Verizon Wireless will no longer activate 3G CDMA devices on its network as it moves towards sunsetting the legacy service. "For several years we've been publicly saying that our 3G CDMA network will remain available through the end of 2019. Virtually all traffic on our network is on our 4G LTE network," said the company in a statement provided to Droid Life. "To facilitate a smooth transition to 4G LTE capable products and services, we are no longer allowing devices that are not 4G LTE capable to be activated on our network." Verizon has previously said it will shut down its 3G network by December 31, 2019. It is common for carriers to discontinue older or outdated networks and re-farm the spectrum for newer technology. Verizon says it will launch 5G before the end of the year.
Comcast's Xfinity Mobile has changed the terms of its Unlimited Plan to limit video resolution to 480p (non-HD), and throttle personal hotspot speeds to "3G speeds" (600 Kbps). The company plans to offer an option for higher video resolution for an extra fee, but not until "later this year". Video resolution limits are not uncommon with unlimited data plans. T-Mobile pioneered the practice. Comcast claims the changes are necessary in order to maintain the current plan prices. Xfinity Mobile operates as an MVNO using the Verizon network.
Verizon Wireless today added the Motorola Moto Z3 Play to its list of certified devices. This means the Z3 Play was tested by Verizon in its labs and passed Verizon's network performance requirements. Verizon itself does not sell the Moto Z3 Play, but you can buy the phone unlocked and bring it to a Verizon store for activation. The Z3 Play is available from Motorola.com, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Amazon starting today. The phone adopts a 6-inch 2:1 screen, and is made form a slim metal-and-glass chassis. It is compatible with Motorola's Moto Mods accessories and includes either a speaker or battery. The phone costs $499. The Moto Z3 Play will be sold by Sprint and U.S. Cellular later this summer.
Verizon Wireless today added the Samsung Galaxy J3 to its lineup of postpaid and prepaid phones. The Galaxy J3, announced earlier this month, has a 5-inch HD display, 8-megapixel main camera at f/1.9, and a 5-megapixel selfie cam at f/2.2. The J3 has a 2,600mAh battery and includes Android 8 Oreo, 2 GB of memory, 16 GB of storage, Bluetooth 4.2, and WiFi. It is powered by an octa-core Exynos processor. This phone includes Samsung's Easy Mode UI skin for bigger fonts and icons and offers the Bixby Home app for learned recommendations. The phone is available as the Galaxy J3 V via Verizon's postpaid service for $168, or $7 per month. It is available as the Galaxy J3 3rd Gen via Verizon's prepaid service for $124.
Verizon says it will shut down go90, its mobile video service, by the end of July. The service launched in 2015 as a free option for consuming video via mobile devices. The service never found a real audience. "Following the creation of Oath, go90 will be discontinued," said Verizon in a statement provided to Reuters. "Verizon will focus on building its digital-first brands at scale in sports, finance, news and entertainment for today's mobile consumers and tomorrow’s 5G applications." Oath is Verizon's content branch and encompasses apps and services from the former AOL and Yahoo brands. Verizon has begun informing its content providers about go90's imminent closure and said it will return all rights back to its production partners.
Verizon Wireless today announced new discounts for members of the U.S. armed services. The company is offering savings on its Unlimited plans. Military families can select the Unlimited plan that best suits them and then apply a $15 discount off one line, $35 off two lines, or $40 off three or more lines. Verizon says active-duty military, reservists, Gold Star families, and veterans can take advantage of this offer by signing into their account and choosing the plan they need. Verizon also said military families can score a $200 Mastercard prepaid card if they activate a new line of service on a 4G LTE smartphone. The savings are available starting today.
The Attorney General's office from New York is investigating if and how T-Mobile's proposed merger with Sprint might impact the MVNO and prepaid markets. Sprint and T-Mobile separately serve the prepaid space via their own Boost Mobile and MetroPCS brands, respectively, as well as MVNOs, such as Google-run Project Fi. With reduced competition, the New York attorney general is concerned that the tie-up between the two companies could lead to higher prices for prepaid consumers. Dozens of other states are participating in the probe, says the Wall Street Journal. This investigation mirrors a separate one underway with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has similar concerns. The $26 billion deal was proposed earlier this year and would see the nation's third- and fourth-largest carriers become one. Antitrust investigations are normal for such deals. Sprint and T-Mobile defended the deal in front on Congress on Wednesday. The companies insist the deal will create jobs and ensure the combined entity can compete with AT&T and Verizon.
