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

iPad Air now available in the U.S. through Apple’s Online Store and carrier websites, shipping November 4th

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The Apple Online Store has just come back online after about two hours of downtime in preparation for the iPad Air launch in the United States. All four major carriers are also offering the fifth-generation iPad on their own stores.

The iPad Air is the newest version of Apple’s iconic tablet. The latest model features the same 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5s, improved cameras, and a new form factor that’s thinner and lighter than the previous generation. It ships with Apple’s new iOS 7 software. Pricing starts at  $499 for the Wi-Fi model with 16 GB of storage and goes up to $929 for the 128 GB LTE-equipped model.

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Why iPhone longevity means iOS carrier activation share doesn’t resemble sales

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There was a lot of confusion yesterday when Verizon’s results were discussed, with more than one commentator confusing activations and sales. For the record, what Verizon announced was that 51 percent of its activations were iPhone, not 51 percent of its phone sales.

If you doubt the importance of this distinction, I have one word for you: T-Mobile. As of 11th April, the carrier had two million iPhone activations. Its iPhone sales as of the same date? Zero: T-Mobile didn’t start selling iPhones until the following day.

The difference between the two numbers is particularly dramatic with high-end handsets like the iPhone …  Read more

iPhone takes 51% share of smartphone activations at Verizon in Q3, unit sales flat compared to Q2

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Graph by Benedict Evans.

Verizon has just reported their results for the third quarter, with smartphone sales topping 7.6 million units. While the press release does not disclose details about iPhone performance, on Verizon’s conference call, the company announced that iPhones were responsible for just over half of all Verizon’s smartphone activations, compared to about 43% in Q2. It is important to remember the distinction between activations and sales, with activations including passed-down devices to spouses or children as well as the strong iPhone reseller market.

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iPhone 5s takes top slot from Samsung Galaxy S4 at U.S. carriers; good showing by 5c too

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The iPhone has long been the best-selling phone on AT&T, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 has for some time held that slot at Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, with the iPhone 5 in second place. No more. September sales figures from Canaccord (reported in Fortune) show that the iPhone 5s now has top billing on all four major U.S. carriers, with the iPhone 5c also beating Samsung on AT&T and Sprint. While the news isn’t unexpected, the numbers do seem to put the lie to one rumor …  Read more

What you need to know about pre-ordering the iPhone 5c from major carriers and stores

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While it appears there will not be any preorders available for the iPhone 5s, many retailers and carriers are announcing their iPhone 5c pre-order plans. Starting tonight at 12:01 am Pacific Time tonight, you’ll be able to place your pre-order directly with Apple and have it delivered right to your door on the 20th – as long as you’re able to beat out the other customers (potentially millions) to the punch.

As a result, it may be better to work out a pre-order with a carrier or retailer as the demand could be much more sporadic, as it has been in past years. On the other hand, these outlets usually receive less stock and Apple supplies their own stores more quickly than they do for third-parties. We’ll be watching the shipping times as these pre-orders roll out so check back frequently.

Below you will find all of the current announcements, but you should definitely also take a look at how to get the most money for your current iPhone:

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