So AT&T's Next plans, with their $0 down and phone trade-in/upgrade after a year, are nifty for customers who always want the latest and greatest. They're also a valuable tool for enticing new customers away from the likes of Verizon and the ever-advancing T-Mobile. But what about AT&T customers who are stuck in a contract? Ma Bell hasn't forgotten about you: starting today, at least some AT&T contract customers can switch to a Next plan with no penalty.
T-Mobile seems to be making waves in the industry as of late. Not even two weeks after the magenta carrier announced it would be paying customers' ETFs, Verizon is experimenting with a 30 day upgrade cycle on its Edge plan. However, it's not a free lunch – there is some fine print to contend with.
Verizon Edge is similar to all the early upgrade programs introduced in the last year like Jump (Tmo) and Next (AT&T).
In between pointed jabs at the other national carriers, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced the carrier's newest "Un-carrier" plan. As the rumors indicated, T-Mobile is going to pay the early termination fees (ETF) when customers switch to T-Mobile from Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon. Sounds great, but there are a few caveats.
What do you get when you combine friends and family? You get a new Sprint marketing slogan known as "Framily." The Now Network is launching the new Framily Plans on January 10th and encouraging people – related or not – to get together on a single account. The mechanics of the Framily Plans are more than a little different than traditional family plans, though.
The cost of each line changes based on how many people are on the account.
One of the problems with the pricing structure of American carriers is that people who buy their phones outright don't get any kind of break on the service plans themselves, giving people fewer incentives to get away from subsidies. T-Mobile has addressed this (by essentially throwing out subsidies all together), but today AT&T fires back with the new Mobile Share Value Plan. Basically it's a $15 discount if you buy a phone unsubsidized, including the new AT&T Next plans, or if you've already paid off your on-contract device.
The Moto X is undeniably one of the most important Android devices of 2013, and it's probably also one of the best. This phone can be had for a pittance on-contract, but many prospective buyers were disappointed the off-contract cost was so high. If $500 for this phone seems like too much, Republic Wireless is offering an alternative. The Moto X on this Sprint MVNO is just $299 and you can walk away at any time.
Update: Brightspot is official.
Already confused by the myriad of prepaid carriers out there? Well, Target thinks there should be one more. After @evleaks outed the name and pricing last night, more details have emerged. Target's prepaid service will run on the T-Mobile network and is launching October 6th online and in Target stores.
Pricing starts at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text, but no mobile data. For $50 you get "unlimited" data, including 1GB of 4G.
The T-Mobile Moto X got it's surprise update the other day with a couple nice fixes and enhancements, and now it's Sprint's turn to get the update. It's rolling out in stages, so mashing the update button won't do any good. Not that anyone's stopping you from trying.
The software, with the easy to remember version number 13.9.0Q2.X-116-MX-17-57-1, appears to have the same changelog we got with the T-mobile update, but here it is again anyway:
- Camera – Improved Photo Quality: Improved capture of natural light (auto-white balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes.
The Moto X is still rolling out to all corners of the (American) Android world, but the T-Mobile variant is getting an update that improves camera performance dramatically. The difference is noticeable in a variety of situations, most notably in backlit and low-light settings. Presumably the update will hit other Moto X variants once testing and certification is completed by the carriers.
Low light – left: not updated, right: updated
The Moto X uses a fairly large sensor with 1.4µm pixels with an RGBC color array and F/2.4 aperture.
Verizon got the jump on everyone with LTE, but AT&T has been doing its best to catch up. The carrier's newly announced upgrade plans should get it a fair way toward that goal. Ma Bell is flipping the switch on 5 new LTE markets and 8 expansions this very day, but the rate of the rollout is going to pick up for the rest of the year. AT&T plans to launch at least 50 new markets before January 1st.