Report: US carriers experience huge surge in VoLTE with iPhone 6/6Plus, 3G calls down one-fifth

iPhone6_VoLTE_increase_Nov2014

Following the introduction of Voice-over-LTE technology with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which increases call quality by routing calls through an LTE network opposed to last generation 3G networks, US carriers have experienced a big increase in VoLTE calls. That’s according to a new report from Newfield Wireless that highlights a decrease for calls over 3G by about one-fifth compared to previous generation iPhones and other LTE-capable devices:

The majority of voice calls made on other 4G-enabled devices are currently routed through legacy 2G and 3G networks, due to the fact that not all networks and devices are optimised to deliver next-generation voice services. iPhone 6 devices are VoLTE-compatible and as a result, U.S. networks have experienced a surge in VoLTE calls since the September launch.

The report also shared some other data points from its research noting a few stats for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus uptake compared to previous generations: Read more

Apple & AT&T begin sending $40 checks to original 3G iPad buyers

ipadunlimited

Apple and U.S.-based wireless carrier AT&T have begun sending out $40 checks to buyers of the original iPad WiFi + 3G in the United States over a “bait-and-switch” regarding the device’s data plan. The backstory is that when Steve Jobs announced the 3G iPad in January 2010, he announced a deal with AT&T for a $30/month unlimited iPad data plan.

When the 3G iPad launched in late April 2010, this plan was available, but AT&T eliminated the plan just about one month later in early June 2010. Lawsuits followed in the months and years following the shift in data plan strategy claimed that customers overpaid for the 3G iPad believing that they would be able to use the device to access unlimited amounts of data.

In September 2013, Apple and AT&T settled and agreed to pay $40 to each affected iPad buyer. For iPad buyers who had not yet purchased an unlimited data plan, a discount on the replacing 5GB plan was offered. The two companies began sending the checks out late last week, and they began arriving today. You can view the entire check stub and letter from the payout fund below:

Read more

Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more

iOS 6.1.1 build 10B145 being rushed to address 3G performance and enterprise concerns, some carrier testing completed

Vodafone-iOS-6.1-

Following reports about some carriers in Europe issuing warnings not to upgrade to iOS 6.1 due to issues with 3G performance, it seems a fix is already in the works. The issue was not just with 3G through carriers such as Vodafone and three in Austria, many users in Apple’s own forums complained of similar problems, degraded battery life, and more. Users have also had problems with Exchange support, causing AOL corporate to temporarily disable the ability to manage mobile meetings from iOS devices running iOS 6.1.

Today, a report from German language blog iFun claimed that carriers have already completed testing a 6.1.1 update to address the bugs and a 23MB update carrying build number 10B145 should be available over-the-air soon:

After ifun.de this information is already in version 6.1.1 of the night on Monday as “Testing Complete” and should be offered the iPhone community with little flow as a wireless update. Sources which are applicable in the past on the issue dates of iOS 6.0.2 and iOS 6.1 as well as the eradication of the “SMS spoofing problem” have informed, indicate the large 23MB update with UMTS-compatible.

Apple’s first beta release for 6.1.1 was released last week with build number 10B311.

T-Mobile to host ‘bring your own iPhone’ in-store demos on its ‘4G’ network?

Following a report late last month that T-Mobile would encourage unlocked iPhone users to switch carriers by advertising savings of $1,500 over two years versus AT&T, a report from TmoNews this morning claimed sources have indicated stores are preparing to display or possibly demo unlocked iPhones on T-Mobile’s 3G network. According to the report, store managers are being “asked to activate a new microSIM before the end of August, but not told what device it would used with.”

All the intel streaming in seems to point to a “bring your own iPhone” demonstration in store, which lines up perfectly with what T-Mobile’s been saying all along for their refarmed network. We’re also told that these in store displays all align with T-Mobile’s “selling against the iPhone” strategy in the hopes that customers will be enticed by bringing their own device, and pairing it with T-Mobile’s newly launched unlimited data plan.

