3G Stories August 17, 2015

AT&T enhances GoPhone plans to support 4GB data in Canada & Mexico

National carriers across the US have been adding features that make it easier to use their service in Mexico and Canada as a growing trend, and today AT&T has announced enhancements to its pre-paid GoPhone plans to include 4GB of high speed data use in Canada and Mexico as well as the United States. The new AT&T GoPhone feature goes into effect on August 21st and is supported on the carrier’s $60 pre-paid plan without making any changes.

In addition to 4GB of 4G LTE data for use across North America where available, the GoPhone plans include unlimited talk and text in the US, Canada, and Mexico as well. AT&T’s $60 GoPhone plan is reduced to $55/month for customers using the carrier’s Auto Refill automatic payment feature.

For post-paid subscribers, AT&T supports international calling and texting to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its 15GB and 20GB Mobile Share Value plans that it simplified over the weekend. More similarly, T-Mobile enhanced its own plans last month to support 4G LTE data use in addition to text and calls in Canada and Mexico without international roaming fees.

3G Stories July 1, 2015

9to5Mac_6S3

One of the main upgrades to the next iPhone’s internals will be a redesigned wireless system featuring a new Qualcomm-made LTE chip, as revealed by images of a prototype iPhone 6S logic board shared by a source. As shown in the image below, the new device will include Qualcomm’s MDM9635M chip, also known as the ‘9X35’ Gobi modem platform. This new chip promises significant performance improvements over the “9X25” chip found inside of the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, capable of delivering up to twice the theoretical LTE download speeds…

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3G Stories May 15, 2015

No-repair-for-you-obsolete-iPhone-Mac

Apple is about to sunset support for a number of iPhones, Macs, and other products as it plans to switch several models to “Obsolete” or “Vintage” status in June, according to internal documents. expand full story

3G Stories March 30, 2015

T-Mobile introduces new next-gen coverage map w/ customer data updated biweekly

T-Mobile has today unveiled what it hopes will be the next-generation of network maps, breathing new life into the carrier coverage maps of old. T-Mobile says that its new “Next-Gen Network Map” is the industry’s first crowd-sourced map, and reflects “near real-time customer experiences.”

3G Stories March 21, 2015

hd60version21

Over the past decade, video gaming became social, as voice chat, multi-player matchmaking, and live game streaming enabled gamers to share their experiences with friends and strangers online. Streaming game video was the hardest, requiring so much horsepower that consoles needed computer assistance. Elgato entered the market in 2012 with Game Capture HD, which was designed to record directly from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now there’s a more powerful version called Game Capture HD60 ($180), which offers professional-quality full 1080p HD recording support at 60 frames per second, plus one-touch live streaming to uStream, Twitch, and YouTube. It works with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches using Apple’s Lightning to Digital AV Adapter, and Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PlayStation 4 game consoles with nothing more than an HDMI cable.

Elgato has years of experience making cutting-edge video recorders: back when Macs weren’t nearly as powerful as they are today, its EyeTV DVRs could record live TV while streaming video to iOS devices. Similarly, Game Capture HD60 lets you simultaneously enjoy lag-free gaming, stream live video to the Internet, and optionally include voice commentary with automatic audio level balancing. It also does all of these things with barely any need for user involvement. And although the price was just a little too high when it debuted last year, it’s now hovering around $150 — a great price given the quality of its video output. Read on for all the details…

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3G Stories November 5, 2014

iPhone6_VoLTE_increase_Nov2014

Following the introduction of Voice-over-LTE technology with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which increases call quality by routing calls through an LTE network opposed to last generation 3G networks, US carriers have experienced a big increase in VoLTE calls. That’s according to a new report from Newfield Wireless that highlights a decrease for calls over 3G by about one-fifth compared to previous generation iPhones and other LTE-capable devices:

The majority of voice calls made on other 4G-enabled devices are currently routed through legacy 2G and 3G networks, due to the fact that not all networks and devices are optimised to deliver next-generation voice services. iPhone 6 devices are VoLTE-compatible and as a result, U.S. networks have experienced a surge in VoLTE calls since the September launch.

