Verizon today launched Total by Verizon, a relaunch of Total Wireless, a brand of TracFone, which is now owned by Verizon. Total by Verizon is "created to serve the upper end of the prepaid market: value-conscious consumers who want speed and connectivity, but also the freedom of no contracts". The standard unlimited plan is mostly unchanged at $50/month, including 10 GB of mobile hotspot data as well as limited international talk & text. A new $60 unlimited plan includes access to Verizon's faster 5G Ultra Wideband network, a subscription to Disney+, double the hotspot data, and expanded international talk & text. At the lower end, $30 and $40 plans offer 5 or 15 GB of data, respectively. For multiple lines, each additional line is only $35/month, regardless of the plan level. This is effectively a multi-line discount for plans $40 and up, with greater discounts at the high end. For example, the $60 plan would work out to just $40/month/line for five lines. Total by Verizon will be available at more than 50,000 retail locations, including Walmart, Target, and Dollar General.
Following T-Mobile's announcement that customers of other carriers can switch to T-Mobile quickly and easily using only the T-Mobile app and eSIM technology, Verizon wants to remind people that it offers the same feature within its My Verizon app. Customers of other carriers with a Verizon-approved, unlocked, eSIM-capable phone can download the My Verizon app to set up a new account and activate the phone with Verizon right away, without needing to visiting a store or have a physical SIM card mailed to them. eSIM-capable phones include most recent Apple iPhones and Google Pixels, as well as certain recent Samsung phones. Customers can use either the app (for iOS and Android) or perform the same process via Verizon's BYOD web site.
Verizon has certified the new OnePlus 10T, enabling an unlocked 10T to be activated with Verizon. AT&T has done the same, and T-Mobile will offer the phone. The phone fully supports most US carriers' mid-band and "nationwide" low-band 5G networks, but doesn't support mmWave. Standout features of the 10T include a high-end display with 120 Hz refresh and HDR10+, flagship Snapdragon chip, and extremely fast 125-watt charging. The 10T was announced a month ago, is available for pre-order starting today starting at $649, and ships Sept. 29th.
Motorola has taken the wraps off its new Edge phone for 2022. This is the little sibling to the Edge+, the company's flagship phone. It keeps many of that phone's best features, including a 50 megapixel main camera, large FHD+ OLED display with 144 Hz refresh and HDR10+, 30W fast charging, two-way wireless charging, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and NFC. And yet it's half the price at $500. It also represents a big win for Motorola as the first time since 2017 that a Motorola phone this high-end will be offered by all three top-tier US carriers. To achieve the lower price point compared to the Edge+, the new Edge (2022) uses a MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chip, the wide-angle camera is 13 megapixel instead of 50, the selfie camera is 32 megapixel instead of 60, and it drops stylus support. Camera features include 960 fps super-slow-motion and 4K HDR video capture. Its 6.6-inch main display hides an optical fingerprint reader and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The rest of the body is plastic, but with a back that looks like matte glass. Motorola boasts that this is one of its thinner and lighter phones, despite having a large 5,000 mAh battery. It supports Ready For, Motorola's unique software for hooking the phone up to large displays and other accessories for big-screen-optimized video streaming, gaming, and productivity apps. It ships with Android 12, but Motorola has improved its software commitment to three full OS upgrades and four years of bi-monthly security updates. It will come in one color: Mineral Gray. T-Mobile will launch it first, "in the coming weeks", offering it with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage for $498. Verizon's version will have 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, and of course adds mmWave 5G. AT&T will offer its own unique variant with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile, and Visible will also offer it. Motorola's unlocked version will have 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage; it will sell for $500 for a limited time, after which it will run $600. It will be available from Best Buy, Amazon, and Motorola.com.
Visible is moving to an entirely new service plan structure, dropping the base rate for a single line, but phasing out its "Party Pay" multi-line discounts. The company is also introducing a new premium plan. The new base plan is simply called Visible, and it runs $30/month (down from $40 before), taxes and fees included. It includes everything offered the old plan: unlimited 5G data, talk, and text; unlimited hotspot; unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada; and spam protection. The new Visible+ plan runs $45/month. It adds access to Verizon's faster 5G Ultra Wideband network, as well as 50 GB of "premium network experience" (meaning you won't be de-prioritized when the network is busy). It also adds unlimited talk, text, and data roaming in Canada and Mexico; international calling to 30+ countries; and international texting to 200+ countries. The new referral program gives you a $20 discount per referral, applied one per month and these discounts can be banked for up to 12 months. Current Party Pay customers will be grandfathered as of October 18th, keeping their Party Pay discount as long as they keep their old plan. But moving to these news plans removes Party Pay, and also requires a new SIM card.
