You may have noticed that AT&T and T-Mobile are in a bit of a spat at the moment. T-Mobile offers early upgrades with no-contract financing plans, and AT&T does the same a few weeks later. T-Mo woos people with credits towards early termination fees, AT&T gives a whopping $450 of credit ($250 for trading in a T-Mo phone, $200 for transferring service) to former T-Mobile customers. But it looks like the gravy train has run out of fuel - CNET reports that the promotion is over.
If you've been holding your breath for LG's curved, flexible G Flex and... well, the somewhat less remarkable Optimus F3Q to come to Magenta, then you won't have to wait much longer. T-Mobile announced this morning that both smartphones will be available starting on February 5th online and at retailers. The G Flex will cost $672 ($28 a month on T-Mobile's two-year payment plan), while the budget QWERTY slider will cost $312 ($13 for 24 months).
T-Mobile is doing a lot of unconventional things for the mobile industry, and now it's branching out to banking as well. The carrier has announced a new service called Mobile Money that works like any number of other online banks. You set up the account, deposit your checks through an app, and use a Visa debit card to spend. As for the fees, most of them are waived for T-Mobile customers.
The new Xperia Z1s on T-Mobile is almost identical to the international Z1, except for the radio bands and some software tweaks. One thing that definitely isn't the same is the bootloader – it appears that T-Mobile has requested Sony not allow bootloader unlocks on this device. For a company trying to upend the traditional carrier model, this is awfully old-fashioned carrier behavior.
If you're too impatient to wait for Samsung to get Android 4.4 to your carrier variant of the Galaxy Note 3 (or if you're just tired of TouchWiz), the indefatigable boys and girls of CyanogenMod are here to help. They've just released the first nightly builds of CM 11 (KitKat) for Samsung's plus-sized flagship, with support for the international LTE model (N9005), plus Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint versions.
As it happens, Samsung just started sending out the official 4.4 update for the N9005 earlier this week, so those of you who are on the unlocked version of the phone might want to go for the TouchWiz build of KitKat instead.
In between pointed jabs at the other national carriers, T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced the carrier's newest "Un-carrier" plan. As the rumors indicated, T-Mobile is going to pay the early termination fees (ETF) when customers switch to T-Mobile from Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon. Sounds great, but there are a few caveats.
Sony has two new phones to announce here at CES in Las Vegas: one specifically for the purple people over at T-Mobile, and one meant to appease users who want a premium phone without the bulk. The Xperia Z1s is T-Mobile's branded variant of the slightly older Xperia Z1. Aside from the extra letter and doubled storage, it's identical to Sony's international flagship. The Xperia Z1 Compact is a smaller 4.3" phone that keeps most of the premium features.