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Carriers Fined for Misleading "Unlimited" Plans and "Free" Phones

May 13, 2024, 3:47 PM   by Rich Brome

All three big national carriers — Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T — have been fined a total of $10.2 million for misleading advertising and have agreed to change the way they market "unlimited" data plans and "free" phones. The agreement was reached between the carriers and 50 attorneys general, including New York Attorney General Letitia James who led the charge for the fines. According to the agreement, "'Unlimited' mobile data plans can only be marketed if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle".

T-Mobile, Verizon in Talks to Carve up US Cellular

May 9, 2024, 7:46 PM   by Rich Brome

The Wall Street Journal reports that US Cellular is in talks to sell its assets to T-Mobile and Verizon in two separate but related deals. The T-Mobile deal is reportedly further along and could close this month. That deal includes spectrum licenses and "some operations" for around $2 billion. The Verizon deal could take longer and is not guaranteed. The main assets of interest are spectrum licenses. US Cellular holds licenses in 30 states covering 51 million people. US Cellular's over 4000 towers are reportedly not part of either deal. It is unclear if one or both buyers would take some or all of US Cellular's customers. US Cellular is currently the largest regional wireless carrier left in the US.

Motorola Gives its Stylus Phone a Spec Bump

May 9, 2024, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has revealed the 2024 edition of its moto g stylus 5G, a model that typically sits near the upper end of its moto g series of affordable phones. The new model addresses most shortcomings of last year's model, adding wireless charging and boosting the wide-angle camera resolution from 8 megapixel to a more-useful 13 megapixel. The selfie camera also gets a boost, from 16 megapixel to 32, and RAM gets a nice bump to a generous 8 GB. Wired charging is also faster at up to 30 watts instead of 20. Other specs remain similar, including the large AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, pop-out stylus, Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset, and 5,000 mAh battery. There's also NFC, expandable storage, and a headset jack. The body is water repellent with an IP52 rating, slightly thinner than last year's model, and has a "vegan leather" finish on the back. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $400 starting May 30th. It will also be offered by AT&T, Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket, Boost, Consumer Cellular, US Cellular, Spectrum, Xfinity Mobile, Google Fi, Optimum Mobile, Straight Talk, Total by Verizon, and Visible.

FCC Fines Carriers for Selling Your Location Data Without Consent

Apr 29, 2024, 2:56 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC today announced fines totaling nearly $200 million against T-Mobile (and Sprint), AT&T, and Verizon, for illegally selling real-time customer location data to third parties without consent and without "reasonable safeguards". The fines follow a multi-year investigation started under the previous administration. Today's fines were first proposed in early 2020. T-Mobile and Verizon objected and were able to reduce their fines, to over $92 million (including Sprint) and almost $47 million, respectively. AT&T is fined more than $57 million.

Visible First to Offer Annual Payment Plan, with Discount up to 26%

Apr 17, 2024, 6:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Visible is introducing a new "annual plan" option that gives customers the option of paying for a whole year of service in advance, in exchange for a discount. The premium Visible+ plan is available for $395/year, a savings of $145 (over 26%) compared the usual $45/month rate. The standard "Visible" plan is $275/year, a savings of $25. The two plans are otherwise the same as the monthly options, including unlimited data, talk, text, and hotspot on the Verizon 5G network. New customers can sign up for an annual plan starting this Wednesday, while existing customers will be able to switch to annual payment in May.

Visible Improves its Premium Plan

Mar 27, 2024, 6:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Visible is enhancing its premium Visible+ plan while keeping the price the same at $45/month. The plan will now include faster mobile hotspot, free smartwatch connectivity, and two international roaming improvements. Unlimited full-speed data in Canada and Mexico is being bumped up from 0.5 to 2 GB per day. For 140 other countries, a "Global Pass" is now available for a flat $10/day that includes unlimited talk and text, and 2GB of high speed data. One free day per month is included with Visible+. Domestic mobile hotspot service is also being doubled in speed from 5 to 10 Mbps. Visible uses the Verizon network. Its plan prices includes all taxes and fees.

