The stolen cellphone trade is brisk business here in the U.S.; according to the FCC, a third off all robberies involves a burgled handset. Why are black market phones so popular? The answer is simple: they continue to work even after being pilfered -- at least for now. Today, the government is scheduled to announce a new initiative, backed by the four major carriers, which will turn swiped smartphones in nothing more than useless electronic bricks. Eventually, at least.
Down in the Republic of Chile, government regulators have made a bold move to increase openness in the nation’s wireless industry. As of January 2nd, all phones sold in the country must be unlocked for use on any compatible carrier. This rule change will go along with mandatory number portability set to go into effect January 16th.
Let it never be said that the Internet can’t be used for good as well as evil. After a huge online backlash, Verizon Wireless has backed away from plans to begin charging a $2 “convenience fee” to customers for paying their bills online, or by the phone. The change was supposed to go into effect on January 15th.
While not offering any specifics, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has again raised the issue of family data pricing. Consumers have been begging for a carrier to move in this direction for years, and McAdam seems at least open to the idea. According to the CEO, a family data plan for multiple devices could arrive in 2012.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has thrown up another roadblock in the path of AT&T’s plan to get its hand on T-Mobile USA. The FCC Chair voiced concerns over the proposed merger back around the time the DOJ filed a lawsuit seeking to block the deal. Now Genachowski has requested official hearings to take place should that suit fail to stop the merger. AT&T’s legal counsel got a little snippy upon hearing the news.
Prospective iPhone buyers have been aching to know if Sprint would be keeping its unlimited data plans in place when it begins offering the device, and the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Sprint PR has confirmed to All Things D that the existing unlimited data plans will apply to the iPhone when pre-orders begin in just a few days. Sprint is likely to use this as a selling point to lure users from AT&T and Verizon.
The iPhone rumor mill doesn’t ever stop, but today’s late breaking leak is a big one. According to BGR, the iPhone 5 is going to be a Sprint exclusive at launch. Sprint supposedly got this sweet deal by agreeing to buy $20 billion worth of iPhones over the next four years. It’s a crazy gamble that wouldn’t see the carrier making a profit until 2014, but would consumers jump ship?
After months of testing, and a stealth rollout in Chicago last month, the AT&T 4G LTE network is officially going live this Sunday, September 18. The initial 4G footprint is going to be small, just five markets, but it will cover a total of 70 million consumers. AT&T expects to have 15 cities blanketed in 4G by year’s end.
In the wake of the surprise AT&T deal to buy T-Mobile USA, many have speculated that Verizon Wireless might want to get hitched to Sprint. Big Red has gotten out ahead of the rumors and shot the idea down pretty handily. "We're not interested in Sprint. We don't need them," said Verizon CEO Mead at CTIA today.
After a delay of several months, Microsoft has started pushing out the first full-scale update to the Windows Phone 7 platform. The so-called NoDo update brings some much anticipated features, like copy and paste. The rollout is starting slow, with unbranded devices getting the update notification first. Carrier branded devices might be a whole different story though.