AT&T's official GoPhone prepaid policy has always officially prevented network data access for iPhones (and other 4G devices except for BlackBerry), but a tipster reports that will change tomorrow. The new policy adds 4G HSPA+ and LTE support as well as Visual Voicemail access to the GoPhone package, with customers able to bring their own device or buy a new one at off-contract unsubsidized prices. According to the details, existing customers with iPhones will be automatically updated with network access on June 21st, however they'll be able to call in and make the switch manually before that. The new features work on the $65, $50 and $25 monthly plans, however the two lower priced options will require data packages to work. You can get a peek at the leaked terms after the break, although we'd wait for an official announcement before picking up your 4G-capable handset and requesting service.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Coalo has conceded that the company is pushing back its 4G rollout to September. The decision was taken in order to ensure the infrastructure is "really ready," promising that Voda's service will be "better performing" than EE's Bacon-flavored LTE. Despite the late start, Coalo has laid down an aggressive timeline, demanding that 40 percent of the UK is covered in 4G before March 2014 -- which'll please those notoriously impatient technofreaks no end.
Via: Trusted Reviews
Source: The Guardian
When BT purchased nearly £200 million worth of 4G spectrum, the prevailing opinion was that it would remain a behind-the-scenes player. CEO Ian Livingston, however, might have grander aspirations for his company's 2.6GHz property. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said that it was "highly possible" that we'd see BT-branded 4G SIM cards next year, bundled along with the company's TV and broadband services. He also spoke of upgrading existing BT WiFi hotspots to provide 4G access, which would reduce the cost of 4G compared to its premium-priced rivals.
Source: The Telegraph
23/04/2013 - EE lured 318,000 customers to 4G in Q1 2013
EE's just released its Q1 2013 earnings, giving us a look at its first full quarter with 4G services. The carrier says it's on track to its goal of a million 4G customers by the end of the year, thanks to the addition or migration of 318,000 LTE customers this quarter. Despite those more profitable clients, however, total service revenue (excluding hardware sales) was down 1.5 percent for the period over last quarter, to £1.42 billion. On one hand, the number of 4G additions could be seen as disappointing considering the company's strong marketing push of the service -- though on the other, the company's only just activated numerous regions, making that one million 4G subscriber goal seem more likely than not. We'll just have to wait a bit longer to see if Brits are really in love with LTE's extra zip -- and willing to pay for it.
After nearly a year of soaking rural and suburban locations with 4G, Sprint is finally starting to extend its reach to some major cities. Having wrapped up test runs in a handful of areas, the carrier is now officially offering LTE in 21 additional markets, including Los Angeles, CA, Charlotte, NC, Virginia Beach, VA, Memphis, TN and West Palm Beach, FL. What's more, the Now Network revealed plans to bring its new high-speed offerings to more than 170 additional markets in the months ahead. Some of the cities on its docket include Orlando, FL, Portland, OR, El Paso, TX, Tulsa, OK and Spokane, WA. Didn't see your hometown name-checked here? Check out the press release after the break for the full list.
Scrambling to find a launch date for the Samsung Galaxy S4? Staples may have just dropped a hint. According to a leaked store training sheet, AT&T will be offering the next Galaxy phone on April 26th, followed by T-Mobile on May 1st and Verizon on the 30th. Bold lettering warns these dates are tentative but they are familiar, matching both the UK launch date and T-Mobile's own declarations. Naturally, we try to take these things with a grain of salt, though it's worth noting that the document asks stores to prepare GS4 reservation signage on 4/15, one day before official pre-orders begin. It isn't an iron-clad case for the phone's launch by any means, but for the eager Galaxy fan, tentative is better than nothing. Skip on past the break for a peek at the full page.
11/04/2013 - Sprint leak reportedly has LTE reaching Los Angeles, 20 other markets on April 12th (update)
Sprint has been teasing for weeks that its LTE network would soon launch in Los Angeles. If a fresh leak from Phone Arena proves true, we may at last be down to the final hours before the Now Network officially flicks the switch for those Angelenos -- and a good chunk of the US population, for that matter. The staff memo reportedly has LTE formally launching in 21 markets on April 12th, with LA being joined by larger cities across the US like Charlotte, Memphis, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Newport News. Its schedule also has a number of sizable cities joining the mix across 10 states, with multi-city expansions on the way in California, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and (as you likely noticed) Virginia. Although the faster 4G service still won't be ubiquitous on Sprint if the rollout goes ahead as claimed, the expansion could be a very convenient complement to the HTC One launch.
