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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iPhone sales could be threatened as subsidized costs become more visible, say analysts

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How much did your iPhone cost? If you said $199, $299 or even $399 you’re somewhere near $350 off. As some consciously forget, the carriers often shield the owner from the real total cost of the iPhone. That may not last.

iPhone sales could be hurt as carriers switch from so-called subsidized contracts, where customers pay only a fraction of the cost a new iPhone up-front, to deals where the true cost of the phone is more visible, argues a piece in the WSJ.

Many U.S. iPhone customers are not aware that the full cost of an iPhone ranges from $549 for a 16GB 5c to $849 for a 64GB 5s. The reason is that carriers have traditionally asked for only $0 to $200 up-front, hiding the balance of the cost in the monthly tariff. With carriers now switching to separate instalment costs for the phone, and the cost of upgrading every year or two more visible to consumers, analysts believe some will choose to upgrade less often …

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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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T-Mobile offering LTE iPads at WiFi-only prices, free data through 2014

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A day after it announced cheaper plans with voice and data, T-Mobile is sharing more interesting news of upcoming promotions. Starting April 12th, T-Mobile will begin offering iPads and other tablets with LTE at the price normally offered by WiFi-only tablets. For instance, an iPad Air with only WiFi normally runs $499, while an iPad with WiFi and LTE for connecting to the Internet from anywhere normally runs $629. T-Mobile’s promotion will offer new iPads with LTE for the cost of a WiFi-only model for a limited time (saving you $130 in the iPad’s case).

T-Mobile is also offering customers a free 1GB of data use for the rest of the year. The carrier announced last fall that it already includes 200MB of data for tablet customers and today’s announcement adds to that free data offering. After the 2014 promotion, the 1GB of data usage for tablets will be $10 a month while the 200MB of data will remain free. T-Mobile also announced some news for people using tablets with mobile data from other carriers… Read more

Leaked T-Mobile ad hints at plans to cover ETF for switchers

Say what you will about T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s audacious personality (no, really, I’m sure he won’t mind), but under his lead and the company’s Uncarrier campaign the carrier has made quite a few consumer-friendly moves with its policies.

In what the carrier is calling Uncarrier 4.0, the company is likely to announce plans to cover the early termination fees charged to customers switching from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint during a contract.

That’s according to an ad which leaked and was later pulled. The ad (shown above) was first spotted by Droid-Life which reports the new policy will cover ETF fees up to $350 when you move at least three lines to T-Mobile… Read more

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

iPhone 5s undisputed king at all four major U.S. carriers ever since launch

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The iPhone 5s has retained its status as the best-selling smartphone at the four tier-1 U.S. carriers for the third month running, with the iPhone 5c taking third place after the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Data from Canaccord Genuity showed that the iPhone 5s has topped the sales charts at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile every month since launch, reports AllThingsD.

“Our surveys indicated continued strong sales of the iPhone 5s, as it was by far the top selling smartphone at all four tier-1 U.S. carriers and at most channels where the smartphone launched globally,” analyst T. Michael Walkley explained in a note to clients. “Our surveys also indicated steady iPhone 5c sales with the smartphone’s color options and more affordable price point proving popular with its intended audience” …  Read more

Get your subsidized iPhones while you can – AT&T says the deals can’t last

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AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson told investors yesterday that with smartphone penetration approaching 90 percent, the existing business model – where carriers sell highly-subsidized smartphones to drive demand – will have to change.

When you’re growing the business initially, you have to do aggressive device subsidies to get people on the network. But as you approach 90 percent penetration, you move into maintenance mode. That means more device upgrades. And the model has to change. You can’t afford to subsidize devices like that.

Many U.S. iPhone buyers don’t realise the true cost of their handsets, as carrier subsidies mean they typically pay no more than $200. The full retail cost of those handsets, however, ranges from $549 for a 16GB iPhone 5c to $849 for a 64GB iPhone 5s. The balance is paid by the carrier, then clawed back through the contract payments …  Read more

T-Mobile eliminates down payment on new 16 GB iPhones for holiday shoppers

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T-Mobile has announced that they will no longer require a down payment on certain iPhone models during the holiday season. Specifically, customers will no longer have to pay anything when purchasing a 16 GB iPhone 5s or 5c. Several iPad models—the 16 GB Air, mini, and Retina mini—are also available for no money down, though that seems to be their regular price. Monthly payments on these devices ranges from $17-$26.

This deal is available both in physical T-Mobile stores and through the carrier’s online store starting on December 11th. This special price is only available for a limited time, though the carrier hasn’t given an official ending date. The full press release is below:

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