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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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

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

Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more