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printed June 25, 2016
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T-Mobile Kicks Off Summer with Free LTE In Europe

Thursday, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said its customers will be able to use an unlimited amount of high-speed mobile data across Europe this summer. Specifically, customers can enjoy the highest-possible speed, up to and including LTE 4G, throughout the European Union between July 1 and August 31. T-Mobile customers can already use unlimited 2G data in more than 140 countries. The high-speed summer roaming includes unlimited free texting and $0.20-per-minute voice calls, but not tethering. T-Mobile may terminate or restrict service for misuse or excessive roaming. T-Mobile is also giving every person who flies in the U.S. this weekend (including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon customers) a free hour of Gogo in-flight WiFi on their smartphone. The free WiFi offer is available from Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26 on all domestic flights that offer Gogo WiFi. Last, T-Mobile added Belize to its list of Simple Global countries, which means T-Mobile customers can use 2G data and send messages for free, and make low-cost calls when traveling to Belize. Free roaming in Belize begins July 1.


Verizon Adds Casting Support to iOS go90 App

Tuesday, 12:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless updated its go90 mobile video app this week, making it possible to push content from the iPhone to TVs via Apple TV and Chromecast. Verizon says the app has a new design with simplified navigation, and now more visibly curates video content based on category, such as action, comedy, drama, or reality. go90 for iOS is more social than ever, allowing iPhone owners to share clips or full episodes via email, text, Facebook, and Twitter. Users willing to register the app will be able to save favorite shows and actors, as well as leave comments on episodes and clips. Verizon Wireless' go90 app is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Verizon hasn't said if a similar update is on deck for the Android version of go90. The service is free to most smartphone users, regardless of carrier.


Verizon Pushing Security Patch to Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Jun 17, 2016, 8:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has begun distributing a security update to its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The phone is receiving the June security patch from Google, which resolves a number of vulnerabilities. Google published details of the June security patch earlier this month. It plugs 21 holes, of which a handful could have led to remote code execution. Verizon says the update also optimizes device performance and takes care of a few other bugs. The update will appear automatically, but may also be initiated manually from the phone. The update can be downloaded via WiFi or LTE. Verizon recently pushed the same update to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.


Verizon Picks Up Samsung's Galaxy J3

Jun 17, 2016, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 17, 2016, 9:14 AM

Verizon Wireless has added the Samsung Galaxy J3 to its lineup of inexpensive smartphones. The J3, which has been for sale from Boost Mobile and other carriers since early this year, has a 5-inch 720p screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 16 GB (postpaid) or 8 GB (prepaid) of storage, 5-megapixel main camera with flash, 2-megapixel front camera, and 2,600mAh battery. Notably, Verizon's version of the phone ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Earlier versions of the phone shipped with Lollipop. The phone costs $168 at full retail, which breaks down to $7 per month for 24 months. Verizon is also offering the phone for $40 with a two-year contract, or for $110 when purchased from Verizon's prepaid service. The Samsung Galaxy J3 is available online starting today. It will reach Verizon's stores on June 23.


Appeals Court Upholds FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

Jun 14, 2016, 10:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today upheld the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules. The decision, which came from a three-judge panel in a 2-1 vote, is a major victory for the FCC and a blow to internet companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Internet service providers and others argue the FCC doesn't have the authority to establish net neutrality rules, but the appeals court disagreed. The FCC's rules set clear guidelines on how internet providers are allowed to treat the data that flows across their networks. The basics prevent internet providers from blocking apps/services, prevent them from throttling data speeds, and prevent them from initiating paid prioritization schemes to give some companies preferred service. The rules also reclassify broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which will treat them like common carriers. AT&T, an opponent of the rules, said, "We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal."


Verizon Delivers Security Patch to Galaxy S7, S7 Edge

Jun 13, 2016, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has begun distributing a security update for its versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Both phones will receive the June security patch from Google, which resolves a number of vulnerabilities. Google published details of the June security patch earlier this month. It plugs 21 holes, of which a handful could have led to remote code execution. Verizon says the update also optimizes device performance and takes care of a few other bugs. The update will appear automatically, but may also be initiated manually directly from the phone. The update can be downloaded via WiFi or LTE.