AT&T today said it has agreed to buy AppNexus for an undisclosed sum. AppNexus runs a global advertising marketplace and helps publishers, marketers, and agencies place digital ads. The company will be added to AT&T's newly formed advertising and analytics business, which is run by Brian Lesser. AT&T's ad business is one of four new pillars the company announced after it closed its acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T says it needs the company to compete with Verizon, Google, and others. AT&T expects the acquisition to close during the third quarter of the year.
More members of Congress are posing questions about the relationship between Google and Huawei. Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Michael Conaway, and Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger all signed a letter sent to Google concerning the search giant’s recent decision to halt work on Project Maven. "While we regret that Google did not want to continue a long and fruitful tradition of collaboration between the military and technology companies, we are even more disappointed that Google apparently is more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party than the U.S. military,” read the letter, in part. It’s not clear what the lawmakers’ end goal is. Huawei uses Google’s Android operating system in its phones. Huawei is the world’s third-largest supplier of phones. Some members of Congress see Huawei as a national security threat due to its ties with the Chinese government. Earlier this year, Huawei saw smartphone distribution deals with AT&T and Verizon evaporate after pressure from Congress.
Following moves made earlier in the day by Verizon and AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have now said they also will cease sharing customer location data with certain third-party apps and services. Sprint said it is "beginning the process of terminating its current contracts with data aggregators to whom we provide location data." T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted, "I've personally evaluated this issue & have pledged that @tmobile will not sell customer location data to shady middlemen." The matter rose to attention after some third-party location brokers left the real-time data of millions of customers unprotected. Lawmakers called for change and today's responses appear to be it.
AT&T today said it, too, will cease the sale of subscriber location information to outside companies. The move follows an identical change made by Verizon earlier today. "Our top priority is to protect our customers’ information, and, to that end, we will be ending our work with aggregators for these services as soon as practical in a way that preserves important, potential lifesaving services like emergency roadside assistance," said AT&T in a statement provided to The Verge. Carriers are under fire because one of the third-party companies exposed the real-time location data of millions of wireless customers without their knowledge or consent. The matter is being investigated by the FCC. Sprint and T-Mobile have yet to make the same commitment.
Verizon Communications today said it will stop making customer location data available to third-party apps and services. The decision follows last month's revelation that third-party companies didn't always properly protect this data. LocationSmart, for example, exposed the real-time location of millions of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless customers without their consent. Accuracy of the location data was as good as a few hundred yards. The breach caught the attention of lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Wyden, who wanted the matter invested. "When these issues were brought to our attention, we took immediate steps to stop it," said Verizon spokesperson Rich Young. Wyden thanked Verizon for changing its policy, but pointed out that AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have left their location-sharing practices in place.
The 3GPP today ratified another piece of the 5G specification, termed the Standalone 5G New Radio, or SA 5G NR. This spec is for 5G networks that are developed on their own, apart from legacy or pre-existing networks. The Non-Standalone portion of the 5G spec was ratified late last year and covers 5G that hooks into existing LTE 4G systems. "The freeze of Standalone 5G NR radio specifications represents a major milestone in the quest of the wireless industry towards realizing the holistic 5G vision," said BalÃ¡zs BertÃ©nyi, chairman of 3GPP RAN. "5G NR Standalone systems not only dramatically increase the mobile broadband speeds and capacity, but also open the door for new industries beyond telecommunications that are looking to revolutionize their ecosystem through 5G." The SA 5G NR and the NSA 5G NR standards will together include the technology used by commercial entities, the air interface, and end users. The spec was approved by more than 600 delegates from the world's leading carrier, handset, and silicon vendors. Some participants included AT&T, DISH, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Kyocera, LG, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, SoftBank/Sprint, Sony, Verizon, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The 3GPP said the technical specifications for the ratified SA 5G NR will be published in the days ahead.