The report also shared some other data points from its research noting a few stats for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus uptake compared to previous generations: expand full story

3G Stories July 22, 2014

ipadunlimited

Apple and U.S.-based wireless carrier AT&T have begun sending out $40 checks to buyers of the original iPad WiFi + 3G in the United States over a “bait-and-switch” regarding the device’s data plan. The backstory is that when Steve Jobs announced the 3G iPad in January 2010, he announced a deal with AT&T for a $30/month unlimited iPad data plan.

When the 3G iPad launched in late April 2010, this plan was available, but AT&T eliminated the plan just about one month later in early June 2010. Lawsuits followed in the months and years following the shift in data plan strategy claimed that customers overpaid for the 3G iPad believing that they would be able to use the device to access unlimited amounts of data.

In September 2013, Apple and AT&T settled and agreed to pay $40 to each affected iPad buyer. For iPad buyers who had not yet purchased an unlimited data plan, a discount on the replacing 5GB plan was offered. The two companies began sending the checks out late last week, and they began arriving today. You can view the entire check stub and letter from the payout fund below:

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3G Stories November 13, 2013

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 …  expand full story

3G Stories August 3, 2013

Apple ‘applauds’ veto of ITC iPhone/iPad ban, Samsung ‘disappointed’

Following the decision from the Obama administration from earlier today to veto an ITC product ban on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, first-generation 3G iPad, and 3G-capable iPad 2, both Apple and Samsung have responded.

Apple has praised the decision:

We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.

Samsung is not happy with the move:

We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license.

Today’s decision is not the first time in which the United States has sided with Apple over Samsung. Last summer, a California court granted Apple a $1 billion dollar verdict in a wide ranging case regarding Apple and Samsung’s mobile product design patents. Apple CEO Tim Cook called that win an “important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere.”

3G Stories April 24, 2013

FreedomPop announces network expansion for nationwide coverage alongside new 3G/4G ‘Overdrive Pro’ hotspot

Update: A 9to5Mac reader has chimed in clarifying that the new hotspot only offers the free 500MB plan on the new Sprint-enabled 4G service. For 3G coverage, users will have to pay an additional $3.99 per month:

Although their website and press release say the new Overdrive comes with free data every month, there’s apparently a string.  Apparently only the 4G data is free, see my email thread with customer service below.  This is wholly inconsistent with what their website or press release indicates… This tactic is as deceptive as when FreedomPop first went live. At that time, they said the devices were “free with deposit” but it now turns out that if you keep the device for 12 months or more, the deposit is forfeited.  That forfeiture is buried deep within the TOS, and not likely understood by consumers until it’s time to return their hardware.

Wireless provider FreedomPop, the company providing access to free monthly data plans through a number of hotspot devices and iOS device accessories, today announced it is expanding its 3G coverage through Sprint’s network to provide nationwide coverage to its customers.

“The biggest criticism with our service to date has been the coverage gaps in certain parts of the country,” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO. “Starting today, FreedomPop users can connect to the Internet across the entire nation leaving no reason to continue paying high monthly Internet bills for Internet from large, expensive carriers.”

In addition to the network expansion, it is also now accepting preorders for its latest hotspot device dubbed “Overdrive Pro” (pictured above):

The FreedomPop Overdrive Pro becomes the company’s first device to run on Sprint’s network. The Overdrive Pro will allow up to five devices to connect to it and get speeds up to 8 mbps down. In addition to FreedomPop’s free 500 MB plan, users can also purchase a 2 GB or 4 GB 4G/3G plan with no contract or annual commitment at rates up to 50 percent less than major carriers.

FreedomPop offers users free data (with the option to purchase more) ranging from 500MB to 2GB per month through devices such as its $99 WiMAX sleeve for iPod touch or the recently announced $89 Burst 4G home wireless router. It also has an iPhone 4/4S case that is awaiting Federal Communication Commission approval and told us in February it plans to roll out LTE service and a new LTE iPad clip later this year.

3G Stories April 16, 2013

T-Mobile USA starts running another TV ad for iPhone 5

Following last week’s launch, U.S. carrier T-Mobile has begun airing its second TV ad for the iPhone 5. It is of similar style to the first ad as it explains T-Mobile’s new no-contract approach. Thanks, Matthew! 

