carriers Stories March 29, 2017

Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ today, but as usual, each US carrier is going to be announcing their own availability and pricing for the phone. While some speculated sky-high prices for the S8 and S8+, some initial prices we’re seeing from carriers suggest that it won’t be priced all too differently than last year’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge…

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carriers Stories May 25, 2016

android-m-security-date

Android has long been plagued by a lack of timely operating system and security updates. According to Bloomberg, Google may finally be cracking down on the problem through a variety of methods, including a publication of a list that ranks OEMs.

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carriers Stories May 6, 2016

verizon building

Verizon released an OTA update today for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge that adds some minor features and fixes several bugs. However, users have noticed that the update also installs a service called DT Ignite that allows carriers to quietly install bloatware. This addition went unmentioned in Verizon’s release notes, but fortunately is easy to disable.

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carriers Stories March 7, 2016

loon

Google is pushing forward with its Project Loon plans to bring Internet access to remote parts of India as The Economic Times today reported the company is currently in talks with local telecommunications providers.

The publication spoke with Google India chief Rajan Ananda who confirmed the talks with local providers for Loon without naming specific companies, but the report noted telco BSNL among other unnamed companies are actively included in the discussions.

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carriers Stories February 21, 2016

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will be hitting US carriers much sooner than the LG G5. While AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have all announced they will carry the LG G5 and its accompanying accessories, there is not a set availability or pre-order date among the carriers. The best hint of when LG’s latest flagship device will be available comes from Best Buy.

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carriers Stories January 7, 2016

Sprint continues the trend, will stop offering two-year contracts for smartphones

The trend of carriers ending contract pricing continues today. According to an internal leaked document obtained by Android Central, Sprint smartphone subsidy options are now limited to customers who wish to add a line to an existing account or upgrade their existing phone. This move follows AT&T’s announcement that it will stop offering two-year contracts this week, as well as Verizon, who simplified its offerings last August.

carriers Stories November 2, 2015

Sprint announces new agreement to let subscribers roam in Cuba

Sprint today announced a new agreement with the Telecommunications Company of Cuba that will allow the fourth-largest US carrier’s subscribers to roam in Cuba. The move comes on the heels of changes to US-Cuban relations recently implemented by the US government.

The Sprint press release (below) mentions two of the company’s global roaming initiatives, but doesn’t specify whether Cuba will join the existing programs or will be part of a different offer.

The company says the exact details and the timing of the launch will be announced at a later date.

carriers Stories October 14, 2015

T-Mobile brings back its 4 for $120, 10GB-per-line deal

T-Mobile is bringing back one of its most popular promotions by — once again — offering four 10GB data lines for $120 total. The offer is available for a limited time from today, and is ideal for data-hungry families needing multiple lines. With no overages, you know exactly what your bill’s going to be every month too.

If you don’t need four lines, you can get two 10GB lines at $50 each:

With #10Gigs4All, two people can get up to 10 GB of 4G LTE each – no sharing required – for just $100 a month. Then, each additional line is just $20 more per person – also with 10 GB of T-Mobile’s blazing-fast 4G LTE. Now, with this promotion, that 4th line is free, bringing the total cost to just $120 per month for a family of four.

As with every Simple Choice plan, customers signing up get access to a host of awesome offers including rollover data for up to 12 months, Wi-Fi calling, unlimited music streaming and unlimited in-flight texting with GoGo. Customers also get unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, as well as the ability to use 4G LTE data from their plan allowances in those countries, unlimited data and texts in 140 countries abroad and unlimited international texts from the US. Compared to the other three carrier options, it looks a fantastic deal:

 

carriers Stories July 30, 2015

Google adds 40 new companies to the Android for Work program

Google’s Android for Work program already has more than 10,000 businesses that are “testing, deploying or using Android for Work” in some capacity, and now the company has announced 40 new partners. Notably, several Android handset OEMs are joining the group, as well as 8 cellular carriers.

The Android for Work program took off with the help of our partners across the Android ecosystem, and today we’re expanding the family to 40 companies to continue the momentum, including new device manufacturers, application makers and management providers.

