Network Stories August 31, 2015

T-Mobile to clamp down on network abusers, booting them down to lowest Simple Choice plan

T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.

The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan, some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).

We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.

Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.

T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.

Network Stories July 9, 2015

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T-Mobile’s mission to change the entire U.S. wireless industry took another step forward this morning. In an Uncarrier Amped move dubbed ‘Mobile without Borders‘, T-Mobile announced that it will offer its American customers free telephone call roaming to and from Mexico and Canada. For the first time, it will also include free 4G LTE data. Postpaid, prepaid and business customers will be able to make use of it from Wednesday, July 15th. It’s a killer move, and effectively erases the virtual borders between the U.S. and its neighboring countries.

Unlike the current Simple Global feature, when a T-Mo subscriber crosses the Mexican or Canadian borders, they won’t be reduced down to EDGE speeds. They retain 4G LTE connectivity seamlessly, providing there is LTE coverage in that area. T-Mo partnered with carriers in those two countries to pull this move off. There’s only one small asterisk — the feature is being offered in specific cities within Canada and Mexico — as discussed below…

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Network Stories May 26, 2015

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After many complaints from the developer community about poor networking performance on Yosemite, the latest beta of OS X 10.10.4 has dropped discoveryd in favor of the old process used by previous versions of the Mac operating system. This should address many of the network stability issues introduced with Yosemite and its new networking stack.

The discoveryd process has been subject to much criticism in recent months as it causes users to regularly drop WiFi access and causes network shares to list many times over, due to bugs. Many developers, such as Craig Hockenberry, have complained about the buggy software and workarounds have been found to include substituting the older system (called mDNSResponder) back into Yosemite.

discoveryd would cause random crashes, duplicate names on the network and many other WiFi-relate bugs. In the latest beta, Apple appears to have applied the same fix as the enthusiasts by axing discoveryd completely.

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Network Stories September 23, 2014

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When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware: expand full story

Network Stories August 8, 2014

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After announcing it would take advantage of iBeacons deployed by inMarket in grocery stores back in April, today Condé Nast’s Epicurious is announcing a partnership with another iBeacon network to further expand the context-sensitive notifications beamed to its users. Swirl, the same company behind recent beacon deployments in Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor, will now deliver location-aware notifications to the Epicurious app via its network of beacons already deployed in retailers:

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Network Stories August 5, 2014

APPLE-CEO-Steve-Jobs-glasses

There were lots of hints that Steve Jobs was interested in changing the way we all access the internet on the devices he helped create. Back in 2011 there were reports that Apple considered developing its own network for the original iPhone that could potentially replace traditional carrier services using Wi-Fi spectrum. Before that rumours claimed Jobs was interested in Fon, a WiFi sharing service that encourages users to share wireless internet access with others. Today, Walt Mossberg from ReCode shares another story about Jobs’ interest in a world of shared Wi-Fi, describing a conversation between the two where Jobs shared his vision of making free Wi-Fi the norm: expand full story

Network Stories May 20, 2014

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Apple is quietly negotiating with some of the largest ISPs in the country in order to roll out their own Content Distribution Network, which would help ensure faster and more reliable downloads for iTunes content, iCloud data, and software (via StreamingMediaBlog). Apple has previously made strides to improve its networking infrastructure, including purchasing hardware to boost performance and creating a team dedicated to improving download speeds. It is also opening new Data Centers at a frenetic pace.

The creation of these deals with Internet Service Providers comes amid a firestorm surrounding net neutrality and peering deals of this type. Apple recently declined to join a group of 100 tech companies backing Net Neutrality in a written statement to the FCC. expand full story

Network Stories April 8, 2014

Amazon says it has now passed Apple and Hulu in streaming video usage

Amazon has officially passed Hulu and Apple in streaming video usage in the US, according to a press release it sent out today citing recent research from Qwilt. Amazon also announced that video streams from its Prime Instant Video service have tripled since this time last year.

Qwlit’s report shows Amazon experience a 94% traffic volume increase of users consuming video since last year and that includes streams from the service to just US broadband subscribers. The report doesn’t specify, however, what video content exactly is being tracked from Apple. Amazon also experienced growth of almost 300% in certain markets. In March of this year, only Netflix and YouTube were able to capture more online video traffic in the US:

Today, only Netflix and YouTube produce more total online video traffic in the US. Amazon”s traffic volumes, as measured by Qwilt in March of 2014, increased by 94% over the previous 12 months. In some US operator networks, between March 2013 and March 2014, Amazon”s streaming video traffic increase was nearly 300%.

