Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA subscribers will soon have access to PlayPhone's socially-connected gaming portal, says PlayPhone. The platform will allow Boost and Virgin subscribers to find and play mobile games with their online friends, and share scores and achievements across various social networks. Boost and Virgin's prepaid subscribers will be able to make in-game purchases through their account, rather than with credit cards. Purchases will be billed directly to their wireless plan. The platform will be available later this summer, though Boost and Virgin declined to say exactly when it will launch and which devices will support it. Verizon adopted PlayPhone's platform earlier this year.
Zact Mobile, an MVNO that resold access to Sprint's network, plans to shut down at the end of August. Zact launched in 2013 and was notable because it allowed customers to adjust their voice minutes, messaging, and data allotments on the fly to suit their needs. The company stopped signing up new customers on July 4. Customers can keep their device and transition to Sprint if they want, or walk away free and clear. Zact is not going to reimburse customers for their devices. Zact uses a platform called ItsOn. Sprint recently adopted ItsOn and plans to launch a new prepaid service in the coming months that will offer flexibility similar to Zact's. Sprint did not say exactly when the new service will launch, nor what it will be called. Sprint already operates several prepaid brands, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.
Microsoft today revealed it has taken steps to further protect user data by encrypting some of its key services. Moving forward, Microsoft's Outlook.com email service is protected by Transport Layer Security encryption for both inbound and outbound mail. As long as the recipient's email service also supports TLS, emails will be fully protected as it travels between the two email servers. Microsoft also added encryption to its OneDrive cloud storage service as accessed both from desktops and from mobile devices. OneDrive uses Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption, which makes it more difficult for hackers to decrypt connections. Last, Microsoft announced a new transparency center, which will allow governments to access Microsoft code in order to ensure its integrity. Many companies are taking security more seriously in light of the data-gathering practices revealed last year by Edward Snowden.
Google today rolled out updates to its core productivity apps associated with Google Drive. The chief new feature is the ability to edit Microsoft Word documents - online or offline - natively with no need for plugins or conversions. Google Docs users will be able to make whatever edits they need to Word documents and send them back as Word files. Google Drive also brings Slides to mobile devices for the first time. Android smartphone and tablet owners can now create, edit, and interact with slide presentations on their mobile devices. Another new feature is called Suggested Edits. Using a new tool called Commenting Access, document owners can give others the ability to add comments or suggestions to documents, but not the power to make actual edits. This leaves the document owner in control. Last, Google has given Drive a performance boost both on mobile devices (Android and iOS) and the web. Google says Drive now takes advantage of background syncing so files load faster, and the cloud-based storage service delivers search results quicker, too. The new versions of Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides will be available in the Play Store and iTunes App Store beginning today.
Sprint today announced the availability of a new Sprint ID pack that aims to help people with cognitive and neurodevelopment disabilities. The ID pack hopes to improve math and reading skills via developmental games for children aged 6 to 18. The ID pack also provides educational tools and offers, and support apps for parents. Sprint ID packs, which typically include a bundle of apps, wallpapers, themes, and other content, are available to select Sprint and Boost Mobile Android smartphones and are free to download.
The European Commission and South Korea today announced plans to together define the future 5G wireless standard, as well as develop the technologies to support it. The two bodies signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and 5G to increase the discussions and research around the topic. A wide number of companies will participate, including Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor, and Telefonica from Europe, as well as Samsung, LG, SK Telecom, and others in Korea. One of the key ideas behind 5G is not to just increase speeds, but to significantly boost capacity. Capacity improvements will help the 5G networks of the future handle all the potential devices connecting to them, such as phones, tablets, wearables, vehicles, and the broader Internet of Things. The collaboration has three main goals: First, to develop a broad definition of the key functionalities of 5G and create a time table for its creation by the end of 2015; Second, to kick off joint research in the pursuit of 5G by 2016 in coordination with 3GPP and ITU: and Third, to agree on global radio frequency bands for 5G in order to promote interoperability and roaming between carriers and countries. "5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and Korea recognize this," said Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda. "This is the first time ever that public authorities have joined together in this way, with the support of private industry, to push forward the process of standardization. Today's declaration signals the our commitment to being global digital leaders." LTE, which is what most 4G networks use, has some room for growth in terms of speeds, but capacity is limited and the potential for global roaming is limited due to the wide number of spectrum bands used by carriers around the world. It is these and other issues that the EU and S. Korea hope to resolve in their pursuit of 5G.