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, Dell, and HP are among some of the notable additions. Google makes note of Blackphone as one of the newly-partnered companies that brings the enhanced privacy and security features on top of the Android platform.

carriers Stories July 23, 2015

Google Play Store carrier billing added in Denmark, Saudi Arabia, & 2 more countries

Carrier billing, also known as direct billing, is a way through which customers of Google Play can pay for premium downloads without ever manually inputting a credit, debit or gift card – by having new charges billed directly to the carrier service plan they pay monthly. Now it’s available for Play Store customers on a few more select carriers in several countries – only on select carriers, though. The change was initially spotted by Android Police.

Here are the carriers and countries where Play Store carrier billing is now available:

  • 3 in Denmark
  • Sun in Philippines
  • Mobily in Saudi Arabia
  • Avea in Turkey
  • du in UAE

Typing on mobile devices can be a frustrating, mistake-prone experience that takes longer than typing on a full-sized desktop keyboard, so it’s no surprise to see app developers quickly bringing to fruition changes that reduce the amount of finger-pecking necessary to take action – making password input a fallback to fingerprint scanning being one example. The full list of carriers and countries that have support for Play Store carrier billing is available on Google’s support site.

carriers Stories March 2, 2015

Sundar Pichai

During an interview at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona today, Google’s Android chief Sundar Pichai made a few interesting announcements, including confirming the company will launch its own wireless service as an MVNO in the coming months. expand full story

carriers Stories February 20, 2015

Family Share Pack 2_20_15

Just one day after T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced the wireless provider surpassed Sprint to become the number three carrier in the country, Sprint today announced a new aggressive shared data plan that it says offers better value compared to T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. expand full story

carriers Stories February 19, 2015

John Legere says T-Mobile passed Sprint to become third largest US carrier

T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced during the company’s Q4 earnings call today that the company has surpassed Sprint to become the number three carrier in the country.

That would mean the carrier has reached its goal set by Legere to move ahead of Sprint by the end of last year (via The Verge):

“…Going into this year, they have 55 million customers… T-Mobile had 33 million customers. We merged with MetroPCS and went to 42 million customers, and we’ve since added 13 million customers to get up to, guess what, 55 million customers.”

So as of right now the two appear to be neck and neck based on the numbers Legere shared, but he also hinted T-Mobile’s lead would be easier to see over “the next quarter or two.”

carriers Stories February 4, 2015

Verizon More Everything Promo

Verizon is following its More Everything holiday promotion today with a new limited time promo for its customers, the carrier announced today. Starting tomorrow, Verizon will begin offering customers data plans at new price points from 1GB up to 20GB with most price tiers being reduced by $10/month compared to their previous rates.

With the new plans, customers can take advantage of plans with the same data amount at a cheaper rate, or pay the same price and receive a data increase. Additionally, Verizon will introduce more data tiers with 12GB, 14GB, and 16GB options. expand full story

carriers Stories January 23, 2015

Sprint T-Mobile promo

Just one day after T-Mobile unveiled its Smartphone Equality program letting loyal customers avoid credit checks, Sprint has announced a new promotion specifically targeting T-Mobile customers with an offer to make switching carriers easier. Sprint’s latest buyback and trade-in offer joins the carrier’s existing ‘Cut Your Bill in Half’ promo which encourages AT&T and Verizon customers to switch; T-Mobile was notably missing from that offer. Here’s how Sprint details the new promotion for T-Mobile customers: expand full story

carriers Stories January 22, 2015

code_mobile_20141027_195237_9701-20141027_19-52-37_114

T-Mobile often rolls out “Un-carrier” initiatives that intend to challenge its competitors (which sometimes get copied), and John Legere’s latest announcement for the company is no different. The T-Mobile CEO shared today that the carrier soon start offering the same financing options to customers with weak credit as it provides for well qualified customers. The program is called Smartphone Equality, and here’s how it works… expand full story

carriers Stories December 9, 2014

AT&T and Verizon warn investors of higher Q4 churn as Sprint and T-Mobile increase competition

While the traditional wireless landscape in the United States has consisted of AT&T and Verizon Wireless as the heavyweights and Sprint and T-Mobile as the underdogs, the divide between the carriers appears to be quickly narrowing. Sprint and T-Mobile have both introduced highly-competitive plans and promotional offerings in the fourth quarter, leading many consumers to switch carriers at a higher-than-average pace.

carriers Stories August 20, 2014

Verizon logo (medium)

Update: Verizon tells Re/code it has no plans to create an app store, adding “Been there. Done that.”

