AT&T is reportedly planning to implement both speed and data tiers on their upcoming LTE 4G network, BGR has said. The data tiers are nothing new to the modern mobile user. AT&T will have different plans with various size monthly data allowances. Overages are not discussed, but we expect a similar arrangement to the current 3G plans. The new wrinkle is that AT&T will be tiering speeds too. This is what we've been seeing in wireline broadband for years.
AT&T will also be offering "Top Up Sessions" and "Speed Up Sessions" on LTE devices. Customers that have reached their bandwidth limit can pay for a top up, and get more data for the current billing cycle. As you might have guessed, Speed UP Sessions will increase the data rate to the maximum for a pre-determined period of time.
AT&T will be trialing these plans when the LTE network begins rolling out later this year. These changes could make mobile data feel more like a pre-paid service with all the timed sessions. What do you think of the plan?
Cnet is reporting that the latest survey of 17,619 households by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resulted in some surprising results regarding phone usage. For the first time, the majority of adults in their late 20s are more likely to use only a mobile phone at home. In all, 51% of those age 25-29 did not have a landline at home. Landlines just aren't hip anymore, apparently.
The numbers are also on the rice for those in other age groups. 40% of people in the 18-24 age bracket have left landlines behind. As you might expect, the rate of cell phone only homes drops significantly as age goes up. After age 65, only 5% of people said they lived in mobile only homes. The overall rate of households that used only cell phones was 26%, and another 16% said they talk all or most of their calls on their mobile phone.
We can only see this trend continuing. As mobile networks get faster and more expansive, more consumers will decide to stop paying for the same service twice. Have you switched to having mobile phones only? If you don't mind us asking, what age group are you in?
AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have announced a joint venture centered around turning your mobile phone into a method of payment, Engadget is reporting. Using so-called Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the hope is that one day, you will only have to tap your phone on a point of sale kiosk to pay for items. The technology will be deployed with the help of a NFC tech firm called Isis.
The press release claims the system will be available in locations nation-wide in about 18 months. That may seem like quite a wait, but there are currently no widely distributed phones in the US that have the necessary NFC chips built in. There are security concerns to be sure, so we'll all have to keep an eye on this technology as it rolls out.
Following a cold reception and disappointing sales, Microsoft took its Kin One and Kin Two devices out behind the shed and put them out of our misery, but apparently these failed phones are poised to rise from the dead, so says a leaked document from Verizon.
PPCGeeks.com claims to have received the inside info from a "friend at Verizon," which shows the wireless carrier's Q4 roadmap. Assuming it's accurate, and current, Verizon indeed plans to offer the Kin One and Kin Two phones in time for the holidays.
Didn't Verizon learn from Microsoft's debacle? The answer is 'yes, yes they did.' This time around, the Kin phones are being released as feature phones, meaning no more $30/month data plans. The previously required data plan was in essence a death sentence for Microsoft's Kin devices, given that these phones are primarily targeted at teens.
Yahoo News is reporting today that as many as 1 million Chinese mobile phone users are infected with a new SMS trojan. The target operating system has not been mentioned in any of the reports (we'd guess Android or Symbian), but the effects of the virus are well reported. Once a phone is infected, it transmits the contact list to the virus authors, then begins sending out spam SMS messages to contacts with links leading to malware. It also sends messages to premium rate numbers. This has apparently racked up $300,000 bills in some cases.
To add insult to injury, the virus is masquerading as an antivirus app to lure in new victims. Chinese authorities have tracked down the company that allegedly made the antivirus app, but they claim no involvement with the trojan. They insist they are victims of the evil-doers as well.
As if things couldn't get worse, other malware authors have begun copying this virus to create their own mobile cash machines. The day might be coming when antivirus apps are an unavoidable necessity on smartphones.