Source: Phone Arena
AT&T has announced that it'll fire up LTE coverage in 16 new cities this this summer and that it has expanded or turned on the signal in four other centers. Residents of Kalamazoo, MI and Wilson, NC will now see the much sought-after 4G symbol, while previously neglected Bay Area centers like San Rafael and Brentwood, along with parts of Greensboro, NC also have coverage. Meanwhile, the famously-named centers mentioned earlier will get 4G later this summer, along with other notables like Rio Grande Valley, TX, Columbus, IN and yes, Athens TX. It makes us wonder if Ma Bell's getting a little playful with its rollout decisions -- check the PR after the break for more info.
09/04/2013 - EE plans to double 4G spectrum allocation, will boost speeds in first ten cities by summer
While EE scrambles to spread its LTE network far and wide before the other UK carriers get into the 4G business, it also wants to flex some spectrum muscle. The network's announced it's planning to double the LTE allocation on its 1800MHz band (from 2 x 10MHz to 2 x 20MHz), which it claims will increase download speeds to an average of 20 Mbps, topping out at 80 Mbps. Ten of the 11 original 4G launch cities will be seeing this bandwidth boost first: London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield. EE doesn't want you to think it's done expanding, though, and says it'll continue to make use of its MHz and GHz by rolling out boring, normal LTE in new areas whilst doubling up in others. The first ten cities are due to receive "double-speed" 4G by summer, which we assume means around the time summer is supposed to happen.
[Image credit: Lazygamer, Flickr]
In the race to bring 4G services to Australia, Vodafone's been the sweaty kid with the stitch for far too long. Fortunately, the puppy fat seems to be shedding, as the company has announced it'll finally launch its own LTE in June. The bulk of the network will center around Sydney and Perth, while citizens of Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Gold Coast can expect "some coverage" for the time being. The company hasn't said what it'll do in the way of charging for the new services, but if you're already a Vodafone customer with an LTE-capable handset, then those devices will be activated alongside the national rollout. Hooroo!
Last summer, Verizon users who wanted an LTE-capable flagship had a stark choice: Samsung's Galaxy S III, or the Droid Incredible 4G LTE. When we reviewed the latter handset, we found it comfortable in the hand, with a pretty display, but lamented the fact that the carrier insisted upon its own variant, rather than sticking with the beloved One X. But did those Big Red-enforced tweaks ruin this handset for you? Here's the moment to share your experiences of this device, tell us what you loved, loathed and, if someone was listening, would you change?
06/04/2013 - Mobile Miscellany: week of April 1st, 2013
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week, Samsung introduced a new crop of smartphones for China and India, the Lumia 520 hit store shelves and Verizon introduced an LTE router... of all things. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of April 1st, 2013.
31/03/2013 - HTC One 64GB will arrive as AT&T exclusive (video)
Planning to snag that maxed out HTC One in the US? AT&T is where you'll have to go, then. The 64GB variant of the device is an AT&T exclusive, as revealed by a recently uploaded video to the service provider's YouTube channel. The 32GB One will also be on offer, though there's no word on exactly how much both will be priced at or an exact arrival date -- April is the most specific we've heard from HTC. Verizon is also expected to carry the device, of course, but AT&T will certainly be "the one" for folks needing that doubled storage space on a two-year agreement. Check out the video for yourself after the break.
Source: AT&T (YouTube)
After spending a week relaxing in the Cumbrian countryside, EE's back on the road, bringing its 4G LTE network to some relatively more populated areas. The company has announced 13 additional locations it's coating with high-speed coverage today: Bradford, Bingley, Doncaster, Dudley, Harpenden, Leicester, Lichfield, Loughborough, Luton, Reading, Shipley, St Albans and West Bromwich. This brings the total number of regions under the 4G umbrella to 50, which EE claims, coincidentally, now covers 50 percent of UK residents. A higher June rollout target has also been set -- switch-flipping is planned in 30 extra towns and cities before the end of that (hopefully) summer month. EE is certainly scrambling to get as much coverage as possible, as well as your business, before any of the other players get a chance to join the 4G club. Oh, and if it's shiny new handsets you're after, remember Galaxy S 4 pre-orders are live on EE's website today.
Three's CEO could teach Vodafone's CEO a thing or two about diplomacy. Whereas Vittorio Colao dismissed British LTE users as "technofreaks", Dave Dyson has merely said that he's "fairly relaxed" about upgrading Three's network. During a quarterly earnings report yesterday, he said he's in "no rush for LTE" and told people not to expect Three's newly acquired chunks of LTE spectrum to be brought to life until Q4 of this year. He intends to wait and see how O2 and Vodafone position themselves, and that's fine -- just so long as he sticks to the earlier promise not to charge extra for unlimited LTE data.
