NU over use of Gmail

An advocacy group has filed a complaint with the federal government accusing New York University and Northwestern University of discriminating against the blind by adopting Google’s e-mail program. Get the full story »

Motorola Solutions hits road for annual meeting

Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions Inc. is holding its annual stockholders’ meeting in Washington, D.C. this year, going out of town for its first shareholders gathering as an independent company.

This year also marks the first time Motorola has held its stockholders meeting outside of the Chicago area. Get the full story »

Verizon rolls out 4G HTC Thunderbolt phone

Verizon displays the HTC Thunderbolt during the Consumer Electronics Showin January. (AP/Isaac Brekken)

Verizon Wireless announced on Tuesday the first mobile phone for its 4G network, unveiling a handset by Taiwanese manufacturer HTC that will be available  March 17.

Verizon lit up its 4G network in Chicago and 37 other cities in early December. The inaugural 4G devices were USB modems that enable connectivity for a laptop. The carrier’s first 4G phone is the ThunderBolt by HTC, which will cost $249.99 with a two-year contract. Get the full story »

Tech companies in Japan react to tsunami

Technology companies Friday were assessing the impact of the Japanese earthquake on component supplies and on their local plants, staff and sub-contractors, with most saying it was too early to give more details.

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck northern Japan, causing deaths and damage to the northeast and panic as far south as Tokyo, with an ensuing tsunami devastating coastal areas.

Japan is a major exporter of electronic goods and chips. The total global semiconductor market alone is worth around $298 billion, with Japan contributing around 24 percent to that total and Taiwan 30 percent, according to data from U.K.-based semiconductor market research firm Future Horizons. Europe, meanwhile, accounts for only 8% of global semiconductor production, meaning the region is largely dependent on Asian imports. Japan exports half of the semiconductors it produces. Get the full story »

Sprint reportedly reopens talks for T-Mobile

Sprint Nextel Corp. and Deutsche Telekom AG  are again discussing options for combining Sprint with the German company’s U.S. subsidiary, T-Mobile USA, though a deal is unlikely in the near term, people familiar with the matter said.

A deal would combine the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the U.S. and create a substantial counterweight to industry leaders AT&T Inc.  and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc.  and Vodafone Group. Get the full story »

Android climbs to top of smart phone heap

Android is now the most-used smart phone operating system in the United States — a stunning race to the top from a platform that didn’t exist 25 months ago.

Nearly one third, or 31.2 percent, of U.S. smart phones ran Google’s Android OS in January, according to a study released Monday by comScore. That outpaced the 30.4 percent of American smart phone owners who use BlackBerry devices, which are made by Research in Motion. Get the full story »

Access Media 3 gets $3M in funding

An Oak Brook-based telecom company said Friday that it has secured $3 million in new financing from the Hinsdale Bank and Trust, one of the 15 banks run by Lake Forest-based Wintrust Financial Corp. Get the full story »

China Mobile says Jobs wants an iPhone for it

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has expressed interest in developing an iPhone based on China Mobile’s fourth-generation telecoms standard, the chairman of the Chinese telecoms operator said Friday.

“Jobs has said he’s very interested in developing an iPhone that will run on TD,” China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said on the sidelines of the Chinese Communist Party’s consultative meeting. Get the full story »

‘Daily deals’ come to Bing with a reported glitch

Microsoft has launched a daily deals service, integrating offers from industry leaders such as Groupon and LivingSocial into its Bing search engine for the desktop and mobile devices.

The move puts Microsoft into the daily deals space, but as an aggregator rather than a direct provider of discounts. Yahoo! launched an aggregation service, Local Offers, in November. Get the full story »

Verizon hints at new iPhone

A Verizon Communications executive hinted at a new version of the iPhone and said Verizon Wireless will replace its unlimited mobile data plans with usage-based pricing around the middle of summer.

Verizon’s shares fell 2.4 percent on Tuesday after its chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, said a new iPhone would hurt quarterly margins whenever it arrives. Get the full story »

AT&T to start sending phones location-based ads

In a first for a wireless carrier, AT&T Inc. said Monday that it will use its phones’ location-sensing ability to target text ads with coupons and other offers to participating subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

Kmart, part of Sears Holdings Corp., is one of the chains that have signed up for ShopAlerts by AT&T. That means AT&T could send discount offers to subscribers who are close to a Kmart store. Get the full story »