The Mobile Lowdown 03-24-11: Sprint; Bing; Best Buy; Smartphone Stats

Our look at some of the big stories today in mobile: Sprint (NYSE: S) wants to take its AT&T/T-Mobile complaints to Washington; Bing updates its mobile browsing experience, but you can’t use the new tweaks on Windows Phone 7 devices; Light Squared becomes Best Buy’s newest MVNO partner; and some updated stats on smartphone operating systems from the analysts at Ovum show unrelenting fragmentation for the next five years.

Sprint: The number-three mobile operator is pulling out its biggest guns in its fight to stop the proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA by AT&T (NYSE: T).

Bloomberg reports that the CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse, said that the company will be filing a complaint with Congress over the “tremendous” power that a combined entity would have, as it would control 79 percent of the U.S. wireless market in terms of subscribers.

The complaints will be filed when the U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds hearings on the proposed $39-billion acquisition later this year.

Bing: Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has put new features into Bing for those who access the search engine via their mobile browsers.

The new features include “better and faster” image search; transit info and mapping directions delivered with real-time updates; an app search for iOS users as well as shopping searches and an improved weather forecast interface. The updates are HTML5-based, and will be usable on the iPhone and Android devices, says Bing.

Ironically, that also means these latest Bing updates won’t be usable on Microsoft’s very own Windows Phone 7 OS. “Don’t worry,” writes Bing in its blog post on the updates. “Windows Phone 7 just announced that it will support HTML5 later this year so these updates will work great at that time.”

Best Buy/LightSquared: Looks like Best Buy has added one more operator as an MVNO partner for its mobile broadband service. LightSquared, the LTE-only operator that has yet to go live, says that it will work with the retail giant as a partner in its Best Buy Connect service. This network already uses Sprint’s 3G network, and has inked a deal with Clearwire (NSDQ: CLWR) to use its WiMax network for the service, which is expected to go live this year. Meanwhile, trials for the LightSquared operation will start in the first quarter of 2012, writes FierceWireless.

Smartphone OS stats: New numbers out from Ovum predict that Android will dominate the mobile landscape in five years’ time, but the rest of the market looks like it will continue to be fragmented.

Ovum predicts that there will be 653 million shipments globally of Android-powered devices by 2016; by that point Android will have a 38 percent market share compared to Apple’s 17.5 percent. Ovum seems to look favorably on Microsoft’s deal with Nokia (NYSE: NOK), as well as its other OEM relationships: the analysts forecast that Windows Phone will be a very close third, at 17.2 percent, in five years’ time.

BlackBerry will have a 16.5 percent share; and just to make sure its covering its bases, Ovum thinks there there will be a significant fifth player also making an impact, although the position still seems to be up for grabs.