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writes in to direct our attention to the fact that Sprint has announced
that they've launched LTE service in another twenty two new markets, including Miami, New Orleans, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. As always the usual Sprint launch caveats apply: many users had seen signal in these locations for some time as Sprint brings signals online for testing well before a commercial launch. Said launches aren't always what you'd call comprehensive
either; only around 40% of towers have been LTE approved in the Miami launch market. The launches bring Sprint's LTE market total to 110. The company aims to offer LTE to 200 million people by the end of this year.
Elaborating on announcements made back in February
, GM says that they'll soon bring AT&T LTE connectivity to most of their 2015 car models
, with the broadband tied to the vehicle's OnStar infotainment and emergency aid services. GM insists that the automobile will be the next great tech evolution platform "and one with far better battery life than an iPhone." Two hurdles will mar GM and AT&T's vision: one, most people now already have a smartphone with mobile hotspot capability and aren't keen on paying more money for another pricey (some would say over-priced) AT&T data connection. Two, automaker infotainment system GUI's traditionally seem like they're designed by teams of drunk orangutans -- a huge, persistent problem when you're technically competing with iOS and Android for the driver's attention.
An anonymous source insists to the Wall Street Journal
that Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile do not "directly" help the NSA due to the potential issues raised by their foreign ownership ties. Presumably, such cooperation would provide T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom and Verizon Wireless co-owner Vodafone with too much data on the NSA's practices:
Legal, practical and political obstacles are all possible reasons why the two firms are excluded from the NSA program.
Dish says that the company has started testing a fixed LTE product capable of delivering speeds up to 50 Mbps. In a press statement
, Dish insists that they've seen speeds of 25-30 Mbps downstream using 2.5 GHz BRS spectrum in Virginia tests with their partner nTelos, who they recently announced a new fixed LTE partnership with
. Dish has offered up this video
with a few produced consumer impressions of the service, though the company has yet to announce an plans for expansion beyond the Virginia test sites, or prices (or cap) plans for when/if the service sees full commerical deployment. Unless the price and caps are outrageous, this could be a promising option for users stuck on satellite broadband.
Both state and city prosecutors around the country are forming a new coalition aimed at thwarting cell phone theft
, in the process taking aim at carriers and handset makers for not doing enough to help. The coalition includes attorneys general from New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Delaware, Minnesota and Hawaii -- as well as DAs and police officials from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Boston.
Complicating the Dish, Clearwire, SoftBank and Sprint romance further, Clearwire's board has officially rebuffed Sprint and appears to be favoring a deal with Dish Network. Clearwire's board this week rescheduled their shareholder meeting for June 24, and urged stockholders to vote against Sprint's latest offer to acquire the remainder of Clearwire Sprint currently doesn't own. story continues..
Confirming the rumblings from last week
, MetroPCS today launched their new bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program that allows users to bring their GSM-based Android phones and iPhones to the MetroPCS network. According to the MetroPCS website
, this new BYOD program is currently only available in Dallas, Las Vegas, Hartford and Boston. MetroPCS is allowing users to access the T-Mobile network this week, and MetroPCS plans to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit and the LG Optimus L9 (both GSM/HSPA+ devices). Interested users can check if their phone is eligible for the BYOD option here
According to the Financial Times
, Japanese carrier SoftBank has upped their offer for Sprint to $21.6 billion, after being pressured in that direction by a counter-offer from Dish Network. That $1.5 billion increase appears to have all but sealed the deal for SoftBank, Sprint having now cut off talks with Dish while stating that the special committee examining the offers "is not reasonably likely to lead to a 'superior offer." SoftBank this week appears to have leaked information to the press
suggesting they'd acquire T-Mobile if the Sprint deal went through, adding some additional pressure to accept the offer that came through shortly after the leaks went public.
claims that SoftBank is in talks with Deutsche Telekom to acquire T-Mobile if their bid for Sprint falls through. The news outlet claims that three different sources have confirmed the talks, which intensified after Dish made a $25.5 billion counterbid to acquire Sprint. Some analysts believe the sudden leaks to the press are more political than serious. "It seems to me that this is more SoftBank posturing to perhaps pressure Sprint's special committee to not delay the vote next week to continue its negotiations with Ergen," said BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk.
