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Google Messenger RCS support is likely not in public testing for T-Mobile after all

Yesterday, we reported that T-Mobile was in the process of testing Google's/Jibe's RCS implementation. T-Mobile has had its own version of RCS (called Advanced Messaging) since 2015, but like most implementations of the RCS technology, it is not compatible across carriers like SMS.

T-Mobile implementing the Jibe Universal RCS Profile, which Sprint and (soon) Rogers support, would certainly be better for users than the current Advanced Messaging system. Unfortunately, there is no substantial evidence that it is happening at this point.

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The cheapest smartphone plans in the United States

Every day we seem to be inundated with ads about who has the absolute cheapest data plan. Online, television, billboards, junk mail, even old-fashioned radio - it seems I can't go five minutes without each carrier telling me how much cheaper they are than everyone else, going so far as to hire old Verizon spokesmen and make dubious claims about reliability.

You know what? To hell with all of that. I've looked at every smartphone plan from every nationwide carrier in the country, big and small, to find the absolute cheapest plans. Let's pinch some freakin' pennies.

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RCS support in Messenger going live for some T-Mobile users

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, has been aiming to replace SMS for years. But unlike the universal SMS standard, there are multiple RCS implementations that don't work with each other. Google has been trying to solve this, by adding RCS support to Google Messenger and working with carriers to implement Jibe's 'Universal RCS Profile.'

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T-Mobile will now return sales tax to customers who purchase a new smartphone

T-Mobile is pretty hot on saving its customers money, especially if the company can create positive PR about it (which it's pretty good at, all things being said). The latest scheme takes that dreaded word, 'taxes' and tries to at least make it tolerable by returning sales tax to you when new and existing customers buy a new smartphone.

Obviously this is a pretty big win for T-Mobile. It goes hand-in-hand with the ONE program the carrier offers, which includes taxes and other monthly fees in the price of the plan, unlike other networks who tag those fees on after the fact.

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New customers can get unlimited data, calls, and texts for $50 on Sprint

In the words of Sprint, it's "doubling down" on unlimited. However much everyone now hates that phrase, this is probably good news. Unlimited data, calls, and texts are scarce nowadays, whereas Sprint is charging just $50 a month (for comparison, the 5GB data deal on Verizon is also $50 per month). Pretty good.

The sad news is this deal is only for new customers. Sorry, people already on Sprint - your time will come.

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Cricket Wireless is increasing available data on several plans, offering deals on new phones

Cricket Wireless is one of many MVNOs in the United States, offering a variety of pre-paid wireless plans using AT&T's network. Back in October, the carrier began offering a temporary $50/month deal that covered 8GB of high-speed data. Not only is that promotion becoming permanent, but Cricket is changing some of its other plans to offer more data.

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Verizon announces $15/month Unlimited Together plan for unlimited international minutes

With services like Skype, Hangouts, and even Duo, people can easily communicate with each other all across the world without the expensive fees that internationally calling can easily incur. Still, if you have the need to contact people with plain old phones, Verizon is making it slightly easier to do so.

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In addition to DIRECTV NOW, T-Mobile will give AT&T customers a free year of Hulu

Back in December, T-Mobile announced AT&T customers would get a free year of DIRECTV NOW if they switched to the T-Mobile ONE plan. As DIRECTV NOW is, in the words of the press release, "a complete disaster," T-Mobile has now amended that to a free year of Hulu as well.

DIRECTV NOW looks great on paper, but quite clearly it hasn't worked out that way in practice. It's been beset by issues, including regular errors and, from the sounds of things, a generally broken service, although it is distinctly possible there is some use of exaggeration in play. Here's what T-Mobile CEO and notorious troll John Legere had to say on the subject: “It turns out DIRECTV NOW is barely watchable, but we’ve got our customers’ backs!

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Sprint buys 33% stake in Tidal, will offer exclusive Tidal content and deals to Sprint subscribers

Sprint and Tidal announced today in a joint press release that the cellular provider has bought a 33% stake in Jay Z's streaming service. It is an interesting marriage, considering that both are industries in which competition is wanted, consumers fear consolidation, and the companies are far behind the market leaders in terms of subscriber counts. 

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AT&T announces $10/day 'International Day Pass', replaces the usual roaming charges

Carriers in the United States are widely known to rip off customers wherever possible, and roaming is perhaps the best example. To help alleviate some of the confusion that customers experience with international roaming, AT&T has announced the 'International Day Pass,' a $10/day fee that allows you to use your domestic plan abroad.

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