Hands On With Moto Z Droid and Z Droid Force

Jun 9, 2016, 5:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola's new Droids take a modular approach that, at first glance, is compelling. Motorola hopes people will buy into the idea of enhancing their Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Droid Force with hot-swappable modules that add speakers, power, and more to the phones. Here is a first look at these exclusives for Verizon Wireless.

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Moto's New Droids Will Be Sold Unlocked In the Fall

Jun 9, 2016, 2:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 9, 2016, 3:07 PM

The Lenovo Moto Z Droid and Z Droid Force, announced today, will be exclusive to Verizon Wireless when they go on sale later this summer. Verizon said preorders will kick off in July, but hasn't yet said exactly when the phones will reach stores. Moto said the two phones will eventually be sold unlocked in September. Consumers will be able to buy them directly from Motorola's web site.


Verizon Taking Preorders for LG K8 V Starting June 9

Jun 8, 2016, 2:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said it will begin accepting preorders for the LG K8 V on June 9. This affordable Android smartphone has a 5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 16 GB of storage. The K8 V has an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera with selfie light. It packs a 2,125mAh battery, supports Verizon's HD Voice service, and can roam internationally. The LG K8 V runs Android Marshmallow and will cost $144 when it goes in sale June 16.


Verizon to Delete Its Paid Visual Voicemail Service

Jun 8, 2016, 9:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said it will discontinue its $2.99 Visual Voicemail service come July 8. All customers who use the Visual Voicemail app will be transitioned to Verizon's free, basic voicemail service. Verizon says customers won't lose their existing voicemails, but may need to make room in their voicemail inbox, as well as reset their voicemail greeting. The list of phones impacted by the change is significant, including old and new models from BlackBerry, Casio, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Pantech, and Samsung. Verizon did not say why it is discontinuing the Visual Voicemail service.


Verizon's Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 4 Gain Marshmallow

Jun 2, 2016, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has begun pushing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 smartphones. The update delivers core features from Marshmallow, such as Now On Tap for contextually relevant search, Doze for better power management, and expanded permissions for more explicit control over apps. The new software also brings with it WiFi Calling, high-quality audio, Android for Work, and refreshed app icons. Verizon recommends that S5 and Note 4 owners download and install the system update via WiFi. The update will reach most devices over the next few days, but users can manually update if they wish.


HTC Says Verizon's 10 to See Camera Update May 27

May 26, 2016, 12:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC's Mo Versi said via his Twitter account that the Verizon Wireless variant of the HTC 10 will receive a maintenance update that improves several aspects of the phone. The release chiefly boosts the camera's performance, including the autofocus feature. The update also tweaks performance and solves several bugs. The maintenance release will be pushed out over the air. HTC already delivered this same update to the unlocked/global variant of the 10.


Internet Companies Want Public Zero-Rating FCC Inquiry

May 26, 2016, 7:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A group of companies have asked the FCC to make discussions about net neutrality violations more open to public discourse. Specifically, 59 internet companies sent a letter to the FCC and asked the agency how it is handling zero-rating services, such as T-Mobile's BingeOn and Verizon Wireless' FreeBee. As it stands, the FCC is evaluating such services on a case-by-case basis mostly in private. They group argues that internet service providers, including mobile networks, have introduced a wide range of zero-rated services that toe the net neutrality line. Due to the volume of cases, decisions on each and every one "would have much the same effect as a new rule, only without the same public participation and transparency," say the companies. The companies believe the public and stakeholders both have a right to participate in defining any new rules. "Zero­rating profoundly affects internet users' choices," said the companies. "Giving ISPs the power to favor some sites or services over others would let ISPs pick winners and losers online — precisely what the Open Internet rules exist to prevent. Because mobile networks are i ncreasingly the way most Americans get online, mobile ISPs matter equally. It would be unacceptable not to seek and incorporate broad input and expertise at this critical stage." Some of the companies that signed the letter include Dwolla, Etsy, Foursquare, Medium, Mozilla, Pinterest, Reddit, Upworthy, Vimeo, Yelp and dozens more. The FCC did not immediately comment on the matter.


