I'm working on an article about 5G - it is becoming increasingly, exasperatingly long - and one of the major themes I'm finding is that new mobile technology is often touted as being the silver bullet for a problem with existing technology. For example: my AT&T LTE service here in Los Angeles sucks, like sub-1Mbps up and down speeds outside not next to a tall building. I've started using HSPA+ more and more just to avoid LA's ultra-congested AT&T LTE network - it's that bad in my area. 5G, of course, promises to fix all of this (I won't get into the hows and whys here - that's what the article is for).
If you route all of your voice calls through data-only web tools like Hangouts, you may want to keep an eye on T-Mobile. According to an internal leak posted by Tmo News, the "uncarrier" will offer a surprisingly wide array of data-only options starting later this week. While these plans are still under the "Simple Choice" label, they're considerably cheaper than the existing options thanks to omitting voice services. The plans do include the now-standard unlimited texting, whether you need it or not.
Hey, did you notice yesterday at any point that T-Mobile said it's raising its prices? Well, that's because they never actually said it. They even got us - with all the talk of unlimited video streaming and double data, seemingly almost nobody noticed that the Uncarrier has raised prices on most of its Simple Choice data plans, and substantially if you want unlimited. While current customers won't see a rate increase per T-Mobile's promise of never raising your bill, new individual customers will be paying a fair bit more for data.
At T-Mobile's Uncarrier X press event in Los Angeles this morning, America's most disruptive wireless provider announced yet another set of lucrative bonuses for T-Mobile customers. First, all Simple Choice plans are having their data doubled. 1GB is now 2GB, 3GB is now 6GB, and 5GB is now 10GB. Unlimited customers will also see their 7GB hotspot data double to 14GB.
What took center-stage, though, was T-Mobile's "Binge On" initiative, which will allow unlimited streaming of video on 24 services to all Simple Choice customers on the uprated 6GB, 10GB, or unlimited plans. 2GB customers, as with Music Freedom, will not be getting in on this one.
AT&T, a company with a reputation for evil such that placing their logo inside a Death Star has always seemed genuinely appropriate, has announced some changes to pricing on its mobile data plans today. While some of those changes are genuinely good if you're a subscriber with a large data bucket or have some pretty particular usage habits, many new customers can expect to pay $5-10 more a month under the new structure, which AT&T of course claims is a totally innocuous attempt to "simplify" things for customers.
Here's the deal - currently, AT&T charges $25 a month (plus $25 per phone if you BYOD or use Next) for 1GB of data, $40 for 3GB, and $70 for 6GB.
For American penny-pinchers who can meter their phone usage to a tiny sliver of voice and data and supplement with Wi-Fi, FreedomPop offers a pretty amazing deal. If you can snag a compatible phone and SIM card, you can get a small amount of service every month for free, gratis, and nothing. The service is now expanding outside of FreedomLand (he said, with only a trace element of irony) and hopping the pond to the United Kingdom.
FreedomPop will launch its service in the UK starting this summer, and according to this Guardian report, its free tier will offer 200 voice minutes, 200 text messages, and 200MB of data per month.
Ready for Google's vision of a modern cell phone service provider? So are we. Google Fi isn't quite prepared to open its doors, but right now it's accepting sign-ups for invitations at this site. The service isn't quite ready to launch, but according to the site and the video, lucky invitees will be allowed in sometime in the next week. Google will allow batches of customers in each week, but you should get a "yes" or "no" answer within 30 days.
We know pretty much what to expect from Google Fi thanks to a couple of high-profile leaks. Check it out here, after you're done getting your invitation in - there are likely to be hundreds of thousands of applicants, so do it quickly.
We've been hearing (and seeing) more and more about Google's possible wireless service lately, but WSJ published a report this evening indicating that the service's launch may be even sooner than we anticipated.
For those unaware, rumors have been swirling that Google might be ready to open up its own wireless service, an MVNO backed by Sprint and T-Mobile networks, codenamed "Nova."
Tonight's report from the Wall Street Journal suggests Google could be ready to announce the service as early as tomorrow, April 22. Additionally, the report corroborates previous whisperings that Nova would only charge customers for the amount of data they actually use every month, with totals being driven lower by the service's apparent emphasis on using WiFi for voice and data when possible.
For most of us, making and receiving phone calls with our devices is something we simply take for granted. Unfortunately, Nexus 6 owners who use Sprint as their carrier are finding that it's not quite that simple.
The Nexus 6 works on all five major US carriers with the simple swap of a SIM card, but that doesn't mean that all problems with the device are universal to all carriers. In this case, a lot of people who have a Nexus 6 on Sprint are reporting that their devices are not receiving phone calls. The problem seems very random and there isn't much of a pattern to it.