Sprint says it has a new strategy in mind for its prepaid brand Virgin Mobile. During a call with analysts today, Sprint execs said the company is de-emphasizing Virgin at the moment in favor of Boost Mobile, and has gone so far as to pull Virgin advertising ahead of a the new strategy's debut. Sprint did not say what it plans to do with Virgin, though it did admit it is not pursuing the pre-paid space as aggressively as rivals Cricket and MetroPCS. "You've got to figure out where do you want to fight and where do you want to grow," said CEO Marcelo Claure. "We are keeping the customers that matter." Claure also took the opportunity to reassure investors and customers that its network improvement plan will not be disruptive. "This is not a rip-and-replace strategy," said Claure, calling the implementation a "progressive build" that will make changes for the better. The company is expected to relocate some cell towers and make greater use of small/macro cells to densify its network. It may also shift some backhaul operations to microwave in order to cut down the fiber carriage fees it pays to AT&T and Verizon. Claure still believes Sprint can become the No. 1 or No. 2 network in terms of absolute performance in 80% of the country's markets within two years.
T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS is targeting Sprint customers with new service and handset discounts. Starting January 21, Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile customers who switch to MetroPCS can save up to 50% off Sprint's Family Share Pack pricing. For example, a single ported line can save between 22% and 48%, while two or more lines can save between 23% and 50%, depending on a number of variables such as existing plan cost, new plan pricing, and local taxes. Customers who switch can keep the low rate plans as long as they remain with MetroPCS. The promotion includes unlimited talk and text, Music Unlimited, Data Maximizer and mobile hotspot. MetroPCS is offering switchers a free LG Leon LTE, Kyocera Hydro Wave, Samsung Core Prime, LG K7, or $50 rebate that can be applied to any phone sold by MetroPCS. Last, MetroPCS is offering its existing customers a $20 discount when adding an extra 5GB line. T-Mobile said the promotion will be available for a limited time, but didn't provide an end date.
T-Mobile and MetroPCS will both sell the K7 Android phone recently announced by LG. LG previously announced that Boost would carry the same phone branded as the Tribute 5.
ZTE today announced the Avid Plus, an entry-level Android phone for T-Mobile and MetroPCS that will sell for just $115. It sports a 5-inch screen, Cat. 4 LTE, 5-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel front camera. It can record video at 720p HD resolution. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor with 1 GB of RAM. Its 8 GB of storage can be expanded with memory cards up to 32 GB. It also supports Wi-Fi Calling. The Avid Plus is a follow-up to the Avid, which was last sold by MetroPCS in 2013. It had a much smaller 4-inch screen and was designed for MetroPCS's old CDMA/LTE network. The new Avid Plus will go on sale January 20 with both T-Mobile and MetroPCS.
MetroPCS today announced the North America Unlimited add-on, which gives customers the ability to roam in Canada and Mexico for $5 per month. With this plan, customers can talk, text, and use LTE data across North America. The new plan expands upon the Mexico Unlimited add-on, which was released earlier this year. People who subscribe to the Mexico Unlimited plan will gain roaming in Canada at no extra charge. The service provides unlimited calling and messaging between Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. lines. LTE data consumed abroad is counted against subscribers' monthly MetroPCS data plan, but there are no additional data roaming charges. The North America Unlimited add-on is available beginning today.
ZTE is pushing system updates to its Axon and Axon Pro smartphones. Both phones gain a camera quick-launch button, Google security patches, Qualcomm modem patches, and better support for MetroPCS. The Axon's camera should zoom more effectively, and the Axon Pro's camera will focus faster in low light and deliver better white balance. The Pro also earns T-Mobile WiFi calling. ZTE said the system updates will be delivered over the air.
ZTE today said it is making the ZMax 2 smartphone available to consumers unlocked. The phone was originally sold via TracFone earlier this year, but is now online directly from ZTE. The full price of the phone is $179.99, but ZTE is running a limited sale price of $129.99. The ZMax 2 has a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen; quad-core 1.2GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage; 8-megapixel main camera with full HD vide capture and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. It includes Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, WiFi, and LTE radios. The phone packs a 3,000 mAh battery. The ZMax 2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is compatible with the networks operated by AT&T, T-Mobile, and their prepaid businesses, Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS, respectively.
