Google Maps is one of the company's most magical services, but its navigational utility sadly varies a bit from country to country. For several reasons, not all regions have the same sort of data available. Google offers three tiers of data availability and quality when it comes to things like biking directions, traffic, and speed limits, and the company has just updated its table for Map Coverage Details to reflect several recent changes in coverage.
T-Mobile has just rolled out improved LTE coverage to literally hundreds of new locations across the United States, including cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and many others. The upgrade affects T-Mobile's low- and mid-band LTE capacity, which are the parts of the spectrum best suited for in-building penetration and long-range coverage.
Google's new Pixel phones aren't the developer-friendly devices that the Nexus phones were, and they aren't priced like them, either. The Pixel starts at a whopping $649 for the standard 5-inch 32GB version. A 128GB upgrade costs an extra hundred bucks ($749), and the Pixel XL is $120 more expensive at both capacities, $769 and $869, respectively. Google has added financing options to the Google Store, very much like US and international carriers, to help with the sticker shock. Customers can spread that price over 24 monthly payments. The cheapest option is $27.04 a month.
T-Mobile is planning to unveil a new phase of its Uncarrier program next week, but in the meantime, it's revamping Uncarrier 7 from last year. In case you're not keeping count, that was the CellSpot Router. Now, T-Mobile is adding the 4G LTE CellSpot to its lineup. This mini cell tower plugs into your internet to provide a bubble of T-Mobile LTE coverage for up to 16 simultaneous voice/data sessions. It's also kind of free.
After signing up for Google's Project Fi I had only to wait a couple of days before a SIM card and "Welcome Kit" showed up at my door. I noted that the accessories - a battery pack, earbuds, and white case for the Nexus 6 - seemed to be carefully and thoughtfully designed, even if the hard plastic boxes for each seemed a little extravagant. The welcome kit was foreshadowing for the rest of the Fi experience - thoughtfully put together and pleasing.
I've been using Fi (switching over from T-Mobile) for over a month now, so I thought it might be helpful to rewind through my experience and answer some questions would-be Fi users might be asking.
Google's Project Loon isn't on our radar much here in the US because we have expansive high-speed internet access. That's not the case everywhere, though, and it's a problem Project Loon aims to solve. According to Google, a single balloon can apparently provide LTE service to a region the size of Rhode Island. I could have baited you with "a whole state" in the headline, but this is still pretty impressive.
It has apparently been a while since Sprint's been able to focus on simply growing out its nationwide coverage. While the company has expanded its LTE coverage piecemeal, announcing new markets every couple of months, it has also had to manage the networks powered by different technologies it acquired when purchasing Nextel (iDen) and Clearwire (WiMax). But after a decade of acquisitions and adjustment, Sprint may be ready to start turning things around, according to S4GRU, a blog dedicated entirely to Sprint's 4G LTE and WiMax expansions (it doesn't get much more niche than that).
AT&T is currently the only carrier to offer 4G LTE roaming in other countries, a change it rolled out back in December. At the time, only Canada was supported, followed by the UK. Now the carrier is rolling out the service in around a dozen additional countries. These range from locales as small as Hong Kong and Singapore to places as expansive as Australia and Russia.
AT&T now also supports 4G LTE roaming in:
Antigua & Barbuda
Since carriers in different countries use various wireless frequencies, a device that works in one country may not work in another.
Some people live in places that have had 4G LTE coverage for a long time now. Others don't. AT&T is steadily working to fill in the gaps in its network, and today it has announced the launch of 12 additional markets. This brings the total up to 488 nationwide.
Check the list below to see if your town has made the list.