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Timothy B. Lee

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Posted at 02:22 PM ET, 11/07/2012

Sprint, U.S. Cellular strike a spectrum deal #thecircuit

Sprint, U.S. Cellular strike a deal: Sprint and U.S. Cellular announced Wednesday that they have struck a spectrum deal that will boost Sprint’s coverage throughout much of the Midwest.

Sprint, which is based in Overland Park, Kan., paid $480 million for the spectrum, the Associated Press reported. Chicago-based U.S. Cellular said the money should help it focus on its strongest markets.

AT&T commits $14 billion to network buildout: AT&T announced Wednesday that it has committed $14 billion to building out its wireless and wireline networks and plans to cover 300 million people with its LTE network by 2014.

The company also filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to open up a dialogue about the transition from older telecommunications technology and run a beta trial on moving away from that older infrastructure.

In a blog post, AT&T cited the goal of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, saying it hopes “this proceeding will provide some additional stepping stones on the path towards achieving that plan.”

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the commission is reviewing the petition.

AT&T, FCC reach agreement on data plans: The Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that AT&T has agreed to pay $700,000 to the U.S. Department of Treasury after mistakenly placing some unlimited data plan customers on monthly data plans. The company will also make individual refunds to those “grandfathered” customers who were allowed to keep their unlimited data plans after AT&T dropped that option.

In a statement, AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris said that the consent decree affects less than 0.03 percent of AT&T customers and that AT&T had already identified many of those affected by the issue.

“Based on a review of our refund process, we believe a vast majority of those customers affected by the billing error have already been made whole,” he told The Washington Post in a statement.

AT&T will be notifying affected customers and offering them refund and plan options.

Effect of elections on tech?: There’s a lot of speculation about what a second Obama term will mean for the technology industry. At VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi muses that there will be continued focus on high-speed Internet access, buildout of 4G networks, investment in health-related technologies and on the nation’s utilities infrastructure.

The election also changed the technology landscape in Congress. The defeat of Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R.-Calif.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) in particular thins the ranks of House members who advocate for the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. Bono Mack has also championed legislation on data protection and security, priorities that may now have to fall to others.

Obama breaks Facebook, Twitter records: Twitter confirmed that a victory tweet from President Obama — which read “Four more years” and featured a picture of him and Michelle Obama embracing — earned more retweets than any other message from his account.

The same photo of the embracing Obamas grabbed 3.3 million likes, 422,000 shares and nearly 160,000 comments on Facebook. According to a Facebook post on the company’s site for journalists, the photo is the most-liked post of all time.

Twitter also reported that its users sent out 31 million election tweets throughout the day Tuesday. Traffic on the network peaked when news organizations called the election for Obama, sending 327,452 tweets per minute at 11:19 p.m.

By  |  02:22 PM ET, 11/07/2012

 
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