According to a new report from The Information, Verizon is looking to launch its own global app store and in the process has held talks regarding building an “industry coalition” of sorts with other carriers to do so. The app store would of course be a direct competitor for Google’s own Play Store that currently controls the majority of app downloads made on Android devices. expand full story

carriers Stories November 11, 2013

MotoMaker

When Motorola launched its first smartphone as a Google company with the Moto X back in August, the big stand out feature for the device was the ability to apply over 2000 customizations at the time of purchase. Motorola let users pick the front, back, and accent colors, match headphone and case colors, and more all though its MotoMaker.com online ordering tool. Unfortunately, until today the MotoMaker tool was exclusive to AT&T with other carriers only selling white and black models of the Moto X.

The good news is AT&T’s exclusivity window has now officially ended and starting today you can order a customized Moto X through Moto Maker from all major US carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. expand full story

carriers Stories October 15, 2013

T-Mobile sunsets grandfathered plans with new rates due to ‘complexity’

Blame it on ‘unnecessary complexity’, but T-Mobile revealed today plans to move customers still using paying old rates to updated plans in an effort to reduce the number of plans it services (via TmoNews).

The Uncarrier is set make these changes starting next month and will give customers until February 2014 to choose new plans before imposing fees for users on grandfathered plans.

For T-Mobile’s part, the carrier offered the following statement:

Maintaining thousands of rate plans is the norm in the industry, but we think it creates unnecessary complexity. Simple is better, which is why we’re reducing the number of older plans in our systems. We’re giving customers on these plans the opportunity to choose a plan that best meets their needs. For the vast majority, their plan will provide similar or better features at a comparable price.

News of T-Mobile’s plans originally surfaced when one customer posted the letter seen below to an online forum:

This story was cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

carriers Stories April 16, 2013

via skattertech.com

via skattertech.com

Since acquiring Motorola for $13 billion last May, Google has been expected to launch a Motorola smartphone running stock Android, but the most recent Google-branded Nexus 4 device was made in partnership with LG.

Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks tells PC Mag, though, that Google and Motorola have been working closely during that time on multiple devices running stock Android with less overlay that we should expect later this year.

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carriers Stories March 21, 2012

Google’s mobile payment system, known as Google Wallet,” has not received the kind of warm welcome that the company might have hoped. First, there were issues with Verizon blocking the service on the new Galaxy Nexus as the carrier prepped its own rival service, known as “ISIS.” Wallet then had a few roadblocks with security concerns related to prepaid cards, which the company apologized for with complimentary $5 deposits to Google wallet users. Today, a report from Bloomberg citing “people with knowledge of the project” claimed, despite being “enthusiastic” about progress, Google is considering sharing revenue with carriers to get them to support the technology:

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carriers Stories September 27, 2011

A Localytics study issued today helps understand why Verizon Wireless recently sided with Samsung in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung legal saga. Per Localytics’ data, 4G is one of Android’s key differentiators: More than one in three Android phones in the United States take advantage of fourth-generation cellular networks. In the third quarter of this year, some 36.6 percent of Android handsets in the United States were 4G-ready, a notable increase over the 22.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

This number is increasing rapidly – since the beginning of the year, the percentage of Android devices that are 4G-capable has grown by over 50 percent, culminating at a full third of the Android ecosystem. It will be interesting to see whether the iPhone 5 supports any type of 4G network. The drawbacks – bulkier antenna and a much shorter battery life – may outweigh the benefits in speed. Regardless, with the growth in 4G-capable handsets Android has seen, it appears that smartphone users are buying into the value of speed. We’ll see how this continues. 

The nation’s most popular 4G handsets in the third quarter were the HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon), the HTC Evo 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Droid Charge (Verizon), the myTouch 4G (T-Mobile USA) and the Motorola Atrix (AT&T). A few caveats and the full list of most popular 4G devices in the country right below the fold…

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carriers Stories July 28, 2011

Carrier Sprint today announced a fifteen-year deal with LightSquared enabling them to offer 4G LTE services on their network. As you know, Sprint currently offers wireless broadband marketed as 4G through its majority stake in Clearwire, utilizing their WiMax technology. Sprint couldn’t have signed a better deal to joing the 4G LTE craze. LightSquared will actually pay the carrier $9 billion in cash over the course of eleven years to deploy an LTE network, spending itself $13 billion over the next eight years on boosting their network capacity. In return, the company will be allowed to sell their 4G service to Sprint customers. Sprint can tap up to 50 percent of LightSquared’s 4G capacity and a roaming agreement will be in place by 2012.

