On the heels of T-Mobile's announcement last week
that they've started a heavy push toward Wi-Fi calling, AT&T says they'll also be offering Wi-Fi calling starting in 2015. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated last week the company will be offering it next year, but hasn't been in a rush because, they claim, their network coverage is good enough (unlike T-Mobile's, the CEO implied).
That wasn't the only shot AT&T at T-Mobile last week, the CEO claiming that recent offers by T-Mobile that boost data allotments for a limited time (an extra gig or two during your current contract period) aren't something users want
"Those exploding offers -- customers hate those offers," de la Vega said Friday. "Unless they change their mind, we won't offer those kinds of promotions."..."The prices you have are the ones you see," he said. Regarding the promotional plans from rivals, he said, "Those who buy them will have interesting times when they expire."
AT&T continues to downplay T-Mobile's disruption at every possible opportunity, de la Vega also pointing out that AT&T's postpaid customer churn rate sits at around 1%. T-Mobile CEO John Legere's response was, meanwhile, very much in character for the outspoken CEO:
Back in July French telco Iliad lobbed a rather underwhelming softball offer
of acquisition at T-Mobile, offering $15 billion in cash to acquire 56.6 percent of T-Mobile. Deutsche Telekom wasn't impressed, though reports suggest that the company is still very much open to a deal to sell the freshly-disruptive US carrier, which the company has been trying to offload since 2011 or before. Reuters
indicates that Iliad is preparing to make an improved offer, "but has set specific limits on how much money it would raise to fund any deal." Deutsche Telekom spent a year negotiating a T-Mobile sale to Sprint, only to have it scrapped on fears that regulators would block the deal.
T-Mobile has announced that as part of their "uncarrier 7.0" announcement, they'll be expanding the company's Wi-Fi calling initiative, offering a program called "Wi-Fi Unleashed" to nudge more users toward the feature. According to a T-Mobile announcement
, the company is enabling Wi-Fi calling and texting for every Simple Choice customer on every new smartphone sold by the company.
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, already using other services, or simply never having heard of it
. Now things are more complicated, with the service suddenly sharing its name with a violent iraqi uprising dominating the newswires (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS).
T-Mobile has announced that the company will be pushing MetroPCS 10 new markets across the country this fall. According to a company press release
, since acquiring the prepaid carrier, T-Mobile has taken MetroPCS from just over 6,000 points of sale in 15 metropolitan markets to nearly 11,000 points of sale in 55 metropolitan areas. This latest market expansion includes Chattanooga, Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick and Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News.
Popular Science serves up an interesting read
about the discovery of fake "towers" that are being used to surreptitiously intercept cell phone traffic. ESD America offers a product they call the GSMK Cryptophone 500, which is essentially a Galaxy S III running modified hardware and a modified, more-secure version of Android -- which the company states purges 468 vulnerabilities from the traditional Android build.
Back in June T-Mobile announced the company would be exempting music services from the company's bandwidth caps
, though users would need to vote on their favorite music service to get it added to T-Mobile's white list. This week T-Mobile added six more music services to that exemption list
: AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza. Google Play Music was the top-voted service, and T-Mobile states they'll be adding that "later this year." While well-intentioned, consumer advocates have criticized T-Mobile's cap exemption for music services (and speed tests
), arguing it creates an unlevel playing field for smaller companies trying to gain recognition.
California this week became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring that cell phones include so-called "kill switch" functionality to deter theft, enabled by default (the full law is here
, pdf). Minnesota passed a similar law earlier this year, but in that version of the law, the functionality is turned off by default.
T-Mobile continues to tinker with data allotments and pricing in the face of a freshly ambitious Sprint
, quadrupling the data allotment on the company's "Simple Starter" plan. According to a T-Mobile announcement
, the company's Simple Starter plan will now provide unlimited talk and text and cost $45 ($5 more) but will deliver 2 GB of data as opposed to the previous 500 MB. On Simple Starter, once you've reached the 2 GB your service is suspended and you'll need to buy a one day, 500 MB day pass for $5, or a 7-day, 1 GB pass for $10. This new higher-allotment version of the plan will be available September 3.