Verizon recently added bandwidth to its C-Band (mid-band) 5G network, improving 5G speeds and network capacity in "many markets". Verizon launched its mid-band 5G network in January with 60 MHz of bandwidth in most markets. But thanks to a recent agreement with the satellite companies that are in the process of vacating the C Band, Verizon is now able to deploy 100 MHz of bandwidth in many markets. Verizon says its testing shows real-world speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps using this upgraded part of its network. When the C Band is fully deployed around the end of 2023, Verizon will offer even more bandwidth in this band: 140–200 MHz nationwide.
Verizon has introduced a new entry-level unlimited plan that's $5/month cheaper. The new Welcome Unlimited plan is mostly similar to the company's 5G Start plan (which was previously the cheapest, and remains available), but does not include the 5 GB of mobile hotspot data that was recently added to that plan. Instead of offering any special phone deals, Verizon is encouraging customers to bring their own compatible 4G or 5G phone. Customers who switch to Verizon and bring their own phone to this new plan will receive one $240 Verizon e-gift card for each line. Welcome Unlimited costs $65/month for a single line, $55/line for two lines, $40/line for three lines, $30/line for four lines, or $25/line for five or more lines. Unlike the company's other Unlimited plans, Welcome Unlimited cannot be "mixed and matched"; all customers must be on the Welcome Unlimited plan to qualify for the family plan discount. Like 5G Start, Welcome Unlimited has unlimited 4G and 5G data, but not access to the faster Ultra Wideband 5G, nor is it "premium" data, so other customers get priority access when the network is busy. Welcome Unlimited does include unlimited talk and text to and within Canada and Mexico, as well as 1/2 GB of high-speed data per day when roaming in those countries. It also includes unlimited global texting to most countries. Like the company's other plans, the advertised prices require paper-free billing and Auto Pay (otherwise add $10/line/month).
The FAA, wireless carriers, and the aviation industry have reached an agreement that will allow AT&T and Verizon to fully utilize their new mid-band 5G radio spectrum near airports by this time July 2023. The agreement includes a phased approach that will allow loosened restrictions by the end of 2022. AT&T and Verizon paid billions to the FCC for the right to use the airwaves starting at the end of 2021. Mid-band spectrum is ideal for 5G and allows the carriers to offer much better 5G service. But the FAA objected that 5G in this band could interfere with radio altimeters — critical airplane safety equipment in some conditions — that operate in a nearby band. This led to last-minute delays in launching the new 5G service. Testing has since found that most airplanes tolerate the signals just fine, but some smaller regional aircraft have altimeters with inadequate filters. These planes that are "most susceptible to interference" must be retrofitted with improved filters by the end of 2022. "This work has already begun and will continue on an expedited basis. At the same time, the FAA worked with the wireless companies to identify airports around which their service can be enhanced with the least risk of disrupting flight schedules." Additional filters and replacement altimeters will be installed on less-affected aircraft by July 2023, enabling "minimal restrictions" on 5G networks by that time.
Verizon has launched a new "Mobile+Home Discount" for customers who use the any of company's home internet services and also have a "premium" 5G Unlimited mobile service plan with Verizon. The $25/month discount brings the cost of a basic 300 Mbps FiOS plan down to just $25/month (with AutoPay). The discount applies to both FiOS connections as well as Verizon's fixed wireless options (4G or 5G). The discount should help Verizon better compete with Comcast, which offers Xfinity Mobile service (with special pricing) exclusively to Xfinity Internet customers.
Verizon has successfully tested 5G technology in two different modes within band 48, also known as CBRS. At 3.5 GHz, this valuable mid-band spectrum is close to the C Band spectrum that Verizon recently deployed. The two bands will compliment each other, further improving the coverage and performance of Verizon's 5G network. Band 48 has a unique three-tier structure where the government has top-priority access (Tier 1), while companies with FCC licenses (mostly Verizon) have Tier 2 access, known as PAL (Priority Aaccess License). The third tier is General Authorized Access (GAA), which is open to anyone, much like Wi-Fi. Verizon has now successfully tested 5G using both PAL and GAA modes, giving Verizon users access to as much of band 48 as possible for 5G. Verizon already uses band 48 for 4G LTE service.
Verizon this week launched the ability to activate select unlocked phones on new lines of service via eSIM. eSIM removes the need to insert a physical SIM card from the carrier in order to establish service. Only phone models approved by Verizon can be activated with Verizon, and not all approved phones support eSIM. To use the new service, start at Verizon's main BYOD (bring your own device) page, check if your phone is compatible, and if it supports eSIM, an eSIM activation option will appear in the next step.
Visible has added flagship Samsungs to the list of phones for which it supports activation via eSIM. New customers with a Samsung S22 series, S21 series, or Note20 series Samsung phone can now start mobile service with Visible "in as little as 15 minutes" by simply downloading the Visible app to sign up and activate their phone, with no physical SIM card required. Visible already supports eSIMs on newer Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones. Visible says it has an "ongoing commitment to become a fully eSIM-based wireless carrier." Visible offers 5G service on the Verizon network, and the company is backed by Verizon.
A new software update for the LG Wing adds support for Verizon's C-Band (mid-band) 5G network. The update reflects LG's commitment to continue supporting its phones despite quitting the phone business.
Verizon is raising the monthly costs for its postpaid wireless customers by increasing the "administrative fee" from $1.35 to $3.30 per line. The fee applies to voice lines and Verizon says it covers "administrative and telco expenses and costs of complying with regulatory requirements".
Sony has revealed its latest flagship phone, the Xperia 1 IV. It's the world's first phone with a true optical zoom lens that can adjust seamlessly from 85 to 125mm. The phone also has standard (24mm) and wide (16mm) lenses. All three lenses have the same 12 megapixel, 1/1.7" Exmor RS sensor with "Eye AF" 60 fps continuous auto-focus and exposure, and the ability to shoot 4K HDR video at up to 120 fps. The standard and zoom lens also have OIS. There's also a dedicated shutter button. The front camera has been upgraded with a larger 12 megapixel sensor. Several features let you use the phone together with a professional Sony Alpha camera. Every other spec and feature is top-end. The Xperia 1 IV also has an OLED display with 4K resolution, HDR, and 120 Hz refresh. It's powered by Qualcomm's top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired with 12 GB of RAM. It has 512 GB storage and a memory card slot. It also has a 5,000 mAh battery and two-way wireless charging. The body features Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back, with a frosted finish on the back. It's also rated IP65/68 for water and dust. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, 360 Reality Audio, High-Resolution Audio, and is "ready for" Bluetooth LE Audio. The Xperia 1 IV has excellent support for Verizon and T-Mobile 5G and 4G networks in the US, including mmWave 5G, as well as Wi-Fi 6E. It will come with Android 12. Color options include black and purple (available exclusively from Sony's web site.) It will ship September 1st, 2022 and is priced at $1,600. Pre-orders start today and, for a limited time, include Sony's latest WF-1000XM4 true wireless noise cancelling earbuds (a $280 value.)
Motorola has announced two new mid-range phones with 5G. Both are essentially 5G upgrades of existing 4G models already announced for 2022. Both will come to a wide range of US carriers, including AT&T, Cricket, Boost, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile. Both have a 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, 10-watt fast charging, fast-refresh display, water resistance, fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack.
- The moto g stylus 5G (2022) has a three key upgrades compared to both last year's model and this year's 4G model: a 120 Hz display (a first for the g series in the US), a Snapdragon 695 chip, and NFC. The LCD display measures 6.8 inches with FHD+ resolution. The phone also has an 8 megapixel wide/macro camera and 16 megapixel front camera. Naturally, it has a built-in stylus. While the base version has 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, versions will also be available with 6 or 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. Verizon will also offer a version with mmWave 5G. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $500 starting April 28th. Carriers are expected to sell it for less, at dates to be announced. It will come in two colors: seafoam green and steel blue.
- The moto g 5G is essentially a 5G version of the moto g power (2022). Like that model, it has a 6.5-inch LCD display with HD+ resolution and 90 Hz refresh. The selfie camera does get a bump up to 13 megapixel. Extra rear cameras are a depth camera and 2 megapixel macro camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip paired with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. An unlocked version will also be available with 6 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $400 starting May 19th. Carriers are expected to sell it for less, at dates to be announced.
Verizon has certified the new OnePlus 10 Pro for its network, meaning users can buy the phone unlocked and Verizon will activate it.
The 2022 edition of Motorola's edge+ flagship phone goes on sale March 24th. Verizon will sell the phone starting at $850 for 8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage, while the unlocked model will have 512 GB storage and run $900 ($100 off) as "a limited time offer".
Verizon has reached a deal to deploy 5G in prime C Band radio frequencies in three key markets — Washington, DC / Baltimore, Atlanta, and Denver — this year, at least a year ahead of the original schedule set by the FCC. That schedule was designed to allow satellite companies to vacate the band without disrupting service for their customers. This would take longer in cities with ground stations that use the C Band to command existing satellites in orbit. That's why those three markets were completely excluded from the initial launch of C Band, instead pushed to the final clearing date of December 2023. But Verizon has now reached an agreement with the satellite companies on how to deploy 5G in those markets this year without interfering with satellite operations. As a result, Verizon will be able to offer faster mid-band 5G service in all major US cities by the end of the year.
Samsung today fleshed out more of its 2022 lineup of affordable Galaxy A-series phones. The new Galaxy A73, A53, and A33 are nearly identical in design and features, differing only in a few display and camera specs. All three models have a full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with a thinner bezel. The A73 and A53 have 120 Hz display refresh, while the A33 is 90 Hz. The screen sizes are 6.7", 6.5", and 6.4", respectively. The A53 has a 64 megapixel main camera with OIS, 12 megapixel wide-angle camera, 5 megapixel macro camera, depth camera, and a 32 megapixel selfie camera. The A73 bumps the main camera up to 108 megapixel, while A33 steps down the resolution a bit with a 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and 13 megapixel selfie camera. All three models have 5G, a large 5,000 mAh battery, 25-watt fast charging, expandable storage (up to 1 TB), and a fingerprint reader. The stereo speakers have been made louder and support Dolby Atmos. The body uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and provides IP67 water resistance. Samsung has brought some key camera features from its flagship phones to the A series for the first time, such as 12-frame night mode, auto frame rate for better low-light video, and enhanced portrait mode with better edge detection. The phones ship with Android 12 (Samsung One UI 4.1), and Samsung will offer an industry-leading four generations of major OS updates. Samsung calls the new design Ambient Edge; both the A33 and A53 (shown in photo) will be available in black, white, blue, and peach. Samsung also announced an A23 for markets outside the US that steps down the specs with 4G and an LCD display. Samsung isn't commenting on US launch details for the A73 and A33 just yet, but the Galaxy A53 will be available on March 31st at T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as AT&T and Samsung.com on April 1st. It will start at $450 and come with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB built-in storage. Pre-orders start today and are eligible to receive a pair of Galaxy Buds Live.
Verizon briefed investors today on a forthcoming service called "+play" that will help customers manage the variety of streaming services they subscribe to. Instead of signing up for multiple services separately, Verizon customers will be able to subscribe to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Peloton, ESPN+, discovery+, AMC+, A+E, The Athletic, Calm, Duolingo, and more, all through Verizon. The service will enter a pilot phase with select customers later this month, will a full launch later in the year.
At a presentation for investors today, Verizon announced an accelerated timeline for deploying mid-band (C-band) 5G across the US. The company now plans for its mid-band 5G network to cover 175 million people by the end of 2022, a full year earlier than the company previously planned to reach that milestone. The company has already met its promise to cover 100 million in early 2022, and continues to aim for over 250 million by the end of 2024. Verizon claims its customers are seeing peak download speeds of almost 1 Gbps over C-band, and over 1 Gbps using carrier aggregation of C-band with other bands. The company also continues to expand its mmWave 5G network in dense urban areas, with mid-band providing indoor and suburban coverage for high-speed 5G. The company currently has 33,000 mmWave sites online. In areas covered by mmWave, Verizon says about 10% of its wireless customers are using it.