T-Mobile USA is apparently about to debut a tethering and Wi-Fi sharing add-on for smartphone users. The plan will be available on November 3, and will run you $14.99 per month. That's less than most other carriers are charging right now, but the data you use will count towards your 5GB cap. To be eligible for the add-on, your must have a 3G phone and a data plan of $19.95 or greater.
It is still unclear how T-Mobile will be implementing the feature. It really sounds like they are only selling you the contractual right to tether, not the means to do so. No official T-Mobile phones come with tethering built in. The upcoming new MyTouch may have an app pre-installed, but that doesn't do much good for other users. "The set-up process will be determined by the type of device customers own and will be different for every manufacturer," reads the leaked document.
The leak also indicates that T-Mobile will be sending a message to people tethering without authorization. Considering many T-Mobile Android users are taking advantage of tethering apps, we aren't sure how they could know who is tethering. It would all look like data to them. Stay tuned for updates on this one folks.
According to some new numbers for iSupply, the total number of wireless subscriptions in the world will reach 5 billion this month. That's the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of the world's population. Of course, some people will have multiple lines, perhaps business and personal, but the number is still huge. “If the importance of an event can be measured by the number of people it affects, then the proliferation of wireless communications stands out as one of the most significant phenomena in the history of technology,” said Dr. Jagdish Rebello of iSupply.
Not all regions are equally saturated with mobile phones. Africa and the Middle East have the lowest penetration with only about 50%. On the high end is Western Europe where cell subscriptions out number people; about 157% penetration. Many Europeans have multiple low-cost subscriptions to enable calling when traveling to other countries.
It's often said that phones are the computing platforms of the future. These new numbers really drive the point home. People that could never hope to afford a computer can manage a cell subscription. iSupply feels this trend will continue to encourage the technology supply chain to shift away from traditional computer hardware, and toward mobile devices.
In the last few months, AT&T and Verizon have both been matching each other's policies. First it was the cheaper unlimited calling plans, then it was the increased ETFs. Now rumor has it that Verizon will be moving to limited smartphone data plans similar to AT&T's new model. Sources are saying the change could happen as soon as this month.
If we had to guess, Big Red will probably try to match AT&T's fees for data. So we might be looking at $25 for 2GB, and $15 for 200MB. Verizon is widely regarded as having one of the best data networks in the US, but if people find themselves limited in how much data they can use, will they still be so beloved?
When AT&T made the changeover, those with unlimited plans were grandfathered in, allowing them to keep those plans. Verizon will probably have to do the same. If you've been thinking about getting a smartphone with the current unlimited data plan, this might be a good time.
A few months back Google let it be known that they would stop selling the Nexus One directly through the Google.com/phone portal. Today The Big G announced they had received their last shipment of Nexus One phones. Once they are sold out, that's the end of Google's noble experiment.
The Nexus One was intended to move both mobile hardware, and purchasing ahead. According to Google, they believe the hardware push was successful, but consumers did not take to the new sales model. Frankly, who could blame them? Even those willing to buy the phone with a T-Mobile contract were restricted to one plan. Additionally, CDMA carriers Sprint and Verizon chose not to authorize the Nexus One on their networks.
The venerable Google phone is not completely gone. It will still be available for purchase to anyone registered as an Android developer. Google also hinted at the phone being available direct from carriers depending on “local market conditions”. Support for existing Nexus owners will continue. Are you sad to see the Nexus One fading into the background? Was its 7 month run too short?
The death of the Microsoft Kin was a blow to us all, but if you find yourself simply unable to cope with this grief on your own, know that you have options. An intrepid member of the Kin community has setup a memorial site for the recently deceased feature phone platform, and gives visitors the opportunity to light a candle in memory of what could have been.
Many grief stricken visitors commented that the Kin will see far more fame in death than it ever did in life, and we are forced to agree. Regardless of whether or not the Kin was actually a decent phone, its death will go down in history as yet another blemish on a company that continues to struggle with its mobile strategy.
R.I.P Kin, born May 13th 2010, passed away June 30th at the ripe old age of 0.