MetroPCS today announced a handful of new features that mirror services offered by its parent company, T-Mobile. First, MetroPCS customers now have access to Music Unlimited, which, like T-Mobile's Music Freedom, lets customers stream unlimited music over LTE without impacting their monthly data allotment. Music Unlimited is compatible with 33 different streaming music services and is available to customers on the $40, $50, or $60 plans. Second, MetroPCS is now offering a service called Data Maximizer, which delivers a three-fold increase in the amount of video users can stream over LTE 4G. With Data Maximizer turned on, customers can watch more video each month at DVD quality (480p). Video consumption is not unlimited, however; the Data Maximizer compression tool simply reduces the amount of video data transmitted over the network so it impacts customer plans less. Customers can toggle Data Maximizer on/off whenever they want. Third, and last, MetroPCS has added more data to its service plans. Moving forward, there are four plans for single/family lines. The entry level plan costs $30 per month and includes unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of data. The $40 plan bumps data to 3GB (from 2GB) and includes Music Unlimited/Data Maximizer. The $50 plan bumps data to 5GB (from 4GB) and includes Music Unlimited/Data Maximizer. The $60 plan includes unlimited data, 8GB of mobile hotspot data (up from 6GB), and Music Unlimited/Data Maximizer. Family plans cost $5 less per line when two or more lines are associated with a single account. Music Unlimited, Data Maximizer, and the new prepaid plans will be available Nov. 19.
Alcatel OneTouch today announced the Fierce XL, a budget phablet headed to MetroPCS and T-Mobile. The XL is the third Fierce-branded handset from Alcatel and features a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen. The phone is powered by a 1.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The phone supports memory cards up to 32GB. The main camera features an 8-megapixel sensor with flash and a Polaroid shooting mode, which can apply filters, borders, and text tags, as well as assemble photos into double or multi-shot layouts. The front camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. The Fierce XL supports LTE 4G along with VoLTE, HD voice, and WiFi calling. Alcatel said the Fierce XL reaches MetroPCS stores starting Nov. 2. T-Mobile will carry the phone in the months ahead. The Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL costs $139.
Blu is a fast-growing name in the U.S. phone market. To date, they've focused on selling unlocked phone to be used with T-Mobile and MetroPCS. Now, for the first time, they are offering phones officially certified by T-Mobile, that will be sold by official T-Mobile dealers. This is increasingly important for good LTE service with T-Mobile. The Studio Selfie is the first such phone. We spent some time with it, as well as the incredibly thin Vivo Air and Studio Energy 2 with its massive battery. Read on to find out what they're like in person.
Cricket Wireless says the vast majority of customers have transitioned away from its legacy CDMA network ahead of tomorrow's planned shutdown. AT&T has been moving Cricket customers from the older CDMA network to its own GSM-based network since it acquired the carrier several years ago. Earlier this summer, Cricket said 97% of its customers have made the jump to GSM handsets with lower-than-expected churn rates. Some CDMA customers remain active in California and a few other locations, according to Cricket, though the prepaid carrier declined to say exactly how many. Once the shutdown commences, those customers will lose network access. Cricket has been notifying customers for nearly 18 months of the impending shutdown via text messages, mailers, and emails. Cricket customers using older CDMA-based phones should upgrade their phone as soon as possible in order to maintain service. Cricket's CDMA shutdown follows that of MetroPCS, which T-Mobile shuttered earlier this year.
Cricket Wireless today improved its international offering by adding the ability to make calls and send text messages from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. The change means Cricket customers who travel to Canada and Mexico will be able to stay in touch with family and friends in the U.S. while they are away. Cricket customers are already able to make unlimited calls and send unlimited messages from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico. Cricket said the "roundtrip" feature will be available to its Smart and Pro plans ($50 and $60 per month, respectively) for at no extra cost. The unlimited calling/SMS feature goes into effect for Mexico on August 2 and will go into effect for Canada later in August. Cricket's move follows similar calling plan changes made by parent company AT&T, as well as competitors T-Mobile and MetroPCS.
