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

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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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AT&T launches ‘Mobile Share Value Plans’ with notable monthly savings for BYOD customers, 18-month Next option

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AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:

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T-Mobile, regional carriers offering iPhone 5s and 5c for $0 down on Black Friday

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Update: It turns out this deal doesn’t provide much of a savings in the long run. T-Mobile is raising the monthly installment from $20 to around $27, so while you won’t have to put any money down up front, you’ll still be paying off the full cost of the device over the 24 month installment plan period.

According to a leaked internal memo posted by TmoNews, T-Mobile is going to be dropping the upfront price of both the iPhone 5s and 5c to $0 down on its usual instalment plans for Black Friday. That cuts the usual down payment for the iPhone 5s down from $149 and the iPhone 5c from $49. The deal will officially kick off on Friday and last through Sunday, but the report notes that “a select number of stores will be accepting orders from Thursday evening.” After getting your iPhone for $0 down, you’ll pay around $20 a month for 24 months on T-Mobile instalment plans.

Some regionals carriers are also gearing up for big discounts this Friday. Appalachian Wireless announced it will offer the 16GB iPhone 5, 5C or 5S for a penny on contract today only and nTelos will also have the iPhone 5c for $0 on Friday. Appalachian is also advertising the penny deal for Black Friday on its site, but no word if iPhones will be included after today. T-Mobile definitely beats Walmart’s best deal with the iPhone 5c for around $45 on contract, but we’re thinking other retailers and carriers might announce iPhone discounts for Black Friday too.

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T-Mobile sold more tablets on iPad Air launch date than the entirety of last quarter

We haven’t received any official numbers on Apple’s launch of the iPad Air last Friday, but today T-Mobile is offering a little bit of insight into how its first iPad launch went. T-Mobile tells AllThingsD that it sold more tablets on iPad Air launch day last Friday than it managed to during the entire last quarter.

The boost in tablet sales on iPad Air launch day could have been helped along by the carrier’s new offer of 200MB of free data with all tablets, including iPads. There was a bit of confusion around the deal and whether or not customers required a paid plan to access the data, but T-Mobile has since clarified that the offer is available to all customers: Read more