It's that time again. AT&T has been busy adding and upgrading several markets with high-speed LTE. This round of upgrades seems to focus a bit more attention to the Northeast, particularly in the New York and New Jersey areas. Still, quite a few other locations are popping up around the country. With most new spots checking in with populations below 100,000 people, and some below the 10k mark, AT&T is closing in on its target to finish covering the United States with LTE by the end of this year.
A few days ago, Dell dropped the price of both Sprint's and Verizon's variants of the Galaxy S 4 to $119 and $129 respectively. Not to be outdone, Amazon Wireless has now undercut Big D by $10, and is offering Verizon's GS4 for $119 for new contracts ($170 for upgrades). That's a pretty solid deal if you don't want to buy from Dell, though I'd be remiss not to mention the $50 eGift card that Dell is throwing in if you do decide to buy through them.
Verizon, please sit down. We've all come here to talk to you because we care about you. Actually, most of us don't, but we recognize that you've got a problem. You have too many apps. No, don't try to deny it. You've got 11 apps spread across two publishers, and today you've added another one, with a brand new publisher, that duplicates at least some of the functionality of two previous ones.
Oh, what a tangled web gigantic mega-corps weave. Japanese telecom SoftBank wants to get its hands on an American wireless carrier, come Hell or high water, and they've just outbid Dish Network to do so. According to Reuters, Softbank has upped its bid from October of last year to $21.6 billion USD for 78% control of Sprint, topping its previous commitment of $20 billion for 70%. Dish Network is currently offering $25.5 billion in a mix of cash and stock for an outright sale, about 10% less on a share-by-share basis.
There's a place in every carrier's line up for a mid-range phone, and that's what the Sprint Vital is. We got the early details on this device back in March when it was known as the ZTE Quantum, and the official announcement jives with the leak pretty well. This phone has a few notable features, but the hardware is a bit lackluster.
Two-year contracts are a drag for all sorts of reasons, but AT&T just found a way to make them even more annoying. The carrier has quietly altered its upgrade terms to stipulate that customers have to wait for the full 24 month term to be up before getting subsidized pricing on an upgrade. You can see the before and after versions of Ma Bell's upgrade page below.
It would be one thing if the change only affected new contracts from the effective date of June 9th, but it also pushes back the upgrade date for anyone whose contract ends after March 1, 2014.
If you're in the market for a Cricket Wireless phone, the carrier is offering some downright fantastic deals at the moment. They're offering massive mail-in rebates of $200 off the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, and HTC One SV (in addition to their regular web discounts), delivered in the form of a Visa prepaid card. Thanks to a surprisingly low starting price, Samsung's Galaxy S4 is just $329.99 with the rebate - and that's not a contract price.
So here's something we're not used to hearing: Dell's got some pretty good deals going for phones right now. Verizon's Galaxy S4 is only $129 for new customers ($160 for upgrades), Sprint's version is $119 for new customers, and both come with a $50 Dell eGift card.
The deals don't end there, either – all versions of the GS4 come with a $50 eGift card, even if they haven't knocked a bundle off the price.
Sprint announced the Optimus F3 this morning, a very boring little phone you probably couldn't care less about, and I don't blame you. What you should care about, though, is what's going on in the official press photos below. Look closely at the one on the left.
Left to right: Optimus F3 IP Infringement Edition, Optimus F3
Why yes, that is a slightly older version of TouchWiz (Nature UX 1.0, if I'm not mistaken) that this Optimus F3 is running!