Boost Mobile today announced the pending availability of the Kyocera Hydro Icon. The device is the latest in Kyocera's line of water-resistant Android smartphones, but goes one step further by meeting mil-spec 801G for protection against drops and vibration. Kyocera calls devices such as the Icon "everyday durable." It features a 4.5-inch qHD screen, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 2-megapixel user-facing camera, and 8GB of built-in storage with support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The device houses a 2,000mAh battery paired with Kyocera's Eco-Mode and MaxiMZR power management tools, and it supports wireless charging. Other features include Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver technology and support for LTE 4G. The Kyocera Hydro Icon will cost $150 when it goes on sale in Boost Stores June 17. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.
Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today announced the immediate availability of the LG Volt (also known as the LG F90). LG announced the Volt earlier this year. It features a 4.7-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, NFC, removable 3,000 mAh battery, tri-band LTE (Sprint Spark), IR remote control, and a memory card slot. The Volt runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has LG software such as QSlide, Knock Code, and Smart screen. The phone is available online and in stores beginning today for $179.99. The Boost model is blue, while the Virgin model is white.
Beginning in June, Sprint will slow down the browsing speeds available to the top 5% of its customers in congested regions. The change applies to Sprint's post- and pre-paid customers. Some customers have already received text messages explaining the change. Sprint explained the change will affect the top consumers of mobile data, but only when they are in a congested area. This change "will enable us to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times," said Sprint in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech. "Once the customer is no longer connected to a congested cell site, or the site is no longer congested, speeds will return to normal." Sprint has long marketed "unlimited data" as a way to differentiate itself from its competitors, all of which sell data but the bucket. Sprint's pre-paid arms, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, have long throttled customers who exceed certain usage amounts. This marks the first time Sprint will throttle its own-branded customers. According to Sprint, it developed "fairness algorithms" on both its CDMA and LTE networks to "dynamically allocate available bandwidth in a way that is fair to all users." Sprint further noted that the change isn't being implemented due to sudden spikes in traffic, but instead reflects a continuing increase in usage.
Boost Mobile today introduced a series of new service plans for feature phones and smartphones alike. The three new plans, called Monthly Unlimited Select, all include unlimited voice minutes and messaging. The $40 plan includes 500MB of high-speed data, the $50 plan includes 2.5GB of high-speed data, and the $60 plan includes 5GB of high-speed data. Users who exceed their data allotment for the month will see their data speeds throttled to 2G for the remainder of the billing period. Monthly Unlimited Select plans are not compatible with Boost's "shrinkage" payment reduction program. The new Boost Mobile plans are available beginning today.
Boost Mobile recently added the Kyocera DuraShock to its lineup of ruggedized, prepaid phones. The DuraShock is a rebranded DuraCore, which was previously sold by Sprint. The DuraShock is a simple feature phone that offers mil-spec protection from drops, vibration, and dust, but it isn't waterproof and doesn't have a camera. It is a 3G phone that includes basic messaging and browsing apps, but no advanced features. Boost is selling the device for $60 without a contract.
Sprint recently indicated via its support site that it will devise a way to unlock its phones by February 2015. According to Sprint, none of the SIM-equipped phones it has sold during the past three years - including Apple's iPhones - can be unlocked for use on competing networks. The company said it will unlock the SIM card slot of devices that have one, but this will only apply to devices launched after February 2015. Sprint said phones purchased through its subsidiaries Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless will not be compatible with Sprint's network, even if unlocked. Further, customers need to meet certain criteria in order to be given the unlock code. For example, the phone must be paid for and no longer attached to a contract. The change in Sprint's policy is a voluntary action, though the Federal Communications Commission threatened all network operators with regulation if they failed to act on their own. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all have to implement their own unlocking policies, too, but have yet to announce the details thereof.
Kyocera announced the Verve today, which will be sold by both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The Verve is a feature phone that has a traditional number pad on the front and slides sideways to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard underneath. Some of the hardware features include a 2.4-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, speakerphone, and a stereo headset jack. The feature phone operating system is ideal for heavy texters, according to Sprint. The phone is limited to CDMA 1X-Advanced and does not support LTE. Sprint is offering the Kyocera Verve for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $5.42. Sprint's Framily plans start at $55 per month for the Verve. The Sprint model can be ordered online and via telesales beginning April 11. Boost Mobile will sell the Verve for $50 and offers no-contract plans starting at $50 per month. It will reach Boost stores May 6. Sprint said that the Verve will also be sold by Virgin Mobile's payLo brand, beginning May 13, as the Kyocera Contact. It will cost $40 from payLo.
