AT&T launches ‘Mobile Share Value Plans’ with notable monthly savings for BYOD customers, 18-month Next option

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AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:

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Apple offering 0% financing on online hardware purchases in most European countries, ends 10th January

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Today, Apple has launched a promotion for online purchases, offering 0% financing on any purchase above £449 (or €400). The deal is on offer across most of Apple’s European websites, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

In the UK, for instance, a customer can buy any product above that value and spread repayments across ten monthly instalments with 0% interest. In other countries, such as France or Spain, the repayment is window is slightly longer at twelve months.

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German court rules Apple sharing customer data violates privacy laws

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From Apple’s Privacy Policy

Bloomberg reports that the Berlin Regional Court in Germany has told Apple to change its policies for managing customer’s data on its website after ruling that Apple’s terms for data use go against German laws. According to a statement posted by a German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VSBV), the courts have ruled that Apple cannot request “global consent” for use of a customer’s data” without informing the user of where and how the data will be used. It will also no longer be able to use German users’ data to “promote location-based services and products” or deliver the data to third-parties for advertising purposes:  Read more

Freshdesk launches free SDK to provide in-app customer support for iOS apps

In June, Google decided to update Google Play with a very useful feature for developers: the ability to respond to the user reviews attached to their apps in the store. The feature is an important one, allowing developers to respond to criticisms, provide updates on necessary upcoming fixes, and perhaps most importantly, communicate directly with their users. Google’s decision to introduce the feature made it clear the App Store needs to revamp its customer support—and developers agreed.

Apple has yet to introduce any sort major overhaul to its App Store customer support and rankings. However, Freshdesk, creators of cloud-based help desk software, introduced a product today that provides direct, in-app customer support for iOS developers.

The free “MobiHelp” SDK allows a developer to implement customer support directly within their iOS apps using a single line of code. This will allow developers to not just respond to comments in the store like Google Play, but also communicate directly with their users from within the app. From there, devs can view and respond to feedback inside of FreskDesk HTML5 app on the desktop or mobile:

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Verizon to introduce shared data plans June 28, reflects reality of multiple device users

According to a report from AllThingsD, Verizon Wireless will soon change the way it charges customers for cellular/data plans in a major way. Rather than charging customers for phones calls or messages sent, the report claimed Verizon would charge “almost exclusively based on how much data” is consumed. The new “Share Everything” plans will also be the first in the United States that allows users to share their data with up to 10 devices through a single account:

The plans, known as “Share Everything,” allow users an unlimited number of calls and texts and also allow data usage to be pooled among up to 10 devices on one account. With the move, Verizon becomes the first U.S. carrier to offer the ability for customers to share a bucket of data across multiple devices.

AllThingsD noted that AT&T also has plans for shared data options, but it did not provide more details. As for Verizon’s new plans, which will apparently kick-in June 28, the report explained the cost of the data plan and pricing metrics based on a per-device fee. In other words, you will have to pay roughly $40 per smartphone ($10 per tablet), and then opt for either a $50 1GB data plan or a $100 10GB plan. While the report claimed the new pricing should not impact the cost of plans for users who continue consuming the same amount of data, it is clear that those signing a new plan for a single smartphone are getting a bit less for their money:

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In response to rising number of complaints, AT&T is unlocking iPhones starting Sunday (AT&T Statement)

It appears AT&T has been hit hard by complaints from Apple iPhone users who used up their two-year subsidy and want to go elsewhere, such as T-Mobile in the United States or just roaming internationally without paying AT&T’s high international costs.

Our report from last week about Tim Cook’s office doing special requests to open iPhones may have set off a storm. We received upwards of a hundred reports that, through Cook’s office, 9to5Mac readers were able to unlock their iPhones, but perhaps Cook is now tired of his office handling these requests.

AT&T will now unlock your iPhone—if you are in good account standing and are done with your obligated term of commitment (including having paid an early termination fee.)

Here is AT&T’s statement:

“Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer’s account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.”

Here is another fun fact:  If you have paid the no-commitment price, AT&T will unlock your phone too.

Chalk one up for the good guys.

Update (Sunday): How was unlocking? Talk about it in the forums!
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Verizon back-tracks, will not impose $2 single payment fee

Verizon Wireless has been under fire this week after announcing it would begin imposing a $2 fee on customers who do not have their bill set to be paid automatically, and instead pay it through electronic check. Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced they would begin investigating Verizon’s new fee. Shortly after, Verizon announced on its website that they will not impose the fee to meet with customer’s requests.

The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions. The company continues to encourage customers to take advantage of the numerous simple and convenient payment methods it provides.

Verizon said this fee was going to help move customers to a more convenient payment method. Luckily, they have chosen to go the other way.
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