Via: Android Central
Source: Mobile News
Before today, using an iPhone on T-Mobile's network meant a compromise on speed: unlocked handsets would get service, but only on EDGE. Thanks to spectrum refarming efforts that started last fall, the operator has been able to suddenly "turn on" 4G (the HSPA+ kind) for that grey market segment. But with Apple now bringing the iPhone 5 officially to T-Mobile's newly launched LTE lineup, the UnCarrier's subscriber base no longer has to trade down.
Being the last of the major US carriers to be granted access to the Cupertino cult, T-Mobile trotted out the device with a decent amount of fanfare. Well, at least as much as can be mustered for a six month-old device. And, what can we say, an iPhone is an iPhone. Aesthetically, it's the same handset that's already available from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and a handful of regional carriers. That means a large swath of fortified glass on the front and a sheet of lovely metal on the rear. When it launches on April 12th with a $99 down payment, it'll be able to hop on T-Mobile's burgeoning LTE network on the AWS band. But, should that not be active in your hometown, it'll fallback to big-magenta's AWS-powered HSPA+ 42Mbps network.
Gallery: T-Mobile iPhone 5 hands-on
26/03/2013 - T-Mobile lights up LTE in seven markets nationwide
T-Mobile's LTE rollout has been a long time coming, but as of today that network is finally live. At an event in New York City, the carrier made its initial batch of LTE cities official -- seven markets in total. Now, subscribers in Baltimore, MD; Kansas City, KS; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; San Jose, CA and Washington D.C. will be among the first to take advantage of the UnCarrier's fully-fledged 4G network and its newly revised unlimited talk, text and data plans. As for New York City, a market many assumed would make this first LTE round, CEO John Legere says that's coming soon, mostly likely by early summer. Speeds on this new network, as we saw demoed just a little over a week ago, should range between 10 to 20Mbps down and 8 to 12 Mbps up -- at least, during this intro phase -- with a fallback onto HSPA+ when LTE isn't present. When T-Mobile gets around to repurposing that MetroPCS spectrum it's so close to acquiring, expect to see even more robust LTE speeds and wider coverage across its footprint.
To kick off adoption of this nascent network, T-Mobile's offering up a pretty attractive portfolio of handsets and high-end ones, at that. So Magenta subs or prospective carrier-switchers looking to sign up for T-Mobile's LTE can choose from the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S 4, iPhone 5, Galaxy Note II and BlackBerry Z10 -- that latter two of which are currently available. And now that the UnCarrier's removed the contract chains we've all come to know and loathe, subscribers can opt to snag one of these handsets outright with an accompanying Simple Choice plan. If you're excited by all of this change or just want to see it laid out in the company's official terms, head past the break for official PR.
21/03/2013 - MetroPCS boosts budget LTE lineup with the Huawei Premia 4G, a 4-inch, ICS handset for $149
All signs point toward the T-Mobile / MetroPCS merger becoming a formal thing pretty soon, but the Wireless for All carrier isn't wasting any time and is now welcoming yet another budget smartphone with LTE to its hefty mobile arsenal. And while the newly announced Huawei Premia 4G might not be amongst MetroPCS' better-specced handsets, its 4-inch (800 x 480) display, 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM and 5-megapixel rear shooter will certainly make this Ice Cream Sandwich slab a relatively solid option at $149. So, those looking for some LTE love without having to break the bank, someone's calling your name -- and, starting today, you can snag one of these Huawei Premia 4Gs in-store or via the MetroPCS site linked below.
We're not surprised to learn that Cumbria is a hotbed of people working from home, as we'd do the same if we had the Lake District to wander around during our lunch hour. The downside of living in an area of outstanding natural beauty, of course, is that there isn't even any landline broadband to use -- but EE has despatched Kevin Bacon to remedy that with some 4G infrastructure. Residents of the Northern Fells will get mobile broadband offerings from £15.99 a month, and the company will use it as a gauge to see if it should provide services for other undeserved rural communities. It seems that EE's now the network for hill walkers as well as technofreaks.
Was that late April launch date for the Galaxy S 4 a little too vague for you? Well, fortunate British readers, you get something a little more specific. The UK's only LTE network, EE has stated that it will start selling Samsung's new Galaxy, both online and in its bricks and mortar establishments, starting April 26th. It's keeping quiet on the prices, matching those other UK carriers for the time being, but we're sure prices will appear ahead of any preorder page -- that's set to go live on March 28th.
