Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced
that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). The goal is to reduce the time that stolen phones remain useful, thereby drying up the market for stolen phones and reducing the ability of criminals to use the devices to dodge surveillance.
The move came after AT&T was sued for doing little to track or stop theft
, the lawsuit alleging it was more profitable to do nothing and cash in on stolen phone re-activations. The lawsuit (and government prodding) spurred AT&T to develop new anti-theft tools
, and carriers in general have been working hard to try and prove they care about cell phone theft.
Still, law enforcement has complained the database has proven ineffective because many phones wind up overseas. New York and San Francisco lawmakers have been eyeing the idea of a "kill switch" that would automatically render a phone useless once its owner has reported it stolen. However, according to the New York Times
, city DAs say carriers are fighting the proposals because they'll lose money on stolen device re-activations:
Mr. Gascón said he is evaluating what action to take regarding the carriers’ refusal to allow Samsung to pre-load a kill switch on its phones. "We have repeatedly requested that the carriers take steps to protect their customers. We are now evaluating what course of action will be necessary to force them to prioritize the safety of their customers over additional money in their pockets," he said.
Carriers are justifying their opposition to a kill switch by claiming they're concerned that hackers could abuse the function to disable devices used by consumers or law enforcement.
T-Mobile chief financial officer Braxton Carter this week told Reuters
that a T-Mobile merger with Sprint would be an excellent idea. "We think it's not a question of if but when that there's further consolidation in our industry," Carter told public attendees of the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference this week in New York. Speaking privately to Reuters, Carter then called a Sprint T-Mobile pairing the "the logical ultimate combination."
Regulators likely won't agree, having recently preserved four competitors by blocking the T-Mobile AT&T merger, though Carter insists that the two smaller companies merging would "create a more competitive environment" by posing a bigger threat to AT&T and Verizon.
directs our attention to some changes in T-Mobile's pricing and tethering policies that may save you a buck. Previously, T-Mobile users needed to shell out an additional $20 if they wanted unlimited smartphone data and 500 MB of tethered data, $30 for 2.5 GB of tethering data, or $40 for 4.5 GB of additional tethering data. Now, customers can pay an additional $20 for 2.5GB of tethering ($10 less), $30 for 4.5 GB ($10 less) or choose a new 6.5GB tethering option for $40. Granted rooted, VPN-using customers for whom data is just data probably find this amusing, but it's still some cost savings for those on stock devices.
Back in May AT&T launched AIO Wireless
, a new prepaid brand that tries to distance itself from AT&T's more traditional (and for some, disliked) corporate image. Part of the brand overhaul includes a website
that features adorable fonts, cozy wood grained backdrops, and occasionally the color magenta.
Outraged over this purportedly diabolical transgression, T-Mobile has filed a lawsuit against AT&T
, claiming that AT&T is intentionally trying to confuse customers by using T-Mobile's familiar hue:
"AT&T’s subsidiary’s use of magenta to attract T-Mobile customers is likely to dilute T-Mobile’s famous magenta color trademark, and to create initial interest [and] confusion as to the source or affiliation of AT&T’s subsidiary’s business..."
This isn't the first time T-Mobile has gotten sue happy over what they believe is their
color, having threatened to sue Engadget back in 2008
for daring to use the color in a mobile website font.
It kind of went without saying given the recent launch of MetroPCS's BYOD program
, but T-Mobile says that their migration of MetroPCS users to the T-Mobile network is well ahead of their planned schedule
. It has been less than two months 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. "The moment that NYSE bell rang on May 1, we put it into high gear and hit the gas," insists T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
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
As we've seen with both Sprint and T-Mobile, LTE launch locations pop up well ahead of official launch markets as the companies run pre-commercial launch tests. Users now say that they're seeing T-Mobile LTE signals pop up in Detroit, Minneapolis and New York City
. Minneapolis is slated for a May launch, while both Detroit and New York City aren't officially expected to come online until June. T-Mobile previously stated they aim to cover 100 million potential customers with LTE by the middle of 2013, with 200 million potential customers covered by the end of this year.
