AT&T today announced that it has forged an LTE roaming agreement with Rogers, a wireless network operator in Canada. The deal gives AT&T's customers access to Rogers' LTE network when they travel to Canada. According to AT&T, Rogers offers LTE service to 70% of Canadians, and plans to deploy LTE in 95 new markets this year. AT&T recommends that customers sign up for one of its international data roaming plans before traveling. Rates start at $30 per month for 120MB of data.
HTC today announced a promotional plan that will allow consumers to finance the cost of the HTC One smartphone over a period of 24 months. The device is being offered at the full retail price, and thus comes unlocked (GSM only) and without a carrier contract. It is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. Customers with good credit can order the One through HTC's web site for no money down and then make 24 payments of $25, totaling $600 over two years. The model comes with 32GB of storage and Android 4.4 KitKat installed.
AT&T is mulling a bid for Verizon's unused 700MHz A Block spectrum, reports the Wall Street Journal. The A Block would complement AT&T's own 700MHz spectrum holdings and could be used to bolster its LTE network. Last month, Reuters reported that T-Mobile is interested in the same parcel of spectrum. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo confirmed that it would sell its A Block spectrum for the right amount. The company paid $2.4 billion for the airwaves and the Journal believes Verizon will ask at least $2.75 billion to sell them to a competitor. With two companies pursuing the spectrum, it's more likely that Verizon will sell it.
In conjunction with its new Mobile Share Value Plans, AT&T, added a new AT&T Next plan that has an 18-month device upgrade option rather than a 12-month upgrade cycle. According to AT&T, the value proposition behind the new plan is lower monthly payments for the device. The payments are spread out over a period of 26 months and let customers upgrade to new devices every 18 months for no down payment, no upgrade fee, no activation fee, and no financing fee. The new 18-month AT&T Next plan will be available beginning December 8. Customers who choose to finance their device with an AT&T Next plan will also enjoy a $15 monthly savings on the cost of their service.
AT&T today announced new Mobile Share Value Plans. As part of the new plans, AT&T is separating the cost of service from the cost of the device. According to AT&T, customers who aren't subsidizing a device through their plan will need to pay only $25 to add that device to a Mobile Share Value Plan rather than $40. AT&T will automatically drop the monthly service charge down by $15 once a customer completes their contract, recognizing that the device has been paid off. Looking at the new Mobile Share Value Plans as an example, an on-contract smartphone costs $40 to add to the plan, but devices being paid off through AT&T Next, devices that are paid for in full price, devices that customers bring themselves are all eligible for the lower monthly charge of $25.
AT&T today announced a brand new set of Mobile Share Value Plans. The plans, which go into effect Sunday, December 8, offer more value for less money. As before, all the Mobile Share plans offer unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and video chatting for one or more devices. Customers can then choose what amount of data they want each month and add devices accordingly. AT&T has dropped many of the data bucket prices, which now range from as little as 300MB per month to 50GB per month. AT&T added a new 8GB bucket between the 6GB and 10GB buckets to give customers more choice. The 300MB plan starts at $20 per month, which is the same as before, but instead of adding $50 per month for a smartphone, customers will pay only $40 per smartphone. The 1GB plan costs $45 per month, the 2GB plan costs $55 per month, and so on up to the 50GB plan, which costs $375 per month. Mobile Share Value Plans are available to new and old customers, and allow for up to 10 devices for consumers. The plans include access to AT&T's Wi-Fi network. Tablets cost only $10 to add to each plan, and feature phones cost only $20.
Motorola recently announced that the Android 4.4 KitKat system update is now being delivered to the AT&T version of the Moto X. KitKat was made available to the Verizon and T-Mobile versions of the Moto X earlier this week.
The California Public Utilities Commission has concluded its own review of AT&T's proposed acquisition of Leap Wireless. It believes the acquisition would be beneficial to consumers and gave it a greenlight. The deal still needs approval from government regulators, however, including the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is still reviewing the details.
Isis, the mobile payment venture backed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, launched across the country today. Isis allows smartphone owners to make tap-and-go payments at select retailers thanks to near-field communications (NFC). Isis is first available to modern Android smartphones that have NFC already on board. Isis plans to support the iPhone with an NFC-equipped sleeve that will be available in the coming months. Consumers can make contactless payments at 1.3 million retail locations around the country, including those operated by 24 of the top 100 merchants. Android device owners will need to download the Isis application (specific to their carrier) and bank with either American Express or Chase. The app will also support customer loyalty programs, but only those run by merchants who've joined Isis. The system uses a pin code for payments, and Isis says that customer banking data is safe. The service can be disabled if the device is lost or stolen. Isis also requires a special, secure SIM card that must be purchased from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. Isis has been in development for years and underwent extensive trials in Austin and Salt Lake City.
