Apple stores begin selling & activating prepaid T-Mobile iPhones (Update: AT&T GoPhone too)

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Update #2: AT&T’s official statement: 

AT&T GoPhone prepaid service is now available in Apple Retail stores. Prepaid service is also available for iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4S in AT&T and Cricket Wireless stores and online at att.com and at cricketwireless.com.

Update: A contact has confirmed that AT&T’s prepaid GoPhone plans are also supported by iPhones at Apple Retail Store locations as we previously reported to expect…

Following our report earlier this month that Apple was preparing to begin selling iPhones with prepaid plans through its retail stores, today T-Mobile confirmed iPhones with its prepaid service can now be purchased and activated in Apple stores across the country.

To go along with the launch, T-Mobile will offer discounts in the form of $50 off the device for prepaid plans and a $50 iTunes gift card for iPhones activated on its Simple Choice postpaid plans.

T-Mobile customers can now purchase and activate an iPhone with T-Mobile prepaid service in more than 250 Apple stores across the nation. In addition, for a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone with T-Mobile prepaid service can get $50 off the device, and those who buy a new iPhone with a T-Mobile Simple Choice postpaid plan can get a $50 iTunes gift card.

T-Mobile’s fine print notes: “Must activate device in-store. Limit 1 device per customer. Offer only valid with activation of  $50 or $70 worth of service. Offer subject to change.” That lines up with our earlier report that Apple stores would offer the prepaid iPhones on -T-Mobile’s’ $50/month (1GB LTE data) and $70/month (5GB LTE data) unlimited data plans. Read more

T-Mobile: 12k consumers (9 per min) signed-up for free iPhone 5s network trial in 24 hrs

After announcing its new “Test Drive” feature allowing customers to trial an iPhone 5s for free on the T-Mobile network, the carrier is already sharing some stats on the new initiative. According to T-Mobile, “More than 12,000 people have already signed up to start cheating on their carrier.” That means around 500 consumers per hour (or almost 9 per minute) from T-Mobile’s competitors have signed-up to take home an iPhone 5s for a free week-long trial on the T-Mobile network. If T-Mobile’s plan works it could convince at least some of those consumers to make the switch for good. Read more

iTunes Radio streaming is now free on T-Mobile, other services also included

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T-Mobile has just announced at its “Uncarrier 5.0″ event (which apparently double as the Uncarrier 6.0 event) that all streaming music services will now be free to stream on T-Mobile, including iTunes Radio. This also applies to Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, and Spotify.

Any streaming you do will always be done over the company’s fastest available network, and won’t count towards your high-speed data limit.

Customers can visit T-Mobile’s website to request new services to be added to the “music freedom” selection. As streaming services gain votes, they will be added to the program.

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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