Bombastic T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded forcefully when the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the Un-carrier over the summer for profiting from so-called "cramming." That's when a carrier allows third-parties to add premium SMS charges to customer bills without proper warning. Today the FTC has announced T-Mobile is settling the case for $90 million, most of which will go to customers who were charged for unauthorized services.
T-Mobile's unlimited talk, text, and data plan is the big carrier option to beat at $80 a month. But so far it's only been available to individual customers - if you have four people and you want four lines of unlimited data, you need four different accounts. Starting tomorrow, December 10th, unlimited data will be available for families as well. The cheapest option is unlimited talk, text, and data on two lines for $100 a month, a $60 savings over the old structure.
Sprint has a plan up its sleeve that it hopes will entice customers to its more affordable network. This time around, rather than competing with T-Mobile, it has its sights set squarely on AT&T and Verizon Wireless. For a limited time starting this Friday, it will offer to cut folks' previous wireless bill in half. So if your old carrier was charging $140 a month, Sprint will let you get by just paying $70 instead.
This Nexus launch is without precedent—the Nexus 6 is big, expensive, and compatible with all the major US carriers. It seems like Google is trying to make nice with the carriers too. Case in point, AT&T is selling a Nexus directly at launch for the first time. However, an image of the Nexus 6 posted on AT&T's site shows the Nexus 6 with an AT&T globe logo on the back. Yikes.
As with the Nexus 5, Google is going to sell two versions of the new flagship device. There will be one Nexus 6 SKU for the Americas and another for the rest of the globe. Each will have the LTE bands that work for carriers in that region, with the usual overlapping on 3G and 2G. There are a ton of bands too.
The Nexus 6 looks to be Google's most widely-released phone ever, at least in the context of United States carriers. While the company has taken an "unlocked first" approach to carrier partnerships since the ill-fated Verizon Galaxy Nexus, it has offered at least some of the traditional phone sales on the Nexus 5. For the new Motorola Nexus 6, every major American carrier will have a phone option, though whether that means there's one phone that will work with all or there will be multiple versions, we can't say at the moment.
Pricing changes don't usually happen this fast in the wireless industry. It seems like T-Mobile and Sprint both have multiple contingencies in place to attack one another based on what goes down each day. Following T-Mobile's announcement of the free LTE upgrade for one year, Sprint has revealed a new unlimited data plan that's only $60 per month. There are a few caveats, though.
T-Mobile has really been stepping up the rhetoric against Sprint since the backroom acquisition deal allegedly fell through a few weeks ago. T-Mobile's latest promotion takes direct aim at the Now Network, but it targets the other big carriers too. Starting next week, if you bring a friend over to T-Mobile on a Simple Choice plan, you and they both get a free upgrade to unlimited LTE for one year. Also, there will be awkward dancing, if T-Mobile's promo image is to be believed.
The rumors that Sprint was moving on from the Hesse era were true. After seven years at the helm of the Now Network, Dan Hesse is stepping aside so Sprint's parent company SoftBank can bring in someone new. Its choice is Marcelo Claure, the founder and current CEO of SoftBank subsidiary Brightstar.
French telecom company Iliad made a surprise bid for T-Mobile US late last week after months of rumors that Sprint and T-Mobile would be getting hitched. Iliad offered $15 billion for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile, but now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that T-Mobile isn't even willing to entertain that deal and has opted not to give Iliad access to its financial data.