It's not just the big guys following T-Mobile's lead in the way phones and plans are sold. US Cellular is announcing new no-contract plans and financed device options today. It's more or less the same deal you get at other carriers, but with some cheaper tiers.
US Cellular customers with Samsung flagship phones, you can finally play with the latest and greatest in Android software. The carrier is sending out the KitKat 4.4.2 update for both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3 today, following the carrier's Moto X update by just over a week. Not bad, considering that larger carriers aren't very far ahead.
You know the drill: check your Settings menu for a manual update if you haven't seen it already.
Update: Motorola is saying that the OTA was delayed slightly. It should start rolling out today 2/13.
Right on the heels of the T-Mobile update, US Cellular's Moto X is getting the bump up to version 4.4.2. This OTA started hitting a few devices last week, but now it should be rolling out to everyone. Head to the settings and check your update menu at your earliest convenience.
The Motorola direct price on the Moto G is great, but some carriers have opted to sell the phone even cheaper in an attempt to lure customers. US Cellular is following Verizon's lead today in offering the Moto G for just $99.99 off-contract. It's live on the US Cellular website right now and will be in stores February 10th.
The Moto G is $179 from Motorola as an unlocked GSM device, so you're saving a fair amount if you don't mind sticking with USC.
If you're in the market for a no-contract cell phone and you want unlimited data, your options aren't exactly legion. Today US Cellular announced one more, albeit with some big drawbacks in the small print. For a limited time, you can pick up a new no-contract phone and enjoy unlimited talk minutes, texting and data for $50 a month. That's the same price as the carrier's current 1GB plan.
As with US Cellular's previous plans, "unlimited" only means "unlimited" in the very selective way that some carriers use the term.
You've got no shortage of options for carriers if you want a Galaxy S4 Mini in the United States. Verizon and Sprint have already released the phone, and now prospective US Cellular customers are getting a crack at it. The carrier posted the phone to its online store today with neither pomp nor circumstance. You can pick it up for $49.99 on a two-year contract or a whopping $499.99 without.
Not to be left behind by the larger carriers, US Cellular is also distributing the Android 4.3 update to the Galaxy S IIIs running on its network. In addition to the goodies that come with the latest version of Jelly Bean, this release gives Samsung's 2012 flagship the ability to pair with Galaxy Gear smartwatches, a privilege that until recently was exclusively provided to the Galaxy Note 3.
Galaxy S III users who do not own a Galaxy Gear may be more interested in the new Samsung KNOX compatibility or the improved pre-installed apps.
Regular readers will recall that yesterday AT&T suspended the rollout of the Android 4.3 update to its carrier-branded version of the Galaxy S4. It looks like US Cellular is doing the same today. The following is a statement given to Android Police when we asked a US Cellular representative about any possible delays to the update, which was started on November 8th: