Is Google ready to become a mobile phone carrier?

by Jeff Causey on
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Google Wifi

New reports out today suggest Google is starting to make moves to become a mobile phone service carrier in locations where it has deployed Google Fiber service. Supposedly Google has been in contact with Verizon to discuss the possibility of becoming a mobile virtual network operator riding on the back of Verizon’s network. Some sources have pointed out that Verizon and Google are not exactly on the same page when it comes to issues like net neutrality, so a partnership of this magnitude may be questionable. It should be noted though that Google actively develops for the iOS platform, so the company clearly will not let some philosophical disagreements stand in the way of good business.

Would you be interested in using Google as your carrier for wireless service?

source: The Information
via: Engadget

Verizon launches Smart Rewards program, offers points for monthly plans, bill payments, and more

by Jared Peters on
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Verizon’s answer to AT&T’s new, slightly cheaper rate plan isn’t a rate plan of their own. Nope, Verizon is launching a rewards program for customers. This won’t help you lower your bill, but it will give you rewards points for having a higher data cap that you can spend on… gift cards.

The rewards program works pretty much like a credit or debit card rewards system. Whenever you pay your bill online, you get 10 rewards points for every dollar you spend. For every GB in your data package, you get another 1,000 points. Adding lines to your account or signing up for different services also gives you points. » Read the rest

What does “Unlimited” even mean anymore? US Cellular offers new plan, but read the small print

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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US Cellular

The word “unlimited” is pretty good for marketing purposes— the world definitely has a certain buzz to it, and sounds almost as if you’re getting some kind of good deal (as if those even existed anymore).

US Cellular is now offering a new “No Contract Unlimited Data, Talk & Text” for $50. It’s the same price as the company’s 1GB plan, but there’s a catch. With the new “unlimited” plan, after you go over a cap of 500MB of data, your data speeds will be shot down all the way to 1X (2G) speeds. Ouch.

Hit the break for the fine print.

» Read the rest

T-Mobile press release celebrates AT&T customer buyback offer with Star Wars references

by Jared Peters on
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T-Mobile’s latest press release is a little different compared to what they normally do. The Uncarrier actually complimented some of AT&T’s practices, instead of taking shots at the carrier. AT&T’s latest move is to offer T-Mobile customers up to $450 to switch back to AT&T, which T-Mobile is celebrating as the “greatest T-Mobile trial offer in history.”

In the press release, T-Mobile “quotes” AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega, saying AT&T finally stepped out from the dark side and dismantled the Death Star (seriously) to support to the Uncarrier consumer revolution. For the first time ever, AT&T decided to wake up and put the customer first, de la Vega “said.” The buyback program allowed AT&T customers to test out T-Mobile’s network, since they could switch back if they were unhappy. » Read the rest

Republic Wireless now offering Moto X

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Service on Republic Wireless may not be top-notch, but the cost of their plans certainly are. To go along with these awesome plans, they now have a pretty awesome phone. The company announced that the Moto X is now available on the carrier for $299 off-contract.

If you want to see how Republic’s plans work, see the info below.

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data, on WiFi only – $5/month
  • Unlimited talk and text on WiFi and cellular, and unlimited data on WiFi – $10/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi, plus 3G cellular – $25/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and data on WiFi, plus 4G LTE cellular – $40/month

Source: Republic Wireless

Sprint announces ‘Spark’ technology to surpass competitor speeds

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Although Sprint isn’t considered the top wireless carrier in the country, it’s still very much in the race, and its new ‘Spark’ technology could very well make it a very appealing option.

Sprint claims that its new technology reaches peak rates of 50 to 60Mbps.

How long will we have to wait to see Spark? Well it’s actually rolling out today in five select regions: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Tampa. It’s also expected to reach over 100 million Americans by the end of 2014, and will be implemented in over 100 cities over the next three years.

However, current smartphones won’t be able to take advantage of this new technology. Devices have to have tri-band hardware— the first of such devices should be arriving from LG, HTC, and Samsung in November.

Hopefully this new technology will make data speeds a whole lot faster not only for Sprint customers, but for all wireless users everywhere.

Hit the break for the full press release:

» Read the rest

Leaked photos show T-Mobile branded Sony Xperia Z1

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Everyone’s known about how great a phone the Xperia Z1 is, but unfortunately it wasn’t going to be made available on U.S. carriers. Until now.

A recent photo leaked by @evleaks shows the device with T-Mobile branding at the bottom, signaling a stateside release for the phone.

As a recap, here’s what’s packed inside the phone:

You get a 5-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, a 20MP shooter with a 1/2.3-inch image sensor, and ships with Android 4.2 and Sony’s UI.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing this beast in the United States pretty soon.

Source: @evleaks


Carrier Battle: Fight for coverage becomes race for speed

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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Mobile carriers’ commercials used to feature big bright maps showing how many regions were covered by that carrier’s cell towers. Cheesy spokesmen would show the maps side by side, making it easy to see that their respective company covered the most area in the country. Verizon was the clear winner of that battle, but as time went on, there was only so much room to improve, and the fight is almost evening out. It’s almost over.

However, the carriers have something new to argue over. Who’s network is the fastest?

Expect T-Mobile to be making that case very soon. The company is about to kill global data roaming rates in over 100 countries, and it’s currently seeing speeds between 6Mbps and 20Mbps on its LTE network.

This information led CEO John Legere to tell the media at a recent NYC event that its network is currently faster than AT&T’s. But is it the fastest?

In an interview with AllThingsD, Legere said, ”I’m not announcing we’re the fastest,” Legere said.  “I’m announcing we will be announcing that.”

Expect it to come soon, as T-Mobile will try to make a huge push for holiday sales. Showing potential customers that it’s time to switch is only step one.

Source: FierceWireless

HTC One Mini to come to AT&T exclusively on August 23

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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If you’re a Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint customer, you might not like this— AT&T has recently announced that they will be the exclusive wireless carrier of the upcoming HTC One Mini. The device is a smaller (shorter, lighter, thinner) version of it’s big brother, the One, but is still a very solid phone.

The One’s aluminum body is borrowed by the Mini, and will feature a 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 720p HD screen. The Ultra Pixel camera is the same as well, but the processor is downgraded with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core at 1.4 GHz. All the great features are also built-in, including BlinkFeed, Zoe, BoomSound, and many more.

Probably the best part of the device is its price tag of $99. If you dig it, go grab one from AT&T when it’ll be available on August 23. Check out the full press release after the break for more information.

» Read the rest

Verizon may bundle Google All-Access subscription in monthly carrier billing

by Jared Peters on
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In an attempt to push the popularity of its All-Access subscriptions, Google is reportedly in talks with Verizon to bundle the subscription price into customer’s monthly bills, probably in an effort to make the subscription more accessible and profitable. The rate would still be the $9.99, and there doesn’t appear to be any extra benefits to Verizon customers, but it would definitely make the subscription more appealing to customers who don’t like to use their credit cards to get any type of service billed to them. And we’ve already seen Verizon offer six months of All Access to customers who purchase a new Droid phone, so it’s pretty clear Big Red and Google are trying to make these types of deals work with both parties. We’ll be sure to let you know if any of these talks materialize into anything.

source: Billboard

via: 9to5 Google