Kyocera today announced the Hydro Wave, its newest Android handset for T-Mobile and MetroPCS. The Hydro Wave has an IP57 rating for protection against water/dust ingress and meets mil-spec 810G for resistance to abuse. The Wave includes wet screen tracking so the phone can be used when wet. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop but includes new software from Kyocera called Core Home, which simplifies the user interface for first-time users or those who prefer the look and feel of feature phone UIs. The Hydro Wave features a 5-inch qHD display, 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with LED flash and can capture 720p HD video, while the user-facing camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. Wireless capabilities include WiFi with WiFi Direct and WiFi Calling, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, and LTE with VoLTE and HD Voice support. The Hydro Wave has a 2,300mAh battery and includes Kyocera's Eco Mode and MaxiMZR to enhance battery life. The Hydro Wave will go on sale in T-Mobile stores July 22, followed by MetroPCS stores July 27. The price is $149.99.
MetroPCS today announced several promotions meant to entice consumers to ditch their carrier in favor of MetroPCS. For starters, customers who activate a new line on a $40 or higher service plan will receive an extra 1GB of LTE data per month on top of whatever data bucket they choose. The extra 1GB will remain with the line as long as the customer sticks with MetroPCS. Customers who port their number will be eligible for a $50 rebate on a new phone. MetroPCS is also offering a package deal on the LG Leon. MetroPCS is selling the Leon with a month of service (unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data) for $59 after a mail-in rebate. Today's promotions are available only in stores.
MetroPCS today revealed a new plan for making calls to Mexico. The Mexico Unlimited package borrows a page from T-Mobile's Mobile Without Borders plan and offers unlimited calling and messaging to mobile and landlines in Mexico. Further, the plan allows MetroPCS customers to use their handsets freely in Mexico and make calls to the U.S., as well as Mexican lines without fear of roaming fees. MetroPCS customers can access their mobile data buckets while in Mexico, too. Mexico Unlimited is available beginning today. Customers who sign up for the plan before August 31 will get it at no extra charge for the rest of 2015. Mexico Unlimited costs $5 per month and requires a MetroPCS plan costing at least $40.
HTC today revealed a new family of Desire handsets. The 626 series (pictured) and 526/520 series share many features, though the former is a bit more mid-range and the latter is decidedly entry-level. Traits common to the 626, 626S, 526, and 520 include Qualcomm's 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor; 2,000mAh batteries; single-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS/GLONASS; support for 2 TB memory cards; and Android 5.1 Lollipop with HTC Sense.
- 626/626S: In keeping with prior Desire designs, the 626/626S are formed of polycarbonate and have variable color combinations. These larger Desire handsets have 5-inch 720p HD screens and 8-megapixel main cameras with 720p video capture. The 626 has 16 GB of storage, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera. The 626S has 8 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM, and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera.
- 526/520:The 526 and 520 share most design features, but differ in some key specs. They have a simple appearance and cheaper materials. The 526, intended for Verizon, has a 4.7-inch qHD screen, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 8 GB of storage, and 1.5 GB of RAM. The 520, intended for Cricket Wireless, has a 4.5-inch FWVGA screen, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 8 GB of storage, and 1 GB of RAM.
MetroPCS plans to switch off its legacy CDMA network on June 21. MetroPCS parent T-Mobile says about 190,000 customers are still using CDMA handsets in the three markets that offer CDMA coverage, down from 300,000 about a month ago. T-Mobile has been transitioning CDMA customers to its GSM-based network aggressively for more than a year. "Any MetroPCS customer using a CDMA handset in a migration market [is] eligible for our HSPA/LTE device Upgrade Program," said T-Mobile to FierceWireless. "In order to take advantage of the new network, all customers need to do is bring their active phone to a participating MetroPCS store, choose a new phone, apply their trade-in credit toward that phone, and start using the new network right away." Some MetroPCS customers will quality for upgrade credits between $32 and $299 depending on their existing CDMA handset. Customers who don't pick up a new phone before June 21 will lose service entirely when MetroPCS shuts down the CDMA network. T-Mobile plans to re-use the CDMA spectrum to supplement its LTE 4G network.
