Normally we're pretty pleased when we can report that a new country or carrier has enabled the option for carrier billing in the Google Play Store, allowing customers to charge app and media purchases directly to their phone bill. But for some reason, European carrier Vodafone seems to have dropped the option entirely. Vodafone has disappeared from the list of carrier billing partners on Google's Play Store support page, and we've confirmed the loss of capability from individual users in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
It's a good time to be a Samsung owner, at least if you've got some recent hardware. After beginning an extensive campaign of Android 4.3 updates for US models of the Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note II (likely motivated by the Galaxy Gear compatibility it provides), Samsung is now starting to update the massively popular international SIII model, the GT-I9300. According to SamMobile, Irish S III owners on Vodafone are the first to get the update, with no other regions reporting in at the moment.
After 14 years together, Verizon and Vodafone are calling it quits. Verizon will buy out Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless to gain full control of the company. The two wireless giants have agreed to a deal valued at $130 billion, which includes $58.9 billion in cash, $60.2 billion in Verizon stock, and $11 billion in additional cash from smaller deals. This confirms rumors that began surfacing late last week.
Verizon is perhaps the most intimidating fish in the sea of US cellphone carriers (okay - it's more of a pond). Now the Big Red is in talks to buy Vodafone's 45% stake in the company for $130 billion, and signs suggest that this deal could be completed within a week. If this goes through, it will mark the closure of a deal Verizon has wanted to secure for years.
If you aren't familiar with Vodafone, it's a British company with roughly four times the number of subscribers that Verizon has and the largest mobile network operator outside of China.
United Kingdom citizens, your long wait for LTE service is finally over... assuming you haven't gotten fed up and switched to EE already. Vodafone and O2, half of the UK's "big four" wireless providers, have both switched on their 4G/LTE networks today. Vodafone's LTE network is limited to London at the moment, while O2's network fares slightly better with a rollout to London, Leeds, and Bradford.
EE has had a de facto monopoly on LTE/4G in the UK (none of the carriers across the pond ever muddied the "4G" name with HSPA service, so the terms are interchangeable) since October of last year thanks to the government's spectrum licensing.
The phone is up for pre-order on all of the UK's major networks - EE, Three UK, Vodafone, O2, Orange, and T-Mobile - as well as Carphone Warehouse, Phones4u, and Amazon. Don't know which network to go with? Let's break it down for you...
HTC may not be too terribly specific about when it intends to release its newest flagship, aside from a vague March-ish timeline, but Vodafone and Clove are more than happy to fill in the blank space: March 15th is the date. At least if you're in the UK, looking to get this piece of hardware on Vodafone, or order from Clove.
Not only does Clove's ordering site indicate this as the date the first shipments should come in, but Vodafone confirmed the date in a statement to AP.
It's easy for the tech world to forget that not everyone is looking to buy a new $200 phone on contract every six months. Vodafone UK hasn't forgotten, though. The British carrier is launching a new service to help put top-tier smartphones in the hands of pay-as-you-go customers by selling them lightly used hardware. More specifically, phones exchanged within the carrier's 7-day return window.
If you're buying a phone without a contract, the up-front cost would be slightly cheaper, as one would expect from a used device.
The pace at which Samsung is pushing out Galaxy S III Jelly Bean updates is picking up steam in Europe with the much anticipated arrival of Android 4.1.1 for unbranded UK handsets. The Brits aren't the only ones getting it today - in fact, the list is quite sizeable. Here, check it out:
- UK unbranded
- Switzerland unbranded
- Luxemburg unbranded (update: supposedly, Belgian S IIIs use the same version too)
- Denmark (Three)
- Bulgaria (Mobiltel)
- Romania (Cosmote)
- Ireland (Meteor, Vodafone)
- Czech Republic (O2)
- Sweden (Tre)
- Croatia (Vipnet)
Not bad at all - looks like the next platform distribution update won't be as depressing.
European O2 and Vodafone Galaxy S III owners, it's finally your turn to check out Jelly Bean first hand. Following last week's updates on Hutchison Whampoa networks (Three/3/H3G), now O2 and Vodafone joined the party and started pushing out Android 4.1.1 to Galaxy S IIIs in at least the following locations:
- O2: United Kingdom, Ireland
- Vodafone: United Kingdom, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany
The Vodafone launch started today right on schedule, as per this post from a few days ago.