Not content to fire back at the competition with just one volley, the company has continued its barrage with two new announcements. For starters, it's opening up family plans from a limit of five to up to ten lines. For most of us, that inherently means we're going to have to look outside of our immediate families to hit the max. It's time to get grandma a smartphone, call up that cheap uncle, and bring in a couple of college-bound cousins.
Remember that Sprint and T-Mobile price war we mentioned? Yeah, things are continuing to get better. Today T-Mobile has announced an add-on to its Simple Starter plan that will significantly increase how much LTE data customers can use. For an extra $5 a month, they can bump their allotment up from 500 MB to 2GB. This amounts to four times the data, and it manages to beat out the 1GB of LTE allowed under T-Mobile's $50 Simple Choice plan.
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.
T-Mobile likes to call most of its plans "unlimited," but only a few of them actually have unlimited access to LTE speeds. These plans include unlimited bandwidth, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want. The terms and conditions prohibit the use of p2p file sharing, and now a leaked internal memo points to a new offensive against such violations. Beginning August 17th, T-Mobile goes to war against torrents.
T-Mobile says "the Un-carrier never stops" in a blog post announcing its new pay-as-you-go plan, set for availability August 17th. The carrier, which recently became the top prepaid provider in the US, is looking to simplify pay-as-you-go with a flat $0.10 cost per message or minute. The plan will have a $3.00 monthly minimum, which would give customers 30 minutes of talk or thirty SMS messages.
T-Mobile will also offer daily or weekly LTE data passes, with a day pass (allotting 500MB) priced at $5.00 and a seven-day pass (allotting 1GB) running customers $10.
T-Mobile is really taking a run at this whole kinder, gentler carrier thing. Among its many initiatives is the Samsung Galaxy Avant, a modestly specced phone that you can unlock (to use on other carriers) with the newly released SIM unlock app. It might come to more phones later, but it's a step in the right direction anyway.
The folks over at Laptop Mag have undertaken a test that really piques our interest. The results show that T-Mobile smartphones consistently get the best battery life among the big four US carriers. The difference isn't insignificant either. We're talking about a steady gap of up to three hours, depending on the phone.
In the chart below we see variation between the 2013 and 2014 versions of Samsung and HTC's flagships.
Sony tends not to push its flagship phones on US carriers, for whatever reason. Sometimes a tweaked version will happen along at a later date, and that was the case with the Xperia Z1. T-Mobile got the Xperia Z1s in January of this year, but it was still on Android 4.3. Well, not anymore—KitKat is rolling out now.
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.