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.
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.
The rumors have been percolating up through the internet for months that Sprint (and parent company SoftBank) was nearing a deal to buy controlling interest in T-Mobile US, but a French company you've probably never heard of just threw a monkey wrench in the works. Iliad has offered $15 billion in cash for 56.6% of T-Mobile.
Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.