Boost Mobile today said a new promotion will allow customers of its Boost Mobile Wallet service to save money thanks to reduced fees. Between now and September 30, customers can send money to others for $0 in fees. The service is also offering free check loads with instant access to funds during the same period. Boost Mobile Wallet does not require account activations, does not charge monthly account maintenance fees, and does not charge overdraft fees. The service is meant to help make it easier for customers to perform select banking functions as well as send cash to others.
Microsoft today said that it will no longer require hardware makers to pay a licensing fee for Windows Phones or Windows tablets as long as they have a screen size of 9 inches or less. This means companies will no longer need to pay Microsoft to use its smartphone and tablet platforms in their hardware and devices. Theoretically, this should boost the number of companies interested in making Windows Phone and other Windows hardware.
Boost Mobile today announced a set of International "Minute Packs" that offer a pre-set number of international voice minutes for a fixed price, paid in advance and valid for one month. The new options help Boost customers in the U.S. reach friends and family abroad. Each "pack" includes unlimited international text messaging to any country, not just the country the voice minutes apply to. The price and number of minutes vary by country. Rates range from $10 for 1000 minutes to India or Malaysia, to $20 for 35 minutes to Cuba. Other examples include $10 for 250 minutes to Mexico, $20 for 350 minutes to the Dominican Republic, and $10 for 90 minutes to the Philippines.
Ciao, an MVNO that resells Sprint service, kicked off today with low-cost, no-contract plans. Ciao is offering monthly service options that fall in line with other Sprint prepaid properties, such as Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile. The entry-level plan costs $35 per month and includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text messaging, and unlimited MMS. The mid-tier plan costs $45 per month and adds 500MB of data. The top-tier plan costs $60 per month and boosts the monthly data allotment to unlimited. Ciao will soon, however, offer an unlimited smartphone plan that costs just $10 per month. The catch is that Ciao will install an app that displays advertisements on the lock screen. Ciao sells a single phone, the HTC EVO, for $199. Ciao Mobile is owned and operated by Ciao Telecom, which is based in Dallas.
Boost Mobile announced the LG Optimus F3 is available beginning today for $129.99. The F3 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen with Gorilla Glass; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE 4G; and a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. It comes with LG apps such as VuTalk, QSlide, QuickMemo, and Q Translator. Sprint and Virgin Mobile have been selling the F3 since last summer. Boost Mobile says LTE plans compatible with the F3 start at $55 per month. Boost does not require contracts.
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have begun informing customers that they'll soon further restrict the data speeds of those who exceed 2.5GB of combined 3G/4G data during a single billing period. Neither Boost nor Virgin have data caps, but they have throttled data hogs' speeds to less than 256Kbps since May 2012. Customers can continue to use their data service without being charged extra, but will do so at slower speeds. Beginning May 16 of this year, however, those who use more than 2.5GB of data will see speeds reduced to 128Kbps. Sprint representatives confirmed to Phone Scoop that customers can top up to re-start their month if they need access to faster data. If they don't, 3G/4G speeds will become available once the customer's billing period ends. "This change comes about because of the enormous data usage driven by the increasingly sophisticated smartphones we make available, and the more extensive uses customers are finding for these devices," said Sprint in an email. "We want to be able to serve customers who use our unlimited plans for their daily activity -- email, surfing the Web, social networking, photo uploading, location-based apps, etc. Our goal is to ensure our products perform at the best possible level and that we have the best possible experience for all subscribers."
