T-Mobile today unveiled a new $50, unlimited LTE Prepaid plan under their MetroPCS brand. According to the T-Mobile announcement
, the new, $10 less expensive offering is the "undisputed best Unlimited LTE data plan" now available. MetroPCS and T-Mobile also note the offer won't have an expiration date if users sign up for the option before April 5. "Every MetroPCS customer with a 4G LTE data bucket will get an additional gigabyte of 4G LTE data on T-Mobile's network starting today – automatically," notes the release.
Speaking on the company's earnings conference call this week, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo stated that customers waiting for Verizon to follow the industry trend of roll over data plans shouldn't hold their breath. Long a seemingly common-sense idea, Southern carrier C Spire was the first to offer the option of pooling and keeping unused bits and bytes in early December
A new bill introduced in Congress this week would aim to overturn the kind of state protectionist broadband laws this site has written about for roughly fifteen years. The Community Broadband Act
, introduced by Sens.
According to a blog post by T-Mobile CEO John Legere
, 63% of Americans have a less than perfect credit score. Bad credit, the CEO argues, keeps most consumers from being able to qualify for most of the best wireless service and device deals made available.
Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton are spearheading a new attempt to pass weak net neutrality rules before the FCC can vote to craft tougher, Title II based rules on February 26. The press is being incredibly polite about this effort, often painting it
as an honest, bipartisan solution to net neutrality from two gentlemen that have changed their tune.
In what's either a great bit of comedy or ridiculous treatise over at the company blog
, Blackberry CEO John Chen this week gave his two cents on net neutrality (or as he puts it, "app neutrality"). Blackberry, which currently sees around a 2% market share versus iOS and Android, hasn't had a particularly great few years as new products have struggled to resonate with the marketplace.
"Freemium" wireless carrier FreedomPop
has announced a new plan that offers consumers unlimited access to a network of 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for $5 a month. Noting that 90% of data consumed by mobile devices is over Wi-Fi networks, FreedomPop says the 10,000 hotspots
will cover roughly 120 million people and between 65% and 90% of the 100 largest metro markets. The company has released an Android app
, and an iOS app is in the works. "iOS is far more closed, whereas Google has committed to make Wi-Fi as seamless as possible, something else that should scare carriers," states the company.
Hoping few would notice, AT&T's filing with the SEC last Friday
notes that the telecom giant will be taking a $10 billion hit on fourth quarter earnings. According to AT&T, $7.9 billion of that total is "related to actuarial gains and losses on pension and postemployment benefit plans." The specific nature of those losses? The company's ex-employees are living longer than company projections estimated (or as AT&T puts it, they've had to "update mortality assumptions").
As we noted earlier this week
, CEO of T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom made a few comments recently casting doubt on T-Mobile's survival chances in the market. Tim Hoettges stated he wasn't comforted by AT&T and Verizon's likely haul of spectrum at recent auction, and didn't see T-Mobile as a sustainable enterprise long term given the money they're having to spend to keep up with the nation's duopoly. Traditionally outspoken T-Mobile CEO John Legere apparently wasn't too impressed with these reports
Of course it's not really clear what's "bullshit" about the owner of the company Legere works for clearly stating he doesn't think T-Mobile's expensive war on the wireless duopoly is sustainable long term, but Legere tried to repeatedly downplay the comments when asked about them on Twitter:
Reporters like Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin have offered to interview Legere on the subject
to clear up what Legere believes is being misinterpreted, but the wise-cracking CEO doesn't appear to have replied to the offer yet.
Customers happy with T-Mobile's more consumer-friendly disruption of late may not be thrilled by recent comments by the CEO of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom. Speaking to Recode
at the DLD conference in Munich, Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges stated he was disappointed that regulators didn't approve Sprint's merger with T-Mobile, and expressed concern that the recent spectrum auction just widened the gap between Verizon, AT&T and everyone else in the States.
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile's Isis NFC-based mobile payment service was already struggling, with many users either simply not interested in the idea of using their smartphone as a debit card, not trusting a spotty carrier privacy record, already using other services, or simply never having heard of it
. Apparently, AT&T and Verizon's blocking of Google Wallet
to give their product a leg up in the market hasn't worked out that well.
T-Mobile once again tinkered with the company's pricing today, announcing the availability of new "Simply Prepaid" prepaid plans the company claims offer, as the name implies, an option for those looking for simple prepaid LTE plans. According to the T-Mobile announcement
, the plans are capped at around 8 Mbps downstream, and when you've used up your allotment you're throttled back to 128 kbps for the remainder of your billing cycle.
Interested users have three options, according to T-Mobile:
/ month for unlimited data, talk and text + up to 1GB of 4G LTE
/ month for unlimited data, talk and text + up to 3GB of 4G LTE
/ month for unlimited data, talk and text + up to 5GB of 4G LTE
"There’s a reason the Un-carrier continues to be #1 in prepaid, and it starts with our willingness to break the rules and give customers better choices," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere in a statement. "We will never stop eliminating customer pain points."
It's worth noting that while these new prepaid plans will work with Wi-Fi calling, users won't be qualified for T-Mobile's semi-controversial
Music Freedom plan, which exempts the biggest music streaming services from the company's caps. Simply Prepaid users also won't have access to global roaming, and won't get the rollover data option available with T-Mobile's new Data Stash rollover option
Some Verizon shareholders have started more vocally complaining that the company's war on net neutrality is harming the company's long term value. Verizon investors at the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Trillium Asset Management LLC have started making their displeasure more loudly known
, filing a new proposal
requesting more company analysis and reporting on the potential business risks of waging an endless war on net neutrality.
By any measure T-Mobile's intensified competition has been a great thing for consumers, with the company pushing a number of consumer-friendly policies and plans that have then rippled through the industry over the last year or two. Though many of the pricing reactions by AT&T and Verizon have been cosmetic in nature, they've both been admitting to investors they're feeling the pinch
of real competition -- something that would never had happened had AT&T been allowed to acquire T-Mobile.
As most of you know, AT&T has been waging a quiet war on unlimited data users ever since the company grandfathered many of them after switching to shared data plans. This has at times involved going so far as to block Facetime from working
unless users upgraded to capped plans, or even throttling users to 5 GB of usage -- even when the network wasn't facing any meaningful congestion.
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure insists Sprint has finally turned a corner, and as a result isn't hemorrhaging customers quite as badly as they have previously. Claure told attendees of the Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference that the wireless operator added 967,000 total customers during the third quarter, thanks to increased promotions and improvements in customer service. story continues..
In early December C Spire offered something
that some people had been clammoring for for years: roll over data, or the ability to apply unused remaining data allotments to the next month. A few weeks later T-Mobile announced a rollover data plan of their own
, offering users on select plans a "Data Stash" where they can store unused data bytes over the long term.
Both US Senator Richard Blumenthal and Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel held a press conference this week urging customers to claim their refunds in the cramming settlements recently struck with AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T's $105 million settlement
was struck in October, after the government showed AT&T not only ignored the scamming of its own customers, but intentionally made bills harder to read to try and obscure the cramming.
This is relatively funny (at least the ending is). Hopefully we'll see AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam post similar fireside Christmas video chats soon too, right?
As part of the government's announcement this week that they'd be easing restrictions on Cuba, it announced that U.S. telecom firms will now be able to do business in Cuba. story continues..
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