AT&T today made its LTE 4G network available in a handful of markets around the US. Some of those markets include Dothan, Ala.; Vail, Colo.; Hopkinsville, Ky.; Kalispell, Mont.; Utica-Rome, N.Y.; Prineville, Ore.; Clarksville, Tenn.; and Eagle Pass, Kerrville, Mount Pleasant, and Uvalde, Texas. According to AT&T, it now offers LTE in more than 470 total markets. It covers more than 250 million POPs and expects to cover about 270 million by the end of the year.
AT&T might have to pay Sprint millions of dollars if it is successful in acquiring Leap Wireless. Leap has an existing MVNO contract with Sprint in order to roam onto its CDMA and LTE networks. The agreement contains a clause specifying that any company that purchases Leap could terminate the MVNO agreement, but "would be required to pay to Sprint a specified percentage of the remaining aggregate minimum purchase commitment." The MVNO contract was forged in 2010 and was worth $300 million at the time. Based on the payment schedule, Leap has already paid Sprint about $175 million, leaving $125 million unpaid. Leap did not disclose the amount of the final minimum payment. AT&T proposed to buy Leap Wireless earlier this year for $1.2 billion. If the proposal meets regulatory approval, AT&T will eventually transition Leap's CDMA customers to its GSM/HSPA network and repurpose Leap's spectrum for its own LTE 4G network.
Motorola has expanded the availability of its Moto Maker tool to customers of Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Moto Maker lets people customize a Moto X smartphone online and have it delivered to their house. The Moto X offers a range of different back panels, accents, and screen-customization options. Motorola says there are more than 2,000 unique variations of the Moto X. Orders will be assembled at Motorola's Ft. Worth plant and shipped to most customers in four days. Moto Maker was an exclusive to AT&T customers for several months. Further, the price of the Moto X has dropped from $199 with a contract to $99 with a contract. Last, Motorola confirmed that the Moto X will be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat in the near future.
The Federal Communications Commission today sent requests for information to both AT&T and Leap Wireless regarding AT&T's proposed acquisition of its smaller rival. The FCC is looking for information regarding a wide range of topics, including: company organization charts, internal presentations regarding the acquisition, Leap valuation documentation, short-term and long-range business plans, spectrum utilization and efficiency analysis, service plan comparisons, and much, much more. AT&T and Leap have until November 22 to provide the documentation. AT&T wants to absorb Leap Wireless in the wake of its failed acquisition of T-Mobile. AT&T hopes to make use of Cricket's spectrum assets to bolster its own, as well as use its brand to sell prepaid services.
AT&T recently added the Pantech Breeze IV to its lineup of inexpensive flip phones. The Breeze IV is a simple device, but offers a large 3-inch main screen with 400 x 240 pixels, and a 1.44-inch external screen with 128 x 128 pixels. The Breeze IV includes three quick-dial buttons, as well as dedicated buttons to access the camera and speakerphone. The Breeze offers Easy Mode with simplified menus, Slow Speech to make calls/voicemail easier to understand, and large keys and fonts for improved accessibility. Other features include a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, support for microSD cards, and basic messaging/media apps. The Breeze IV costs $39.99 with a new two-year contract.
AT&T has begun to repurpose its 1900MHz PCS spectrum to help bolster its LTE network. GigaOm reports that AT&T is operating LTE in a 5MHz-by-5MHz slice of airwaves in its PCS band in New York City. AT&T has previously used the PCS band only for voice services and GSM/HSPA data. In addition to refarming some of its existing spectrum, GigaOm discovered that AT&T has already added LTE support in the PCS band to a number of its devices, including the iPhone 5s/5c, iPad Air/Mini, and the Nexus 5. These devices are already connecting to AT&T's LTE service in the 1900MHz band in New York. The additional LTE availability won't increase data speeds on AT&T's network, but it will offer more capacity in markets where it is needed. More than a year ago, AT&T said that it will shutter its GSM/EDGE network entirely by 2017 and reuse that spectrum for faster networks. AT&T competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all working on similar spectrum repurposing projects to improve the capacity of their own LTE networks in order to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband.
AT&T today began accepting orders for the Nokia Lumia 1520. According to AT&T, the device will ship to those who preorder it on November 19. It will reach AT&T retail stores November 22. Earlier this week, Microsoft said the release date would be November 15. AT&T is charging $199.99 for the 1520 when purchased with a new contract. The 1520, which has a 6-inch full HD display and 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, runs Windows Phone 8.1 and features a 20-megapixel PureView camera. AT&T is offering a $20 gift card to the Windows Phone Store, which can be used to purchase apps and games. AT&T is also offering 50GB of storage in its cloud-based AT&T Locker service.
AT&T today announced that it has partnered with security app provider Lookout in order to protect AT&T Android devices from app-based threats. Lookout's Mobile Security software is expected to be installed on most AT&T Android phones moving forward, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and will also be offered to older devices via software updates. The application will not need any type of set up, it works automatically in the background whenever the phone is turned on. The software will scan downloaded apps for potential threats. Apps that the Lookout software believes are not secure won't install and the device owner will be notified so appropriate steps can be taken. This software and service is free. Lookout and AT&T are also offering Lookout Premium, which adds the ability to backup photos, as well as remotely lock devices and wipe content, for $2.99 per month. Lookout has similar partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile.
AT&T today expanded its LTE 4G footprint to 14 more markets around the country. The new metro regions include Fairbanks, Ak.; Galesburg, Macomb, and Peoria, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Madisonville and Maysville, Ky.; Cumberland, Md.; St. Cloud, Minn.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Big Spring, Texas; and Winchester, Va. According to AT&T, it now offers LTE in 461 total markets. It covers more than 250 million POPs and expects to cover about 270 million by the end of the year.
Microsoft is now accepting preorders for the Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone. The 1520, which has a 6-inch full HD display and 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, costs $199.99 when purchased with an AT&T contract or $549.99 without a contract. Orders placed through Microsoft's online store will ship November 15. It comes in black, white, red, or yellow. AT&T itself has yet to announce release details for the 1520.
AT&T today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. The Zoom is a camera-first, smartphone-second device that has a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and boasts 10x optical zoom, Xenon flash, and optical image stabilization. The Zoom has camera software called the Zoom Ring, which Samsung says can be used to launch certain camera functions such as sharing a picture while on a phone call. Beyond the camera, the Zoom runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth, and LTE. AT&T is offering the GS4 Zoom for $199.99 with a new two-year contract, or $25 per month with its AT&T Next upgrade plans. It will be available beginning November 8. AT&T is also offering a free Galaxy Tab tablet to GS4 Zoom buyers (separate data plan required) or a $100 promotional gift card to customers who trade in old smartphones.
Google today announced the Nexus 5, a new smartphone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The handset, manufactured for Google by LG, is similar to the LG G2. It features a 5.0-inch full HD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Significantly, the Nexus 5 adds support for LTE, and it is compatible with the LTE networks run by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S. It also includes Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. The Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel camera with a optical image stabilization, HDR+ for improved colors, PhotoSphere, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for selfies and video chats. It also features some of the innovations seen on the Motorola Moto X, such as Touchless Control. This lets users say "OK Google Now" to wake the phone and launch Google Now voice searches. The Google Nexus 5 is available for preorder from the Google Play Store. It ships November 5. It is being sold in both black and white. The 16GB model costs $349 and the 32GB model costs $399. It will also be sold by several online retailers, such as Amazon.com, and brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Best Buy. Sprint and T-Mobile have announced that their own variants will be available shortly.
Leap Wireless, the company that runs Cricket Wireless, today announced that its shareholders have approved of AT&T's proposed acquisition of the small network operator. "Stockholder approval is an important milestone on our path to completing the merger with AT&T. I'd like to thank the dedicated representatives from both companies who are working hard to complete the transaction," said Doug Hutcheson, Leap's chief executive officer. The purchase agreement includes all of Leap's assets, including 3,400 employees, 5 million customers, a CDMA and LTE network, and radio spectrum licenses covering 137 million people. AT&T has agreed to pay about $1.2 billion for Cricket and its assets. The deal is still subject to FCC and Department of Justice review.
The Federal Communications Commission today approved changes today that will eventually lead to interoperability in the Lower 700MHz spectrum band. The order addresses interference concerns by modifying the technical terms governing the power used in the D and E Blocks. Further, the FCC believes Channel 51 will not disturb B and C Block, and wants to modify AT&T's existing B and C Block licenses to account for changes proposed by AT&T earlier this year. The FCC said, "The terms of the voluntary agreement serve the public interest by encouraging efficient use of spectrum and enabling consumers to enjoy the benefits of greater competition. The standards developed by several wireless providers, along with the Competitive Carriers Association, will also give consumers more choice in using their devices with large and small carriers alike and will promote widespread deployment of mobile broadband services, especially in rural areas." AT&T and Verizon Wireless operated their LTE 4G networks in the 700MHz spectrum band, as do several smaller carriers. The smaller network operators petitioned the FCC to create these interoperability changes so that their devices will work on their own networks, as well as those of their competitors. AT&T responded by saying, "We are pleased to see the FCC moving swiftly to address these interference issues consistent with the negotiated solution. The action the Commission takes today, under continued leadership by Chairwoman Clyburn, is a critical step to achieving 700Mhz interoperability that will in turn foster industry investment and deployment in the 700MHz band to the benefit of U.S. wireless consumers."
AT&T today announced that it will sell the Samsung ATIV S Neo smartphone beginning November 8. The S Neo will cost $21.00 per month with AT&T Next or $99.99 with a two-year contract. The S Neo runs Windows Phone 8 and includes a 4.8-inch display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera, and LTE. It is also being sold by Sprint.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S4 Mini will become available from the top U.S. network operators beginning in November. The GS4 Mini was first announced in May. AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless have all agreed to sell the phone. The Mini swaps out the S4's 5-inch FHD display for a qHD 4.3-inch display; it drops the 13-megapixel camera down to 8 megapixels; and changes out the quad-core processor in favor of a 1.7GHz dual-core processor. The user-facing camera rates 1.9 megapixels and the Mini includes many of the same imaging features found in its larger stablemate. The Mini also carries over the GS4's multitude of apps, such as S Translator, S Health, WatchOn, Samsung Hub, and others. The Galaxy S4 Mini has 8GB of internal memory (5GB accessible by users), 1.5GB of RAM, and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. It includes GPS and GLONASS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and an IR blaster for the remote control app. Availability and pricing will be carrier dependent.
Nokia today announced the Lumia 1520, a device that is the first to take advantage of new features built into Windows Phone, including a high-definition display and quad-core processor. The 1520 boasts a 6-inch full HD ClearBlack LCD with Gorilla Glass 2, sunlight mode, and high sensitivity for use with gloves. The latest version of Windows Phone supports a third column on the screen, which means owners of the 1520 will be able to add more content and Live Tiles to their home screen. The 1520 is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and comes with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 64GB. The 1520 takes imaging seriously and includes a 20-megapixel PureView camera with dual LED flash, Carl Zeiss optics, lossless zoom, and optical image stabilization. Nokia's custom camera software is on board, which has been updated so that accessing the various shooting modes is easier. The 1520 has a 1.2-megapixel wide-angle, user-facing camera and Storyteller, a new app that automatically creates a chronological picture journey based on time/location data stored in photos. The 1520 is widely compatible with wireless networks, supporting dual-carrier HSPA+ at 42Mbps and LTE Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, and 17 in the U.S. Dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and a bevy of sensors are on board, as is an integrated 3,400mAh battery. The Nokia Lumia 1520 is expected to reach the U.S. and other markets during the fourth quarter of the year. The 1520 carries a full retail price of $749. AT&T said that it will offer the 1520 later this year. Nokia also announced the Lumia 1320, which is similar to the 1520, but dials down the specs. For example, the screen measures 6 inches, but offers only 720p resolution. The camera is also of lower quality. It will be sold for $339 in select world markets. Nokia also added three more devices to its Asha portfolio, the 500, 502, and 503. Nokia's Asha devices straddle the line between smartphone and feature phone, offering advanced features at price points that are friendly to their emerging market targets.
AT&T today announced that it has agreed to lease 9,100 of its cell towers to Crown Castle for $4.85 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T will also sell 600 cell towers to Crown Castle outright. Crown Castle will have exclusive rights to operate and maintain the cell towers, with most towers leased for a period of 28 years. After the leases expire, Crown Castle will have the option to purchase them for an additional $4.2 billion. AT&T will sublease the towers for at least 10 years beginning at $1,900 per month. Rent increases will be capped at 2% per year. AT&T may also reserve additional capacity on the towers for potential future use. AT&T called the deal a good move for the company, as it brings in a significant chunk of cash while leaving room for AT&T to add capacity to its network over time.