Boost Mobile today introduced a limited promotion aimed at enticing MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless customers to switch. Boost will cut the monthly service fees in half for Metro and Cricket customers that sign up for Boost service between now and July 20. Boost says the halved bills can save Metro and Cricket customers between $20 and $30 per month for up to one full year. For example, MetroPCS is charging $40 a month for unlimited talk/text and 2.5GB of LTE data. Customers who port their number to Boost can get that same service plan for $20 per month. Similarly, Cricket charges customers who have unlimited talk/text and 10GB of data $60 per month. Boost will charge only $30 for that same plan. After the year-long promotion expires, customers will automatically be migrated to the Boost plan with a comparable amount of monthly data. Boost operates on Sprint's network. Sprint is offering a similar promotion to customers who switch from AT&T or Verizon Wireless.
Sprint today announced the availability of Sprint Cuba 20 Plus, a calling plan add-on that provides access to friends and family in Cuba. The Sprint Cuba 20 plan costs $10 per month and includes 20 voice minutes to any line in Cuba. Additional minutes cost 70 cents each. Sprint customers who subscribe to the Sprint Cuba 20 plan can call and send messages to Mexican and Canadian numbers without paying extra international charges. The plan offers discounted rates to 180 other countries, as well. The Sprint Cuba 20 plan can be added to customer accounts starting today. MetroPCS also announced a Cuba plan today, but Metro's is packaged in with an existing international calling plan.
MetroPCS today added Cuba to the list of countries included in the MetroPCs World Calling add-on plan. The add-on, which costs $10 per month, now offers 20 minutes of calling to landlines or mobile devices in Cuba and unlimited texting to Cuba at no extra charge. The World Calling Plan already includes unlimited calling to land lines in more than 75 countries, unlimited texting to most countries, and 200 voice minutes to mobile phones in select countries. MetroPCS customers who travel outside the U.S. to select countries can make 200 minutes of voice calls (including 20 minutes from Cuba), receive unlimited messages, send 200 texts, and use up to 200MB of data. The updated World Calling add-on with Cuba is available starting today.
T-Mobile today announced a handful of device and service promotions that will become available over the holiday weekend. To start, T-Mobile is offering a free memory upgrade to buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. From May 23 through May 25, the 64 GB model will cost the same as the 32 GB model. Customers who buy the 32 GB will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Following their appearance on T-Mobile's web site earlier this month, the company shared pricing details for the LG Stylo and Leon. The Stylo will cost $289.92 at full retail or $12.08 per month and the Leon will cost $149.76 at full retail or $6.24 per month. T-Mobile Prepaid customers can score the Leon for free with an online rebate. T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS will also sell the Stylo and Leon for $199 and $49, respectively, after online rebates. Customers who switch to MetroPCS from a competing carrier will receive a free LG Leon or $50 toward the phone of their choice. Last, MetroPCS is recirculating the 4x100 promotion. Customers can get four lines with unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of data per line for a total of $100.
T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said the company's LTE 4G network now covers 280 million POPS. That's a slight improvement from the 275 million POPs T-Mobile said it covered at the end of April. With 280 million people blanketed by its 4G network, T-Mobile's coverage footprint is on par with that of Sprint, which also coves 280 million. AT&T and Verizon both claim to cover 308 million POPs. Ray offered a few more details about T-Mobile's progress. It is still on track to cover 300 million POPS by the end of the year. It plans to shutter its legacy CDMA MetroPCS network on June 21, and there are fewer than 300,000 customers still using that network in Dallas, Miami, and New York City. T-Mobile said it has 15x15 MHz LTE deployments in 150 markets, which the company will expand to 200 by the end of the year. T-Mobile charted an aggressive path for building its LTE network and has met or exceeded most of its goals over the past two years.