Motorola has announced its new flagship phone for 2022: the Motorola edge+ (2022). Its most unique specs are the camera resolutions: 50 megapixel for both the main camera and wide-angle camera; the selfie camera also clocks in at an unprecedented 60 megapixel. The wide-angle camera doubles as a macro camera, delivering both auto-focus and 50 megapixel resolution for both wide and macro shots, which is a first. The new edge+ also has new and advanced support for an optional stylus. It also supports multiple scenarios connected to an external display, which Motorola calls "Ready For". This includes desktop-replacement and TV/entertainment modes, where the optional stylus can act as an "air mouse". But it also includes a new webcam mode where the phone's high-quality main camera can be used as a webcam for desktop video calls. This feature works both wired and wirelessly, and includes a subject tracking feature. As a flagship phone that will run $1,000 unlocked, it includes expected flagship specs such as a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, 6.7" FHD+ HDR10+ OLED display with 144 Hz refresh, 4,800 mAh battery, 30W fast charging, two-way wireless charging, Wi-Fi 6E, and Android 12. Motorola promises two years of OS upgrades and three years of security updates. It can capture 4K video in HDR10+ and still photos in 10-bit RAW. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip (Qualcomm's best) and comes in several (somewhat-unusual) memory configurations: The unlocked model (for $1,000, or $100 less for limited time) has 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB storage. The phone does not accept memory cards. Motorola has yet to announce the launch date for the unlocked version (or any version). Verizon, Boost, and Republic will also offer the phone "in the coming months". Verizon will offer the phone with either 8 GB RAM + 128 GB storage or 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage. Pricing for US carriers has yet to be announced, but in recent years Motorola phones have reached US carriers at far lower prices that what Motorola offers initially (unlocked). The Motorola edge+ will be available in "Cosmos Blue" or Stardust White".
Verizon has lengthened the term of its phone financing plans. While customers could previously choose to pay for a new phone in monthly installments over 24 or 30 months, the only option now is 36 months, a full three years. This aligns with recent changes by AT&T, while T-Mobile still offers financing over just two years. Customers can still choose to pay full retail price for a phone upfront to avoid a contract. Verizon's financing plans are zero-interest and do not require a down-payment, although an activation fee usually applies.
AT&T and Verizon have finally launched 5G service in the C Band, after a chaotic last-minute battle with the FAA and airlines over potential interference with airplane radio altimeters. AT&T's launch footprint today appears more limited than Verizon's. AT&T is launching the service — which it brands "5G+" — in "limited parts of" Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. Verizon's launch today covers 90 million people. Verizon originally promised 100 million people covered at launch, but had to scale back coverage near airports to appease airlines scrambling to comply with last-minute restrictions imposed by the FAA. AT&T offers at least 17 phones that are compatible with C Band 5G, including most recent phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google. 5G in the C Band should offer a better balance of good coverage and fast data speeds compared to existing 5G service. We recently published a complete guide to C Band 5G.
AT&T and Verizon are moving forward with this week's launch of 5G service in the new C Band, but have voluntarily agreed to new restrictions around airports at the request of major US airlines. The airlines have asked for 5G in the C Band to be banned within two miles of airport runways, a limitation that will severely reduce availability of the service in some cities. Verizon's initial launch will now cover 90 million people, down from the 100 million originally promised. The FCC and wireless industry insist that 5G in the C Band poses no danger to airplanes. 5G in this band is already operating in over 40 countries with no reported issues. But the FAA remains unconvinced that the service cannot interfere with some airplanes' radio altimeters, which use a nearby radio frequency to measure distance to the ground. The FAA came to an agreement with AT&T and Verizon on airport restrictions earlier this month, but also instituted new rules for airlines that apply to certain airports near C Band 5G networks and certain weather conditions. The FAA has so far tested and approved two radio altimeter models, exempting 45% of the US commercial fleet from the rules. But airlines say the rules would still have resulted in over 1,000 additional cancelled flights on days with poor weather. The new 2-mile restriction should allow the FAA to relax those rules until more testing and new rules can be put in place that will allow C Band 5G near airports.
