The Washington Post

The Circuit: Edith Ramirez tapped to chair the FTC

Ramirez tapped to lead FTC: Edith Ramirez has been tapped to lead the Federal Trade Commission, according to a White House official.

“Over the past few years Ramirez has been instrumental in ensuring there is robust competition and innovation in the high tech marketplace, and has worked hard to protect the most vulnerable communities,” the official said. The FTC declined to comment on the pick.

Ramirez, a Democrat, has served as an FTC commissioner since 2010. She would replace outgoing chairman and fellow Democrat Jon Leibowitz, who announced his resignation in January. Her term as commissioner was set to expire in 2015.

Ramirez, along with fellow Democratic commissioner Julie Brill, was a leading candidate to fill the position. Her appointment would leave the commission evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with one seat empty until another person is nominated to fill the seat.

T-Mobile earnings: T-Mobile reported that its income had fallen 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, down to $4.9 billion from $5.2 billion in the same period a year ago.

The company reported net customer gains of 61,000 for the fourth quarter, but still lost 515,000 contract subscribers during the holiday quarter.

The nation’s fourth-place carrier will be getting Apple devices in 2013, which may help the company lure back subscribers, but it’s a big bet for the company.

Unsold iPhones at Leap Wireless: Another carrier that took a bet on Apple products, Leap Wireless, is reportedly having trouble getting the smartphone off shelves and into the hands of their target, more price-conscious consumers.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the pre-paid carrier could end up with over $100 million worth of unsold iPhones by the middle of the year. Leap sells the iPhone for more money than post-paid competitors such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, but also offers the iPhone on a month-to-month plan.

Time Warner Cable on gigabit connections: A Time Warner Cable executive questioned whether there is broad enough consumer demand for gigabit-speed Internet, while speaking at a Goldman Sachs technology conference, The Verge reported.

Google has been gaining a lot of attention and support for its efforts to bring gigabit Internet speeds to the Kansas City, Mo. area, but Chief Financial Officer Irene Esteves said that she’s not convinced that there’s enough pressing consumer demand for other Internet providers to follow suit.

NTIA faces strong criticism: Lawmakers were critical of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in a Wednesday hearing, questioning NTIA head Lawrence Strickling sharply on whether an agency initiative on broadband could be seen as wasteful.

Strickling defended the program, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), saying that Republican lawmakers were “misapprehending the focus” of its program.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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