Verizon Wireless today overhauled its unlimited postpaid service plans. The company now offers three tiers of unlimited service that each has its own features. All three plans included unlimited talk and text, Verizon Up Rewards, and Canada/Mexico calling and texting. The base plan, called go unlimited, includes unlimited LTE data, DVD-quality video streams (480p), and 600 kbps mobile hotspot service. The beyond unlimited plan bumps high-speed service to 22 GB per month, improves video streaming to HD (720p), and boosts mobile hotspot to 15 GB per month at LTE speeds. The new above unlimited plan lets people use up to 75 GB of high-speed data, carries over HD video streaming, and improves mobile hotspot to 20 GB per month at LTE speeds. The above unlimited plan also adds five travel passes for use when roaming abroad, and 500 GB of Verizon cloud storage. Pricing is where things get interesting, but is why Verizon is calling it a mix-and-match plan. Families can pick a different unlimited plan for each member. A single line costs $75, $85, or $95 for the go unlimited, beyond unlimited, and above unlimited plans, respectively. Adding lines — no matter to which plan — offers a discount. For example, a three-person family could get one line of go unlimited for $50, one line of beyond unlimited at $60, and one line of above unlimited for $70. Adding a fourth family member would drop the per-line prices for these plans to $40, $50, and $60 and the family could select whichever makes the most sense for that person. Families can also add a Hum X, tablet, or jetpack for $20 per month, or a connected smartwatch for $10 per month. Verizon says these prices don't include taxes, fees, or device payments, and require account holders to enroll in autopay. Verizon's new unlimited plans will be available starting June 18.
Verizon Wireless today said it successfully completed 5G data sessions in an outdoor environment and pushed speeds as high as 1.8 Gbps. The company, together with partner Nokia, transmitted multiple live virtual reality sessions and 4K video streams over 28 GHz spectrum using the 3GPP New Radio 5G standard. Verizon claims it saw latency as low as 1.5 milliseconds. Verizon completed the tests outdoors at its Basking Ridge facility. Previous tests were undertaken in labs. Verizon says the VR and 4K streams are activities it envisions will be common for consumers to enjoy with 5G service. The companies also successfully used 4CC (component carrier aggregation) to reach speeds up to 1.8 Gbps. In order to do this, it combined Verizon's mmWave spectrum over four channels to boost throughput. Verizon plans to deploy 5G-based broadband service in four markets during the second half of the year with mobile 5G service to follow later. Verizon and its competitors are all rushing to be first to launch 5G service. T-Mobile recently completed two-way 5G data transmissions in its lab and says it will debut 5G service later this year.
Verizon Communications today said long-serving Lowell McAdam will vacate his position as CEO on August 1. He will remain with the company as Executive Chairman of the Board through the end of the year, and then transition to a Non-executive Chairman role in 2019. McAdam has led Verizon since August 2011. McAdam will be succeeded as CEO by Hans Vestberg, who currently serves as the company's Executive Vice President, President of Global Networks, and Chief Technology Officer. Vestberg has played a large role in developing the architecture for Verizon's fiber-centric networks, including its LTE 4G service and forthcoming 5G service. Vestberg previously worked for Ericsson. "I strongly believe in the power of change to drive long-term growth and innovation," said McAdam in a statement to employees. "For Verizon, the time for a change in leadership is now, and I am confident that Hans is the right person to bring Verizon through its next chapter." Concerning his new role, Vestberg said, "I am humbled to be appointed CEO of Verizon at such an exciting and dynamic time for our company and industry. We are experiencing unprecedented changes in the way users interact in the digital world, and we are racing ahead to remain at the forefront of technology, connectivity and mobility."
Sales of the LG G7 ThinQ phone kicked off in the U.S. today. The phone is being sold by Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, Project Fi, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. It costs $749. T-Mobile is offering a BOGO deal on the phone at launch. Features of the G7 ThinQ include a 6.1-inch screen, Snapdragon 845 processor, dual rear cameras with portrait shooting and Google Lens, wireless charging, Boombox sound and quad DAC, and Android 8 Oreo.
Have your eye on a shiny new phone, but it isn't sold by Verizon Wireless? Did you know that Big Red allows you to bring your own device to its network? There are a few things you need to know, though.
Verizon Wireless said its Verizon prepaid customers now have access to TravelPass in 16 more countries. This expansion targets the Caribbean and adds TravelPass to Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, The Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, and more. TravelPass lets people access their talk, text, and data service when roaming for $5-$10 per day, depending on the country.
Verizon Wireless today provided more information about the forthcoming availability of the LG G7 ThinQ and the Motorola Moto G6. Verizon will begin taking preorders for the G7 ThinQ on May 24. Verizon is charging $31.25 per month for 24 months, or about $750 in total for the phone. Verizon says customers who finance the phone on a payment plan can score a $100 discount on the total price of the device, which will be applied equally via bill credits over the 24-month payment period. Verizon says this deal is stackable with its other trade-in offers. Verizon didn't say when the G7 ThinQ will hit stores. As for the Moto G6, it will be available online and in stores on May 24. Verizon is charging $10 per month for 24 months, or about $240 in total for the device.