Motorola Brings More Affordable 5G Phones to its 2024 Lineup

Mar 12, 2024, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has announced the 2024 editions of the moto g 5G and moto g power 5G, priced at $200 and $300, respectively (MSRP, unlocked). Both phones offer 5G, a vegan leather finish on the back, 120 Hz display refresh, 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, 128 GB storage (expandable), NFC, fingerprint reader (on the side), and a headset jack. For the moto g 5G, NFC is a key addition compared to last year's version. For the extra $100, upgrades on the moto g power 5G (compared to the moto g 5G) include a sharper display (FHD+ instead of HD+), double the RAM (8 GB instead of 4), better front camera (16 megapixel instead of 8), an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera (instead of 2-megapixel macro), faster charging (30-watt instead of 18), and wireless charging. Compared to last year's moto g power 5G, improvements include more RAM, the wide-angle camera, NFC, wireless charging, and faster wired charging. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile will all offer both phones. The moto g 5G (2024) will come to T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile first, on March 21st. Boost, Consumer Cellular, Cricket, TracFone, US Cellular, Xfinity, Google Fi, Optimum, Cox, Straight Talk, Total by Verizon, Simple Mobile, Walmart Family Mobile, and Visible will also offer it. The moto g power 5G (2024) will launch with Cricket on March 22nd, and later with Metro, US Cellular, Straight Talk, Total by Verizon, Walmart Family Mobile, and Visible as well. Motorola's g series for 2024 also includes the already-announced, 4G-only moto g play (2024), which retails for $150.

Verizon Makes it Easy to Add a Second Number to One Phone

Mar 7, 2024, 11:21 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched Second Number, a new add-on plan that adds a second line and telephone number to your existing phone. People might use a second number for safely selling on online marketplaces, operating side gigs, or replacing landlines, for example. The plan can be added to any postpaid service for $10/month "plus fees" for a limited time ($15/month after June 5th). The plan requires a phone capable of dual-SIM via eSIM, which includes many current higher-end phones. Phones with this feature active are designed to clearly identify which line is associated with an incoming call or message, and make it easy to choose a line for outgoing communication. Verizon says the service will automatically transfer when a customer upgrades their phone.

Samsung Launching Two New Affordable 5G Phones Today, Too

Jan 17, 2024, 3:25 PM   by Rich Brome

While Samsung's big news today is the new S24 series of flagship phones, the company is also quietly launching two new affordable 5G phones today: the Galaxy A15 5G and Galaxy A25 5G. The Galaxy A15 5G updates last year's A14 5G with a 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with 90 Hz refresh, a major upgrade for a phone that sells for $200. It also has double the built-in storage (128 instead of 64 GB), faster fast charging (25W instead of 15), and replaces the depth camera with a 5 megapixel wide-angle camera. Other specs carry over from the A14 5G, including a 5,000 mAh battery, 50 megapixel main camera, NFC, fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ chipset. Verizon, T-Mobile, Boost, and US Cellular started selling the phone today, and samsung.com indicates that AT&T may offer it as well. The Galaxy A25 5G doesn't seem to be nearly as popular with US carriers, as there are no indications that any of the big three national carriers plan to offer it. It's quite similar to the A15 5G, with the upgrades being OIS on the main camera, an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, 4K video capture, and 120 Hz display refresh. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos 1280 chipset. For these upgrades, US Cellular shows a list price of $300. Boost and TracFone may offer it, as well.

Verizon Still Charging Controversial Junk Fee While Paying Class-Action Settlement

Jan 16, 2024, 1:29 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has started the process of paying customers up to $100 each to settle a class-action lawsuit over the "Administrative and Telco Recovery Charge" on the bills of its postpaid wireless and data customers. The suit alleged that the fee is not adequately disclosed in advertising of the company's rates. Verizon disagrees, saying its use of the phrase "plus fees & taxes" covers the charge. Affected customers will be notified via email and postcard with instructions to file a claim to receive payment. Verizon settled the suit without admitting fault and the terms of the settlement do not require it to stop charging the fee. In fact, the company continues to asses the monthly fee and recently raised it from $1.95 to $3.30.

Moto Gives its Affordable g play More Value

Jan 16, 2024, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola is launching a new version of its affordable moto g play phone for 2024. Last year's model was popular with carriers; this year's model appears to be just as popular, with AT&T, Verizon, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, U.S. Cellular, Xfinity Mobile, and more already announcing plans to offer the phone. The new model has more memory and storage (4 / 64 GB), steps up to a 50 megapixel main camera, better front camera, and add stereo speakers. It also switches from a MediaTek processor to a Snapdragon 680. Other specs are similar, including a 6.5-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh, 5,000 mAh battery, fast charging, fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack. The moto g play (2024) will launch unlocked for $150 on February 8th, "with subsequent availability at Consumer Cellular, Verizon, Xfinity Mobile, Visible, Cricket, AT&T, UScellular, and Cox Mobile, and on Straight Talk, Walmart Family Mobile, Total by Verizon, and Simple Mobile."