Verizon Changes Up Prepaid Plans

May 12, 2016, 7:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 12, 2016, 1:10 PM

Verizon Wireless today announced changes to its prepaid service plans. The entry-level plan includes unlimited talk and text, but no data (WiFi only) for $30 per month. The mid-range plan includes unlimited text to Mexico and Canada and 2 GB of data for $45 per month. The top-tier plan includes unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico, and jumps to 5 GB for $60 per month. Previously, these plans offered 1 GB and 3 GB, respectively. Customers who sign up for Verizon's AutoPay service can snag an extra 1 GB of data on either of the latter two plans. Feature phone customers get unlimited talk, text, and mobile web for $30 per month. They may also step down to a combo of 300 voice minutes, texts, or multimedia messages and unlimited mobile web for $15 per month. The new service plans go into effect May 15.


LG to Shuffle Mobile Execs, Verizon Intros G5 Bogo

May 10, 2016, 7:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG plans to shake up the executive ranks within its mobile phone business. The move comes on the heels of LG's first quarter report, in which the company's mobile phone business recorded its third straight loss. "We need to change the way we work to move faster and lighter," said Cho Juno, LG's CEO and mobile chief, in an email to employees. "Other business divisions also need people from mobile communications. We will continue to reshuffle personnel." The LG G5 flagship smartphone just recently went on sale and did not play a prominent role in the company's first quarter results. LG is forecasting second-quarter sales for the G5 of about 3 million. Juno said the company will trim staff in its mobile phone business unit so it can react quicker to changing market demands. Verizon Wireless recently rolled out a buy-one, get-one offer for the LG G5. In order to take advantage of the deal, new and existing customers must purchase two G5s on a monthly payment plan ($26 per month each for 24 months). After completing the purchase, customers can fill out a form to be reimbursed for the second device via Visa gift card. At lease one of the lines must be new. The bogo offer is good for a limited time.


FCC, FTC Query Carriers and Phone Makers Over Security

May 9, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.


T-Mobile Signs Roaming Deal with Cuban Carrier

May 9, 2016, 8:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it has signed an interconnect and roaming agreement with Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Cuba, allowing its customers to call Cuba as well as roam when visiting Cuba. T-Mobile says its U.S. customers can call Cuban landlines and wireless phones for $0.60 per minute when they subscribe to the Stateside International Talk feature for $15 per month. The deal also allows travelers to use voice, text, and data service in Cuba, though roaming won't be available until the summer months. Sprint and Verizon forged interconnect and roaming agreements with Cuba last year.


Verizon Prepaid Selling Samsung Galaxy J3 for $110

May 6, 2016, 8:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today made the Samsung Galaxy J3 available to its prepaid customers. The phone, which has been available from Boost Mobile since earlier this year, features a 5-inch HD screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 2,600mAh battery, and 8 GB of storage with support for memory cards up to 128 GB. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The phone costs $110. Verizon Prepaid doesn't require contracts.


FCC Sets 126 MHz Clearing Target for Reverse Auction

Apr 29, 2016, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today announced it has set an initial spectrum clearing target of 126 MHz during the reverse part of the auction for 600 MHz airwaves. Television broadcasters have agreed to part with this spectrum. The FCC then plans to offer 100 MHz in 10 near-nationwide paired blocks to wireless providers in the forward phase of the auction. The majority of the spectrum being given up by television broadcasters will qualify as Category 1, which means it has no or little interference. Some of the spectrum will fall under Category 2, which has a greater degree of interference but not so much that it can't be managed. The FCC is today notifying all the television broadcasters about the status of their applications to sell spectrum. The FCC plans a mock auction for May 24-25, and will kick off the actual reverse portion of the auction May 31. It's unclear how long the reverse auction will take place before the FCC is able to turn around and re-sell the spectrum to wireless companies. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have all said they plan to participate in the hunt for low-band spectrum.


Verizon Changes Up Cloud Storage Offerings

Apr 20, 2016, 11:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today revealed new cloud-based storage plans for its customers. Beginning April 17, there will be four storage plans in sizes small through extra-large, mirroring how Verizon designates its wireless service plans. All customers are eligible for the small plan, which includes 5 GB of storage per month for free. The medium plan includes 25 GB for $2.99; the large plan includes 250 GB for $4.99 per month; and the extra-large plan includes 1 TB for $9.99 per month. Verizon said it will automatically upgrade existing Cloud subscribers on 75 GB or higher plans to the new large and extra-large plans. Verizon suggests customers use the cloud storage to save backups of their contacts, messages, photos, videos, music, and other files.


Verizon to Kick Off HTC 10 Preorders April 29

Apr 19, 2016, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said it will begin accepting preorders for the HTC 10 on April 29. Verizon expects the phone to launch in early May and has not yet provided pricing details for the phone. Verizon is giving consumers the opportunity to test the HTC 10 in retail stores, also starting on April 29. Verizon says the 10 will include its HD Voice service and WiFi Calling. The phone includes several Verizon offers, such as three free months of HBO Now, credit for handset trade-ins, and ETF payoffs for customers who switch to Verizon. An unlocked version of the HTC 10 is already available for sale directly from HTC.com for $699.


Verizon and Hearst to Acquire Complex for Mobile Content

Apr 19, 2016, 7:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Communications and Hearst have agreed to acquire Complex, a media organization founded by Mark Ecko that creates content for young adult audiences. Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon and Hearst will each own 50% of Complex through a joint venture. Verizon and Hearst said they'll use Complex to develop video content for Verizon's digital platforms, including go90 mobile video, AOL.com, and more. Last month, Verizon and Hearst teamed up to create Verizon Hearst Media Partners. The company recently invested in AwesomenessTV. Rich Antoniello, Complex CEO and co-founder, will continue to lead the company once the acquisition is completed. Verizon and Hearst expect to close the deal within 60 days. Verizon has been bulking up its media properties for the better part of a year. It is one of the main contenders to acquire portions of Yahoo's internet business, though no deal has yet been announced.


Verizon Will Reward Android Pay Users with Free Data

Apr 14, 2016, 2:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said customers who set up and use Android Pay from their device will be able to collect up to 2 GB of free data. Verizon will reward customers 1 GB the first time they use the app to make a payment and another 1 GB the third time they use the app to make a payment. The data will be available to customers through two billing cycles after it is rewarded. The offer is good through June 14, and the extra data must be claimed by July 13.


Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ Earn Updates from Verizon

Apr 11, 2016, 11:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has made system updates available for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+. The update for the Note 5 resolves several issues that were introduced when the device was updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Specifically, it smoothes out trouble connecting to the internet, frequent data disconnection, and problems while loading files or web pages. The update for the S6 Edge+ installs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the latest Edge Panel features from Samsung. It also adds WiFi calling and improves the behavior of Live Broadcast. Verizon suggests owners of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ download the updates over a WiFi connection. The updates are free.


Verizon Now Selling the Samsung Convoy 4

Apr 8, 2016, 3:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the Samsung Convoy 4 to its roster of simple flip phones. The Convoy 4 makes improvements over the previous generation device by adding GSM roaming capabilities and resistance to water. Core features include a 5-megapixel camera, support for push-to-talk services, and a mil-spec 810G rating for protection against shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and dirt. The Convoy 4 includes two screens, GPS, and support for microSD cards. It does not include LTE. The Convoy 4 costs $192 at full retail or $8 per month on an installment plan.


Verizon Buys Into AwesomenessTV to Bolster Mobile Video

Apr 6, 2016, 9:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon has agreed to acquire a 24.5% equity stake in AwesomenessTV and will use the platform to add unique content to its go90 mobile video service. DreamWorks and Hearst will maintain 51% and 24.5% shares, respectively, in AwesomenessTV. Verizon said its premium content will first be made available to Verizon customers in the U.S., but AwesomenessTV will be able to sell the content in other markets over time. The companies plan to use "leading talent in front of and behind the camera" to create short-form mobile videos. In recent months, Verizon has invested heavily in media, and specifically in video. The company expects the transaction to be completed within 60 days.


Verizon Giving Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Taste of Marshmallow

Apr 1, 2016, 10:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has made Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow available to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. The update adds Now on Tap, Doze, security patches, revamped home screen search tools, and updates to Live Broadcast. The S6 Edge, in particular, is being given the same Edge Panel features found on the new S7 Edge, which means a thicker panel, and more actionable content. Verizon recommends S6 and S6 Edge owners download and install the update over the air.


