I know, US only polls do exclude a lot of our most loyal followers, but today's poll is about taking a head count in a turbulent time for the US wireless industry. Dan Hesse was just ousted as CEO of Sprint, and the carrier's parent company SoftBank has allegedly ended its plans for a takeover-merger of competitor T-Mobile. T-Mobile is also poised to surpass Sprint as America's #3 wireless carrier by postpaid subscribers, with CEO John Legere predicting it will happen before the year is out.
T-Mobile is really taking a run at this whole kinder, gentler carrier thing. Among its many initiatives is the Samsung Galaxy Avant, a modestly specced phone that you can unlock (to use on other carriers) with the newly released SIM unlock app. It might come to more phones later, but it's a step in the right direction anyway.
T-Mobile, hot on the heels of rejecting a $15 billion buyout from Iliad and an apparently abandoned takeover by Sprint, has announced today that it's now the US's #1 prepaid wireless provider by subscriber volume.
The exact number of prepaid subscribers T-Mobile cites is 15.64 million, about half a million above former #1 Sprint's 15.19 million. Sprint, of course, operates two major American prepaids - Virgin Mobile and Boost. AT&T and Verizon lag behind at 11.34 million and 6.04 million prepaid subscribers, respectively.
The folks over at Laptop Mag have undertaken a test that really piques our interest. The results show that T-Mobile smartphones consistently get the best battery life among the big four US carriers. The difference isn't insignificant either. We're talking about a steady gap of up to three hours, depending on the phone.
In the chart below we see variation between the 2013 and 2014 versions of Samsung and HTC's flagships.
Sony tends not to push its flagship phones on US carriers, for whatever reason. Sometimes a tweaked version will happen along at a later date, and that was the case with the Xperia Z1. T-Mobile got the Xperia Z1s in January of this year, but it was still on Android 4.3. Well, not anymore—KitKat is rolling out now.
The HTC One M8 is one of the more desirable Android phones available at the moment, and if you're looking to find a good deal on one, "qualitycellz" (may not a be a real name) is happy to oblige on eBay. The seller has at least a few refurbished AT&T-branded One M8 models going for $449.99, a full $220 off of the new retail price at AT&T. You can have any color you want, so long as you want silver.
The rumors that Sprint was moving on from the Hesse era were true. After seven years at the helm of the Now Network, Dan Hesse is stepping aside so Sprint's parent company SoftBank can bring in someone new. Its choice is Marcelo Claure, the founder and current CEO of SoftBank subsidiary Brightstar.
Update: Bloomberg is reporting Dan Hesse will step down and be replaced in an announcement tomorrow, during which the plan to end pursuit of T-Mobile will also be discussed.
This one's short and sweet, folks: Sprint has dropped its efforts to purchase T-Mobile according to the Wall Street Journal, citing the perpetually present "people familiar with the matter." According to said persons, SoftBank and Sprint decided the merger would simply be too difficult to accomplish in the face of federal regulators, an experience AT&T became all too familiar with back in late 2011, to the tune of a $4 billion severance fee.
French telecom company Iliad made a surprise bid for T-Mobile US late last week after months of rumors that Sprint and T-Mobile would be getting hitched. Iliad offered $15 billion for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile, but now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that T-Mobile isn't even willing to entertain that deal and has opted not to give Iliad access to its financial data.
Sometimes PR people make up words they think are clever—they usually aren't. Kyocera's new "fragiphoniphobia" line is an example of this. The "fear of fragile phones" will allegedly be mitigated by the new ruggedized Kyocera Hydro Life. Whether or not you want a rugged phone, I think we can all agree that fragiphoniphobia should never appear in print again.