There's a whole new kind of 5G being launched and talked about in the US in 2022: C Band. It's much faster than existing "nationwide" 5G, yet has better coverage than hard-to-find mmWave 5G. For AT&T and Verizon, it represents a huge leap forward in the 5G race. For their customers, it will mean the first time many of them will experience a significant difference between 4G and 5G. So what is C Band? Is it just hype or something to actually get excited about? Is "C Band" the best term for this? Where did this band come from? Does it pose a danger to planes? And where does T-Mobile fit into all this? We answer all those questions and more in this in-depth guide to everything C-Band.
Verizon has made a handful of changes to its unlimited plans, giving some customers a better value. The basic structure and pricing remain unchanged, but some plans now come with more data. Specifically, the top-end "Get More" plan now comes with truly unlimited full-speed 5G data, which Verizon calls "premium network access". Previously, full-speed 5G data was capped at 50 GB for all plans. (The 50 GB cap remains for the mid-range "Play More" and "Do More" plans.) This change to the top-end plan brings Verizon in line with the competition, which already offer plans with truly unlimited high-speed data. The top-end plan also now includes one TravelPass day per month, offering unlimited talk, text, and data in more than 185 countries for 24 hours. The top three plans also include more high-speed hotspot data than before. "Play More" and "Do More" now include 25 GB (up from 15 GB), while "Get More" now includes 50 GB (up from 30 GB). The "Start" plan remains unchanged; although it has no data cap, there is also no access to 5G Ultra Wideband (faster C Band and mmWave networks), and non-priority network access means data may be slower than for other users when the network is busy. Previously, Verizon also offered a cheaper "Just Kids" plan with unlimited throttled (speed-capped) data. Verizon has confirmed to Phone Scoop that the Just Kids plan is no longer available, although users already on the plan will be able to keep it. To differentiate the updated plans from the old, Verizon has dropped the word "Unlimited" from the actual plan names and added "5G", so "Play More Unlimited" is now "5G Play More", etc. The plan changes coincide with Verizon announcing this month's launch of 5G in the new C Band frequencies, which will mean up to 10x faster speeds for many customers. This new band counts as "Ultra Wideband" with Verizon, meaning access is included with the three "More" plans, but not the "Start" plan.
Verizon has formally announced plans to launch 5G in the new "C-band" mid-band radio frequencies later his month, and filled in details of what the launch will include. The company is promising to cover 100 million people — nearly 1/3 of the population — with the new network at launch. Coverage will include over 1,700 cities and towns. Verizon is promising that the new 5G network will deliver speeds "up to 10x faster than [median] 4G LTE" speeds. Specifically, customers should expect "typical download speeds of 90-170 Mbps with ... peaks over 1 Gbps in certain areas. Typical upload speeds of 15-30 Mbps with peak ... over 100 Mbps." The company is branding the new 5G service "5G Ultra Wideband", just like its faster (but limited-coverage) mmWave 5G network. The company will also launch tweaked plans tomorrow. As before, only premium plans ("Play More", "Do More", and "Get More") will include access to the faster 5G networks. The "Start Unlimited" and "Just Kids" plans will only be able to access "5G Nationwide" low-band 5G, and not the new, faster mid-band network. Verizon and AT&T originally planned to launch C-Band networks in early December, then delayed the launch by one month at the request of the FAA, then recently by another two weeks. The FAA maintains that the networks could interfere with airplane radio altimeters, although the industry and the FCC disagree. Although the new networks should launch in two weeks, Verizon is currently only committing to launching it by the end of this month.
TCL has announced the first two models in its new 30 series for 2022, both of which are coming to major US carriers. Both models are affordable 5G phones.
- The TCL 30 XE 5G will come to T-Mobile and Metro first, followed by other carriers. It has a 6.5-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip paired with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. It has a 13 megapixel main camera plus macro and depth cameras, and an 8 megapixel front camera.
- The TCL 30 V 5G is a somewhat higher-end model coming to Verizon. It has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ display and is powered by a Snapdragon 480 chip paired with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. It has a 50 megapixel main camera plus macro and 5 megapixel wide-angle cameras, and a 16 megapixel front camera. It supports both mmWave and C-band 5G.