Verizon Covers All 30 NFL Stadiums with Fast mmWave 5G

Oct 19, 2023, 1:13 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon customers now have access to the fastest form of 5G in all NFL stadiums in the US. mmWave 5G is well-suited to the demanding, high-density environment of packed stadiums and arenas, where traditional cellular networks often struggle. Not all 5G phones support mmWave 5G, although most Verizon 5G phones do. Verizon notes that customers may need to turn off Wi-Fi to access mmWave 5G.

Samsung Brings Back the FE for its Galaxy S23 Series

Oct 4, 2023, 6:30 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 10, 2023, 12:07 PM

After skipping a year last year, Samsung has brought back the more affordable model of its flagship phone series with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE. As with previous "FE" devices, this is effectively Samsung's "affordable flagship" device at $600, filling out the lineup just above the top end of the company's A-series phones. The S23 FE has a 50 megapixel main camera, 12 megapixel ultra-wide camera, and 3x telephoto camera with 8 megapixel resolution. The 6.4-inch AMOLED display has adaptive refresh up to 120 Hz. The 4,500 mAh battery can be charged up to 50% in around 30 minutes with 25W charging. It also supports fast and reverse wireless charging. It's powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired with 8 GB RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of storage. Other features include an IP68 rating for dust and water, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6E. It will be available in several colors, including Mint, Cream, Graphite, and Purple. (The 256 GB storage option is only available in Graphite.) The Samsung Galaxy S3 FE will be available from Verizon on October 26 for $600, and from AT&T on October 27. Samsung.com will also offer exclusive Indigo and Tangerine colors.

Verizon Starts Lighting Up Full C-Band for Faster 5G

Aug 14, 2023, 9:54 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is now cleared to use 100% of the C-band spectrum it won in an FCC auction in 2021. This relatively new mid-band spectrum is ideal for providing terrestrial 5G service with a good balance of coverage and fast data speeds. This spectrum was originally used by satellite operators, but the FCC worked with those companies to relocate their operations to a smaller band of higher frequencies, freeing spectrum for 5G. This required the launch of new satellites. As those launches have been proceeding well, Verizon is now able to access all of its new spectrum four months ahead of schedule. Verizon initially launched in just 60 MHz of the C-band. As the transition proceeded, Verizon was able to expand that to 100 Mhz in some areas. Now Verizon has full access to at least 140 Mhz in the C band in all available markets, and up to 200 MHz in some (mostly rural) markets. That additional bandwidth gives the 5G network much greater capacity without getting congested and slowing down. It also gives Verizon the capacity to expand its use of 5G for home internet service.

Visible Drops Base Rate to $25/month

Aug 3, 2023, 8:32 AM   by Rich Brome

Visible has officially dropped the price of its entry-level service plan from $30/month to $25/month. The company offered the lower rate through some limited promotions earlier this year, but has now made $25/month the standard rate. This entry-level plan is the "Visible" plan, as opposed to the "Visible+" plan, which is still $45/month. The more expensive plan adds a "Premium Network Experience", access to Verizon's faster "5G Ultra Wideband" network, international calling and texting, and roaming in Canada & Mexico. The cheaper plan still includes unlimited data, calling, and texting, as well as basic 5G access, unlimited mobile hotspot, and unlimited calling and texting to Mexico and Canada.

AT&T and Verizon Hike Rates on Old Plans

Jul 28, 2023, 7:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon and AT&T are both increasing the monthly rate for some of their older plans. AT&T is increasing the monthly charge of its Unlimited Elite plan by $2.50 for phone lines added before August 1, 2022. Verizon is increasing the price of "select legacy plans" by $3/month. This reportedly impacts the 5G Start, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited w/5G Ultra Wideband, Above Unlimited, Above Unlimited w/5G Ultra Wideband, and Single Unlimited Talk & Text 500MB plans. Verizon implemented a similar $2/month price hike on other legacy plans in April.

