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WSJ: AT&T has backed out of deal to sell Huawei phones

It's been rumored for some time - and was considered a near-given in circles of mobile tech gossip - that Huawei would be launching a smartphone on AT&T in early 2018. Many assumed this would be the company's flagship Mate 10 or Mate 10 Pro, at least until a report from the Wall Street Journal this afternoon seemed to put those plans on ice.

According to the Journal, AT&T allegedly has backed out of a deal to sell Huawei smartphones, and on the eve of what most thought would be the announcement of that partnership here at CES 2018.

The story offers no reason for AT&T's decision to kill the deal, and given how many moving parts such partnerships can entail, it really could be anything.

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Verizon Total Mobile Protection is soon increasing to $13/month, lowering phone replacement deductible

As phones get more and more expensive, it seems logical that more and more people are purchasing insurance for peace of mind. Verizon seems to be aware of this, and it's upping the price of its Total Mobile Protection plan from $11 to $13 per month for phones starting very soon. However, the deductible for phone replacement is dropping by quite a bit to $89.

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[Deal Alert] Free ($300 off) Insta-Share Projector Moto Mod with purchase of other Moto Mod at Verizon

Projector phones always seemed like an idea that made more sense in science fiction than in present reality, which is probably why the Galaxy Beam failed to gain much traction. Such as it is, the benefit of the Moto Mod design allows anyone with a compatible phone to add on a countless number of peculiar peripherals... one at a time. Now, at Verizon, you can get a free Insta-Share Projector Moto Mod for free when you purchase any other Moto Mod. At $300 off, it's quite the bargain.

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HTC posts the RUU file for the T-Mobile U11 life Oreo update

HTC released the Android 8.0 Oreo update for its midrange U11 life on T-Mobile in December, but if somehow you haven't received the OTA yet and you'd like to flash it manually, you can do so now that the RUU file is available.

It's starting to take quite a while for HTC to publish RUU files after the OTA begins rolling: the unlocked U11 life's took a little less than 2 weeks and now the T-Mobile one has taken even more. But it's been a holiday period and at least HTC does make these files available so that you can flash the update even if you haven't seen the OTA notification just yet.

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Verizon Pixel 2 bootloader can be unlocked via a simple fastboot command

The biggest disadvantage to picking up the smaller Pixel 2 on Verizon's network is the locked bootloader. Big Red dictates that the phones it sells have to be locked down tight. That's a problem if you're into ROMs or if you'd like to root without an exploit. However, the folks over in the XDA forums have discovered a trivially simple way of unlocking the bootloader which is every bit as easy as the typical method for non-carrier locked Pixel 2 phones. 

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T-Mobile Moto Z2 Force is now receiving Android 8.0 Oreo

Motorola announced which phones would receive Android 8.0 back in August. The Verizon Z2 Force was first to get the update, but now it looks like the T-Mobile model is up next. A few Z2 Force owners on T-Mobile have received the Oreo update notification, indicating that a mass rollout may start soon (if it hasn't already).

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[Deal Alert] Verizon Wear24 smartwatch down to $74.97 ($275 off) on eBay

Verizon surprised everyone when the company announced its Wear24 smartwatch the same day as Google unveiled the LG Watch Sport and Style. The watch was discontinued just four months later, probably because not very many people want a $350 smartwatch. Now you can get it for just $74.97, a $275 savings over the original price.

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Android 8.0 Oreo rolling out to Verizon Moto Z2 Force

Ever since Motorola was purchased by Lenovo, the company's quick updates have become a relic of the past. Motorola announced which phones would receive Android 8.0 Oreo back in August, and now it looks like the Verizon Moto Z2 Force is first to get Oreo.

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Rakuten seeking to acquire spectrum rights to create its own mobile network in Japan

Rakuten, the increasingly diversifying Japanese e-commerce giant, is looking to establish its own independent mobile network. The company intends to apply for part of the 1.7GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum rights in Japan when the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications opens applications for those frequencies early next year. Presently, Rakuten operates an MVNO using leased capacity from market leader NTT Docomo. Alongside second and third-place carriers au and SoftBank, the three companies effectively hold control of the Japanese mobile network.

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T-Mobile wants to 'Un-carrier' television with its own service

T-Mobile has announced today that it's going to "Un-carrier" your TV with its own new service in 2018, and the company just took its first step by buying Layer3 TV, an online television provider. The motivation behind the move? John Legere—T-Mobile's exuberant CEO—says that, since T-Mobile is already disrupting the 2nd most hated industry in America, it may as well set its sights on the first: cable and satellite TV. That's... actually something we can get behind. 

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