This story was originally published and last updated .
Dish has officially completed the acquisition of the merged T-Mobile's mandated divestiture of its various prepaid carriers — now all under the Boost Mobile umbrella — valued at $1.4 billion. With new ownership comes immediate changes such as a modified logo and new rate plans effective tomorrow.
Virgin Mobile is one of the smallest network carriers in the United States. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Sprint, the MVNO has been on the decline for years, and now the brand is set to cease operation as early as next month.
Congress has told voice service providers to shut down robocallers and instate call blocking by default. The FCC has mandated just the same. Now, 12 voice service providers have agreed to a series of principles drawn by attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that include offering that call blocking to consumers for free, implementing STIR/SHAKEN across their networks, and cooperating in investigations.
After years of back-and-forth boardroom negotiations, handshakes with government officials, a failure along the way, and many doses of hard bargaining, Sprint and T-Mobile are on track to merge and form a wireless carrier with a total of 137 million subscribers. The Department of Justice recently greenlit the deal, all we're waiting for now is the FCC vote. Today, the countdown has begun as commission chairman Ajit Pai announced his support for the combination.
Dish has been toying with the idea of becoming a proper carrier amid the merger of the century between T-Mobile and Sprint for quite a while. There were even some rumors that Google was on board with the satellite TV-provider, but they have since been denied by the search company. Bloomberg reports that Dish has agreed to buy wireless spectrum and prepaid businesses such as Boost Mobile from T-Mobile and Sprint as the Department of Justice closes in on approving the carrier merger.
The main argument against T-Mobile and Sprint's proposed merger has been the possibility of reduced competition; after all, Canada only has three major carriers, and that hasn't worked out great for the country. The U.S. Justice Department will reportedly only approve the merger if the combined company will sell off enough wireless spectrum for a new independent carrier to function, and the latest company to show interest is Dish Network.
Securus Technologies is a Texas-based company, specializing in providing and monitoring calls to prison inmates. Securus came into the spotlight earlier this month, when a former Missouri sheriff was found using the company's service to repeatedly track people without a warrant. The New York Times reports that between 2014 and 2017, former sheriff Cory Hutcheson used the service at least 11 times, allegedly tracking a judge and members of the State Highway Patrol.
Securus obtains tracking information through a company called LocationSmart, which in turn has agreements with most U.S. carriers. Earlier this month, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote a letter to various carriers asking them to independently verify that these requests are made lawfully.
You can still spend nearly $1000 on a phone if you want, but there are vastly cheaper options that aren't terrible. ZTE has been making great strides in the "cheap but not bad" space lately, and it has just announced a new device called the MAX XL. As the name suggests, it's a big phone. The price isn't big, though. This device is live on Boost Mobile today for $129.99, and it's on sale for $28 off.
Unlimited smartphone data is back! Roll out the barrels, re-download Netflix, and disable all those "Wi-Fi only" settings options, happy days are here again. But don't throw away your data meter just yet: the new batch of unlimited data plans from American carriers isn't what it used to be. A lack of limits now comes with an asterisk, like your favorite sports star "enhancing" his performance. So the question is no longer, "which mobile unlimited plan is the best?" Instead, it's "which carrier is going to put the least amount of petty restrictions on my so-called unlimited data?"
Every day we seem to be inundated with ads about who has the absolute cheapest data plan. Online, television, billboards, junk mail, even old-fashioned radio - it seems I can't go five minutes without each carrier telling me how much cheaper they are than everyone else, going so far as to hire old Verizon spokesmen and make dubious claims about reliability.
You know what? To hell with all of that. I've looked at every smartphone plan from every nationwide carrier in the country, big and small, to find the absolute cheapest plans. Let's pinch some freakin' pennies.