3G Stories February 12, 2013

Deal Alert: iPad 3rd Gen $299 at Target, in store only

From 9to5Toys.com:

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If you think an iPad 2 for $399 is a good deal, how about a 3rd generation iPad with Retina Display for $299? Get over to your local Target quick, these things don’t usually last long. You can see if your store has them in stock using the find a store link. More deals coming your way at 9to5Toys.com

3G Stories February 11, 2013

Vodafone-iOS-6.1-

Following reports about some carriers in Europe issuing warnings not to upgrade to iOS 6.1 due to issues with 3G performance, it seems a fix is already in the works. The issue was not just with 3G through carriers such as Vodafone and three in Austria, many users in Apple’s own forums complained of similar problems, degraded battery life, and more. Users have also had problems with Exchange support, causing AOL corporate to temporarily disable the ability to manage mobile meetings from iOS devices running iOS 6.1.

Today, a report from German language blog iFun claimed that carriers have already completed testing a 6.1.1 update to address the bugs and a 23MB update carrying build number 10B145 should be available over-the-air soon:

After ifun.de this information is already in version 6.1.1 of the night on Monday as “Testing Complete” and should be offered the iPhone community with little flow as a wireless update. Sources which are applicable in the past on the issue dates of iOS 6.0.2 and iOS 6.1 as well as the eradication of the “SMS spoofing problem” have informed, indicate the large 23MB update with UMTS-compatible.

Apple’s first beta release for 6.1.1 was released last week with build number 10B311.

3G Stories September 5, 2012

Following a report late last month that T-Mobile would encourage unlocked iPhone users to switch carriers by advertising savings of $1,500 over two years versus AT&T, a report from TmoNews this morning claimed sources have indicated stores are preparing to display or possibly demo unlocked iPhones on T-Mobile’s 3G network. According to the report, store managers are being “asked to activate a new microSIM before the end of August, but not told what device it would used with.”

All the intel streaming in seems to point to a “bring your own iPhone” demonstration in store, which lines up perfectly with what T-Mobile’s been saying all along for their refarmed network. We’re also told that these in store displays all align with T-Mobile’s “selling against the iPhone” strategy in the hopes that customers will be enticed by bringing their own device, and pairing it with T-Mobile’s newly launched unlimited data plan.

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3G Stories June 25, 2012

Google attempts to block US iPhone & iPad shipments over 3G patents

Update: A report from Bloomberg Businessweek confirmed with some clarification. As we reported in April, the ITC will have to review Judge Pender’s previous ruling that Apple infringed on one Motorola patent related to industry standard 3G and wireless technologies. The date for that hearing is now scheduled for August 24 and could result on a block of iOS devices from Asia to the United States:

The U.S. International Trade Commission said it will review ITC Judge Thomas Pender’s findings that Apple was violating one of four Motorola Mobility patents. The commission is scheduled to issue a final decision on Aug. 24, and has the power to block devices made in Asia from entering the U.S.

According to several tweets from financial analyst @zerohedge, Google is apparently attempting to block shipments of the iPhone and iPad in the U.S. related to 3G patents. We do not have any more information at the moment, but we will keep you updated as the story unfolds…

CNBC reported a Reuters story of the same nature.

(Developing)

3G Stories April 17, 2012

 

PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured below, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

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3G Stories March 16, 2012

With the introduction of the new LTE iPad on Verizon and AT&T, many were wondering whether AT&T’s 3G network would work on a new Verizon iPad. According to a poster on the Mac Rumors forums, popping an AT&T SIM card into the Verizon iPad’s micro-SIM slot appears to work fine as long as you adjust the AT&T APN carrier settings. Of course, this does not mean you will be able to use AT&T’s LTE network on the Verizon iPad. However, if you already have an AT&T SIM for the iPhone, this is an alternative for data when LTE is not an option. expand full story

3G Stories March 12, 2012

Berlin-based Nova Media, best known for its OS X utilities for OEMs used by carriers like Vodafone, announced a new personal hotspot device today called “XYFI.” The thumb drive-sized device (80mm-by-23mm-by-12mm) connects to any USB port for power and allows you to insert a SIM card to share a 3G data connection with up to eight other devices. The XYFI is also completely configured through a browser, so the entire setup process can be done through an iPad or iPhone. It will also function as a regular Wi-Fi modem for your Mac and packs a microSD card slot for file sharing over the network.