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today both announced plans to sell the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Both companies, which are owned and operated by Sprint, said the GS5 will be compatible with Sprint's Spark LTE service. Pricing was not discussed, but the prepaid carriers said the GS5 will arrive during the second quarter with contract-free, flexible service options.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy S5, the fifth-generation of its flagship smartphone. It borrows a bit from the design language of the Galaxy Note 3 in that it is less round around the edges and more square - what Samsung calls the "modern glam look." The phone is more refined, but is also clearly a member of the Galaxy S family. Samsung worked to improve the camera, which rates 16 megapixels. The autofocus function has been sped up to help improve time-to-capture, as has the HDR function which can now work with video. Samsung has added a depth of field control to help blur the background, called Selective Focus. The video camera can capture 4K Ultra HD video. The GS5 puts more of an emphasis on health and fitness with revised S Health apps and services. S Health interacts with a built-in pedometer to help track activity, and a heart rate monitor tracks the owner's heart health. Samsung also has worked to incorporate S Health with third-party apps. The phone features a 5.1-inch 1080p HD screen, dual-band Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO, and Category 4 LTE speeds. The GS5 has what Samsung calls a Download Booster, which uses Wi-Fi and LTE together to increase download speeds over the air. Like the GS4 Active, the GS5 is water and dust resistant thanks to an ingress protection rating of IP67. The device has a 2,800mAh battery and Ultra Power Saving Mode, which turns the display black and white and shuts down all but the most essential apps and services to save battery life. It is powered by a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM; NFC and Bluetooth 4.0; and it comes with either 16GB or 32GB of storage. It supports microSD cards up to 128GB. Last, the GS5 adds a fingerprint scanner for biometric security and a trick swipe-to-pay feature. The device will be available globally beginning in April.
Motorola today released Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the T-Mobile variant of the Motorola Moto X. The update adds cloud printing, improves battery life, and resolves an email sync issue. In addition to the system software upgrade, the minor OS boost includes several bug fixes. The update is free to download and install.
Boost Mobile today announced a promotion that offers unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and 2.5GB of high-speed data for $35 per month. The promotion, which applies to new lines of service, will be available until March 31. The $35 rate will be applied to the first six bills, after which it will jump to $50 per month. The offer applies only to LTE 4G devices.
Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Max, a large-screened Android smartphone that costs $299.99. The Max features a 5.7-inch HD display and it is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The Max includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera. The phone supports 3G/4G LTE, and has Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi, and GPS on board. The Max runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and comes with ZTE's SmartView technology, which allows owners to use any two applications at the same time. The ZTE Max also comes with Boost Mobile apps, such as Boost Zone and Mobile ID. The ZTE Max is available online and in stores beginning today. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.
Wilson Electronics announced the DT4G signal booster at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Wilson claims the device is the first-ever carrier agnostic signal booster, meaning it will improve the 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage of all network operators. The DT4G is meant for consumers who want or need to improve cellular coverage/availability inside their homes. Wilson says the DT4G can provide additional coverage inside most apartments, condos, or houses. Previously, Wilson's signal boosters were tuned for specific carriers. The DT4G will be available soon and carriers a $400 price tag.
Boost Mobile today announced that it, too, will sell the contract-free Motorola Moto G. The Boost variant of the device is being sold by Home Shopping Network television, HSN.com, and HSN's mobile web site beginning today, January 2. The Moto G will be available from Boost Mobile's web site and in select stores beginning January 14. Boost is asking $129.99 for the Moto G and it does not require customers to sign contracts. Boost is offering the Moto G with its $55 monthly plans with shrinkage. Customers can also purchase the Moto G directly from Motorola for $179.
Ting, an MVNO that runs on Sprint's network, says it is the first to offer devices compatible with Sprint's Spark service. Sprint Spark relies on tri-band LTE devices to boost mobile broadband speeds on its data network. Spark is only available in five markets right now, but will expand to about 100 by the end of 2014. According to Ting, its variants of the Samsung Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Mini, and LG G2 are all able to interact with Spark. Ting CEO Scott Allen told Fierce Wireless that Sprint's willingness to allow its MVNO customers to offer Spark demonstrates "Sprint's commitment to wholesale and their good faith as partner." Other providers that use Sprint's network, such as Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, have yet to claim that they offer Spark-compatible devices.
Revol Wireless has indicated that it is closing up shop and will cease operations on January 16. The company has already shuttered about half its retail stores between Cleveland and Indianapolis. It's unclear what will happen to Revol's CDMA-based wireless network, though Sprint recently purchased 12 PCS licenses from Revol. Boost Mobile, one of Sprint's prepaid units, is offering Revol customers a free phone and free month of service if they switch to Boost before December 24. Revol thanked its customers for their business.
Phone Scoop was able to spend a few moments with the recently announced ZTE Warp 4G for Boost Mobile and the ZTE Source for Cricket Wireless. Here are our initial impressions.