T-Mobile intends to shutter MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network by late June, according to information on the carrier's web site. The company recently said it had three major metro markets — and about 500,000 customers — still using its CDMA network. Moreover, MetroPCS parent company T-Mobile said a total CDMA network shutdown wasn't planned until the end of the year. Now, MetroPCS' web site says all customers need to transition to its GSM/LTE network by June 21, after which "phones operating on MetroPCS' legacy network ... are not guaranteed to have service." T-Mobile has already refarmed approximately 80% of MetroPCS' legacy CDMA spectrum for its own LTE 4G service. MetroPCS said customers with older phones can turn in their handsets for credit towards new devices compatible with its LTE network. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS and has aggressively moved Metro's customers to its own network.
A federal court ruled police can obtain cell phone location records from carriers without first getting a warrant. A Florida man, Quartavious Davis, convicted of seven armed robberies in 2010 argued the cell phone records used to place him in the vicinity of the robberies were protected under the Fourth Amendment. A Florida court initially agreed with Davis' argument, but the Justice Department appealed that ruling and heard the case earlier this year. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Florida ruling and said Davis' rights against unreasonable search and seizure were not violated. "Davis has no subjective or objective reasonable expectation of privacy in MetroPCS's business records showing the cell tower locations that wirelessly connected his calls at or near the time of six of the seven robberies," said the federal judges. They maintain the records were created by MetroPCS and belong to that company rather than Davis. The ruling applies to law enforcement activity in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, which fall under the purview of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court. "The reach of the majority opinion is breathtaking," said Davis' attorney. "It means that the government can get anything stored by a third party: your Facebook posts, your Amazon purchases, your internet search history, even the documents and pictures you store in the cloud, all without a warrant." Though law enforcement agencies in these three states can obtain cell records from carriers without a warrant, they cannot search individual cell phones without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that police must obtain a warrant before searching actual handsets.
T-Mobile today said it has migrated the majority of MetroPCS customers off the company's legacy CDMA network and onto its own LTE network. T-Mobile says fewer than 500,000 MetroPCS customers are still using the CDMA network. As a result, the company decommissioned MetroPCS' CDMA network in Atlanta and Detroit during the first quarter of the year, bringing the overall total to 8 market shutdowns, with only 3 major markets left. T-Mobile expects to shut down these remaining MetroPCS CDMA networks by the end of the year. T-Mobile has already refarmed approximately 80% of MetroPCS' spectrum for its 4G service. Speaking of which, T-Mobile today said its LTE network covers 275 million people and it expects to reach its goal of 300 million by the end of the year. T-Mobile has aggressively rolled out Wideband LTE service to 157 markets, and expects to cover 200 markets with Wideband LTE by the end of the year. Further, the Uncarrier continues to deploy LTE on its 700MHz spectrum. It added 700MHz coverage in Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Tampa, San Antonio, and Detroit during the first quarter, bringing the total coverage to 55 market areas. Last, T-Mobile says its winnings in the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction gave it licenses covering 97 million people.
Cricket today said new customers who switch to Cricket from T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint, Boost, and other competitors will receive one free month of service after completing two months of service. In order to qualify, customers must subscribe to a $50 or $60 rate plan. The offer will only be available for a limited time.
Samsung today announced the general availability details for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The devices can be pre-ordered beginning Friday, March 27 and should reach most carrier stores on April 10. Samsung said the black, white, and gold models will be sold in the U.S. in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular all plan to sell the GS6 and GS6 Edge. Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS will only offer the Galaxy S6. In addition to carrier stores, the two phones will be available at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Some carrier stores will have the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge on display beginning tomorrow, even if sales don't commence until April 10. Samsung said carriers will announce individual pricing details later. The devices include 5.1-inch quad HD screens, 16-megapixel cameras, fingerprint readers, and multi-standard wireless charging.
