GSM Stories August 22, 2014

If you thought things were messy with U.S. networks, Verizon and Sprint using CMDA and AT&T and T-Mobile using GSM, things are even worse in China – with WCDMA, CDMA2000, CDMA1X, GSM, TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE all in use by different carriers in different combinations.

The iPhone 6 may be about to make life a whole lot easier, though, with Sina (via ZDNet) reporting that the model sold by China Telecom at least will support all of the wireless networks in use in the country, based on a Weibo post by the carrier. Admittedly the image used in the Weibo above looks a little different than the general consensus we’ve seen before – they were created by Tomas Moyano and Nicolàs Aichino, and China Telecom likely downloaded them from Bēhance.

That aside, the message they are sending might be more interesting…

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GSM Stories July 21, 2014

Light-up logo rumors for iPhone 6 likely have a more mundane explanation

While we can’t say for sure that rumors of a MacBook-style glowing logo in the iPhone 6 are false, the evidence for this idea is rather … ah … thin.

We first saw photos of what appears to be an ultra-thin rear casing more than a month ago, with some sites then claiming this would facilitate a light-up logo. A new claimed leaked photo is doing the rounds today apparently showing a cut-out logo aperture with a plastic backing thin enough to allow light to shine though.

Those images fuelled speculation that the logo would light up when new mails, SMS messages or updates arrived, allowing owners to put their handset on its front and still be made aware of people contacting them. Today our snaps, which we worked with leaks-world lynchpin Sonny Dickson to source, could offer conclusive proof that this is indeed the case.

Possible? Sure. Conclusive proof? Um, no. Exhibit A, the logo cutout on the iPad:

The reason the logo is cut out in this way is that while people love metal casings, radio signals don’t. Apple positions the wifi antennas behind the plastic logo to allow the radio signals to pass easily through.

On the iPhone 5s, Apple allows GSM, LTE, Bluetooth and wifi signals to pass through the casing by topping-and-tailing the metal rear casing with glass sections:

With the iPhone 6 visuals we’ve seen, there are breaks in the metal casing which are likely to be for radio signals, but they are much thinner than the end-caps on the 5s.

Positioning some of the antennas behind a plastic logo would be one way to make that work.

We’re not saying a glowing logo on the iPhone 6 is impossible, just that we certainly haven’t seen anything close to proof.

GSM Stories December 13, 2013

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. expand full story

GSM Stories November 22, 2013

Apple today released an unlocked GSM version of the iPhone 5s on its online store for the United States. This version of the iPhone 5s includes the same exact capabilities of the non-unlocked models, but does not include a SIM card. Users who buy this version of the iPhone will need to supply their own SIM card. The central benefit of an unlocked iPhone is that it can work on many GSM networks across the globe with no contract. For frequent world travelers, this option is worth looking into…

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GSM Stories July 8, 2013

Tweak enables free iOS hotspot tethering on T-Mobile without jailbreak

A new tweak available without a jailbreak claims to enable free hotspot tethering on devices running iOS 6 and 7 for at least T-Mobile in the US. It comes to us from iTweakiOS, the same people providing hacked carrier profiles enabling features such as wideband audio and faster data speeds for various US carriers. In theory the hack could work for other GSM carriers, but there is still some work to be done to get it up and running on AT&T. On it’s website the guys explained exactly how the tweak works:

Many of you may remember a story I put out awhile back talking about how CommCenter blocks edited carrier.plist files and I may have found a work aroun to get things like personal hotspot enabled. Well, I’ve found the solution, but first, let’s talk about why CommCenter blocks plist editing. This happens because of the very thing we’re doing right now, which i suspect will likely be patched quickly by iOS 7 GM release time. People were enabling tethering by modifying the original carrier.plist files and this stopped entirely when Apple implemented signatures into the carrier.plist files and creating what we all know as CommCenter which is the process that checks these signatures. So, the challenge was finding a way to enable hotspot without CommCenter checks and verifications. After months of research and digging, I’ve finally found a genuine workaround to enable this great feature and its quite simple, really.

Step-by-step instructions are available through the iTweakiOS website now, but the process is a little more in-depth than some of the other hacks released through the website in the past. The post warns that the tweak has only been tested on T-Mobile and that AT&T users “will need to tinker around and test a bit to get it operational.” If you’re up for a bit of .plist editing and likely some trial and error if you’re on AT&T, you can find the full instructions here.

GSM Stories November 1, 2012

AT&T and T-Mobile begin initiative to discourage theft by merging databases of stolen devices

AT&T and T-Mobile recently announced they would start to share a combined database of stolen mobile devices that aspires to discourage theft and shield customers.

All the major carriers, through their wireless association CTIA and the Federal Communications Commission, first revealed plans in April to merge their respective databases, but AT&T and T-Mobile were the first to do so yesterday.

CNET specifically elaborated on how the joint database works:

The database went live yesterday, and allows either AT&T or T-Mobile to block a device from being used on either network. In order to do that, the companies ban a device’s IMEI number — a unique identifier that tells networks what the device is and who owns it — and effectively stop it from being able to place calls.

In the past, stolen smartphones were blocked by eliminating the use of a SIM card. However, in the GSM world, a phone can be used with any SIM card. So, if a thief stole a device and popped in a new SIM card, it would still work. By targeting the IMEI number, that’s no longer the case.

Sprint and Verizon are expected join the initiative by November 2013.

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