Looks like it's the time of the month for Verizon to flip its 4G LTE switch to 'on' in new markets. It seems that the rollout has been in hyperspeed lately, as more and more cities are getting their taste of the blazing fast 4G service; this time Big Red is giving it to 46 new markets:
Yuba City/Marysville, CA
Panama City, FL
Carrolton, Gainesville, and Newnan, GA
Decatur/Effingham, Kankakee/Bradley-Bourbonnais, and La Salle/Peru/Ottawa, IL
Columbus and Michigan City/La Porte, IN
Greater Portland, ME
Greenville/Greenwood, Jackson, and Tunica, MS
Houghton and Traverse City, MI
Jefferson City, Lake of the Ozarks, and West Plains, MO
Binghamton, Elmira/Corning/Hornell, and Oneonta, NY
Burlington, Hickory/Lenoir, Jacksonville, and New Bern, NC
Bedford and Sharon/Farrell/Hermitage, PA
Anderson, Florence, and Greenwood, SC
Lufkin/Nacogdoches, Midland, San Angelo, and Waco, TX
Huntington and Logan, WV
Fond du Lax, Janesville, Beloit, and Sheboygan, WI
The Lihue, HI (launched on June 11)
And expand in 22 existing markets:
Denver and Fort Collins/Loveland, CO
Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and West Palm Beach, FL
Glens Falls and New York, NY
Charlotte/Gastonia and Greensville, Washington, NC
In a Bluetooth SIG listing (a trade certification group), LG has officially confirmed the existence of the E970 and LS970. The former is possibly headed for AT&T (it has AT&T GSM and LTE bands - which could mean Rogers as well) and is packing a quad-core Qualcomm S4 Krait chip, complete with the latest Adreno 320 GPU goes toe-for-toe with the Galaxy SIII in GLBencmark. The 1280x768 resolution is something of an oddity - why the extra 48 pixels? A 13MP rear camera and 2GB of RAM round of this beefy device's specs. It's actually quite similar to the upcoming Optimus LTE2, so we could be seeing a carrier-specific iteration of that hardware here.
Back at CES in January we got a first glance at Sony's latest flagship phone, the Xperia Ion. In our time with it, the device made an impression with its 720P display and 12 megapixel camera. As expected, this device is finally showing up on AT&T with an announcement today of the device's availability later this month.
As you can see, this is a phone with some serious media credentials. The 4.6" 'Reality display' allows you to view HD content on the go, including content from the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN). The Xperia Ion is also PlayStation certified, so the SEN's selection of games will be available to you in addition to music and video.
It may not get the tech world's heart all a-flutter to hear that MetroPCS is launching a Huawei phone, but the world needs budget phones and networks too! The duo is teaming up this time to bring no fewer than four gees to consumers for the first time in a Huawei device. The Activa 4G is a modestly spec'd phone, with a 3.5" HVGA display, a 5 megapixel camera, and running Android 2.3. It's still sad to see phones shipping with Gingerbread, but on budget devices, it's not as unexpected.
The device, predictably, is pretty cheap. At a normal price of $250, the phone comes down to $150 after a $50 mail-in, and another $50 instant rebate.
According to a recent FCC filing, Qualcomm is hard at work on a new radio chipset that would support seven spectrum bands, including three below 1GHz. The introduction of this chipset could offer an effective solution to LTE spectrum fragmentation, which is a thorn in the side of manufacturers looking to cleanly execute broad product releases.
LTE fragmentation has also stirred debate among carriers, though. Smaller carriers operate within the Lower A block of the 700MHz band, in Band Class 12 while larger carriers like AT&T operate on the Lower B and C blocks in Band Class 17. For this reason, smaller carriers are urging the FCC to mandate interoperability.
Alongside Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, Sprint has announced that it, too, will be carrying the next Galaxy in just a few short weeks. As far as we can tell, the device will be unbranded aside from the standard Sprint logos, but we've yet to confirm this (Sprint has not provided images).
Yesterday, we'd heard from Samsung that the device would be coming to five carriers in the US, and with Sprint's announcement, we're now up to all five. Sprint's will be the only Galaxy S III in the US to come with Google Wallet pre-loaded on the device, which makes sense, as AT&T, VZW, and T-Mobile are all members of the ISIS mobile payment platform alliance.
Alongside Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, regional carrier US Cellular has made official that it will be carrying Samsung's Galaxy S III, with pre-orders beginning on June 12th. Pricing has yet to be announced, but as a regional carrier, US Cellular often has slightly higher premiums than its national counterparts, so potentially expect something above the standard $199 price-tag for the 16GB model.
As with all the announced US Galaxy S III devices, it is packing a Snapdragon S4, rather than a quad-core Exynos processor, which means full LTE support.
US Cellular will offer the device in both blue and white; however, only the Marble White color will be available with the 32GB capacity version.
Hot on the heels of blurry-cam shots of the upcoming LS970, a rumored upcoming Sprint LG device, today we've heard that the carrier has yet another phone from the other Korean electronics giant waiting in the wings - though this one's a little less exciting.
If you recall, the LG Viper is essentially Sprint's take on the LG Lucid, found at Verizon - a mid-range device with highly capable, if slightly dated, specifications. Packing a dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor and LTE, along with a pretty good IPS LCD panel, it definitely has raised the bar in the budget handset scene.
Sprint has long been the refuge for data-hungry users that don't want to deal with caps or overages. While Sprint's regular 3G and 4G data usage on phones is still unlimited, back in October the Now Network started capping the mobile hotspot feature at 5GB per month. Starting last Friday, May 18th, that plan is gone. In its place are two pricier options.
The low-end option comes with 2GB of monthly bandwidth and costs $19.99 per month. The high-end offering is quite a jump; 6GB for $49.99. It's a clever way to push you to a much more expensive option that you might not need.
Update: In response to the rather vocal outcries of many of its subscribers on the web, Verizon has clarified what will happen to 3G/4G data plans explicitly. The takeaway is this: anyone purchasing a smartphone from this summer forward on subsidy pricing will be pushed into tiered/shared data. If you choose not to buy a smartphone on subsidy, you can keep your unlimited plan if you choose to.
This means if yourenew your 2-year agreement, from this summer forward, on any line by buying a "discounted" phone, you lose unlimited.
Here are the exact statements:
Customers will not be automatically moved to new shared data plans.