FCC Pushes Privacy Rules Forward

Apr 1, 2016, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC on Thursday followed through on plans to tackle consumer privacy. The agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to govern the use of consumer data by broadband providers, both wired and wireless. The FCC's goal is to help protect the data generated by millions of people who use internet services every day. The FCC wants broadband providers to obtain permission from customers before sharing their data with others, including advertisers. The rules would apply to companies such as AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — including each company's wireless units. The FCC also believes consumers should be able to opt-out when they wish. "[This] proposal would give all consumers the tools we need to make informed decisions about how our ISPs use and share our data," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, "and confidence that ISPs are keeping their customers' data secure." Internet providers argue the rules would reduce their ability to sell advertisements to consumers. The FCC will continue to shape the policy over the next few months and present it in more final form before fully adopting it.


Walmart Slashes Price of iPhone By $100, Galaxy By $150

Apr 1, 2016, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Walmart today said customers can save big bucks on Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy phones for the next three months. Walmart has cut the price of all iPhones by $100 (including the new iPhone SE) and all Galaxy phones (including the Galaxy S7) by $150. The rollback begins today and lasts through the end of June. The reduced prices will be available only in Walmart stores, and only to customers of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile is not participating in the rollback program.

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FCC Says Netflix Throttling Actions Aren't Its Concern

Mar 31, 2016, 4:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today said the agency doesn't intend to investigate Netflix's throttling practices for customers of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Wheeler said web sites and other edge providers fall outside its purview and didn't violate any regulations. Netflix admitted to throttling the speed of video streamed by AT&T and Verizon customers due to those carriers' data overage policies. Netflix doesn't throttle the speeds of video streamed by Sprint and T-Mobile customers.


Verizon Confirms Pending $20 Upgrade Fee

Mar 31, 2016, 12:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today confirmed to Phonescoop that it plans to charge customers $20 to upgrade to new devices beginning April 4. The fee will apply to customers who buy handsets with installment plans, or buy phones at full price. Verizon will assess the fee at third-party retailers, too, such as purchases made at the Apple Store or Best Buy. "The upgrade fee helps cover our increased support costs associated with customers switching devices," explained a Verizon spokesperson to Phonescoop via email. "Customers can pay the charge when they upgrade, bill it to their account, or trade in an old device to offset the cost. The fee for upgrading on device payment is still half of the two-year contract upgrade fee." Verizon charges contract customers $40 when upgrading devices. AT&T instituted its own device upgrade fee of $15 last year. Sprint recently lowered its upgrade fee from $36 to $30. T-Mobile charges $20 for a SIM card starter pack, which is widely seen as an upgrade fee. Verizon's new $20 upgrade fee was first uncovered by MacRumors.

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LG G5 Officially Goes On Sale March 31

Mar 30, 2016, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG said its G5 smartphone will be available for sale in Korea starting March 31, with the U.S. to follow April 1. The G5 will reach other regions, including Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, over time. LG says more than 200 carriers plan to sell the phone. In the U.S., that includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, all of which will offer the phone on April 1. Along with the G5 itself, LG plans to sell the accompanying modules and accessories, called LG Friends. The two most notable Friends as the CAM Plus and Hi-Fi Plus, which are modules that plug directly into the bottom of the G5. The CAM Plus will be available in the U.S., but LG hasn't said if the Hi-Fi Plus will also be available. Other Friends include the 360 VR headset, 360 CAM, Rolling Bot, Tone Platinum, and H3 by B&O. Pricing for the LG G5 varies by carrier. The phone has a 5.3-inch quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 16-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C.


FCC's Incentive Auction Starts Tonight

Mar 29, 2016, 2:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC said its incentive auction for 600 MHz airwaves officially gets under way at 6p.m. this evening, when broadcasters will need to commit to participating. The auction will see television broadcasters give up their airwaves, which will then be sold to bidding wireless companies and other companies. "In just a few hours, we mark the beginning of the world's first Incentive Auction," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, "which will align the use of the public airwaves to meet America's 21st century spectrum needs. The auction promises to free up more capacity to meet Americans' skyrocketing demand for wireless data while preserving the valuable service that broadcast TV stations provide to their communities." AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are taking part in the auction along with about 100 other entities. T-Mobile has promised to pursue the low-band spectrum aggressively. The auction is expected to last several months.


