Verizon back-tracks, will not impose $2 single payment fee

Verizon Wireless has been under fire this week after announcing it would begin imposing a $2 fee on customers who do not have their bill set to be paid automatically, and instead pay it through electronic check. Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced they would begin investigating Verizon’s new fee. Shortly after, Verizon announced on its website that they will not impose the fee to meet with customer’s requests.

The company made the decision in response to customer feedback about the plan, which was designed to improve the efficiency of those transactions. The company continues to encourage customers to take advantage of the numerous simple and convenient payment methods it provides.

Verizon said this fee was going to help move customers to a more convenient payment method. Luckily, they have chosen to go the other way.
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Apple online store now accepting orders for unlocked iPhone 4S as Sprint begins SIM-locking them

Apple’s US online store today began accepting orders for the unlocked iPhone 4S, priced at $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64GB version, making good on its promise to provide the unlocked handset in November. The company advises:

The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

An unlocked iPhone 4S is of particular interest to those traveling abroad as they can just pop in a local carrier’s SIM card to avoid paying exorbitant roaming fees.

Meanwhile, carrier Sprint today begun SIM-locking all iPhone 4S devices purchased Friday, November 11, 2011 and onwards, SprintFeed noted. According to SprintFeed:

Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).

9to5Mac discovered mid-October that Apple Stores in the United States were selling contract-free iPhones. Any GSM phone that was sold off contract was unlocked and we’ve confirmed that they’ve stayed unlocked, even after the 5.0.1 update (below). Read more

Verizon sells two million iPhones in the September quarter

Carrier Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of U.S. telecommunications firm Verizon Communications and UK multinational mobile network operator Vodafone, today announced financial results for the September quarter. Big Red sold two million iPhone units which represents a 300,000 units decline compared to the June quarter. Verizon was also behind rival AT&T which yesterday reported activating 2.7 million iPhones in the quarter out of a total of 4.8 million total devices.

In a separate statement, rival AT&T said it activated a million units of the new iPhone 4S on its network as of Tuesday, while Verizon made no mention of iPhone 4S in its quarterly filing. iPhone 4S went on sale in the United States, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and Japan on Friday, October 14. The phone will roll out to 22 new countries later this month, with regional online Apple Stores in those countries accepting reservations beginning today.

Verizon’s full press release is right after the break.

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Apple is selling almost 1,000 iPhone 4Ss/minute, setting it up to be the fastest selling gadget ever

Shawn Blanc (via The Next Web) calculated this morning that Apple is selling 16 iPhone 4Ss a second, or roughly 1,000 a minute. Blanc’s figuring comes after Apple announced this morning that there were 4 million iPhone 4Ss sold its opening three-day weekend. Figures are also expected to expand as the iPhone 4S is introduced in 22 more countries on the 24th.

Reaching this milestone, Apple is on tract to pass Microsoft’s Kinect as the fastest selling consumer device of all time. Microsoft sold 8 million Kinects in the first 60 days, a number Apple could theoretically pass in the first two weeks.

The success of the iPhone 4S is most likely helped by a few factors:

  1. The availability on three U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. AT&T and Sprint both announced opening day sales records on Friday. The iPhone 4 was only on AT&T in the US its opening day.
  2. iPhone 4 was released in 5 countries. iPhone 4S was also available in Canada and Australia in addition.
  3. iPhone 4 saw serious product shortages while it appears that Apple made plenty of iPhone 4Ss (OK, maybe not)
  4. There was a longer than normal wait time between the iPhone 4 and 4S (15 months)
  5. iPhone 4S is amazing.

We’re sure to hear more in Apple’s FYQ4 earnings call tomorrow afternoon.

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US Judge says Samsung tablets do infringe Apple patents but doesn’t issue an injunction

US District Judge Lucy Koh came down on Samsung today for infringing on Apple’s patents in a preliminary hearing on Apple’s request to bar some Galaxy products from being sold in the United States. She stopped short of issuing an injunction however, like her Australian counterpart yesterday, saying that Apple may have some issues establishing the validity of its patents.

Apple and Samsung have been at each others’ throats in more than 20 districts around the world. The fight has ensnarled some of the two companies’ partners and vendors.

Mobile providers Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA have opposed Apple’s request, arguing that a ban on Galaxy products would cut into holiday sales.

Apple must show that Samsung infringed its patents and that its patents are valid under the law.

At the hearing on Thursday in a San Jose, California federal court, Koh also said she would deny Apple’s request for an injunction based on one of Apple’s so-called “utility” patents.

She did not say whether she would grant the injunction based on three other Apple “design” patents.

Koh characterized her thoughts on the utility patent as “tentative” but said she would issue a formal order “fairly promptly.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

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