Ahead of the shutdown of its 3G network early next year, AT&T has been prompting customers who own devices that are set to become obsolete to get new phones. It's gone so far as to offer a free if cheap replacement for those who request one. However, some subscribers who have yet to take action of any sort on this matter are receiving devices anyway and they're not the phones we were told to expect.
Last week T-Mobile elicited groans after it confirmed a massive hack of customer data — its fourth such hack in four years. For a short time it appeared that something similar had happened to its in-country carrier rival, AT&T: a post on an illicit hacker forum claimed to have customer data from 70 million people, selling for $200,000. But in contrast with T-Mobile's response, AT&T says its investigation of the sample data indicates that it didn't come from the company's servers.
The announcement's out. In the U.S., the Galaxy Z Flip3 is priced at $1,000 for the 128GB version and $1,050 for the 256GB version while the Fold3 with 256GB or 512GB of storage sits at $1,800 and $1,900. Both come up for pre-orders today and they'll ship from August 27. Now comes all of the ways to cut down that total and fill up your cart from your friendly neighborhood carrier, retailer, and/or Samsung itself.
Carriers and phone manufacturers might be talking about nothing but 5G lately, but when it comes to the infrastructure that keeps most of us online, day-in and day-out, the US still very much runs on LTE. While such 4G coverage is fantastically strong in many places, that's still far from the case everywhere, and it hasn't always been easy to get straight answers from the carriers about exactly what kind of reception you can expect, and where. Thankfully, the FCC has just taken a big step towards fixing that, publishing its first standardized nationwide map of 4G coverage.
In 2019, AT&T announced that it was selling its phone business in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to Liberty, who would take over operations in the two markets. However, a small number of customers in those countries with Puerto Rican or US Virgin Island area codes/phone numbers who continued to primarily use their devices in the US mainland were able to continue as AT&T subscribers. Unfortunately, AT&T now requires that those customers change their phone numbers, though they are also being offered a $100 Visa Reward card for their trouble.
By this point, we know pretty well what to expect from Samsung when it comes to monthly security updates. Usually some international market will get the next month's release a little early, still in the waning days of the previous month — exactly like we just saw happen for the July release right at the end of June. And then if we're very good and patient, a few days later we start seeing the first releases start to appear for US carriers — just like what's happening right now.
Opensignal is an analytics company that uses aggregated data from smartphones to generate reports on carrier performance. For the July edition of its US metrics, in both its overall mobile experience and 5G-specific reports, T-Mobile edged out its competition in the "big three" US carriers. It seems the acquisition of Sprint has truly leveled the playing field, as no carrier between AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile was able to make a clean sweep of either report.
AT&T is going to bat for its high-flying, high-paying customers by boosting several amenities in its Unlimited Elite service plan and International Day Pass for data needs while traveling. These upgrades bring the carrier into line with what T-Mobile offers for its top-tier subscribers.
RCS hasn't conquered the world just yet, but Google is winning the war. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced that it was switching to Google's RCS messaging and app as the default for devices on its network, and now AT&T has revealed that it is also following suit. There's no firm schedule yet, but future AT&T devices, including Samsung phones, will ship with Google Messages as the default messaging app — and, if AT&T will finally adopt the Universal Profile standards and interconnect to other networks, customers can finally enjoy the perks of improved RCS messaging with out-of-network friends.