Earlier this month we told you that Verizon-backed ItsOn, a company building software for carriers that provides users with dynamic pricing plans on mobile devices, was planning on introducing a new mobile service that takes advantage of its software. Today ItsOn has officially announced Zact, a mobile service that provides flexible, adjustable data plans that allows users to pay for only what they use, customize voice, text, and data plans in real-time at any time, and share data on an unlimited amount of devices: Read more
T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog today that 14 new metro areas are getting access to its iPhone-compatible HSPA+ 4G network. The updates are hitting areas such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Texas, Florida, and San Antonio, following rollouts to Chicago, California, and elsewhere earlier this month.
The carrier also said enhancements to its network in additional areas like Los Angeles and San Diego have already started. This means that customers on Solavei, the new, no-contract T-Mobile MVNO offering of $49 per month unlimited, will also get coverage for unlocked iPhones in the new areas. A full list is below:
T-Mobile is hemorrhaging customers, as it reported nearly a half million lost customers during its Q3 2012 earnings call, and a T-Mobile executive recently attributed the carrier’s struggle to its refusal to carry Apple’s iPhone.
“Make no mistake about it: We would love to carry the iPhone. However, we want the economies to be right for us,” said T-Mobile COO Jim Alling, who, according to Fierce Mobile, spoke candidly during a discussion at the Morgan Stanley Twelfth-Annual Technology, Media, and Telecoms Conference in Barcelona, Spain:
“Alling said T-Mobile would not want to sign a deal similar to one a competitor recently signed with Apple. That was likely a veiled reference to Sprint Nextel, which began carrying the iPhone in late 2011 under a four-year, $15.5 billion deal with Apple. The device has substantially driven up Sprint’s device subsidy cost, and the operator has said its iPhone business will not turn a profit until 2015. [...] Alling acknowledged that not carrying the iPhone has been detrimental to T-Mobile, saying, ‘We recognize that it has been a point of churn for us.’”
As we highlighted earlier when Apple announced the news, the nation’s third-largest carrier Sprint will add the new fourth-generation iPad and new iPad mini to its list of 4G-enabled devices. Sprint confirmed the news in a press release this afternoon, as seen after the break.
Sprint was left out when the third-generation iPad was announced last spring, due to its 4G network not being available until this summer. The iPhone 5, released in September, was the first 4G device from Apple available on Sprint’s network.
The iPad mini Wi-Fi model will be available for pre-order Oct. 26 and shipping Nov. 2. There has not been any word on the release date of the LTE models, but they’re priced at $459, $559, and $659 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage capacities (respectively). It should only be a few weeks after. Catch up on more iPad Mini news here.
T-Mobile announced a huge new “unlimited and unlocked iPhone” initiative today that will launch Sept. 12—a date that should ring a bell. The nation’s fourth-largest carrier does not and will not officially carry the iPhone, but its parent company carries the iPhone all over Europe and was even the original carrier in its home Germany. The biggest issue with T-Mobile USA and the iPhone is that T-Mobile’s 3G/4G bands are incompatible with Apple’s iPhone hardware. Therefore, a million plus iPhone users are kept to EDGE 2.5G speeds, which seemed to work O.K. for the original iPhone, but five years have passed since it first launched and expectations have largely risen.
Today’s announcement is a big one for T-Mobile and will be accompanied by a large marketing push. T-Mobile claims —and the math seems to work— that it will save users $50 a month over similar AT&T plans. The total savings amount equals $1,200 over the life of a two-year contract.
T-Mobile will have a store-within-a-store for iPhone users who want to make the hop. Trained T-Mobile salespeople will be able to instruct users on unlocking, but they will not physically open the devices. This is an unprecedented move…especially for a device that T-Mobile does not officially carry.
Getting your hands on an unlocked device is pretty easy and will probably get a lot easier over the next weeks as the new iPhone is announced. Apple has offered the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S unlocked almost since it released last year and you can currently snap up a new one at eBay for about $580.
T-Mobile has some more good news for prospective iPhone customers today: Remember the iPhone-compatible 1900MHz network it demo’ed at WWDC? That same 1900MHz 4G network is rolling out in Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, and the New York metro area currently (readers? sightings?).
Even better: T-Mobile’s tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on its 1900 band have recorded 70 percent faster average download speeds than iPhone 4S on AT&T’s network. We will wait for neutral parties to review before judging and, obviously, LTE is coming for the iPhone 5, which T-Mobile expects will run on its network.
However, the best part might be the company behind the network. T-Mobile allows its customers to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi when there is no network on their smartphones. The iPhone is no exception. T-Mobile has the Bobsled app for iPhone for making calls. This is fantastic not only when in low -service areas but also when travelling abroad. T-Mobile will release other apps soon for things like live TV, account management and visual voicemail.
For those thinking about making the jump, remember that T-Mobile is not an official carrier and things like the following may apply:
Also, AT&T offers customers a chance to request a device unlock for their iPhone. The main requirements are that the device is an AT&T iPhone and all contract and term commitments are satisfied before submitting a request. The carrier can take up to a week to process a request, and it ”reserves the right to deny any unlock request that it concludes would result in an abuse of this policy or is part of an effort to defraud AT&T or its customers.” AT&T further said it could “alter this unlocking policy at its discretion without advance notice.”
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.