Two days ago, Google unveiled new licensing terms for Android phones and tablets in the European Union, following the EU's record $5 billion fine. Device manufacturers can now sell phones with heavily-modified builds of Android while also producing normal Android devices with the Play Store, and some apps (like Chrome and Google Search) are now separate licenses. According to a report from The Verge, device makers are still strongly incentivized to ship Search and Chrome, or they could pay as much as $40 per device for access to the Play Store. Read More
T-Mobile's allegedly revolutionary ONE Unlimited plan has been met with a lot of skepticism thanks to its oxymoronic limitations on streaming video and tethering, plus new tiers of service that undermine the idea of a "single" data plan for everyone. Even so, CEO John Legere said that the company is "doubling down" on the ONE plan. In his typical bombastic and profanity-laden style, Legere announced that starting January 22nd, T-Mobile will only offer the ONE Unlimited plan to new post-paid customers. That's $70 for talk, text, and "unlimited" data for the first line, $120 for two lines, and $20 for each line after. Read More
Those of you who switch smartphones often have probably heard of Swappa, an online marketplace that people buy and sell mobile technology on. In the past few months, Swappa has been expanding to offer options to sell devices such as VR headsets, Chromebooks, and MacBooks. Now, for the first time since its launch back in 2010, the site is raising its sales fees. Read More
Update: Well that didn't take long. Here's what T-Mobile had to say in response.
We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want. T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors.
T-Mobile introduced a whirlwind of changes last year as it rebranded itself as the "Un-carrier," with perhaps its most substantial shift being the decision to forgo annual contracts, breaking away from a long-standing practice among carriers in the US. Now the company is doing away with another perpetual mobile pain in the rear by eradicating its domestic overage charges. This applies regardless of whether you're on a Simple Choice plan, the new Simple Starter, or an older plan - and it will take place starting in May, with those bills arriving in June.
CEO John Legere, not one to shy away from making grand gestures, has taken to Change.org with a petition calling on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to abolish their overage charges as well. Read More
Starting in July 2014, Europeans will be free of burdensome roaming charges as they travel across the European Union's 27 member states. This comes after officials voted to terminate such fees for voice calls, text messages, and internet access as part of a move to create a single European telecoms market. This is great news for French citizens hopping across the border to Germany, but it will have no impact on tourists from outside of the continent. Americans, for example, will still have their roaming fees determined by their carriers back home.
Officials hope that this change will allow Europe to begin consolidating mobile network operators in order to improve the quality of service among member states. Read More
In a word: yes. Wireless carriers in the US (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) have long been deeply opposed to net neutrality over their so-called "mobile broadband" networks, but today they've been given a power they have long desired to see the FCC put into writing.
If you haven't been following the net neutrality saga, you might want to find out what exactly "net neutrality" is, or what it means.
What is "net neutrality"?
It's a loaded term, to be frank. Net neutrality activists will tell you it means the complete freedom of information from corporate interference by requiring that ISPs (Internet service providers) do not give any preferential (or deferential) treatment to any information transmitted over their networks, unless it is clearly illegal or dangerous. Read More