The cable industry today announced that their creatively named joint "CableWiFi" initiative now offers access to more than 150,000 hotspots if you're a paying customer of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, or Cox Communications. That number is up from the 50,000 offered just last year. The initiative piggybacked initially on the back of Cablevision's idea to deploy free Wi-Fi to paying customers across NYC commuter regions. Users simply have to look for the CableWiFi SSID and log in with their cable credentials. Time Warner Cable offers this hotspot location map
, as well as a Wi-Fi finder app available both via Google Play
or the iTunes store
AT&T has followed Verizon's lead and has increased the amount of time before customers under contract qualify for a new smartphone. Back in April Verizon announced
that the company was increasing their upgrade eligibility window to a full 24 months, the move coming just a few years
after Verizon bumped the window from 12 to 20 months and killed their "new every two
" program. On their consumer blog, AT&T says they're matching the move made by Verizon
and announcing a 24-month upgrade policy across all of AT&T's wireless products and services. AT&T's at least kind enough to avoid bogus explanations why (like it "improves the customer experience" and the like).
Long after this week's surveillance firestorm erupted, the White House has finally seen fit to grace the public with some justifications for their wholesale secret spying on pretty much everyone, everywhere, all the time. In a speech (full video here
), Obama effectively stated that spying on such a ridiculous scale is a "critical" tool in the country's arsenal, and that both
of the programs
exposed in more detail this week were approved by Congress, and therefore perfectly ok.
Joseph Brown has developed hacked carrier updates for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, so you would expect that he knows a little something about the code rumbling around inside both iPhones and iPads. Interestingly, Brown is making waves this week with a blog post
(that has since disappeared, though you can find an alternate explanation here
) claiming that Apple is intentionally throttling back the speeds both iPhone and iPads are capable of at the behest of wireless carriers.
According to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers
, consumer spending on wireless data services is expected to pass consumer spending on fixed-line broadband services sometime this year. Last year in the United States, home Internet spending reached $46.5 billion compared to $44.5 billion for mobile data, but mobile data is expected to reach $54 billion this year while home access reaches $49.6 billion.
A few years back, Verizon was the place to go if you were an Android user, choosing to heavily embrace and market Android phones because AT&T had locked up the iPhone exclusively. It's amazing how quickly things can change. story continues..
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new gesture recognition technology that uses physical disruption in Wi-Fi signals around us to control household technology. According to the researcher's findings
(pdf), this new "WiSee" technology they've developed uses a 4-antenna receiver and a single-antenna transmitter placed in the living room to detect physical movements anywhere in the home (unlike current camera-based setups like Kinect that require you stand in front of your television). With that set up, researchers say that can currently get 94% accuracy in about 64% of the household setups they've tested this in. There's a little more detail here
, and they've also made a video
of the technology in motion.
Upstart MVNO FreedomPop
will be expanding its free-based business model further, offering new plans this summer tied to certain Android phones that offer 200 free voice minutes, along with unlimited texting and 500 megabytes of data service. The company already offers users 500 megabytes of free data service -- though our users are quick to point out it's not technically free due to the $2 fee charged to warn you when you're getting close to your usage limits, or the $1 charged when you don't use your service enough
. According to a company press release
, the plans should drop "later this summer." "The quality of over-the-top VoIP services is now at a stage where we can deliver the major mobile services completely free to consumers," insists the company.
has nabbed three leaked internal company screenshots that show MetroPCS customers should gain access to the T-Mobile GSM and HSPA networks starting next week. MetroPCS plans to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit and the LG Optimus L9 (both GSM/HSPA+ devices). As of June 12, the leaks also suggest that MetroPCS customers will also be able to bring their own GSM phones to connect to the T-Mobile network. Barely a month after the ink was dry on the deal, and the company is already speeding along with their plan to shut down the MetroPCS CDMA network, use that network for LTE deployment, then continue running MetroPCS as a prepaid brand.
Sprint has responded to Dish's recent improved offer to acquire Clearwire
-- by claiming that the proposed acquisition is illegal. In a letter sent to Clearwire board members, Sprint claimed that Dish's offer violates Delaware state law, where Clearwire is incorporated. "In its letter, Sprint noted that several rights demanded by DISH, including a contractual agreement to designate at least three Clearwire Board members and the right to veto certain Clearwire actions are violations of the EHA or Delaware law," Sprint said in a press release
. "Likewise, the DISH proposal calls for Sprint to effectively give up certain of its rights and ignores the requirement that Sprint and other EHA holders must consent to the rights DISH has required as a condition to its tender offer."
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , Linklist