Apple includes its own SIM card with cellular iPad Air 2, will allow switching carriers on a whim

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Since the cellular model of the iPad isn’t subject to typically two-year contracts, users have always been free to start or end pre-paid cellular data plans at will from the device’s settings. In the past, however, this meant buying your iPad from one carrier and being locked into that carrier’s plans.

With tomorrow’s launch of the iPad Air 2, however, Apple is changing that by including its own SIM card with each unit. This SIM card will work with multiple US carriers—AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile—and allow users to not only enable or disable a cellular plan as they see fit, but also switch back and forth between carriers to find the plan that works best for them at the moment.

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Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon coming soon to Verizon’s FiOS app even when away from home

In a ‘ground-breaking’ deal, not only does Verizon renew its agreement with Viacom to show their TV content (including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon) nationally, these channels will also be offered in FiOS’s mobile app for iOS. Early next year, you will be able to watch all of these channels from your iOS device from anywhere — you aren’t restricted to being on the same network as your cable box.

Under the current agreement, you can watch Viacom channels within the house with a Verizon subscription. Shortly, you will be able to go anywhere with your iOS devices and watch the same content, live or on-demand. Look for the shows on your iOS devices in early 2015!

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Verizon offers two-month early upgrades alongside iPhone 6 launch starting today

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To go along with the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Verizon is allowing early upgrades for any customers eligible for an upgrade over the next two months. That means that customers eligible for an upgrade on or before November 15 2014 will be able to upgrade immediately to a new device, including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Here’s details on the promo straight from Verizon:

As a special thank you to our existing customers, all Verizon customers who would be eligible to upgrade on or before November 15th have had their upgrade dates changed to become upgrade eligible immediately.  These customers can now upgrade to any device currently in our lineup, with new two year contract. Customers should check My Verizon to confirm upgrade eligibility.  

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus now available for pre-order through Apple and cell carriers

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As expected, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are both now available for pre-order on Apple’s online store and carrier websites, at least for some users. As the stores start to catch up to the load, more and more and customers should be able to get in their orders. Initial buyers seem to have the most luck on carrier websites as well as the Apple Store App. The store is almost an hour late in opening.

You can get the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 starting at $199 for the 16 GB model. Unlike previous years, there is no 32 GB option, which was replaced by a larger 64 GB model at $299 and a new 128 GB version for $399.

The iPhone 6 Plus sports the same internals as the smaller model accompanied by a 5.5-inch display and a camera with optical image stabilization. You can get the larger version of the phone in 16 GB for $299, 64 GB for $399, or 128 GB for $499 with a 2 year plan.

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Apple posts job listing for VoLTE-experienced engineer ahead of expected voice-over-LTE support

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A new set of job listings noticed by LightReading continue to show Apple’s focus on implementing VoLTE, or voice-over-LTE, support for including high quality call quality on new iPhones.

Specifically, the job listings seek both a Cellular Systems Protocol Engineer with hands-on experience in wireless technologies including VoLTE and an iOS Wireless Communication Software Engineer with “SIP, RTP, and VoIP related protocols”, showing the company is continuing to beef up its expertise around the technology.

9to5Mac first reported that Apple is targeting voice-over-LTE support for iOS 8 and future iPhone models earlier this year in April:  Read more

T-Mobile offering Sprint, AT&T and Verizon castaways one year of free unlimited LTE data

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After an unsuccessful union with Sprint, T-Mobile is going after its former suitor’s customers, as well as its other competitors’ subcribers in the wireless world. Today, the magenta-colored carrier announced an aggressive promotional campaign that offers a free year of LTE data to castaways from AT&T, Verizon and of course Sprint.

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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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Verizon bundling an extra gigabyte of data with its MORE Everything service plans

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Verizon announced a new promotion today that offers an additional gigabyte of sharable data when customers activate a new smartphone or upgrade a new smartphone on one of the carrier’s MORE Everything plans. In order to take advantage of this deal, you’ll need to be on a MORE Everything plan that uses at least 1GB of data.

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Verizon announces plans to launch VoLTE service in Q4 2014, will still release CDMA-capable phones until 2016

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Verizon Wireless has announced its plans to launch support for Voice over LTE service (or VoLTE) on its cellular network later this year, according to FierceWireless. However, the company says it has moved back its plan to release a VoLTE-only phone until 2016, and will continue releasing CDMA-capable phones until that time. Such a device was originally anticipated for the end of 2014.

The carrier originally announced earlier this year that it would support the new voice service, which provides higher-quality phone calls by utilizing high-speed data connections, but declined at the time to say exactly when it would happen. Other U.S. carriers, including T-Mobile and AT&T, have already started rolling the technology out in select markets.

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FCC throttles Verizon Wireless over plans to throttle customers

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Following the recent revelation that Verizon Wireless would begin throttling some 4G LTE customers on unlimited data plans, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has sent a letter to the carrier (full text below) expressing his disdain with the policy and question the necessity of throttling only customers on unlimited plans.

In the letter, Wheeler asks Verizon CEO Daniel Mead why exactly the company feels the need to only throttle customers on certain plans, rather than throttling based on the needs of the technology that powers the network. Wheeler says he is “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s claims that the policy is necessary to “optimize” the network, when in his opinion, it appears to more likely be a ploy to get customers off of unlimited plans.

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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

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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