T-Mobile recently added the Microsoft Lumia 640 to its web site and described the device as "coming soon." Microsoft revealed the Lumia 640 at Mobile World Congress earlier this month. The phone has a 5-inch HD screen, 8-megapixel camera, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and Microsoft's productivity apps. The Lumia 640 will ship with Windows 8.1, but can be upgraded to the full version of Windows 10 later this year. T-Mobile didn't disclose exact availability or pricing, but Microsoft said the phone will reach stores in April for about $180. AT&T and MetroPCS also plan to sell the Lumia 640.
MetroPCS today announced a new promotion that gives customers unlimited talk, text, and data for $30 per month. Customers can access up to 1GB of data at 4G speeds, but once they reach that limit data speeds are throttled back. Customers will still have access to data, it will simply be slower. MetroPCS said the deal is available to all its customers as long as they have a MetroPCS phone. The promotional $30 plan is available only in MetroPCS stores beginning today. MetroPCS didn't put an end date on the promo.
Cricket Wireless today announced plans to sell the second-generation Motorola Moto E starting on March 13. The phone features LTE 4G, a 4.5-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, quad-core 1.2GHz processor and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. The phone costs $129.99 and does not require a contract. Service plans start at $35 per month. Cricket is offering a free month of service to customers who switch from T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint, and Boost.
Microsoft today announced the Lumia 640 XL, a larger version of the Lumia 640. The screen is stretched to 5.7 inches, the camera is improved to 13 megapixels, and the battery is slightly bigger, as well. It includes Microsoft's standard set of productivity apps and supports LTE 4G. It will ship with Windows 8.1, but can be upgraded to the full version of Windows 10. The Lumia 640 XL will be available in April from AT&T, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS in the U.S. Microsoft said it will include a one-year subscription to Office 365, 1TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 Skype world minutes. The price will be approximately $245.
T-Mobile has promoted CMO Mike Sievert to the COO position, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sievert served as the CMO under CEO John Legere since November 2012 and helped develop the company's Uncarrier strategy. Sievert will be in charge of all customer-facing operations, such as sales, marketing, and customer service. Tom Keys, COO of T-Mobile's MetroPCS business, is now president of T-Mobile's indirect channels. These changes are effective Feb. 13. COO of T-Mobile Business, Jim Ailing, plans to leave the company March 13. CEO John Legere said via his Twitter account, "Some changes at T-Moble HQ. Have to change it up when you have great talent and an uncarrier revolution to run."
Cricket Wireless today announced that all customers on its $50 and $60 plans can now make unlimited calls to Mexico. Cricket's subscribers can call landlines and mobile phones at no extra charge, though Cricket said calls to special or premium services may be blocked. The service also includes unlimited text, picture, and video messaging. The offer is not valid for Cricket's legacy CDMA customers. Cricket's Smart Plan costs $50 per month and includes unlimited calling, messaging, and 5GB of LTE data. The Pro Plan costs $60 and doubles data to 10GB. The Advanced Plan, which is available for a limited time, costs $60 and includes 20GB of LTE data and expands free messaging to 35 more countries. Customers can get a $5 monthly discount if they sign up for auto-pay. Cricket is still offering incentives to T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint, and Boost Mobile customers, who will receive a free month of service for switching. Cricket operates on AT&T's network. AT&T recently acquired Iusacell, a Mexican network operator, and rolled out unlimited calls to Mexico to its own customers for $5 per month.
Cricket Wireless today added more data to its bottom two prepaid service plans in a bid to keep up with similar offers from Boost Mobile and MetroPCS. With Cricket's auto-pay discount, the Basic plan costs $35 per month and now includes unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of high-speed data per month (up from 1GB). Cricket's Smart plan costs $45 per month and includes 5GB of high-speed data (up from 3GB), and the Pro plan costs $55 per month and includes 10GB of high-speed data. Existing customers will automatically receive the upgraded data allotments. Last, Cricket added an Advanced plan that includes 20GB of data for $55 per month. The Advanced plan will only be available for a limited time and requires an LTE-capable handset. Cricket will provide one month of free service to new customers who sign up for its Smart, Pro, or Advanced plans. The new rates go into effect today. Cricket is owned and operated by AT&T. LTE speeds are limited to 8Mbps. Customers who exceed their monthly limit will be throttled for the remainder of the billing period.
