According to Bloomberg, the US Department of Justice has just announced that it will submit a deferment request for the Sprint / Softbank merger to the FCC. Telecom acquisitions in the United States require approval from both the DoJ and the FCC, with the former agency focusing largely on potential anti-trust issues. Softbank officially announced the buyout in October.
It's not exactly a big surprise that the DoJ is looking at this deal cautiously.
The title basically says it all: if you're thinking of switching to U.S. Cellular as your family's mobile provider, the company will give you a $300 Mastercard debit card. All you have to do is sign a new two-year agreement with the regional carrier for two or more lines of service, one of which must be a smartphone. Past that, it's a done deal. You get new phones and service, they give you $300.
We know, we know - the Nexus 4 is still awfully hard to come by. If you haven't already rushed to your nearest Best Buy, you might want to run over to WireFly, where T-Mobile's version of the N4 is just $149.99. That's $50 less than T-Mobile's retail price, and the lowest we've ever seen for the 8GB model. The deal is good both for new contracts and 2-year renewals.
Just when you thought it couldn't go any lower, Amazon Wireless makes the Droid RAZR HD even more affordable. As long as you're willing to sign on for two years of Verizon service, that is. Amazon reduced the RAZR HD to $49 last week, but Wirefly leapfrogged Amazon to make the device free for upgrades (still $49 for new accounts). Not to be outdone, Amazon has dropped the price all the way to $19.99 on new accounts, and just $0.01 for upgrades.
We just received a reliable tip that Verizon has officially discontinued the 32GB flavor of the Galaxy S III, among other Android handsets. Final shipments of the 32GB GSIII have already been received from Samsung, meaning you can expect the remaining stock to dry up over the next month or two (so you'll be able to find it for a while yet). The 16GB Galaxy S III will continue to be available.
Better late than never, I suppose. Today Sprint announced that it's bringing new LTE service to Boston and Framingham, Mass., Austin and Bryan-College Station, TX, Fort Wayne, IN, and Western Puerto Rico. The latter is actually not the first round of 4G coverage for the territory, as PR has had coverage in a few southern cities for a while. Additionally, the carrier improved its 3G services throughout the entire island.
It's a good start for 2013 as Sprint continues its Network Vision plan, which should only ramp up this year as a variety of deals—including the Softbank acquisition, the Clearwire buyout, and spectrum purchases—finalize.
At 6:00 PM EST today, Republic Wireless will be releasing an OTA update for its single- and dual-band Motorola Defy XT. While the update will bring a slew of enhancements to the device, it also brings a not-so-desirable "fix:"breaking the root exploit uncovered by jcase back in December. That means if you're already rooted, you'll lose root during the update process, and if you haven't yet rooted, the old method will no longer work.
Sprint this morning announced plans to offer a new ultra-rugged Kyocera smartphone with Direct Connect "this spring." The device – dubbed Torque – offers the standard features expected from a ruggedized phone, including water resistance, dust prevention, and drop protection. That means you'll be able to drop it in the toilet, use it during a sandstorm, or throw it out of frustration without fear of shattering it into pieces.
If you want specifics, the Torque can be submerged in meter-deep water for up to 30 minutes, handle temperatures from –22 to 140 degrees for three hours, stay safe from "heavy dust" for up to six hours, and be dropped more than 20 times from a height of four feet.
When I was a kid, my grandfather used to always say "last to market, last to get official builds of CyanogenMod." Seems the old man's wisdom once again proves to be true, as official CM 10.1 nightlies just showed up for Verizon's variant of the Galaxy Note II.
Most of the time when we post a good deal – especially on a free phone – it's typically for new customers. In a rare event, though, Wirefly has turned that deal on its head by making the RAZR HD free for upgrades only. New customers will still have to shell out $50 for the same devices. It's a pretty good deal either way, but it's particularly killer for existing Verizon customers.