T-Mobile took a shot at Sprint, AT&T and Verizon today with a new promotion that gives the company's Simple Choice plan users unlimited LTE data for a year if they bring another user over to T-Mobile. If the Simple Choice plan users already have unlimited data, users will receive a $10-per-month credit for a year. story continues..
A new report by RootMetrics
effectively declares Verizon the king when it comes to mobile network coverage, reliability, speed, and overall performance. The study, which collected data from 5.6 million test samples while driving some 234,000 miles across the country, gave the crown to Verizon for all metrics except text message performance, which Verizon closely lost to AT&T.
It was just last week that we noted how Sprint CEO Dan Hesse seemed terrified of cutting prices to compete with T-Mobile
, expressing concern that if the company reduces prices -- they by proxy reduce revenues necessary to get the company's LTE network up to snuff. Hesse of course has since been informed he'll be fired from the new CEO spot
, with Sprint also announcing their intention to give up their pursuit of T-Mobile.
Last month we noted
that Sprint and T-Mobile were hoping to join forces and bid under a joint venture company in the FCC's 2015 incentive auction of 600 MHz spectrum. That may not float for the FCC, who in a blog post
stated that the agency is circulating a proposal that would bar such a play.
T-Mobile has announced that the company's implementation of higher-call-quality VoLTE services has been deployed nationwide. According to a company announcement
, the nationwide availability comes just two months after T-Mobile announced their first VoLTE market (Seattle) in May. The company states it is also busy deploying LTE on spectrum acquired from Verizon Wireless earlier this year. "The team has also been aggressively rolling out Wideband LTE, upgrading our remaining 2G footprint to 4G LTE and starting to roll out our new low-band 700 MHz A-Block spectrum," notes Legere. "In fact, in the three months since we got hold of this spectrum, we’ve already begun equipping sites with 700 MHz gear."
Sprint and SoftBank's plan to acquire T-Mobile just got somewhat more complicated on the news that French telco Iliad has made their own counter-offer to acquire the telco. Iliad today announced the company has made a $15 billion cash offer to purchase 56.6 percent of T-Mobile. story continues..
Last month Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act
(pdf), which aims to make unlocking one's cell phone technically legal again, even if it doesn't fully address the myriad of problems with the DMCA. In January of last year unlocking your cellphone technically became illegal
after the Librarian of Congress removed it from the DMCA exception list.
T-Mobile states that they've turned on "wideband" 15x15 MHz channels in Las Vegas, making the city one of seventeen markets where the improved capacity and faster speeds are now available. "We have more capacity per customer than any other major national U.S. wireless carrier plus we continue to offer the fastest nationwide 4G LTE in the U.S. and deliver the most consistent LTE speeds," crows the uncarrier in a press release
. For these markets T-Mobile combines their AWS spectrum acquired from MetroPCS to offer theoretical peak download speeds up to 110 Mbps and theoretical peak upload speeds of 38 Mbps.
Last fall as part of the company's "uncarrier" brand strategy, T-Mobile announced
that the company would be offering their users free data roaming while travelling internationally -- albeit it EDGE (2G) speeds. While EDGE (128 kbps or so) speeds may turn off many, T-Mobile states that fewer than 1% of the 2 million people who have used a Simple Global Plan
have opted to upgrade to a higher-speed option -- suggesting 2G's fast enough for most.
Not too surprisingly, when you offer free international texting, free EDGE data and calls at the flat rate of 20 cents per minute, people take you up on your offer:
A survey T-Mobile released last month found that, since the implementation of its new roaming strategy, its customers have called three times as much when abroad, texted seven times more often, and used 28 times more data than they did previously. What's more, 53% more of its customers now roam on cellular in supported countries than before it unveiled the plans.
Of course when your option is free 2G connectivity or spending big bucks on what are frequently absurd overseas data roaming rates, it's little surprise users make due with EDGE speeds.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors