The Federal Communications Commission today indicated that T-Mobile USA has dropped a lawsuit filed against the FCC by the former MetroPCS. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS earlier this month. The aim of the lawsuit was to scuttle the FCC's Open Internet rules. On his last day in office, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "The FCC's widely supported open Internet framework has contributed to healthy growth in innovation and investment across the U.S. broadband economy. Since 2010, our strong and balanced rules have been protecting entrepreneurs and consumers, and have increased certainty and predictability for investors in Internet services as well as networks. The ongoing litigation – now pursued by a single company – only serves to reduce that certainty and predictability. I applaud T-Mobile's decision to withdraw from this litigation." Verizon Wireless is now the only company actively pursuing litigation against the FCC and its rules.
Verizon Wireless has quietly tweaked its prepaid plans, boosting the amount of data offered in each pricing tier. The new plans offer unlimited talk and text, and 2GB of data for $60 per month (previously only 500MB). For $70, prepaid customers get unlimited talk and text, and 4GB of data (previously only 2GB). The improved data allotments are available to existing customers now, and will be available to new customers beginning June 6.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the BlackBerry Q10 will be available for preorder in the coming weeks, and will reach store shelves in June. Verizon didn't announce pricing. Sprint followed Verizon' announcement to say that it would launch the Q10 in "late summer." Sprint didn't announce pricing, either. Both variants will include LTE 4G support.
AT&T today announced a significant expansion of its It Can Wait program, which aims to educate consumers about the dangers of texting while driving. AT&T's competitors Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless all agreed to join the campaign, as did more than 200 other organizations. The campaign will make a concerted effort to raise awareness of the issue between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which AT&T says are the 100 deadliest days of the year for young drivers. The message will be spread via TV, radio, digital and social media and will feature stories of real-life survivors of text-message-related accidents. "Texting while driving is a deadly habit that makes you 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash," said AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson. "Awareness of the dangers of texting and driving has increased, but people are still doing it. With this expanded effort, we hope to change behavior. Together, we can help save lives." Using handheld devices when behind the wheel is illegal in many states. The campaign kicks off May 20 and continues through September 19.
Verizon Wireless today announced that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 will be available online and in stores beginning May 23. The Galaxy S 4 will cost $199.99 with a new contract.
Documents on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide a peek at an unannounced handset from Motorola. The XT 1058 was certified with AT&T's unique LTE bands, in addition to 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC -- all hallmarks of a high-end smartphone. Motorola has not released a handset for AT&T since last year's Atrix HD. The most recent batch of high-end smartphones made by Motorola were all sold by Verizon Wireless under the Droid brand. The FCC documents provide a rough sketch of the XT 1058, but no other specific details beyond the wireless certifications.
Nokia today announced the Lumia 928, a new Windows Phone smartphone for Verizon Wireless. The Lumia 928 features powerful imaging capabilities with Carl Zeiss optics and optical image stabilization to improve image sharpness. The camera rates 8.7 megapixels and has an aperture of f/2 for improved low-light image capture. It also includes a Xenon flash. The video camera, which has its own LED light, will be aided by three microphones that can handle high-volume, high-pressure events, such as concerts, and still offer clear, distortion-free recordings. It captures video at 1080p HD. There is also a 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera that can capture 720p HD video. The Lumia 928 includes a 4.5-inch OLED 1280 x 768 HD Clearblack display that is protected by Gorilla Glass. Nokia says the display as a pixel density of 334ppi and it offers 500 nit brightness. Other features include wireless charging, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor with 1GB of RAM, LTE 4G, a polycarbonate design, Nokia's HERE suite of location-based apps, and 32GB of internal storage. The Nokia Lumia 928 will be available online and in stores May 16 for $99.99 with a new contract after $50 mail-in rebate. For a limited time, Lumia 928 buyers will get a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games with the purchase of the phone.
AOL today announced that it has struck a partnership with Verizon Wireless to distribute its content on Verizon's smartphones and tablets. The content will show up in the Verizon Wireless Home web portal and will be bookmarked within the browser on Verizon devices. The AOL portal will feature up-the-minute news headlines, weather, and maps, as well as provide access to video content. The portal will appear on smartphones and tablets running Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, but not iOS. Customers will be able to customize the type of content that reaches their devices. The AOL content is expected to become available later this summer.
Verizon Wireless has prepared an operating system upgrade for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The upgrade boosts the OS to Android 4.1.2 and makes a number of improvements to the device's performance. It adds IPV6 to the mobile hotspot feature, improves Exchange-based email syncing, adds airplane mode notifications, fixes text behavior when in landscape mode, and makes some fixes to the calendar and back-up assistant. The update also removes the Zappos application, which was preloaded on the device. The system update can be downloaded and installed over the air, though Verizon suggests that Note II owners use Wi-Fi. It is being distributed in waves and users will be notified when their device is ready.
Verizon Communications, parent company of Verizon Wireless, today announced plans to invest $100 million in solar power and fuel cells. The alternate energy sources will be used at 19 different Verizon facilities in Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York. and North Carolina. The reason behind Verizon's decision is two-fold: First, it wants to reduce its carbon foorprint; and second, it wants to have back-up power supplies on hand to prevent network outages during events such as hurricanes. The fuel cells will rely on natural gas, which pollutes less when compared to the diesel generators used at a number of Verizon's facilities. Verizon expects the energy project to completed next year.
Verizon Wireless today announced Verizon Cloud, a new backup and storage service that lets customers sync their smartphones and tablets to Verizon's servers. Verizon Cloud offers 500MB of storage for free, but offers up to 125GB of storage for $9.99 per month. Verizon says the free option should be enough to backup settings, calls, messages, and contacts. Verizon is also pitching Verizon Cloud as an easy way for customers to sync settings/content between devices when upgrading or switching phones. Verizon Cloud is being made available to Android devices first, but it will be available iOS devices in the coming weeks.
AT&T today said that recommendations made earlier this month by the Department of Justice regarding future spectrum auctions are illegal and should be ignored by the Federal Communications Commission. The Justice Department suggested to the FCC that it set up rules to prevent the nation's largest holders of spectrum from amassing more in future auctions. Further, the Justice Department argued that the nation's smaller carriers be given a fair chance to purchase low-frequency spectrum to combat the massive 700MHz holdings owned by AT&T and Verizon Wireless. In a letter to the FCC, AT&T senior EVP and General Counsel Wayne Watts wrote, "It is surprising that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice would even propose measures that are so nakedly designed to help specific companies. The Commission's mandate under the Communications Act is to promote the competitive process, not to pick winners and losers in that process. Rigging spectrum auctions to favor Sprint and T-Mobile would be unlawful." Watts lays out 10 pages worth of scathing arguments and discussion about what he calls uninformed musings by the Justice Department. Watts concludes by saying, "The record overwhelmingly supports spectrum aggregation policies that apply equally to all providers by employing a safe harbor spectrum screen that includes, and treats equally, all suitable available spectrum. A spectrum screen ... coupled with case-by-case review for transactions that exceed the screen, strikes the appropriate regulatory balance The Department's contrary view of an auction that is designed to favor particular competitors would be unlawful and completely unwarranted as a matter of public policy and should be rejected."
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City today announced that wireless service from AT&T and T-Mobile USA is now available at a total of 36 subway stations sprinkled throughout Manhattan. The bulk of the stations are concentrated on the 123, ACE, NQR, L, and S lines around major transit hubs, such as Times Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, and Union Square. In addition to cellular wireless service, Boingo Wireless is also offering access to free, ad-based Wi-Fi in these same stations. The MTA said that it is in discussions with Sprint and Verizon Wireless to bring their services to the NYC subway system later this year. The MTA has been working on this project for years with partner Transit Wireless. This is the first major expansion since the service launched in 2011.
Verizon Wireless announced via one of its official Twitter accounts that the Samsung Galaxy S 4 will be available for preorder beginning April 25. The GS4 will cost $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year agreement. According to Verizon, the Galaxy S 4 will not reach its retail stores until May 30. Verizon didn't say when it would ship devices ordered through its web site.
The BlackBerry Q10 will reach AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless stores by late May, according to various reports. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both report that the Q10's price tag will be $249, but none of the U.S. network operators have announced firm availability and pricing details. The Q10 will be the second BlackBerry 10 device to reach the market after the Z10. It differs from the Z10 in that it has a smaller screen and a QWERTY keyboard.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the Pantech Perception, a global Android smartphone, will go on sale beginning April 25. According to Verizon, Motion Sense is the Perception's stand-out feature. Motion Sense allows Perception owners to answer phone calls, scroll through the contact app, flip through photo albums, or advance songs by waving their hand in front of the device. This feature is similar to Air Gesture on the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Other features of the Pantech Perception include a 4.8-inch 1280 z 720p HD Super AMOLED display; 8-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera; 1.5GHz dual core processor with 1GB of RAM; LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot; and 16GB of on-board storage. The Perception will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but will be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean quickly. The device will cost $99.99 after $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year agreement.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal a Kyocera device that may be headed to Verizon Wireless. The Kyocera C6750 includes the LTE and CDMA bands unique to Verizon, in addition to GSM and WCDMA bands used for global roaming. Other specs called out by the FCC include NFC, Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi. These features are typically reserved for smartphones, though the FCC documents do not confirm what type of device the C6750 is. Kyocera has not offered a phone through Verizon Wireless since the K323, which was sold from late 2006 through mid 2007.
Verizon Wireless confirmed via one of its official Twitter accounts that its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 won't arrive until some point in May. It didn't share more specific details than that. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA will all get the GS4 out the door before the end of April.
Bluegrass Cellular today announced a modest expansion of its LTE 4G network. Bluegrass Cellular is part of Verizon Wireless' LTE in Rural America program, and uses Verizon's spectrum, but its own equipment, to offer LTE services. The company first launched LTE in test markets of Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Radcliff late year. Today's expansion brings LTE 4G to Clarksville, Tenn., and Hopkinsville, Owensboro, Danville, and Richmond, Ky. Bluegrass Cellular expects to cover a total of 700,000 pops in these and other markets by June.
The Power Matters Alliance, a group pitching a wireless charging standard that competes with the Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power standards, has recently won new support from handset makers and carriers. The group announced this week that HTC, Huawei, LG, and Samsung have all joined the PMA, which already includes members such as AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, Kyocera, PowerMat, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, existing PMA member AT&T is asking its handset partners to integrate PMA-compatible wireless charging technology into their handsets by 2014. According to the PMA, there are already some 1,500 PMA-certified wireless charging stations at Starbucks coffee shops, airports, and other locations around the country. The Power Matters Alliance uses a wireless charging technology that is slightly different from those offered by Qi and A4WP. Each of the three standards allows devices to charge wirelessly when placed on a compatible charging pad. Verizon's handsets have incorporated Qi for years, which already has wide support from other carriers and handset makers. The electronics industry as a whole has yet to settle on one of the standards for all devices moving forward.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S 4 will be available from seven different wireless network operators before the end of April. The four national carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, as will smaller carriers U.S. Cellular, Cricket, and C Spire, will each have customized variants of the device specific for their 4G LTE and 3G networks. Samsung said that individual carriers will announce exact availability and pricing during the course of the next few weeks. In addition to carrier availability, the GS4 can also be purchased at various electronics stores, including Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile, Costco, Radio Shack, Sam's Club, Staples, Target, and Wal-Mart. The Galaxy S 4 has a 5-inch FHD display, 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and tons of Samsung software, including Air View and Air Gesture, Drama Shot and Eraser Shot, and Easy Mode and a customizable notification tray. Last, Samsung revealed a few more details about accessories for the GS4. The S View Flip Cover has a window through which GS4 owners can read text messages, answer or reject calls, and view the battery status. The S View Flip Cover, which is sold separately, retails for $59.99. Availability details of the cover were not shared.
Verizon Wireless has thrown its hat into the Sprint-Clearwire-Softbank-Dish mashup with an offer of its own. The company recently offered to lease portions of Clearwire's spectrum for $1.5 billion. The paperwork, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, only named the bidder as "Party J," but The Wall Street Journal says insiders peg the company as Verizon. In the filing, Clearwire said it would discuss the proposal with "Party J" and Sprint. Sprint is currently attempting to purchase the 49% of Clearwire that it does not already own. It's not clear why Sprint would allow Verizon to lease spectrum that it itself is attempting to gain control over. It's also unclear whether or not the federal government would allow such a deal to move forward. Last week, the Justice Department told the Federal Communications Commission that the agency needs to give smaller providers a better chance of competing with companies such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Verizon Wireless recently added two LG feature phones to its device roster, the Cosmos 3 and Revere 2. Both phones are follow-ups to previous devices and stick to entry-level features. They are limited to Verizon's older 1XRTT 3G technology and each includes a 1.3-megapixel camera with video capture, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and basic web and messaging applications.
- Cosmos 3: This sideways slider has a 2-inch 240 x 320 display, full QWERTY keyboard, social networking apps, and support for 32GB microSD cards.
