In what might be the boldest move yet by a wireless carrier, Sprint today announced it will cut in half the monthly rate plan for Verizon and AT&T customers if they jump ship and swim to Sprint beginning Friday, December 5. It's called the "Cut Your Bill in Half Event," and customers who make the switch will get unlimited talk and text in the U.S., regardless of their current plan, plus the same data allowance that they're currently receiving, for half of whatever they're paying.
Wireless carriers are currently engaged in a high stakes game of one-upmanship as they each try to add more subscribers by offering increasingly tantalizing offers. Sprint's strategy was literally called "One Up," the name it gave to an early upgrade program it introduced just four months ago. One Up customers could purchase an eligible smartphone with no down payment (depending on the device) and spread out the full retail cost over 24 monthly installment payments. In exchange, One Up customers could upgrade their handset every 12 months and start the process anew. Now the program is no more.
AT&T seems to be at the front of the line a lot when it comes to mobile devices. For a period of time, it was the only carrier offering Apple's iPhone, and more recently, if you wanted a customized Moto X device from Motorola, you had to be an AT&T subscriber. Not anymore. Motorola announced that the Moto X is now available for customization on all major U.S. carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, and of course AT&T.
It's pretty rare to score a desirable tablet for a fraction of its retail price, but if you're willing to ink a 2-year service agreement with Sprint, you'll soon be able to bring home a Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for $50 (plus tax). Sprint says the $50 price tag is an introductory rate, though it's unclear how long that price is valid. What we do know is that it goes into effect on October 11, 2013, in all Sprint channels, including Sprint Stores, Spring Business Sales, web sales, and via telephone.
Sprint's first Windows Phone 8 smartphone with international roaming
If you head over to Sprint and check out the Windows Phone 8 selection, you'll only find a single device. It's the HTC 8XT with a 4.3-inch display and 800x480. Jonesing for something bigger with a higher res? Samsung's Ativ S Neo will be available on Friday, August 16, for $150 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement, and $50 mail-in-rebate (via reward card).
If you're a Sprint customer using a Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone, there's plenty of blame to go around for why your universal search feature is now broken, provided you installed the latest security update. You can blame Apple, which holds U.S. patent number 8,086,604 related to "using a plurality of heuristic algorithms" to search multiple locations at once. You can blame U.S. patent law and hate the game, not the player. Samsung and its legal team deserve a bit of scorn for not putting together a better legal defense, and Sprint gets some blame for not making it clear that Galaxy SIII owners were about to lose their 'Quick Search' feature by installing the latest update.
As the dog days of summer approaches, Sprint is getting ready to officially launch doggone fast 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in five U.S. cities on July 15. Those cities include Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and San Antonio. Sprint says its initial rollout will cover millions of people, and by the end of 2013, the wireless carrier aims to have 250 million people covered with a nationwide 4G LTE network in place.
At long last, Samsung's highly anticipated Galaxy S III smartphone has crossed the U.S. border, having already shipped to more than two dozen other countries last month. T-Mobile gets first dibs on Samsung's newest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) device, with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular planning to offer the smartphone "in-store and online within the next several weeks," Samsung says. Odd wording by Samsung since AT&T is scheduled to offer the Galaxy S III sometime today as well (currently is listed as "Due Today" on AT&T's website).
Sprint's Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse wished long and hard for an opportunity to carry Apple's iPhone, but what he and his company never considered was the old adage that says 'Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it and then you're stuck with high iPhone subsidies.' We added that last part, but to be fair, does it matter? Sprint, like Verizon, was hellbent on carrying the iPhone, and now it's seeing the cost of that decision.
Our very own Gordon Ung summed success in the tech world pretty succinctly in this month's issue: if you want to make your product a hit, it helps to make it cheap. Looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE was paying attention. This Super Bowl Sunday, the company is releasing a new 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet -- the ZTE Optik -- with pretty decent specs and a $100 price tag that undercuts the Kindle Fire by half.