Boost Mobile today announced pricing details for the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It will sell both phones beginning Friday, November 8. Boost is charging $549.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5s, and $649.99 and $749.99 for the 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Boost is charging $449.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5c and $649.99 for the 32GB model. It is selling the iPhone 4s for $299.99. Boost Mobile provides pre-paid service that runs on Sprint's CDMA/LTE networks. It does not require contracts. The prices it is charging for most of the iPhones mentioned above is $100 off the full retail price charged by Apple.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to its prepaid customers beginning November 8. Boost did not immediately offer details on how much it will charge for the iPhones.
Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Warp 4G, an updated version of last year's phone that includes support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. The Warp 4G runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes a 4.5-inch HD display with durable glass; an 8-megapixel main camera and 1-megapixel user-facing camera; dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; and Wi-Fi, GPS, and Stereo Bluetooth 4.0. The Warp has a 2070mAh battery and is preloaded with a number of Boost Mobile apps and services, such as Boost Zone and Mobile ID. The ZTE Warp 4G is available from Boost Mobile's web site for $199.99. Boost Mobile does not require contracts and operates on Sprint's 3G/4G networks.
Sprint today reminded U.S. Cellular customers located in the St. Louis metropolitan area that it will shut down existing U.S. Cellular service on October 31. Sprint acquired some spectrum and assets from U.S. Cellular earlier this year. The shutdown will affect the customers, leaving them without service. Sprint is urging those who've not already switched to Sprint's devices and services to do so as soon as possible. Sprint says U.S. Cellular customers can port their existing number to Sprint, but they have to buy new devices, as their old ones are not compatible with Sprint's network. Sprint began notifying the customers in June, and is offering them incentives to update their device and service to either Sprint or Boost Mobile. Sprint intends to use the former U.S. Cellular spectrum in the St. Louis region to supplement its own network.
Sprint today announced the availability of the Kyocera Kona, an inexpensive flip phone. The Kona includes a 2.4-inch QVGA internal display, a 1.44-inch external display, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and a standard stereo headphone jack. The Kona includes a large dialpad for placing calls and large fonts for easier viewing. The Kyocera Kona is available online and in Sprint stores today for $0 with a new contract. The Kona is already available from Cricket Wireless and is sold by Boost Mobile as the Coast.
Boost Mobile today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy Prevail II. The phone is identical to the Galaxy Ring already offered by Boost sister brand Virgin Mobile. Like the Ring, the Prevail II is an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone that has a 4-inch display, 5-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 1.4GHz processor. The Galaxy Prevail II is available beginning today for $179.99.
Sprint today announced that it and its Boost Mobile prepaid brand will offer the Kyocera Hydro Edge in the coming weeks. The Hydro Edge will reach Sprint stores July 19 and Boost Mobile stores July 23. The Hydro Edge, which was announced earlier this year, is a waterproof Android smartphone. It has a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 4-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, and Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver tissue-conduction speaker technology. It has 1GB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot. The Hydro Edge will cost $19.99 after $50 mail-in rebate from Sprint, and $149.99 from Boost Mobile. Boost does not require contracts, Sprint does.
Boost Mobile today announced the pending availability of the LG Optimus F7. The F7 includes a 4.7-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720 pixels; 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage; an 8-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera; and a 2,540mAh battery. The Optimus F7 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and comes with an assortment of LG custom software, such as QuickMemo and Q Slide. It can operate on Sprint's 3G and LTE networks. It will go on sale June 27 for $299.99 and can be paired with one of Boost Mobile's $55 unlimited plans. Boost Mobile does not require customers to sign contracts.
Boost Mobile today announced that it will offer the Samsung Galaxy S III with LTE on board beginning June 12. The GSIII costs $399.99 but does not require a contract. It can be paired with Boost's $55 monthly plan with shrinking payments.
Sprint today announced that its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will both offer the Samsung Galaxy S III beginning in June. The GSIII will include support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. Pricing and exact availability was not shared.
Boost Mobile today announced a new mobile wallet application for its Android smartphones. Boost Mobile Wallet is a mobile banking service targeted at the underbanked that lets Boost Mobile customers send money to people in 135 countries, pay bills, top-up prepaid wireless accounts, transfer funds between accounts, as well as deposit checks directly from the phone. The app is accompanied by a re-loadable prepaid Visa debit card that can be used for transactions at retailers around the country. The application itself is free to download from the Google Play Store. The wallet app can be used to make payments directly at select retailers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and portions of New Jersey. Boost expects to roll the payment service out nationwide beginning this summer.