Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, Jan. 24 »

Cable360 tipster Brain Clark and his sidekick Joe masqueraded as bottled water couriers at the so-called informal talks between striking writers and production companies in Hollywood. They tell us that the two sides will soon agree to disagree, and will announce a temporary settlement less than two weeks before the Feb. 24 Academy Awards presentation. Good morning.

Wireless growth led AT&T’s fourth-quarter earnings report, which was released today. AT&T had a net gain of 2.7 million wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter, an indication that its iPhone partnership with Apple wasn’t such a bad idea. Fourth-quarter wireless revenue was up 16.3% and wireless data services grew 57.5% compared to the same period a year ago, ZDNet reports. AT&T’s net income was up 62% in the fourth quarter, “helped by record wireless gains and the acquisition of BellSouth,” the Wall Street Journal says.
    The telco’s U-Verse TV install rate was 12,000 a week by the end of the quarter. [ZDNet | Wall Street Journal]

The FCC opens bidding today on five blocks of the 700 MHz wireless spectrum. AT&T and Verizon Wireless will be among the leading bidders, as will Google, although the Wall Street Journal speculates that the search engine company entered the auction primarily to lobby the FCC to demand that all bidding companies accept open access conditions. The spectrum being auctioned will likely be used for innovative wireless services, but businesses built around it may have to wait a long time before they become profitable because of federal requirements, Red Herring reports. [Wall Street Journal | Red Herring]

Lobbying firm Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates was paid $240,000 in the second half of 2007 by Comcast, according to an Associated Press report picked up by Forbes. Wexler & Walker lobbied Congress, the White House and the FCC on Comcast’s behalf. The report did not disclose the amount AT&T paid to lobbyists during the same period. [Forbes]

News Corp.’s MySpace made a deal with the BBC to make some of the British broadcaster’s content available on the online social network, the New York Times reports. [New York Times]

Cable operator Midcontinent Communications is launching its triple play of services in West Fargo, N.D. [In-Forum Business]

Verizon was granted a TV franchise in Wayland, Mass., for its FiOS TV service. [CNNMoney]

AT&T is offering free Wi-Fi access to its broadband subscribers at more than 10,000 hotspots across the country. [San Antonio Business Journal]

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates will deliver a speech today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that asks international business leaders to reshape capitalism so that some of the world’s wealth and business resources get redistributed to those people who actually need them, the Wall Street Journal reports. [Wall Street Journal]

In CableFAX Daily: Economic turmoil and the 700 MHz auction. Yesterday’s 360AM.

Got a tip? Contact sgoldstein@accessintel.com and sarenstein@accessintel.com.

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