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Carriers

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Verizon to offer free spam and robocalling protection to all customers, starting in March

Following on the heels of T-Mobile's similar announcement last week, Verizon is set to roll out robocall and spam call protection to all of its customers starting in March. It will be available to all users who have "smartphones [that] support these features," including iPhones and Android devices. 

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Verizon now includes free Apple Music subscription with its Beyond and Above Unlimited plans

Verizon announced yesterday that its expanding its partnership with Apple. The carrier is now offering a gratis premium subscription to the latter's music streaming service to all Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited users — those on the Go Unlimited tier get a free six-month trial.

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Sprint joins competitors in offering a rewards app full of mediocre coupon deals

As T-Mobile and Sprint's merger sits on hold during the government shutdown, Sprint has taken a leaf from its future business partner and launched a rewards program. My Sprint Rewards, much like T-Mobile Tuesdays and the similar offerings from Verizon and AT&T, is essentially a coupon app, offering discounts on things like clothing and fast food, or allowing users to enter larger draws for free vacations.

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Netflix is bumping prices on all streaming plans

Netflix launched its streaming video service 12 years ago, forever changing the way many of us watch TV. The cost for its all-you-can-stream subscriptions has gone up over the years, and it's time for another price hike. All three tiers of Netflix service are going up, but T-Mobile has your back (for now).

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Google Fi announces RCS support, rolls out faster 4G LTE coverage in 33 more countries

Google has been the driving force behind RCS adoption for the past two years, so it has always been confusing that the company's own MVNO network didn't support the technology. That has finally changed, as Google Fi (formerly Project Fi) is now rolling out RCS, along with improved international coverage.

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The ludicrous Google Pay 'death sentence' can lock your Fi account and phone number

Google has gone from a plucky search engine startup to a sprawling international corporation with its tendrils reaching into many aspects of our lives. Sometimes, that provides unique advantages. However, it can also be immensely frustrating when you run into Google's famously lacking customer support. As travel blog One Mile at a Time points out, that's a particularly big problem when it comes to Google Pay and Fi.

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Verizon is testing a cloud gaming platform on Nvidia Shield

Following its failed venture in video streaming with the ill-fated Go90 service, Verizon is moving on to new streaming pastures. According to The Verge, the telecom giant is currently testing a cloud gaming service called Verizon Gaming with a small group of Nvidia Shield users.

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AT&T and Cricket customers receive texts that their location was used by third parties

On the heels of AT&T and other carriers promising (again) to stop proving location data to data aggregation companies, many customers of AT&T its MNVO Cricket have received an interesting text message. They were informed that they had consented to sharing "phone location or other subscriber, account, and device data" with third parties, without actually having consented.

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Every product with Google Assistant announced at CES 2019

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Last year's Consumer Electronics Show brought some of the first third-party devices with Google Assistant — Google's virtual helper had only been released a few months prior. This year, we saw a wide variety of devices running Assisant. Beyond the usual mix of smart lights and speakers, there are mirrors, electric car chargers, water systems, and even Insant Pots with Assistant.

For your reading enjoyment, this is every product announced at CES 2019 with Google Assistant (or Google Assistant integration), in no particular order.

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[Update: Carriers respond] U.S. carriers under fire for continuing to sell phone location data to third parties

Last year, a large number of U.S. carriers were under fire for selling live location data to third-party companies, including LocationSmart and Securus. These companies then sold that data to other companies, and so on and so forth. As you might expect, the bad publicity hasn't stopped carriers from working with those companies, as evidenced by a recent article from Motherboard.

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