Washington State's Attorney General is hammering T-Mobile over the company's new no contract claims
, insisting that the carrier is engaging in false advertising. Washington AG General Bob Ferguson seems to have taken particular issue with T-Mobile's promises of a $99 iPhone 5, which requires users pay $99 down, then twenty four monthly payments of $20.
After AT&T's attempted takeover of T-Mobile was blocked by regulators, it didn't take T-Mobile long to re-embrace its role of industry upstart, launching a series of ad campaigns that took pot shots at AT&T. Now AT&T's returning the favor. story continues..
As Broadband Reports reader johnnn
first scooped back in December
, T-Mobile has quietly been deploying their implementation of HD voice without much fanfare. Unlike upcoming versions of VoLTE, T-Mobile's implementation of HD voice doesn't eat batteries for breakfast, and it's also operating at a significantly lower bit rate (12.65kbps).
T-Mobile made waves last year finally stating they'd be selling the iPhone in 2013. At the same time the fourth-place carrier announced they'd also be getting rid of subsidies this year
, meaning you could pay full price for an iPhone, or pay it off by adding $15-$20 to your monthly bill.
T-Mobile has launched HSPA+ service in the company's 1900 MHz spectrum in several new markets as the carrier continues to woo unlocked device owners. According to a blog post
by CTO Neville Ray, the company has expanded what they're calling "enhanced" service in Chicago; Reno, Nevada; and Fresno, Sacramento and a few additional portions of Southern California. "T-Mobile has now enhanced the network in 23 metro areas, and we have already reached 100 million people with this improved network experience," said Ray. While the improvements are great, T-Mobile still has a lot of work to do in order to be prepared for their launch of the iPhone in 2013
, with huge portions of their footprint nationally still only offering EDGE speeds
T-Mobile has launched HSPA+ service in the company's 1900 MHz spectrum in several new markets, and the carrier continues to woo unlocked device owners. According to a blog post
by T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray, the company has turned on 1900 MHz in Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and additional portions of the Bay Area.
In addition to T-Mobile announcing that they'll start selling Apple products in 2013
, is the potentially more interesting fact that they'll stop selling subsidized phones. Speaking at Deutsche Telekom's annual investor conference, T-Mobile CEO John Legere confirmed that subsidized phones will no longer be a part of the company's business model next year, with consumers either paying full price for devices, or choosing to pay the device off in installments.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is attacking the MetroPCS and T-Mobile merger, insisting that the deal will cost a significant number of American jobs. In a filing with the FCC
(pdf), the CWA insists that the deal would result in the potential loss of more than 10,000 jobs, hidden under the promise of "network and non-network synergies,'' created by the deal.
Insisting that MetroPCS and T-Mobile are "cheating shareholders" through a "drastically undervalued" deal, MetroPCS investors have filed suit to block the deal. The deal would give Deutsche Telekom a 74% stake in the combined company, and involves a 1-for-2 reverse stock split and a $1.5 billion cash payment to shareholders at $4.09 per share. The deal also involves shutting down the MetroPCS network, and migrating users slowly over to the eventual T-Mobile LTE network. However, MetroPCS shareholders aren't happy with the arrangement, saying that it favors T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom and the company's executives
"The process leading to the proposed acquisition was tainted by conflicts, tilted towards T-Mobile and driven entirely by the board and company management, who together control 15.4 percent of PCS' outstanding stock and seek liquidity for their illiquid holdings. [Metro]PCS' officers and directors will receive millions of dollars in special payments - not being made to ordinary shareholders - for currently unvested stock options, performance units and restricted shares, all of which shall, upon the merger's closing, become fully vested and exercisable."
The plaintiffs are demanding "injunctive and declaratory relief" for "derivative and class claims of breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of control, gross mismanagement, unjust enrichment and corporate waste."
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