With T-Mobile? AT&T will give you $450 to switch … kind of

Photo: Fox

Photo: Fox

AT&T has announced incentives worth up to $450 for T-Mobile customers who switch to their service. The move is being made in response to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier offers, after AT&T recently said that it too expected to move toward separating device and service charges.

Proving the old adage that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, the deal of course comes with strings. First, $250 of that is the maximum you’ll receive in return for trading in your existing T-Mobile handset. To get the full $250, you’ll need a recent handset in good condition – in which case you’d almost certainly get more selling it privately …  Read more

Report: Sprint wants to buy T-Mobile USA in 2014

(via Flickr)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort. Read more

Boost Mobile to Offer iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on November 8

Along with US Cellular who announced on Friday, Boost Mobile will now also offer the iPhone 5s and 5c on November 8th according to short press release this morning (below).

Boost is a Sprint Co. pre-paid sister site of Virgin, which also announced iPhone 5s and 5c availability last month with $100 off retail pricing and $30/month plans. Boost Mobile iPhone media (above) was leaked last month.

Nine other regional carriers have announced iPhone 5s/5c availability on November 1st.  Read more

AT&T explains its new 61 cent/month administrative fee policy

administrative-fee.
Thanks reader Kory for screenshot

AT&T started this month charging an administrative fee of $.61/month/user for its mobile customers in addition to its current fees. While the fee may be small, as the Verge notes it adds ‘up to hundreds of millions of dollars’ over 24 month contracts and millions of customers. What gives?  An AT&T spokesperson told us:

Consistent with similar fees charged by other carriers, the monthly fee of 61 cents per line will help cover certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance

The fee applies to consumer mobility lines as well as IRU lines –  the kind of business lines where the employee pays the bill directly.

AT&T isn’t alone in this endeavor. Verizon charges admin fees of $0.91 and Sprint charges $1.99.  (Plus more for regulatory fees.)  T-Mobile’s combined regulatory programs fee is $1.61.  On this basis, AT&T’s is still the lowest of all carriers.  It still sucks though. “expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance” seems like it should be part of the current fees and that fee is easier to raise because it isn’t part of the publicized rate plan.

Update: TheTechBlock notes that you may be able to cancel your plan because of this fee. A nice way to slip out of your subsidized plan? Read more

Report: iPhone captured 51.2-percent of US smartphone market last quarter, Android switchers up 10 percent

Kantar-Worldpanel-Comtech-iOS-2013Apple was able to maintain its lead of smartphone sales in the U.S. market during the holiday quarter ending Dec. 23, according to new data released by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The report said iOS was the top-selling smartphone platform during the three-month period, as it recorded 51.2-percent of market sales compared to Android’s 44.2-percent.

While Android’s share of the market remained steady, down from just 44.2-percent last year, Kantar noted an increasing number of iPhone sales to other smartphone users. Sales of iPhones to Android users apparently grew 10 percent compared to 2011:

“In particular, 36% of iOS sales were derived from other smartphone users over the last year. While this figure remains stable over time, the proportion of Android users moving towards the Apple brand increases. 19% of iOS sales over the last year were derived from Android users, compared to 9% in 2011,”

Among the switchers, the majority came from Verizon. About 49 percent of new iPhone sales came specifically from users of another smartphone platform, while 30 percent came from Android users. AT&T, however, only had about 6 percent Android switchers, as the majority of new iPhone purchases—55 percent—were derived from iPhone upgrades: Read more

Sprint buys $480M in spectrum/customers from US Cellular, FCC fines AT&T $700K for overbilling

A couple carriers are making headlines today for different reasons. Sprint, which could soon be scooped up by Softbank, announced today (via Engadget) it is spending $480 million to acquire PCS spectrum and 585,000 customers from U.S. cellular across the Midwest. As always, the deal is subject to approval from government officials in the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission, but Sprint could take over the spectrum and customers in “parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio including the Chicago and St. Louis markets” by sometime next year:

Under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets including Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market.

AT&T is also making the news today with the FCC announcing the carrier will pay a $700,000 fine to put an end to the agency’s investigation into how the carrier handled its transition to mandatory monthly data plans (via BGR). The investigation followed complaints from consumers that AT&T had switched them from grandfathered pay-as-you-go plans to its new monthly plans as far back as 2009. According to the FCC, as part of the settlement, AT&T “has agreed to refund excess charges paid by individual customers, which could be as much as $25 to $30 a month, depending on data use”: Read more