MetroPCS today unveiled a new rate plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and LTE 4G data for $50 per month. Customers can sign up for the promotional plan between today and April 5. Once signed up, users can keep the unlimited LTE 4G data plan indefinitely. In order to use this plan, however, customers have to have a MetroPCS-branded LTE-capable handset. Customers cannot supply their own, unlocked handset. MetroPCS also increased the data available to its existing plans by 1GB each. For example, its $40 plan now includes unlimited talk, text, and up to 2GB of LTE (improved from 1GB), and a $50 plan with unlimited talk, text, and up to 4GB of LTE (improved from 3GB). These plans are available to BYOD customers and MetroPCS-branded devices. Last, MetroPCS said customers can buy the Samsung Galaxy Light for $49 and the LG F60 for $59. MetroPCS does not require contracts.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to the company's blog today to shed some light on its plans headed into 2015. To start, the company claims it will cover 300 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2015. It currently covers 264 million. T-Mobile will deploy Wideband LTE to a total of 150 markets around the country, though it is already present in about 120 markets. The company said it will eventually provide LTE to 350 markets via its 700MHz spectrum holdings. T-Mobile only recently began to deploy LTE on 700MHz, and didn't say how long it will take to reach those 350 markets. Legere noted MetroPCS, T-Mobile's prepaid service, will continue to see uncharted growth. The small carrier has already made big gains since T-Mobile acquired it in 2013. Legere also took the opportunity to poke fun at T-Mobile's rivals and make predictions about what's to come over the course of the next 12 months. Among others, Legere believes T-Mobile will overtake Sprint to become the nation's third-largest network operator in the very near future. (He had previously predicted by the end of 2014.) Legere says fourth quarter earnings reports, expected at the end of January, will provide the necessary details to make that determination.
Cricket Wireless is hoping a $100 bill credit will convince customers of Cincinnati Bell, MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Sprint, and T-Mobile to hop on over to Cricket. New customers must switch from the aforementioned carriers, purchase a new device, and activate a new line of service on a qualifying rate plan in order to receive the credit. The credit will be applied at the end of the first billing cycle. Cricket's service plans cost $40-$60 per month, depending on options. Cricket offered a similar promotion over the summer months, but only targeted Sprint and T-Mobile. The current promotion runs through Dec. 31.
MetroPCS recently began selling the LG F60 handset through its web site. The F60 was announced last month. It features a 4.5-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM. The device has a 5-megapixel main camera with Gesture Shot and Touch & Shot, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The device includes Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and LTE, and relies on a 2,100mAh battery for power. The F60 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes LG's Knock Code. MetroPCS is selling it for $100 after a mail-in rebate. The full retail price is $160.
MetroPCS has added the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 to its roster of Android smartphones. The device, which is already being sold by Metro parent T-Mobile, costs $50 after a $100 discount. MetroPCS doesn't require contracts.
T-Mobile today increased the number of markets in which it operates MetroPCS by 10. MetroPCS, which is T-Mobile's prepaid brand, will reach consumers in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chicago, Ill.; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minn.; Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, and Richmond-Petersburg, Va.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash., over the next few months. According to T-Mobile, MetroPCS is available from 11,000 points of sale across 55 metro areas. T-Mobile today also responded to recent moves by its competitors by increasing the data available to its prepaid customers. Beginning today, subscribers to MetroPCS' $40 plan will see their data limit bumped from 500MB to 1GB. Subscribers to the $50 plan will see their data increase from 2.5GB to 3GB. All customers will automatically be added to the new plans. T-Mobile doesn't charge overages, but does throttle back the speeds of those who surpass their monthly data allotment.