AT&T has indicated that it will close its brand new Aio Wireless brand if it successfully acquires Leap Wireless. Leap owns and operates Cricket, and AT&T announced plans to acquire the pre-paid operate earlier this year. AT&T said through FCC filings that it would effectively merge its Aio Wireless operations with those of Cricket and continue to offer pre-paid services under the Cricket brand. Earlier this year, AT&T said to the FCC, "Aio still faces significant challenges to establish nationwide retail distribution, build brand recognition, and develop a significant customer base." It followed that statement this week by saying, "After the transaction's close, AT&T intends to combine the nascent operations of Aio with Leap's existing operations under the Cricket brand name."
Cricket Wireless today introduced the ZTE Source, a new Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch display and 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. The Source includes a 5-megapixel main camera that can capture 720p HD video and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera for video chats. Both sensors use back-side illumination for better low-light performance. The Source also includes 4GB of built-in storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and ships with Cricket's Muve Music service. The Source is compatible with Cricket's LTE network. It will be available online and in stores beginning October 20 for $219.99. Service plans start as low as $45 per month. Cricket Wireless is in the process of being acquired by AT&T.
Isis, the mobile payment joint venture supported by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, will launch in the next few weeks. Before today, Isis had only committed to launching during the fourth quarter of the year. Isis will first be available to modern Android smartphones that include NFC (near-field communications). NFC is needed in order to make tap-and-go payments at participating retailers. Isis plans to support the iPhone with an NFC-equipped sleeve that will be available in the coming months. Isis didn't say how much the sleeve will cost. At launch, Isis said consumers will be able to make contactless payments at 1.3 million retail locations around the country, including those operated by 24 of the top 100 merchants. Isis recently demonstrated the latest version of the Isis mobile payment app, and said that it will have marketing support from its carrier partners as well as American Express and Chase, the only two credit cards companies still backing the venture. Isis will be paid by American Express and Chase every time a customer adds their card to the app. The app will also support customer loyalty programs, but only those run by merchants who've joined Isis. Isis has been in development for years and underwent extensive trials in Austin and Salt Lake City.
AT&T today announced that beginning October 25 it will push all new customers to choose one of its Mobile Share plans. According to AT&T, its Mobile Share plans have become its most popular in the year since first released. New customers will be allowed to choose from several different Mobile Share plans, which start at $50 for basic phones and $70 for smartphones. These plans both include unlimited talk and text and 300MB of shared data. AT&T said that there will be no change for current customers, who can switch to a Mobile Share plan or remain with their existing plan. The Mobile Share plans allow customers to mix and match different devices on the same account. For example, tablets can be added to a Mobile Share plan for $10 per month. Mobile Share plans support up to 10 connected devices that all share the same data allotment. Tethering is included in Mobile Share plans, as well.
AT&T will begin offering the GDR2 and Amber system software updates to the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 later today. The company posted information about the update in its community forums and an AT&T spokesperson confirmed the details with Phone Scoop via email. The GDR2 update, which comes from Microsoft, improves XBox Music and how the devices manage storage. The Amber update comes from Nokia and adds features including an FM radio, flip-to-silence, Nokia Smart Camera, and call/SMS blocking. According to AT&T, Lumia device owners will be notified by their handsets when the update is ready. It can be downloaded and installed over Wi-Fi.
AT&T today expanded the footprint of its LTE 4G network to 13 new markets, and increased coverage in a handful of existing markets. The new markets include Tuskegee, Ala.; Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, and Pontiac, Ill.; Lewiston-Auburn, Me.; Hickory, Jacksonville, and Sanford, N.C.; McAlester, Okla.; Adjuntas, Puerto Rico; and Gillette, Jackson, and Sheridan, Wyo. The expansions include Denver, Colo.; Wichita, Kan.; Monroe, La.; Detroit, Mich.; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Wilmington, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; Harrisburg, Pa.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Austin and Houston, Texas; Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; and Spokane, Wash. According top AT&T, its LTE 4G network now covers 240 million people in 437 markets. It is still on track to reach 270 million people by the end of the year.
