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

iphonevolte

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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