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AT&T said today it is selling its wireline operations in Connecticut to Frontier Communications for $2 billion, effectively exiting the state as a local telephone and broadband provider. AT&T has hinted in the past it might sell its “unimproved” DSL lines, following in Verizon’s footsteps, but it looks like it wants to shed parts of its improved copper network as well. It’s U-Verse fiber-to-the-node service is available in parts of Connecticut. AT&T Connecticut is actually the former Southern New England Telephone, and it stands aloof from AT&T’s traditional territory in the southern and western U.S. AT&T said it would use the proceeds from the sale to fund its IP transformation strategy, Project VIP.

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In Brief

Consumer identity theft protection LifeLock is already securing the cards in your wallet. Now it wants to provide a digital version of the wallet itself. On Thursday, LifeLock said it has acquired Lemon for $42.6 million in cash. The Maveron- and Howard Shultz-backed startup began as a receipt-tracking service but expanded into the mobile wallet by adding Apple Passbook-like features. Lemon raised $8 million in a Series A round in 2012 and its app has been downloaded 3.6 million times. LifeLock will continue to offer the wallet under its own name, layering its security features on top.

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photo: Shutterstock / Fedor Kondratenko

The Orange Chef has raised $1.2 million in seed funding led by Google Ventures and Spark Labs. The company makes a kitchen scale that communicates with your iPad and a wealth of web nutritional data. Read more »

In Brief

Sprint’s new faster Spark network may be out of reach to most Americans, but it is starting to get more support from handset makers. Sprint said it would start selling a Spark-enabled version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 in the next few weeks, which can tap into the faster network speeds of its new tri-band LTE network. Unless you live in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa or Miami you won’t see those improved speeds, and Sprint is taking it’s time rolling the upgrade out to the rest of the country. The S 4 joins the HTC One Max, Galaxy Mega and S 4 mini on the Spark roster. They’ll be joined by the LG G2 next year.

On The Web

After making news with several high-profile hires from Netflix’s ranks, mobile payments startup Clinkle appears to have concluded it’s a bit talent heavy. According to Fortune, Clinkle is laying off 16 employees (about 25 percent of its workforce) from its business operations group. Though Clinkle hasn’t even revealed the details of its new mobile wallet and payments app, it’s attracted a lot of attention, securing a $25 million seed round from Silicon Valley luminaries and hiring veterans like former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy to its executive roster.

In Brief

Prepaid mobile operators Straight Talk and Net10 will start selling the iPhone 5s and 5c at Walmart stores starting Dec. 13. Customers will have to pay sticker price for the devices ($549 to $649 for the 16 GB versions, though financing options are available), but they can tap into the two companies’ cheap no-contract smartphone data plans. Straight Talk’s start at $45 while Net10′s start at $50 and include 2.5 GB of data each month along with unlimited calls and texts. Both companies are mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) run by TracFone, which has seen a big spurt in growth recently thanks in part to these new smartphone-friendly plans.

In Brief

Though Huawei has already said it cares not a whit for the U.S. telecom equipment market, its CEO made its stance official this weekend. Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told French journalists on Sunday that Huawei was exiting the U.S. networking market, though it appears it will continue to sell mobile phones. Huawei’s supposed ties to the Chinese government have come under increasing scrutiny from the U.S. lawmakers, which have pressured companies like Sprint to ban its equipment from their networks. The U.S. may be the largest telecom market in the world, but Huawei has been doing just fine selling to carriers in almost every other region. Meanwhile U.S. operators have found their already limited vendor options shrink even more.

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