Straight Talk Intros New Multi-Line Discounts

Jul 25, 2023, 8:17 AM   by Rich Brome

Straight Talk Wireless has tweaked its most popular plan to include significant new discounts for families with multiple lines on the same account. The Silver Unlimited plan still includes unlimited data, calls to Canada & Mexico, and 5 GB of hotspot data. The first line is still $45/month, but now a second line is just $30/month, a third line is $15, and a fourth line is just $10. That means four lines are now just $100/month, down from $180 previously. The new discounts only apply to the Silver Unlimited plan; Straight Talk's other plans remain unchanged. Straight Talk operates on the Verizon network and is available exclusively at Walmart, walmart.com, and straighttalk.com. Straight Talk was a brand of TracFone, and now part of the "Verizon Value portfolio of prepaid brands".

Verizon Continues Updating Rugged Lineup with Sonim XP10

Jul 20, 2023, 10:02 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has launched the Sonim XP10, a rugged smartphone with a wide range of features for field workers and "workers in dangerous environments". Just last week, Verizon launched the Kyocera DuraForce Pro 3, a similar but higher-end rugged smartphone. AT&T launched the XP10 in November with sub-6 5G, but the XP10 is launching on Verizon as a 4G device. The XP10 replaces the XP8, with a lighter and sleeker design, larger screen, longer battery life, more memory, and better cameras. Its rugged credentials include MIL-STD-810H ratings for drops (from six feet directly onto concrete), water immersion (in six feet of water for 60 minutes), and all weather conditions (from -4° F to 131° F). The XP10 can also be "sprayed, submerged and rigorously cleaned in soap and water or with harsh chemicals, like isopropyl alcohol or bleach, to ensure it is fully disinfected." For dangerous work environments, the XP10 is rated Non-Incendive Class I, II and III Div 2. Other key features include a removable 5,000 mAh battery, wireless charging, PTT+, extra-loud 100bB+ speakers, fingerprint reader, memory card slot, and NFC. Sonim offers a full suite of accessories, including ultra-rugged headsets, Remote Speaker Microphones (RSM), vehicle kits, and multi-bay chargers. The Sonim XP10 is available for Verizon business customers starting today for $550. For a limited time, Public Sector customers can get the XP10 for free with a 2-year agreement while business customers can get it for $0.99 with a 2-year agreement.

Kyocera Brings DuraForce Pro up to Date

Jul 13, 2023, 11:27 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 13, 2023, 12:46 PM

Kyocera today launched the DuraForce Pro 3, an overdue replacement for its DuraForce Pro 2 rugged, business-focused smartphone launched in 2018. The new model updates nearly all specs to modern standards, including 5G, larger display, larger battery (4,270 mAh), better cameras, better processor (Snapdragon 7 Gen 1), more memory (6 / 128 GB), Wi-Fi 6E, and more programmable shortcut buttons. Like its predecessor, the DuraForce Pro 3 has a rugged body that's rated IP68, miltary-rated for a long list of extreme conditions, and Non-Incendive for flammable environments. The 4,270 mAh battery is removable and supports 28W USB-PD 3.0 fast charging as well as wireless charging. The phone supports drop-in dock chargers as well as a wide range of specialty accessories for various industries. It can be used for PTT and as a body camera. The wide-angle camera is 16 megapixel while the main camera has a 64 megapixel sensor with 16 megapixel output. Its dual front-facing speakers go over 100dB for clear sound in loud environments. Other features include a fingerprint reader, NFC, and expandable storage via microSD. It's available from Verizon for $900 starting today and supports Verizon's mmWave 5G Ultra Wideband network.

Better 5G Service Near Airports Starts This Weekend

Jun 26, 2023, 5:36 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 26, 2023, 6:04 PM

An agreement to limit 5G power levels near airports expires July 1st, which should mean better 5G service from Verizon and AT&T near airports starting that day. The agreement — between those wireless carriers, the aviation industry, and the FCC — addressed concerns that full-power 5G in the new C Band could interfere with the radio altimeters of some older planes. Although the frequencies do not overlap, they are close, and some radio altimeters had inadequate filters to prevent interference from nearby frequencies. The agreed-upon delay by wireless carriers gave airlines time to upgrade the problematic radio altimeters. Most planes have now received the upgrade, but Delta still 190 planes that need it, and JetBlue has 17. Until they can receive the upgrade, those planes may be restricted from landing at certain airports when visibility is low.