After initially rejecting the FAA's last-minute request to delay the launch of 5G in the C Band, the two carriers have now agreed to another two-week delay, following an earlier one-month delay. The services will now launch in mid-January.
A model previously rumored to have fallen victim to supply-chain issues, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition) is finally coming to market this month. Samsung will use the new model as the more-affordable alternative to the forthcoming S22 series, rather than keep last year's flagship S21 models on the market at lower prices as the company has done in the past. This new strategy should help the company address ongoing supply-chain issues. Compared to the standard Galaxy S21 model, the new S21 FE has a larger display (6.4"), larger battery (4,500 mAh), and higher-resolution front camera (32 megapixel). It still achieves a lower price point with less RAM (6 GB), a less-capable telephoto camera (8 megapixel instead of 64), and an optical fingerprint reader instead of ultrasonic. It keeps "fan-favorite" features of the S21 series such as the Snapdragon 888 chip, 120 Hz display refresh, triple rear cameras (including wide and tele), IP68 water rating, wireless charging, fast charging, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It ships with Android 12 and the US version will support both sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE goes on sale January 11th for $700 (with 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage). A version with 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage will also be available, for $770. It will be available in four colors: lavender, white, olive, and graphite. AT&T, Cricket, Verizon, and US Cellular will carry the phone, and it will also be available directly from Samsung's web site. Verizon confirmed that it will offer all four colors and both memory options, starting January 11th.
Verizon and AT&T this morning refused a request by federal transportation officials to delay this week's planned launch of 5G service in the critical new C Band. [Update: By evening, the two companies agreed to a two-week delay.] The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) insists that the service could potentially interfere with radio altimeters that planes use to measure distance to the ground in poor weather. The companies, along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), insist that such interference is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. Radio altimeters use a frequency band close to the C Band. The frequencies do not overlap, but radio equipment with inadequate filters can sometimes be affected by adjacent frequencies. The FCC specifically set aside empty "guard bands" to avoid such interference before auctioning off the C Band to private companies, but the FAA insists a risk remains. C-Band frequencies are already in use for 5G in other countries, with no evidence of interference with airplane systems. To appease the FAA, Verizon and AT&T have already delayed the launch of 5G in the C Band by one month. In their latest letter to the FAA, they have offered to further limit the power of transmissions near airports while any potential effects are studied. While the companies had already agreed to similar temporary power limits in specific areas, the new proposal matches stricter limits currently in place in France. The two companies spent more than $80 billion in total to acquire licenses in the C Band from the FCC, with the promise that they would be able to offer improved 5G service by the end of 2021. C Band frequencies enable 5G service with a better balance of data speeds and coverage compared to the frequency bands currently in use by AT&T and Verizon.
Verizon has added 14,000 new mmWave 5G cell sites this year, nearly double the number the company deployed in the previous two years combined. mmWave 5G provides very fast 5G service but limited coverage per cell site. That makes the additional sites crucial to the availability of mmWave service, although it will still remain exclusive to high-density areas and venues for the foreseeable future. Verizon and AT&T will soon launch 5G in C-Band (mid-band) frequencies, which offer a better balance of data speed and coverage. Verizon announced that it plans to cover 100 million people with the new mid-band 5G service by March 2022. Verizon will market both mmWave and mid-band as "5G Ultra Wideband".