AT&T today confirmed that it is delivering the Android 4.3 system update to the HTC One. In addition to upgrading the operating system, the update adds Instagram to Blinkfeed, lets users lock the camera's focus, improves the gallery, makes improvements to Zoe, and adds the ability to include widgets on the lock screen. The system update can be downloaded and installed over the air.
AT&T today indicated that it is preparing to release a smartphone capable of making VoLTE calls by the end of the year. The news was shared by Krish Prabhu, the president of AT&T Labs, who was speaking at PCIA technology conference. VoLTE allows voice calls to be passed over the LTE data network rather than the traditional voice network. AT&T said when two VoLTE-capable handsets call one another, the call will be transmitted in HD, which is clearer than standard calls. AT&T expects to launch VoLTE services widely during the first half of 2014. Verizon Wireless is also on track to deliver a VoLTE handset this year, with a wide-scale launch planned for next year. Prabhu further noted that AT&T is prepared to conduct carrier aggregation trials later this year, which makes more effective use of varied spectrum bands. Last, AT&T said that its entire LTE network is read to be updated to LTE Advanced Release 10 through a software upgrade once its vendors have the software prepared.
Pure TalkUSA, an MVNO that uses AT&T's network, today announced a new plan that lets customers roll unused data over from month to month. The new data plan is available to customers who use Pure TalkUSA's Flex calling plan. The data plan offers 150MB of data and 200 messages for an additional $9.95 per month. Any data that is unused at the end of each month will roll over to the next month and never expire. Pure TalkUSA believes the plan will best suit light to moderate users of mobile data who will connect via Wi-Fi more often than via mobile data. Customers who exceed their data allotment in a 30-day period will have the option to purchase an additional 150MB and 200 messages for another $9.95. In addition to the new data plan, Pure TalkUSA is rehashing its other plans. Beginning October 14, customers can sign up for the Simple 50 plan, which offers 50 voice minutes for $5 per month, or the Simple 750 plan, which offers 750 voice minutes for $21.95 per month. Last, customers of Pure TalkUSA's Unlimited Talk & Text plan will now receive 100MB of data and 200 messages for the same price of $34.95 per month.
AT&T today announced that it will offer the FiLIP wearable device for children in the coming months. The FiLIP is a watch that includes a cell phone and GPS locator. Parents can use their smartphone to call the FiLIP and locate their kids easily on a map. The device stores up to five phone numbers that can be called by children from the FiLIP. The FiLIP can receive text messages from parents, but cannot return messages. In addition to pinpointing location, parents can also set Safe Zones in which their child is allowed to roam via geofencing. If the child leaves the Safe Zone, the FiLIP will send an alert to the parent. Last, the FiLIP includes an emergency function. If kids press-and-hold the red button on the FiLIP, it will send a text message with the child's location to the five numbers stored on the device; automatically begin recording the ambient sound around the watch; call each of the five numbers successively; and, if there's no answer at the five stored numbers, call emergency services. AT&T didn't say exactly when the FiLIP will be available, nor what it will cost.
AT&T today said that a software update is available to its variant of the Moto X. The update makes a significant number of improvements to the camera, including white balance, exposure, and better low-light focusing. In addition to the camera, the update also improves the responsiveness of touchless control, and fine-tunes the accuracy of the Find My Phone feature. The update is be to rolled out gradually over the next few days.
AT&T today announced a modest expansion of its LTE 4G footprint. AT&T's faster data service is now available for the first time in Selma, Ala.; Vero Beach, Fla.; Cordele and Dublin, Ga.; Lake Charles, La.; Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; Brookhaven, Natchez, and Picayune, Miss.; Brenham, Texas; and Port Angeles, Wash. AT&T's LTE network also expanded its existing reach in Putnam and Greene Counties, Ga; and Wright and Carver Counties, Minn. The company is still on track to cover 270 million POPs in more than 400 markets by the end of the year. AT&T says its LTE 4G build-out will be functionally complete by the summer of 2014 and will eventually cover 300 million POPs.
AT&T today announced that it will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 online and in stores on October 4. The device will cost $299.99 with a new two-year contract, or $35 per month with AT&T Next. AT&T will also offer the Galaxy Gear smartwatch on October 4. It costs $299 and does not require a separate contract. The Gear is compatible only with the Note 3 at launch, but will eventually be compatible with other Galaxy-branded smartphones from Samsung.