Verizon Intros Customizable Plans

May 16, 2023, 7:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched myPlan, a totally new plan structure. Users choose from one of two unlimited-data base plans, then add as many or as few "perks" as they want, for $10/month/each. Available perks include 100 GB of mobile hotspot data, a smartwatch plan, 3 international travel day passes (which don't expire if unused). Perks also include a Disney+ bundle (with Hulu and ESPN+), Apple One, or even Walmart+. Another perk is a $15 credit to Verizon's "+play" service, where other subscriptions such as Netflix and HBO Max are available. Because all "perks" are $10, they offer savings that vary depending on the perk. For example, the Disney+ bundle is normally $15/month. An Apple One subscription is normally $17/month. There is no minimum number of perks and they can changed at any time. The two base plans are Unlimited Welcome and Unlimited Plus. The Plus plan includes access to Verizon's "Ultra Wideband" 5G network, meaning its faster mid-band and mmWave frequencies, and truly unlimited "premium" data. Neither plan has any set data limit where speeds become slower, although customers on the Welcome plan may see slower speeds during times of network congestion. The Plus plan also includes 30 GB of hotspot data and better device discounts. Both plans have discounts available if you bring your own device. The Unlimited Welcome plan is $65/month for one line, or as low as $27/line/month for 5+ lines. The Unlimited Plus plan is $80/month for one line, or as low as $42/line/month for 5+ lines. All prices are with Auto-Pay. myPlan becomes available May 18th and replaces Mix & Match. Mix & Match customers can keep their existing plans if they prefer.

Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold Popular with US Carriers, But Details Differ

May 10, 2023, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

The top three US carriers will all sell both the Google Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold. All three will sell the Pixel 7a starting this afternoon. T-Mobile will sell it for the same price as Google ($500), while AT&T will charge $520 and Verizon will charge $540. The 7a comes in both mmWave and non-mmWave versions. The addition of mmWave 5G accounts for the price difference with Verizon. Although T-Mobile's version does not support mmWave, it will support three-carrier aggregation on the company's unique 5G SA network. AT&T's version does not support mmWave either, but does support mid-band 5G: band 77-C today and band 77-A (3.45 GHz) "enabled in a future software update". T-Mobile and AT&T say they will offer the Pixel Fold "soon" or "this summer" (respectively). Verizon is being much more specific, saying Pixel Fold pre-orders start June 20th, with full availability on June 27th. Verizon will offer the phone with the option of either 256 or 512 GB of storage.

Hands On with TCL's $120 5G Phone

May 9, 2023, 12:12 PM   by Rich Brome

TCL has a new affordable 5G phone for Verizon, and it's very, very affordable (as 5G phones go) at just $120. We spent some time with that phone: the TCL 40 XE. Check out our hands-on report to learn a little more about what $120 buys you in a 5G phone this year.

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The TCL 40 XE Offers 5G for Just $120

May 4, 2023, 1:30 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has launched the TCL 40 XE 5G for prepaid customers. The phone is notable for including 5G at a price point of $120, a new level of affordability for 5G in the US. The next-cheapest 5G phone offered by Verizon prepaid is the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G, which Verizon sells for $200. The TCL 40 XE 5G sports a 6.56-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh, 5,000 mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. It has a 13 megapixel main camera, 2 megapixel macro camera, and 8 megapixel front camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage (expandable). It also has a fingerprint reader embedded in the lock button on the side.

T-Mobile Continues Expanding 5G Coverage, Tests Faster Uploads

May 4, 2023, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is the first US carrier to successfully test carrier aggregation on the uplink side of a 5G data connection on a live 5G SA network. This new technology enabled upload data speeds of 207 Mbps, a record for sub-6 GHz (non-mmWave) 5G. Faster speeds are common in the dowlink (download) direction, but uplink speeds are typically slower. Faster uplink speeds enable higher-quality video conferencing, for example. The company expects to roll the feature out for regular customers early next year. The test used a smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon modem and Nokia equipment on the network side. The two carriers that were aggregated were in bands 2 (1,900 MHz) and 41 (2,500 MHz). T-Mobile also provided an update on its 5G network coverage and plans. The company claims that its 5G network now covers "326 million people across 2 million square miles – more than AT&T and Verizon combined." That includes slower low-band 5G. As for the faster mid-band 5G that T-Mobile brands "Ultra Capacity 5G", the company says that it currently covers 275 million people nationwide, and plans to reach 300 million people – "nearly everyone in the country" – by the end of this year.