Qualcomm will make a big push to bring high-speed mmWave 5G to more affordable phones in 2022, according to comments made by CEO Cristiano Amon during a Q&A session at the company's Snapdragon Summit event in Hawaii today. For a phone to support mmWave 5G, multiple specialty antenna modules need to be added, which can raise a phone's price by $50 – 100. This has kept the technology limited to higher-end phones thus far. Qualcomm has therefore not bothered to include mmWave support in its lower-end 5G chipsets to date. In the US, only Verizon has put mmWave in its affordable 5G phones, but this has often come at a price premium compared to similar phones with other carriers. Such phones have often had to use a pricier Qualcomm chipset in order support mmWave, such as the Orbic Myra, which used a Snapdragon 7-series chip for its mmWave support, while the same phone for TracFone uses a cheaper 6-series chip that does not support mmWave. Qualcomm will bring mmWave support to "all tiers" of its Snapdragon chips in 2022, as well as work on ways to implement mmWave using fewer and/or cheaper antennas, without compromising performance. "That's our mission, and you're going to start to see that happen next year", said Amon. mmWave offers dramatically faster data speeds than other flavors of 5G, but the high radio frequencies offer limited range. That makes it suitable for arenas, convention centers, airports, and transit hubs, but not coverage over larger areas.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy A13 5G, its most affordable 5G phone yet at $250. Typically, the two most affordable phones in Samsung's annual lineup are the A1x and A0x models, leaving the new Galaxy A03s as possibly the only model in Samsung's 2022 US lineup without 5G. Key features of the Galaxy A13 5G include a 50 megapixel camera, 90 Hz adaptive refresh display, 5,000 mAh battery, and NFC. It also has 15W fast charging, 64 GB of expandable storage, a fingerprint reader on the side, headset jack, macro camera, and depth camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip. It launches this Friday with AT&T and on samsung.com. T-Mobile will also launch it in January. The Galaxy A03s will sell for just $159. It has "a long-lasting battery, triple camera system, and fingerprint security". It launches in January with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Motorola has announced a new moto g power, just ten months after announcing the last one. The new moto g power (2022) has two key upgrades over the old 2021 model: a display with 90 Hz refresh, and a 50 megapixel main camera. It specs are otherwise comparable to the 2021 model, including a huge 5,000 mAh battery, fast charging, 6.5-inch HD+ display, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage (expandable). The new model is powered by a MediaTek Helio G37 chip. The phone also has a rear fingerprint reader, headset jack, FM radio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and IPx2 water resistance. The phone launch soon with Metro by T-Mobile and Republic Wireless, followed by Verizon, Boost, Xfinity, AT&T, Cricket, US Cellular, and Google Fi. It will also be available unlocked for $200, or $250 for a version with 128 GB built-in storage.
Kyocera and Verizon today launched the DuraSport 5G, a mid-range 5G phone with the durability Kyocera is known for, but in a slim, pocket-friendly form factor. While Kyocera's DuraForce line is well-suited to the construction site, this model is targeted at those with an "active lifestyle" who want a phone that's rugged even without a case. The DuraSport 5G is rated IP68 and can be submerged in up to 6.5 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. It's US military rated for drops (5 feet onto concrete), salt fog, humidity, temperature extremes, thermal shock, high altitude, icing, and more. The 6.1-inch full-HD+ display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6 and works with wet & gloved fingers. The cameras are protected by Dragontrail glass. The phone also features a 48 megapixel main camera, 16 megapixel wide-angle camera, NFC, rear fingerprint reader, dual-band Wi-Fi (including enterprise network features), and USB-C 3.1. The 4,500 mAh battery can be fast-charged via Quick Charge 4, USB-PD 3 (up to 27 W), or Qi wireless (up to 8.1 W). The DuraSport 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chip and 4 GB RAM. The 64 GB of internal storage is expandable via microSD cards of up to 1 TB. A programmable shortcut button on the side can activate PTT. The phone's 5G support includes both mmWave and C-Band. The phone comes with Android 11 and is certified Android Enterprise Recommended by Google. The DuraSport 5G is available from Verizon today for $580.
AT&T and Verizon have agreed to an FAA request to delay the launch of 5G in new C-Band radio frequencies by one month, while potential interference issues are addressed, reports the Wall Street Journal. Both companies were planning to launch the highly-anticipated mid-band 5G service on or around December 5th, but will now launch the service no sooner than January 5th, 2022. The FAA, which regulates aircraft, is concerned that C-Band frequencies are too close to the frequencies used by some RADAR altimeters, instruments that measure the distance between aircraft and the ground. The FCC — which regulates communications including radio airwaves — disputes the FAA's claim that the new 5G networks could cause this type of interference. The new 5G networks will operate at up to 3.98 GHz, while the altimeters operate at 4.2 – 4.4 GHz. Radio equipment operating at different frequencies can sometimes still interfere if the frequencies are close enough and inadequate filters are used. The new C-Band 5G networks are highly anticipated because this band enables 5G networks with a good balance of coverage and faster data speeds. Phones that support 5G NR in band 77 will support the new C-Band 5G networks in the US.