A pure LTE world is still a long, long way off. But some countries and carriers could get there quicker than others, and indeed Verizon has revealed that it's considering launching LTE-only handsets, with no CDMA chip, within the next couple of years. Speaking to analysts at a recent Deutsche Bank event, the carrier's CFO, Fran Shammo, said his company's goal is to establish voice over LTE by the end of this year and then to "start to think" about pure LTE handsets in "late 2014". Shammo mentioned this possibility in the context of bringing out cheaper phones, and a general incentive for any carrier to leave 3G behind would be to avoid paying associated licensing fees to the likes of Qualcomm or Broadcom. If those savings eventually trickled down to us customers, and if we could breathe the clean air of the countryside without LTE dropping, then it'd certainly be an enticing prospect.
27/02/2013 - China Mobile's four new TD-LTE phones: Huawei Ascend D2, HTC One, LG Optimus Vu II Plus and ZTE U9810
We already knew that LG's now jumped on the TD-LTE bandwagon with the demo of a modified Optimus G, but it turns out that China Mobile also announced several devices that are destined for its 4G market, including the 5-inch 1080p Huawei Ascend D2 (D2-TL), the 4.7-inch 1080p HTC One (TD101), the 5-inch XGA LG Optimus Vu II Plus and the mysterious 5-inch 1080p ZTE U9810. Interestingly, our brethren over at Engadget Chinese also spotted a TD-LTE-ready Samsung Galaxy S III at China Mobile's MWC booth (note the "China Mobile 4G" logo on the back of the phone, pictured above), but it wasn't mentioned at the Global TD-LTE Initiative summit at MWC. Obviously, let's not forget ZTE's Grand Era LTE that's compatible with both modes of LTE.
Knowing how fresh some of these devices are, it seems like TD-LTE service will be available to the Chinese public well within this year, which will match what China Mobile announced back in January.Also announced alongside the aforementioned phones were four TD-LTE mobile hotspots, including Huawei's E5375, ZTE's MF91S+, China Mobile-badged CM510 plus CM512. These all feature battery lives between six to eight hours, and can handle up to 10 devices simultaneously. Some even support the more common FDD LTE, with Huawei's already capable of Category 4 LTE at up to 150Mbps.
Via: Engadget China
We've yet to hear much about Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio since it's original introduction in early 2011, but here in Barcelona, the outfit has announced (in cooperation with China Mobile, no less) that its latest innovation could help spread the wondrous waves of TD-LTE across China. Available now for large-scale commercial deployment in China Mobile's first trial TD-LTE network, which spans 13 cities in China, lightRadio Metro Radio will bring legitimate 4G services to residents in densely populated areas of Shanghai, Nanjing and Qingdao.
China Mobile itself has over 722 million subscribers, and a huge swath of those are no doubt clamoring for faster transmission speeds. In China, lightRadio Metro Radio will be deployed in bustling indoor and outdoor locations, such as shopping malls and stadiums, but there's no word on when the masses might expect this stuff to launch in earnest. Here's hoping for a speedy trial, eh?
UK regulator Ofcom has revealed the winners of its 4G spectrum auction after more than 50 rounds of bidding: EE, Hutchison 3G (Three), BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, Telefonica (O2) and Vodafone. It wasn't all good news however, as the agency revealed the auction only roped in £2.4 billion pounds, less than the £3.5 billion it had anticipated. Left on the outside looking in? MLL Telecom and HKT Company. Interestingly enough it was Vodafone -- headed by CEO Vittorio Colao who famously suggested only "technofreaks" were into 4G speed -- that spent the most.
The idea is to spread high speed wireless across "almost the whole" UK population by 2017 at the latest, and the auction's intent was to create more competition in the space. Telefonica UK specifically is required to provide indoor reception to at least 98 percent of the population by then, as a condition of its bid. As seen above, the available 250MHz of spectrum was auctioned off in two separate bands, 800MHz (ideal for expanded coverage and freed up by the digital TV transition) and 2.6GHz more suited to high speed data connections. So what's next? You guessed it -- another round of bidding, to determine where in each band the winners spectrum lies, before services roll out in spring or summer of this year. Hit the source link to check out the full results for yourself and prepare for the 5G battle, expected to commence sometime after 2018.
Sprint was clearly up to something good when we noticed LTE in parts of San Francisco. It turns out that this was just the tip of the iceberg -- the carrier has since confirmed that it's also flicking the switch in New York City, parts of New York state, Washington DC, and Florida cities that include Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. The faster access is going live on a site-by-site basis in given areas rather than all at once, which bears out what we're hearing from readers and a Sprint spokesperson we reached for comment: LTE appears to be available in pockets in at least New York City and San Francisco. Sprint won't have a formal news release until it believes the coverage is complete, but we suspect most customers will be too busy testing the speed of their long-underused EVO 4G LTE or iPhone 5 to notice.
[Thanks, Derek and Revie]
Source: The Verge