Verizon Makes its Free Trial Easier

Mar 23, 2023, 11:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Verizon has streamlined its Free Trial program and made the offering permanent after a successful pilot. Non-Verizon customers with an eSIM-capable phone can now sign up for a free 30 days of Verizon service by simply downloading the My Verizon app; a step of scanning a QR code has been removed.

Verizon's Mid-Band 5G Network Now Covers 2/3 of US Population

Mar 7, 2023, 12:11 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband network now covers "more than 200 million people, or roughly two out of every three Americans." This fulfills a pledge to reach this milestone in the first quarter of 2023. Verizon's "5G Ultra Wideband" includes both mmWave and mid-band frequencies (the newly-available C Band). While mmWave offers faster speeds, it has very limited coverage. This new coverage relies mostly on new mid-band deployments, offering broad coverage and faster speeds compared to lower-frequency sub-6 GHz 5G networks. Only newer phones that support 5G in band 77 can access this better 5G service. Verizon continues to add more bandwidth to its mid-band 5G network, further improving capacity and speed.

FAA Sets Timeline for Long-Term Solution to 5G Interference at Airports

Jan 10, 2023, 5:47 PM   by Rich Brome

The FAA has set June 30, 2023 as the date that planes must have certified 5G-safe radio altimeters to perform low-visibility landings in US airspace. This will allow AT&T and Verizon to operate their new mid-band 5G networks with "minimal restrictions" starting July 2023 in (mostly urban) areas near airports. By February 1, 2024, all planes operating in US airspace must have 5G-safe radio altimeters. The issue is specific to the mid-band (C Band) 5G that was deployed recently by both Verizon and AT&T. Those companies have voluntarily agreed to restrict their mid-band 5G deployments near airports to address the issue temporarily. As airlines and air cargo companies meet these new FAA deadlines, those restrictions can be removed. While many US planes are already 5G-safe — by design or thanks to recent retrofits — the FAA estimates that approximately 820 US-registered aircraft still need new radio filters to become compliant, while 180 will require a full radio altimeter replacement. Even after February 1, 2024, there will still be a list of specific airports where the rules are slightly different. The FAA is also working on a new, even stricter standard for radio altimeter performance, which may replace these complex "interim" rules.

Cox Launches Cox Mobile

Jan 5, 2023, 11:54 AM   by Rich Brome

Cable company Cox has formally launched its mobile service, Cox Mobile. Like Comcast's Xfinity Mobile, Cox Mobile is only available to customers of Cox home internet service. Rather than a bundle offering, customers will receive a separate bill for the mobile service. The service is available via two different plans: "Pay As You Gig" is priced at $15/GB of data, while Unlimited is $45/month. Both plans include unlimited talk and text, as well as 5G. Customers can easily switch between the two pricing options as often as they like, with no limits, commitments, or activation fees. Cox Mobile offers a full lineup of Samsung phones, from entry-level to the Z Fold. Cox is operating as an MVNO, using Verizon's 5G and 4G network. Cox operates its cable/internet service in 18 states.

Verizon C-Band Deployment Ahead of Schedule

Dec 5, 2022, 12:17 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Dec 16, 2022, 1:07 PM

Verizon has reached "its goal of reaching 175 million people covered by the end of 2022, a month ahead of schedule" in its deployment of 5G in new C-Band (mid-band) radio spectrum. Verizon is also expanding capacity in many deployed markets from 60 MHz to 100 MHz of bandwidth.

Verizon Offers Free 30-Day Test Drive

Nov 17, 2022, 3:12 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon will now let prospective customers try out its network for free for up to 30 days using eSIM as a second line on their compatible existing phone. T-Mobile launched a similar service a year and a half ago. By activating as a second line, users can keep their existing service during the trial. Verizon's Test Drive includes unlimited talk and text and up to 100 GB of 5G and 4G, including Ultra Wideband and "premium network experience". The only service limitation is that video streaming is limited to 480p (SD) when not connected to 5G Ultra Wideband. Only certain phones are compatible with Verizon's network and the eSIM technology this service relies on, but this includes most recent iPhones, Pixels, and high-end Samsungs.

