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Carriers

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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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[Deal Alert] Get a free Moto Z Droid or half price Moto Z Droid Force (after Verizon credits) at Best Buy

Motorola took a leap with the Moto Z this year by focusing on the modular accessories known as Mods. That meant a few design sacrifices had to be made, including a small-ish battery on the Moto Z and a non-ergonomic flat back panel. I don't think these phones stand up to the competition at full price, but at half price or free, it's hard to complain. That's the deal at Best Buy right now for the Verizon-branded versions.

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Verizon will block Note7 holdouts from placing calls, may bill them for the phone's full price

The Galaxy Note7 was a spectacular failure for Samsung that has turned into a customer service nightmare for its carrier partners. People are still using the Note 7 even after a series of OTA updates designed to reduce the phone's charging capacity and finally stop it from charging altogether. Verizon says thousands of people are still using the Note7 on its network, and it's looking to put a stop to it by blocking all outgoing calls. The carrier may also be delivering some bill-shock to holdouts.

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The ultra-budget LG Aristo is official for T-Mobile and MetroPCS

Not everyone demands a high-end phone that costs as much as a computer. Maybe you only need a basic smartphone that'll let you poke around on the web and send some WhatsApp messages. If that's the case, there's the new LG Aristo on T-Mobile and MetroPCS. The price is low, but so are the specs.

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