On the downside, LightSquared plans on launching its first 4G market in 2012 and finish commercial deployment by 2015. Compared this to AT&T and Verizon Wireless which already operate 4G LTE service in select markets and plan to commercially deploy their networks by the end of next year. However, Sprint is the nation’s third-largest carrier with 51 million customers as of June so the ability to host on their network an increasing number of 4G LTE smartphones will positively impact their bottom line and competitiveness. Plus. Sprint is rumored to have been testing a Sprint iPhone for some time, with Apple seeking a carrier engineer in the Kansas City area, where Sprint is headquartered.

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carriers Stories July 12, 2011

AT&T this morning announced first two devices 4G LTE devices, both Mac compatible: A 4G LTE mobile hotspot and a 4G LTE USB modem. If you live in any of AT&T’s five 4G LTE markets (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, with more coming by the year’s end), you can take advantage of 4G LTE speeds. Those living outside the initial 4G LTE coverage needn’t worry because AT&T, as they say, will have the only combo LTE/HSPA+ network and both devices feature HSPA+ support as a fallback technology. “Our customers will receive a more consistent mobile broadband experience that supports simultaneous voice and data connections and higher speeds than others can provide outside their LTE footprint”, AT&T argues. More on the devices, availability and price points after the break.

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carriers Stories June 28, 2011

Credit: Mark Costantini, San Francisco Chronicle

It is no secret that Sprint is formally opposing AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $39 billion. Sprint argued the transaction would legalize duopoly in America and asked the government to intervene. The transaction is currently pending federal review by the FCC and Department of Justice, which could take at least a year.

This morning, Bloomberg cast more light on Sprint’s plans to block the deal, which include “nukes” mapped out in red, blue and green ink on a huge whiteboard in the company’s “White Room”. Sprint’s boss Dan Hesse’s used the nuclear tactics analogy in his one-on-one with Bloomberg’s Greg Bensinger, telling the journo that his company has put considerable resources to block this deal:

Clearly, purely, we want to win and block the merger. This one poses real risks.

Hesse is also adamant to spur the public debate around the issues of the merger and lobby Congress to scrutinize the transaction. He enlisted “lobbyists, consulting groups, two former US House Judiciary Committee counsels and lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP”. Sprint even “tapped its own engineers to show AT&T how to get more capacity from its wireless network so it wouldn’t need to buy T-Mobile”, the report notes. Then, there’s money. Sprint, the nation’s #3 carrier, has been losing some of its 50 million subscribers to AT&T and Verizon – which both carry the iPhone – in 14 of the last 15 quarters. Their debt-to-capital ratio is 57 percent versus 41 percent for Verizon and 37 percent for AT&T.

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carriers Stories May 3, 2011

Bad news for data-hungry Android fans. According to DroidLife, carriers are pressuring Google to selectively block third-party apps which enable tethering on Android devices. Worse, they seem to be succeeding at it, too. This change in stance affects the many tethering programs on Android Market such as Wireless Tether. The site did a little digging to discover that even though browser-based Android Market lists tethering apps, they cannot be installed on the devices authorized on the Verizon network. Commenting on the above image, the site wrote:

What you are seeing, is my list of devices, all of which cannot accept this app.

Tethering apps allow consumers to use their cellphone’s 3G connection on a notebook. While cellular data consumed this way still counts against your monthly data allotment, such programs effectively avoid carrier-enforced tethering plan that cost between $30-$45 a month and upwards.

The news follows AT&T’s warning last week that unofficial tethering will automatically trigger the extra $25 fee. Meanwhile, This is my next reminded that selectively blocking software by carrier request is at stark contrast to Google’s proclaimed openness. The publication reminded that the last year’s auction for the C Block 700MHz spectrum that Verizon now uses for its LTE network came with the promise of open applications and handsets, saying Google pushed the bid past the $4.6 billion mark in an effort to ensure those licensing conditions would be in place.

Ah, the carriers – you gotta love those guys. The Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg once likened them “the Soviet ministries”, the definition which is still true today. No matter how you call them – the Soviet ministries, wireless operators, telcos or just carriers – they are at odds at all times with both handset makers and (especially) platform providers.

Google could be an extreme example because the company neither sells handsets nor the open-sourced Android operating system nor its many online services that are offered free of charge. Yup – you guessed right – Google’s in it for advertising and carriers are loving it provided they get a piece of the action, too.

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