- Revere 2: This flip phone has a 2-inch 176 x 220 main display, a 0.98-inch secondary display, and speakerphone.
The U.S. Department of Justice today filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission voicing its wish to see the country's smaller national carriers have a shot at winning spectrum in the upcoming auction. The Justice Department suggested that the FCC build rules into the auction that prevent the larger carriers from gaining large blocks of airwaves. "The Department concludes that rules that ensure the smaller nationwide networks, which currently lack substantial low-frequency spectrum, have an opportunity to acquire such spectrum could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers," the Justice Department said in its filing. The Justice Department clearly implied that it believes AT&T and Verizon Wireless should not be allowed to purchase any more large swaths of spectrum. The FCC is currently drafting rules for an auction that is expected to take place in 2014.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the Motorola Droid Bionic will begin to receive the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update starting April 15. It will be delivered over-the-air in phases.
Verizon Wireless today altered how it will handle device upgrades for customers nearing the end of their contract. Moving forward, customers will not be eligible for discounted upgrade pricing until they reach the end of their 24-month contract. Verizon says this is to better help people understand when they are eligible for new device discounts. Verizon says the first customers to be impacted by this change are those whose current contracts expire in January 2014. As always, customers may purchase a new phone at full price any time they want. Customers who still have credits under the New Every Two program need to use them by April 15 (Monday), which is when they expire. Verizon is also changing how upgrades can be applied to different lines on the same account. Verizon says customers can continue to share upgrades with other lines as long as they are in the same device category. For example, a feature phone upgrade on one line can be applied to get a lower price on a smartphone for a second line, but not on a tablet or a mobile hotspot. Verizon said customers will no longer be able to transfer upgrades to non-phone devices.
Verizon Wireless has added a new low-cost plan to its prepaid service. Customers with basic feature phones can now choose the existing $50 monthly plan, or the new $35 monthly plan. The $35 plan offers 500 anytime minutes, unlimited messaging, and unlimited mobile web. The $50 plan also has unlimited messaging and mobile web, but includes unlimited voice calling. The plans can be paired with most feature phones.
Verizon Wireless today announced the LG Lucid 2, a new Android device that Verizon is positioning as a good entry-level smartphone. The Lucid 2 features a 4.3-inch qHD display and runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It has Starter Mode and Standard Mode, which are two different user profiles. The Starter Mode is simpler to operate for beginners, while the Standard Mode is what experienced Android users might prefer. The Lucid 2 also includes some custom LG apps, such as Quick Memo, Video Editor, and Video Wiz. Other hardware features include a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1GB of RAM; support for microSD cards up to 64GB in addition to 8GB of built-in storage; 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture; Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0; support for wireless charging; and Mobile Hotspot for up to 10 other devices. The LG Lucid 2 will be available online beginning April 4 and in stores in the coming weeks. It is free with a new two-year contract.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal details about an unannounced handset from Casio. The Casio C881 Gz'One Commando appears to be an update to last year's C771. The FCC confirms that the C881 supports the CDMA bands and LTE bands used by Verizon Wireless, in addition to NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Images of the C881 - which appears somewhat similar to the Type-V Casio revealed for Japan earlier this year - show it to be a ruggedized smartphone with a large screen, camera with flash, a memory card slot, and buttons that are typically paired with the Android operating system. The photos include Verizon branding. The photos also show an optional battery cover that supports wireless charging. The draft user manual refers to mil-spec ratings. Neither Casio nor Verizon Wireless has announced the C881 Commando.
Verizon Wireless today announced that it has purchased Mohave Wireless for an undisclosed sum. Mohave Wireless, which Verizon bought from Frontier Communications and Rio Virgin Telephone, operates between Las Vegas and Phoenix, and covers 203,000 POPs in part of the Grand Canyon and several other small markets. Verizon Wireless gains Mohave's customers, spectrum licenses, and telecommunications equipment. Verizon will continue to operate Mohave under its current name and begin integrating Mohave's CDMA-EVDO 3G network into its own. Verizon expects to transition Mohave customers to Verizon Wireless beginning in early 2014.