Read more

Report: Four carriers fight for fastest 3G and 4G speeds, only two debut on top

 

PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured below, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

Read more

Yes, the new Verizon iPad works on AT&T 3G networks

With the introduction of the new LTE iPad on Verizon and AT&T, many were wondering whether AT&T’s 3G network would work on a new Verizon iPad. According to a poster on the Mac Rumors forums, popping an AT&T SIM card into the Verizon iPad’s micro-SIM slot appears to work fine as long as you adjust the AT&T APN carrier settings. Of course, this does not mean you will be able to use AT&T’s LTE network on the Verizon iPad. However, if you already have an AT&T SIM for the iPhone, this is an alternative for data when LTE is not an option.
Read more

The MiFi just shrunk to the size of a thumb and got a microSD card NAS

Berlin-based Nova Media, best known for its OS X utilities for OEMs used by carriers like Vodafone, announced a new personal hotspot device today called “XYFI.” The thumb drive-sized device (80mm-by-23mm-by-12mm) connects to any USB port for power and allows you to insert a SIM card to share a 3G data connection with up to eight other devices. The XYFI is also completely configured through a browser, so the entire setup process can be done through an iPad or iPhone. It will also function as a regular Wi-Fi modem for your Mac and packs a microSD card slot for file sharing over the network.

Nova Media explained in its press release that the XYFI provides up to 5.76 Mbit/s upload speeds and 14.4 Mbit/s download on 3G. Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi is compatible up to up to 54 Mbit/s on 802.11 b/g networks. It also supports WPS and uses WPA, WPA2, and WEP. In the image to the right, we see the web-based interface will allow a user to hide the network SSID, create guest logins, and manage network settings.

You can buy the world’s smallest 3G Wi-Fi hotspot for 179 euros (around $234 USD) from Nova Media here.

The full press release is after the break.

Read more

Apple gets a break as EU antitrust watchdog launches full-blown probe into Samsung over essential 3G patents

European Union regulators today announced the launch of a formal investigation of Samsung over mobile patents to determine whether the South Korean conglomerate breached EU antitrust rules in its legal dealings with competitors. The investigation is focused on so-called FRAND patents, a common rule that stipulates a patent applying to the standard must be adopted on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND). According to the press release, EU regulators want to figure out whether Samsung “used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

The Commission reminds that Samsung a decade ago promised to let rivals license its mobile patents under FRAND terms. The full-blown investigation comes in the light of the lawsuits Samsung filed against Apple at courts in Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries around the world, asserting copyright infringement related to patents essential to wireless telecommunications standards.

The case is “a matter of priority,” the document reads. Patent blogger explained, “The European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm.” The full text of the European Commission Antitrust Commission announcement can be found below.

Read more

Apple posts iOS 5.1 Beta 3: Enable 3G toggle is back

Apple just released a third beta version of the upcoming iOS 5.1 firmware (Build 9B5141a). The software is available as an over-the-air update for existing iOS 5.1 beta users, but is not yet available (update: now available) as a standalone download through Apple’s developer portal.

As you might imagine, it contains the obligatory bug fixes and improvements. According to the tips we’ve received, it also restores the Enable 3G toggle in the Settings app which has been strangely absent on the iPhone 4S since it’s mid-October release. This should help save battery by switching to Edge connectivity in order to maintain cellular data for applications that do not require high data throughput. iPhone 4S users are currently forced to choose between having 3G cellular data turned on, which decreases battery life, or turning off their cellular data connection altogether.

Read more

BBC iPlayer app lands on iPhone and iPod touch with 3G streaming

We heard at the beginning of the month that BBC’s iPlayer iPad app would be getting an iPhone and iPod touch version in the coming weeks and today the app has officially landed for UK users. To accompany the release, the app will also be able to stream content over all 3G networks and now officially supports AirPlay on iOS 5.

The company’s blog post notes a ‘Live Channels’ feature will allow you to quickly switch between BBC channels just like on radio and TV, and all BBC national radio stations support background audio for multitasking. They have also made improvements to streaming by introducing HTTP Live Streaming using adaptive bitrate technologies, allowing the app to adjust your streaming quality based on your connection speed. The web version of the app accessible at bbc.co.uk/iplayer will also soon get 3G streaming capabilities.   Read more

Apple offers special limited time prices on gen-1 iPads

From 9to5Toys.com:

The online Apple Store is having a clearance of the original iPad for three select WiFi and WiFi + 3G models, including the flagship 64GB WiFi + 3G iPad. Now available for up to $200-$230 less compared to their original list prices, these products come looking like new and with the same 1-year warranty that other Apple products receive. All refurbished iPad models also include a brand new battery and outer shell. Supplies are time-limited, as indicated by the Special Limited Time Price designation. Availability is guaranteed upon receipt of full payment.

• Refurbished 64GB Wi-Fi iPad: Now available for $399, down from $599, a $200 savings
• Refurbished 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad: Now available for $399 down from $629 a $230 savings
• Refurbished 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad: Now available for $499, down from $729, a $230 savings Read more