Mobile carriers like to play fast and loose with the word "unlimited" when it comes to data plans. They're often technically unlimited, but only fast enough to be useful until you hit a certain barrier. MVNOs operated by TracFone including Net10 and Straight Talk were a little more shady than most, and that led to today's FTC announcement of a $40 million fine against the company.
Almost every carrier story we post has at least a few versions of the following comments—"I would totally use carrier X, but it doesn't work very well where I live," and, "I don't know why everyone is always talking smack about carrier Y, it works great in my area." According to the Wall Street Journal, Google's rumored MVNO could put an end to that by not only supporting both T-Mobile and Sprint, but by switching between the networks automatically depending on which signal is better. Read More
The US isn't the only market where carrier consolidation is the name of the game. UK carrier O2 is being purchased by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, who already owns Three Mobile in the UK. The agreed upon price is reportedly a whopping £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion). If all goes as planned, the deal would reduce the number of major UK carriers to three.
Reports indicate that Google has taken definitive steps towards launching their own cellular phone service, making a long-whispered rumor sound like more than just hearsay. Google is working on deals with both Sprint and T-Mobile to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on their infrastructure. While details are sparse for now, this might be your surest bet to avoid bloatware if there ever was one.
An MVNO is a third-party who uses a major carrier's network to provide service. Read More
It's easy to forget, but T-Mobile USA is still owned by German firm Deutsche Telekom. In a recent speech given at the DLD conference in Munich, Germany, DT CEO Tim Höttges said that T-Mobile's un-carrier promotions won't be enough to keep T-Mobile going. The only long-term solution, apparently, is a merger.
Bharti Airtel is the largest cellular carrier in India with roughly 200 million subscribers. Basically, it has some weight to throw around, and it's using it to strike a blow against net neutrality. Airtel has amended its terms and conditions to stipulate that its data plans cover standard internet use only, meaning increasingly popular VoIP services like Skype are not included. If you want to make VoIP calls, it costs extra. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More