Amazon’s press release today follows the announcement of its new Fire TV set top box that will be a direct competitor to Apple TV, Chromecast, and similar streaming hardware. The $99 hardware– another sign its really getting serious about video streaming services– provides access to Amazon’s Instant Video streaming services in addition to popular services like Hulu and Netflix, as well as Android games and an optional game controller.

Network Stories February 24, 2014

Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.

Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.

WWE-Network-Apple-TV-03The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.

The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.” expand full story

Network Stories December 6, 2013

T-Mobile finally takes advantage of MetroPCS merger, will use new spectrum to enhance LTE network

All Things D reports that T-Mobile is finally taking advantage of this year’s MetroPCS merger. The fourth-largest mobile carrier in the U.S. plans to use the new spectrum to offer even faster speeds on its LTE network nationwide. Some markets are already seeing an increase in speed, and more will see faster service next year. The company says it hopes to cover up to 90% of its current subscriber base with improved service.

In direct contrast to this data network improvement, T-Mobile is also planning to launch new pre-paid plans with no data allowance included, according to TMo News. The carrier confirmed that the new plans will come with unlimited talk and text, but will not include any data. These new pre-paid plans will be available on December 8th, the the same day AT&T is launching its new selection of plans.

Network 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.

Network Stories November 20, 2012

T-Mobile is hemorrhaging customers, as it reported nearly a half million lost customers during its Q3 2012 earnings call, and a T-Mobile executive recently attributed the carrier’s struggle to its refusal to carry Apple’s iPhone.

Jim Alling

“Make no mistake about it: We would love to carry the iPhone. However, we want the economies to be right for us,” said T-Mobile COO Jim Alling, who, according to Fierce Mobile, spoke candidly during a discussion at the Morgan Stanley Twelfth-Annual Technology, Media, and Telecoms Conference in Barcelona, Spain:

“Alling said T-Mobile would not want to sign a deal similar to one a competitor recently signed with Apple. That was likely a veiled reference to Sprint Nextel, which began carrying the iPhone in late 2011 under a four-year, $15.5 billion deal with Apple. The device has substantially driven up Sprint’s device subsidy cost, and the operator has said its iPhone business will not turn a profit until 2015. […] Alling acknowledged that not carrying the iPhone has been detrimental to T-Mobile, saying, ‘We recognize that it has been a point of churn for us.'”

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Network Stories October 23, 2012

As we highlighted earlier when Apple announced the news, the nation’s third-largest carrier Sprint will add the new fourth-generation iPad and new iPad mini to its list of 4G-enabled devices. Sprint confirmed the news in a press release this afternoon, as seen after the break.

Sprint was left out when the third-generation iPad was announced last spring, due to its 4G network not being available until this summer. The iPhone 5, released in September, was the first 4G device from Apple available on Sprint’s network.

The iPad mini Wi-Fi model will be available for pre-order Oct. 26 and shipping Nov. 2. There has not been any word on the release date of the LTE models, but they’re priced at $459, $559, and $659 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage capacities (respectively). It should only be a few weeks after. Catch up on more iPad Mini news here.

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Network Stories October 12, 2012

Apperian just launched “Remote Control for iOS”, a feature for its Enterprise App Services Environment that it called “the first and only solution that empowers IT departments to remotely view and interact with employee’s iOS devices as if the device was directly in front of them.” The solution works from anywhere, even over cellular networks, provides per-app privacy settings for end users, and it allows admins to control iOS devices through a web browser with no additional coding or software necessary:

Mobile devices go anywhere and everywhere – so there’s no need to be on the same local network or use a VPN to use Remote Control. An administrator can remotely control a device that is behind a home router, firewall or captive network with no additional configuration. It even works over cellular network, so you can provide support to a user no matter where they are.

A video demo of the feature is above, while the company’s full press release is below: expand full story

Network Stories February 21, 2012

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The App Store is the home to many VNC apps that let you run a desktop using your iOS device. Some are quite good, but most are too clunky, slow, and cumbersome. Edovia’s Screens app for the Mac and iOS released more than two years ago and just received a major overhaul with new features that leapfrog rival offerings. Coupled with the new Screens Connect service at screensconnect.com, Screens 2.0 is by far the most elegant solution to connect to a Mac or PC box through your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad through a local network or the web.

Upon installing the Mac client, simply enable screen sharing under System Preferences -> Sharing and registering your computer with Screens Connect (which takes care of network changes and configuring your router for UPnP and NAT-PMP) and that is all it takes for the iOS app to auto-configure itself. Screens 2.0 also sports iCloud integration for seamless experience across devices. It is the kind of app that will truly shine on Retina Display iPad 3…

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