Nova Media explained in its press release that the XYFI provides up to 5.76 Mbit/s upload speeds and 14.4 Mbit/s download on 3G. Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi is compatible up to up to 54 Mbit/s on 802.11 b/g networks. It also supports WPS and uses WPA, WPA2, and WEP. In the image to the right, we see the web-based interface will allow a user to hide the network SSID, create guest logins, and manage network settings.

You can buy the world’s smallest 3G Wi-Fi hotspot for 179 euros (around $234 USD) from Nova Media here.

The full press release is after the break.

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3G Stories January 31, 2012

European Union regulators today announced the launch of a formal investigation of Samsung over mobile patents to determine whether the South Korean conglomerate breached EU antitrust rules in its legal dealings with competitors. The investigation is focused on so-called FRAND patents, a common rule that stipulates a patent applying to the standard must be adopted on “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND). According to the press release, EU regulators want to figure out whether Samsung “used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

The Commission reminds that Samsung a decade ago promised to let rivals license its mobile patents under FRAND terms. The full-blown investigation comes in the light of the lawsuits Samsung filed against Apple at courts in Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries around the world, asserting copyright infringement related to patents essential to wireless telecommunications standards.

The case is “a matter of priority,” the document reads. Patent blogger explained, “The European Commission can’t wait until Samsung finally wins a ruling based on such a patent and enforces it, potentially causing irreparable harm.” The full text of the European Commission Antitrust Commission announcement can be found below.

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3G Stories January 9, 2012

Apple just released a third beta version of the upcoming iOS 5.1 firmware (Build 9B5141a). The software is available as an over-the-air update for existing iOS 5.1 beta users, but is not yet available (update: now available) as a standalone download through Apple’s developer portal.

As you might imagine, it contains the obligatory bug fixes and improvements. According to the tips we’ve received, it also restores the Enable 3G toggle in the Settings app which has been strangely absent on the iPhone 4S since it’s mid-October release. This should help save battery by switching to Edge connectivity in order to maintain cellular data for applications that do not require high data throughput. iPhone 4S users are currently forced to choose between having 3G cellular data turned on, which decreases battery life, or turning off their cellular data connection altogether.

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3G Stories December 12, 2011

We heard at the beginning of the month that BBC’s iPlayer iPad app would be getting an iPhone and iPod touch version in the coming weeks and today the app has officially landed for UK users. To accompany the release, the app will also be able to stream content over all 3G networks and now officially supports AirPlay on iOS 5.

The company’s blog post notes a ‘Live Channels’ feature will allow you to quickly switch between BBC channels just like on radio and TV, and all BBC national radio stations support background audio for multitasking. They have also made improvements to streaming by introducing HTTP Live Streaming using adaptive bitrate technologies, allowing the app to adjust your streaming quality based on your connection speed. The web version of the app accessible at bbc.co.uk/iplayer will also soon get 3G streaming capabilities.   expand full story

3G Stories October 17, 2011

Apple offers special limited time prices on gen-1 iPads

From 9to5Toys.com: The online Apple Store is having a clearance of the original iPad for three select WiFi and WiFi + 3G models, including the flagship 64GB WiFi + 3G iPad. Now available for up to $200-$230 less compared to their original list prices, these products come looking like new and with the same 1-year […]

3G Stories September 29, 2011

Reddit user TheReverndZ shows the text he just got from AT&T.  He was over 11GB (!!) today for the month which is pretty hefty to say the least.  Next month, he’s probably going to get throttled as per the news we broke in June.

Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users.  These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.  Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period.

Don’t laugh Verizon users.  Yours is coming too.  Sprint, for the record, says it won’t throttle guys like Skelatwork, if they get the iphone expand full story

3G Stories September 20, 2011

An Apple spokesperson has confirmed to WSJ they will begin selling the 3G version of their iPad 2 in China through Apple Retail Stores, the Apple online store, and authorized resellers starting Wednesday. This will add to China’s growing tablet market, roughly 75% of which is already dominated by the iPad.

The Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 is already available in mainland China. Up until now, only Hong Kong has officially had access to the 3G iPad 2 model, but as the report notes, some 3G iPads have made their way into the region on the grey market. Of course China Unicom would be the obvious choice of carriers, but at this point they’ve declined to comment.

Apple has once again been on a retail blitz in China opening up a number of grandiose retail spaces in recent months and a couple due this week.

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