Verizon Working on a Phone-to-Satellite Solution

Nov 16, 2022, 4:26 PM   by Rich Brome

In an interview with Phone Scoop, Brian Mecum, Verizon VP of Device Technology said "satellite is a very interesting space to us", when asked if Verizon planned an answer to T-Mobile's partnership with SpaceX for satellite connectivity. T-Mobile's planned system will allow existing, standard mobile phones to connect directly to SpaceX Starlink satellites for service outside of cellular coverage. Mecum declined to go into further detail, but Verizon could potentially partner with one of several companies that are working to bring similar technology to market, such as AST SpaceMobile or Lynk.

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Verizon Reshuffles Prepaid Plans, Adds Value

Oct 20, 2022, 4:05 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon Prepaid has revamped its prepaid plans to offer more for less, with restructured payment discounts. The cheapest plan, offering 5 GB of data for as little as $25 (after discounts), has been eliminated. The base rate for the remaining plans is now $5/month less, but the maximum payment discount is now $10 instead of $15, resulting in the same monthly rate overall. Previously, customers could stack a $5/month auto-pay discount plus up to $10 in "loyalty discounts" over time ($5 after three months; $10 after nine months.) Now, the two discounts are mutually exclusive: either a $10 auto-pay discount or up to $10 in loyalty discounts. This means customers can access the full discounted rate immediately if using auto-pay, instead of waiting ten months for the lowest rate. The 15 GB plan remains otherwise unchanged, available for $35/month with auto-pay. The basic Unlimited plan now includes 5 GB of hotspot data, for $50/month with auto-pay. The high-end Unlimited Plus sees the most changes, adding "50 GB of premium network access, 25 GB of premium mobile hotspot service, and one free Global Choice country per month (a $10 value)." Unlimited Plus is still $60/month after discounts. As before, Unlimited Plus includes faster 5G Ultra Wideband, and both Unlimited plans include talk, text and data to and from Mexico and Canada.

Verizon Launches Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro

Oct 20, 2022, 3:25 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon is now offering the "enterprise-ready" Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro to business customers for as little as $50. The full price is $600, but a two-year agreement brings that down to $300, and an instant discount (available through the end of this year) brings that down to $50.

Samsung Brings Galaxy XCover6 Pro to US Businesses

Sep 22, 2022, 12:44 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung will bring its newest rugged phone for enterprise customers — the Galaxy XCover6 Proto the US next month. The XCover6 Pro replaces the original XCover Pro, which launched with AT&T in late 2020. The XCover6 Pro has a wide range of features designed to appeal to business users in a wide variety of industries. Compared to the original, it sports (sub-6) 5G, a larger 6.6-inch FHD display, a better main camera, and better durability thanks to Gorilla Glass Victus+. Like the original, it has a durable, waterproof body, replaceable 4,050 mAh battery, side fingerprint reader, 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, expandable storage, and a headset jack. The new model is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chip paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. It supports Wi-Fi 6E as well as NFC designed to support the phone's use as a PoS (Point of Sale) payment terminal. The main camera is now 50 megapixel and supports "enterprise-grade" barcode scanning. The display is designed to work with gloved and/or wet fingers, and the phone has a "significant increase" in maximum speaker volume when using VoIP apps. It supports fast charging, including via pogo pins (for use with a dock). It also supports Samsung DeX for "PC-like productivity out in the field or in a vehicle". Samsung is providing industry-leading OS support for the XCover6 Pro at four OS upgrades and five years of security updates. Samsung did not announce which US carriers would offer the XCover 6 Pro, only that "select carriers" would offer it in the US starting Oct. 20th. Both AT&T and Verizon offered the original model, although the version approved by the FCC recently seems better suited to AT&T's network, including support for AT&T's new 3.45 GHz mid-band spectrum.

Total Wireless Relaunches as Total by Verizon

Sep 21, 2022, 2:11 PM   by Rich Brome

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.

Verizon Supports eSIM Activation via App

Sep 2, 2022, 2:00 PM   by Rich Brome

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.

OnePlus 10T Coming to T-Mobile, Certified for Verizon, AT&T

Sep 1, 2022, 5:27 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 1, 2022, 7:04 PM

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's new Edge Offers a Lot for $500

Aug 18, 2022, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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 Completely Overhauls Plans

Aug 17, 2022, 10:30 AM   by Rich Brome

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.

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