Verizon Wireless and PlayPhone today announced the new Games Portal, a socially-connected gaming platform that will be installed on Verizon's Android devices moving forward. The Game Portal allows users to find and play mobile games with their online friends, and share scores and achievements across various social networks. Verizon subscribers will be able to bill game purchases directly to their Verizon account. The Games Portal will be preloaded on the newest Android devices first, but will eventually be pushed to other Verizon Android devices through a software update. Verizon didn't say if it would offer Games Portal to other platforms, such as BlackBerry, iOS, or Windows Phone. According to PlayPhone, it is offering game developers a dedicated SDK (software developer kit) to help them add social game discovery capabilities, including recommendations, invites, and leaderboards, to their games. PlayPhone also believes that developers who create apps specifically for Games Portal will have more visibility than those publishing to the Google Play Store. Verizon didn't say which device(s) would be first to come with Games Portal preinstalled.
BlackBerry today announced that owners of BlackBerry 10 devices in the U.S. now have access to more television programming in the BlackBerry World storefront. BlackBerry recently signed PBS, Univision, and Viacom to its list of content providers, each of which oversees a wide variety of channels and programming. According to BlackBerry, content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PBS, and others can be purchased directly from BlackBerry 10 handsets. The BlackBerry Z10 is already available from AT&T, and will become available from T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless this week. Pricing for the content varies.
Verizon Wireless today announced an update to its Verizon Messages service that it says will help customers avoid missed messages. The service can be set up to deliver any SMS message originally sent to the customer's phone also to their PC, or their Android or iOS tablet. In addition to delivering the messages to multiple devices, Verizon will store the messages in the cloud for up to 90 days. Messages may also be stored indefinitely on SD cards. The service offers a number of other features, including automatic replies, web link previews, and the ability to send text messages from the subscriber's cell phone, PC, or tablet. The application is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Verizon Wireless today announced that its version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will receive Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean beginning today, March 19. The update includes Photo Sphere, the new predictive keyboard, and other features. It is being pushed over the air.
Verizon Wireless indicated that the Motorola Droid 4 smartphone will begin to receive the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update today. The update will be pushed over the air and adds a number of new features, such as Google Now.
T-Mobile USA is prepared to launch its long-awaited LTE 4G network before the end of March. The company is pushing an over-the-air update to its variant of the Galaxy Note II today that enables the dormant LTE radio. According to T-Mobile, its version of the BlackBerry Z10 will also include LTE support from the get-go. Other LTE-capable devices will follow later in the year. Las Vegas and Kansas City will be the first two T-Mobile USA LTE markets, where the networks are primed and ready to go. T-Mobile told Laptop Magazine that its LTE network will blanket approximately 100 million POPs by mid-year, and 200 million by the end of the year. T-Mobile is late to the LTE game, as its major and minor competitors, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless, have already deployed their LTE networks.
Verizon Wireless today announced that interested customers may preorder the BlackBerry Z10 beginning March 14. The Z10 costs $199.99 with a new contract and will be available online and in stores on March 28. Verizon is selling the Z10 in both black and white; the white model is exclusive to Verizon. Verizon also reiterated that it will sell the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 later this year, though exact availability and pricing details have yet to be announced. AT&T also recently announced the Z10's availability. AT&T began accepting preorders for the Z10 earlier this week, and it arrives in AT&T stores March 22.
Verizon Wireless plans to sell AWS-capable devices during the first half of the year, and launch LTE service on its AWS spectrum during the second half of the year. Speaking with Fierce Wireless, Verizon Wireless CTO Nicola Palmer explained that the company will be largely done deploying LTE in its 700MHz spectrum holdings by mid-year. Verizon then plans to use its AWS spectrum, which it acquired from a consortium of cable companies last year, to expand its LTE 4G network capacity. Devices with AWS spectrum support will arrive before July. Verizon will spend the second half of the year adding AWS support to some 5,000 cell sites, with more to follow in 2014. Palmer did not specify which devices will be first to include support for AWS spectrum. Palmer also reiterated the company's plans to launch VoLTE by late this year or early next year, do its best to forge LTE roaming partnerships with foreign carriers, and eventually graduate its LTE 4G network to LTE Advanced over time.
Verizon Wireless today revealed that both the Motorola Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX will begin receiving the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean system update beginning today. The update adds Google Now, Project Butter, the Jelly Bean predictive keyboard and other new features. The update will be pushed over the air, though device owners can pull the update down manually via their device's settings menu.
Verizon Wireless today said that the Samsung Galaxy Stellar will be updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean beginning March 4. The update will be pushed out in phases, though it can also be downloaded manually starting Monday afternoon.