Netflix Says It Throttles Video on AT&T and Verizon

Mar 24, 2016, 6:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix today said that it has limited its video speeds on most carriers worldwide for years, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the U.S. The issue came to light when T-Mobile accused AT&T and Verizon of throttling Netflix. Mobile video practices have been under a microscope since the December launch of T-Mobile's Binge On program, which zero-rates the video content from some providers. Netflix admitted that it is throttling its own service on purpose to about 600Kbps to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps." Netflix says it has throttled video speeds for as long as five years, but leaves video streamed by Sprint and T-Mobile customers alone due to those carriers' less onerous policies. Netflix, which claims to be a proponent of net neutrality, says it is exploring new ways to stream video in such a way that it consumes less data. AT&T and Verizon were not pleased with the revelation. "We're outraged to learn that Netflix is apparently throttling video for their AT&T customers without their knowledge or consent," said AT&T.


Verizon Launching LG G5 On April 1 with Free 360 CAM

Mar 24, 2016, 2:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is now taking preorders for the LG G5. The phone reaches stores on April 1. The company is offering the phone for installments of $26 per month for 24 months or the full retail price of $624. For a limited time, people who purchase the G5 can get the LG 360 CAM and LG battery bundle for free. The camera can take 360-degree video, while the battery bundle includes a spare battery and charging cradle. The other major U.S. carriers are also launching the G5 on April 1 with similar offers.


Verizon Taking Preorders for LG Watch Urbane 2nd Ed.

Mar 24, 2016, 8:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Following AT&T, Verizon Wireless today said customers can place orders for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition with LTE. This wearable, delayed by several months due to manufacturing issues, has its own cellular connection to Verizon's network and can be used fully independent from a smartphone. It can make calls and send messages from the owner's main cell number. The wearable runs Android Wear and costs $499. Verizon will drop the price by $50 for those willing to sign a contract. It costs $5 per month to add the watch to an existing service plan. For a limited time, Verizon will sell the watch for $399 when purchased with the LG G5 or V10 smartphones.


Verizon Selling the LG K4 for $120

Mar 24, 2016, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 24, 2016, 9:16 AM

Verizon Wireless added the LG K4 to its smartphone roster today. The phone is available online for $120, or $5 per month on an installment plan. The K4 is already being sold by Verizon's prepaid business as the Optimus Zone 3 and by Cricket Wireless as the Spree. The K4 includes a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, and 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The phone has 1 GB of RAM and improves storage from 8 GB on the Zone 3 / Spree to 16 GB in the K4. It supports memory cards up to 32 GB. LG's Quick Memo tool is on board, as are some of its camera modes, including Gesture Shot, Burst Shot, and Selfie Light. The K4 also has Knock On and Knock Code, as well as LG's customizable keyboard. The K4 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.


Sony Forms Business to Make PlayStation Games for Phones

Mar 24, 2016, 7:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony is creating a new business unit with the express purpose of bringing PlayStation-branded games to smartphones and tablets. The company is changing its name from Sony Computer Entertainment to Sony Interactive Entertainment and at the same time forming ForwardWorks Corporation. ForwardWorks' goal will be to develop games, apps, and services for mobile devices. Sony says ForwardWorks will first look to release gaming titles in Japan and other markets in Asia. Sony didn't say if ForwardWorks' efforts will expand to other regions. Sony has long attempted to make gaming part of its mobile device strategy, but results have been mixed. The most direct effort was a handset called the Sony Xperia Play, which featured a slide-out set of gaming controls. The Xperia Play was sold by Verizon Wireless. Sony currently includes PlayStation apps on its Android handsets, allowing owners to connect to their gaming network to stream games and other content.


LG V10 Handset Scores Marshmallow from Verizon

Mar 24, 2016, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is rolling out the Android 6.0 Marshmallow system update to the LG V10 smartphone. According to Verizon, the update installs all the expected features of Google's latest platform, such as Google Now On Tap, Doze, revised permissions, and silent mode. Verizon did not call out any new software unique to the V10. The update is available as an over-the-air download and Verizon recommends users connect to WiFi before installing.


Verizon Rolls Out Galaxy S7 BOGO Offer

Mar 18, 2016, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has made a Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge buy-one, get-one deal of its own available to smartphone shoppers. Beginning today, customers who buy one Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge can receive a second one for free as long as the second one is activated on a new line. Both phones must be purchased through an installment plan. Verizon will give buyers a prepaid card for the value of the phone. Verizon customers who've already bought a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge are also eligible for a free phone if they choose to activate a new line. AT&T and T-Mobile have similar promotions running right now.

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