News Scan: Facebook mobile referrals on the rise; BBM coming to Windows Phone, Nokia X


>> Half of Facebook referrals for media sites come from mobile

More than half of Facebook's referrals to media sites last month came from mobile, according to a report by Shareaholic. Facebook mobile drove 8.25 percent of the overall visits sites received in January. Last October, Facebook's mobile traffic grew 253 percent year-over-year, with mobile contributing a quarter of Facebook's overall referrals to sites, according to Shareaholic. Read more on Facebook mobile efforts.

[More on Facebook: Facebook ponies up $19B for WhatsApp | Facebook ends mobile ad relationships]

>> BBM coming soon to Windows Phone, Nokia X users

BlackBerry's popular mobile messaging service BBM is coming to Windows Phone and Nokia X users in the next few months, the company announced this week. Windows Phone and Nokia X users will be able to make free voice calls over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection between BBM contracts on Windows Phone, Nokia X, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Windows Phone and Nokia users can also join BBM Groups, in which up to 50 people can join in a conversation. Read more on BlackBerry's announcement.

[More on BBM: 10M BBM downloads on first day | BlackBerry Messenger for Android, iOS finally resumes rollout]

>> U.S. carriers increasingly forego device subsidies

Major U.S. wireless carriers are increasingly foregoing subsidies for customers to buy smartphones, while not locking them into multiyear contracts, AP reports. What is driving this trend is the rapid pace at which smartphone makers are releasing new phones. "It's happening at least every 12 months, if not even faster. The tech cycles are speeding up," says David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T's wireless business.  Read more on the end of smartphone subsidies.

[More on smartphones: China's red hot smartphone market cools | Facebook ends mobile ad relationships]

>> Entrepreneur unveils superfast wireless technology

Entrepreneur Steve Perlman has unveiled pCell, or personal cell technology, which he claims will replace LTE, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The technology is a follow-up to his DIDO prototype, which he said would give each mobile device its own superfast connection instead of sharing bandwidth from cell towers. The pCell technology will work in existing devices that support LTE. "That will shock people. It means we have hundreds of millions of devices out there that are ready to go," says Perlman. Read more on Perlman's mobile technology.

[More on fast wireless: VoLTE spending on the rise | 4G LTE will account for 50% of US wireless connections by end of 2014]

>> Obstacles stall outdoor small cell deployments

A number of challenges are stalling deployment of outdoor small cells, according to Infonetics Research. These challenges include higher than expected costs, siting and jurisdictional issues, unsettled local regulations, power availability, copper and fiber availability, small cell packaging with or without backhaul, slow release of technologies and products and backhaul connections. "Not to mention the coordination of small cells with Wi-Fi or nearby macrocells over new types of backhaul that must support strict timing, sync and latency requirements for LTE and LTE-Advanced in the future," explains Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks at Infonetics. Read more on Infonetics outdoor small cell analysis.

[More on small cells: Mobile data traffic to spur rapid growth in mobile monitoring, optimization gear market, says ABI | Smartphones, tablets give GaAs device market some gas]