AT&T now offering double data on 15 GB and higher Mobile Share Value plans through October 31st

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Today AT&T launched a new limited-time offer to new and existing subscribers featuring double data on Mobile Share Value plans 15 GB and up. The offer is good through October 31st, at which point the data buckets will revert to their regular sizes. Subscribers who sign up for the a new line on these plans before October 31st will be able to keep their double data for as long as they want it, even after the offer has expired.

At the new prices, a 30 GB shared data bucket will cost $130 per month, where the same amount of data would normally run for $225, coming out to a total savings of $95 per moth. While the usual offers only go up to 50 GB, there are now three larger buckets at 60, 80, or 100 GB, with most costing only a fraction of the price of the regular $50.

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now available for pre-order through Apple and cell carriers

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As expected, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are both now available for pre-order on Apple’s online store and carrier websites, at least for some users. As the stores start to catch up to the load, more and more and customers should be able to get in their orders. Initial buyers seem to have the most luck on carrier websites as well as the Apple Store App. The store is almost an hour late in opening.

You can get the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 starting at $199 for the 16 GB model. Unlike previous years, there is no 32 GB option, which was replaced by a larger 64 GB model at $299 and a new 128 GB version for $399.

The iPhone 6 Plus sports the same internals as the smaller model accompanied by a 5.5-inch display and a camera with optical image stabilization. You can get the larger version of the phone in 16 GB for $299, 64 GB for $399, or 128 GB for $499 with a 2 year plan.

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Sprint debuts new ‘iPhone for Life’ plan with unlimited data and iPhone upgrades every two years

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Sprint has debuted a new iPhone-exclusive plan that allows users to “rent” an iPhone for two years, then upgrade to the newest model for $70 a month (via Bloomberg). The plan allows users to get the latest Apple smartphone for no money down and no tax, then pay $50 a month for unlimited data, texting, and calling, plus $20 each month for the phone, for a total of $70 monthly.

After two years, users will be able to switch to the newest iPhone model. However, because the phone is only being “rented” from the carrier, it must be returned in at the time of upgrade, where customers on a typical two-year contract would be allowed to keep the device after they paid it off.

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T-Mobile offering Sprint, AT&T and Verizon castaways one year of free unlimited LTE data

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After an unsuccessful union with Sprint, T-Mobile is going after its former suitor’s customers, as well as its other competitors’ subcribers in the wireless world. Today, the magenta-colored carrier announced an aggressive promotional campaign that offers a free year of LTE data to castaways from AT&T, Verizon and of course Sprint.

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Sprint announces revamped family data plans with double data, individual plans coming soon

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Sprint has unveiled its newest family data plans in an attempt to win back customers that have fled to rivals AT&T and Verizon. The new plans offer twice as much data as the competition at about the same prices. It’s the latest move by the floundering carrier following the less-than-stellar reception of its recently-announced “Framily” plans.

The new plans allow up to ten lines with a shared data pool of 20 GB—paired an additional 2 GB per device as part of a limited-time offer—for a grand total of up to 40 GB of shared data through 2015. A pricing chart (below) breaks down how all of the charges in the new plans work, including an additional $10 per tablet and shared data packs of up to 60 GB.

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Sprint gives up its plans to acquire T-Mobile USA over regulatory concerns (updated)

John Legere

Sprint’s plans to buy out the U.S. arm of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom came to an end today, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to the Journal, Sprint’s leadership was concerned that it would be too difficult to get United States regulators to agree to the merger.

The announcement is not yet official, but is said to be planned for Wednesday. If the merger had suceeded, the two companies would have united under the Sprint banner, possibly abandoning all of the “un-carrier” moves made by T-Mobile in recent years, including free one-week iPhone test drives on the network and unlimited music streaming on a variety of services.

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RadioShack offers $79 iPhone 5s on contract, $30 iPhone 5c, or free with trade-in

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RadioShack is offering one of the best discounts you’ll find on a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c on contract. These are in-store prices, but for just $79 (Reg. $199) you’ll be able to get a 16GB iPhone 5s on new or upgraded two-year contract. That includes AT&T, Verizon and Sprint and you can even slash that price further from $79 to $0 by taking advantage of RadioShack’s trade-in offers for the iPhone 4s. 

RadioShack is also offering a similar discount on the iPhone 5c. The entry-level 16GB model (Reg. $99) is available for just $29 (or for free with an eligible trade-in). That deal is also available on all three carriers including AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Both of these deals are approximately $20 under the best deals we see pop up from time to time through various retailers. Read more

T-Mobile launches VoLTE in its own backyard ahead of support planned for iPhone 6/iOS 8

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Following announcements earlier this month from both AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile announced today it’s introducing Voice over LTE support starting with the Seattle market:

So I’m thrilled to congratulate my team on the launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the Seattle area for our existing LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers. Our friends at MetroPCS were the first to launch VoLTE in the U.S. back in 2012, and we’ve been working hard on a LTE Advanced version of VoLTE, which we plan to roll out to more T-Mobile customers throughout the coming year.

T-Mobile’s CTO Neville Ray noted that the new technology, which brings voice calls onto the same LTE radio layer previously reserved for data, will allow “faster call setup times (almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup) and the ability to enjoy lightening fast LTE data speeds while on a call.” It will also support the HD Voice or wide-band audio feature that Apple already supports. Ray explained how the technology works: Read more

Verizon rolling out VoLTE in ‘coming months’, could bolster iOS 8 FaceTime

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Verizon Wireless is officially joining in on this year’s major new cellular network technology: Voice over LTE, or “VoLTE.” VoLTE allows voice calls on compatible smartphones to be made over the previously-data only LTE network technology. This allows for higher-quality, better sounding (“HD Voice”) phone calls to be placed. The rollout will occur “later this year”, or “in the coming months” depending on which part of the press release you believe:

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Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Sprint MVNO ‘Ting’ will add support for iPhone 5 on its usage based plans next week

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Update, March 11: As expected, Ting just confirmed official iPhone 5 support. It expects support for the iPhone 5s and 5c to come by September. Full details in our original article below:

Soon users will be able to activate their unlocked Sprint iPhone 5 on Ting, the Tucows-owned Sprint MVNO offering no-contract wireless service and usage-based billing. Late last year we reported that the company had made a deal with Apple and Sprint to begin supporting iPhones. At the time the bring-your-own-device support was limited to the iPhone 4 and 4S and sources told us iPhone 5 support was held up by Sprint, which doesn’t typically offer popular devices to its smaller carrier partners until they are at least a generation or two behind. Now, with the iPhone 5s & 5c on the market for almost half a year, sources say Sprint and Apple are finally ready to give Ting the go ahead for iPhone 5 support. Read more

Apple buying Internet infrastructure to boost performance, possibly prepare for television

One of Apple's existing data centers

One of Apple’s existing data centers

The WSJ reports that Apple has been quietly making major new investments in Internet infrastructure in a move which may simply be designed to boost the performance of its existing online services, but which could also be in readiness for its upcoming television product.

Bill Norton, chief strategy officer for International Internet Exchange, which helps companies line up Internet traffic agreements, estimates that Apple has in a short time bought enough bandwidth from Web carriers to move hundreds of gigabits of data each second.

“That’s the starting point for a very, very big network,” Mr. Norton said …  Read more