Qualcomm today announced the FSM100xx, a 5G NR product designed for small cells and remote radio heads. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx builds on its existing Qualcomm FSM Platform for 3G and 4G small cells. It supports 5G NR in sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum, allowing network operators to make use of whatever spectrum is available to them in a given location. Qualcomm designed the FSM Platform for flexibility. It is based on 10nm mobile technologies for controlling power consumption while allowing for fast performance. Qualcomm says the FSM100xx can address the propagation characteristics of mmWave spectrum in real time, particularly in indoor spaces where small cells are most often deployed. Further, it supports MIMO and multi-gigabit throughout, as well as power-over-ethernet for broader outdoor deployments. Last, the FSM100xx includes a software-defined modem, which gives carriers the flexibility to control and update their hardware when needed to comply with future 3GPP releases of the 5G NR spec. Qualcomm says it expects the FSM100xx to begin sampling in 2019. Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all claim they will launch 5G in select markets by the end of 2018.
The FCC today said it is investigating reports that a web site leaked the location data of millions of U.S. cell phones. A security researcher claims a company called LocationSmart suffered a leak and made it possible track the whereabouts of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless customers without their consent. Accuracy of the location data was as good as a few hundred yards. On her Twitter account today FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, "The @FCC needs to investigate. No ifs, ands, or buts." Senator Ron Wyden agreed, saying, "This leak, only days after the lax security at Securus was exposed, shows how little companies throughout the wireless ecosystem value Americans’ security. Wireless carriers and LocationSmart appear to have allowed nearly any hacker with a basic knowledge of web sites to track the location of any American with a cell phone. A hacker could have used this site to know when you were in your house so they would know when to rob it. A predator could have tracked your child’s cell phone to know when they were alone." Wyden demanded an investigation and the FCC appears to agree. The agency has pushed the matter to its enforcement bureau to investigate.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless today voiced support for the Red Hydrogen One phone, which they'll sell later this summer. The Hydrogen One was first announced in summer of 2017. It is a pricey Android phone with a 5.7-inch "holographic" display touting glasses-free 3D. While the display supports traditional stereo 3D, it also supports a new 3D-like "holographic" technology created by Red called Hydrogen 4-View (H4V). The phone body sports Red's industrial design and comes in either aluminum or titanium. The Hydrogen One will support snap-on modules for shooting both high-resolution video and H4V content. It will also integrate with other Red products, serving as a touchscreen controller and monitor for Red cameras. The phone also has USB-C and a microSD memory card slot. When first announced, Red listed the Hydrogen One's price as $1,195. Neither AT&T nor Verizon said what they'll charge for the phone. The Hydrogen One was expected to go on sale in early 2018, but it has been delayed several times. An exact for-sale date was not provided.
LG today said it has commenced sales of its flagship G7 ThinQ phone in its home market of South Korea. The G7 ThinQ, announced earlier this month, is a premium metal-and-glass phone with a super bright 6.1-inch screen, Snapdragon 845 processor, AI-assisted dual rear cameras, BoomBox speaker, and Android 8 Oreo. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have committed to selling the LG G7 ThinQ beginning later this month. So far, however, U.S. pricing for the phone has been kept a secret. LG says carriers will announce pricing closer to the actual for-sale date. Pre-orders for the G7 ThinQ in the U.S. are expected to begin on or around May 24, with a ship date of June 1.
Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam today indicated that Los Angeles will be one of the carrier's first 5G markets, and that it will launch during the fourth quarter of the year. 5G is "a lot closer than people think," said McAdam. Los Angeles will join Sacramento and Boston on Verizon's short list of initial 5G markets. "This has been a three-year journey for us," said McAdam. "I have never seen a technology that is as disruptive and has as much benefit to consumers as 5G. We’re charging ahead." Verizon is testing a number of different technologies for its forthcoming 5G network, including millimeter wave. Verizon and its carrier competitors are all racing to be first to deploy 5G, with AT&T and T-Mobile also targeting late 2018 launches.
Verizon Wireless today said it has successfully kicked off LTE-Advanced service using Band 48 spectrum, known as Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). This slice of 3.5 GHz spectrum has previously been reserved for government and military use. Using carrier aggregation, pairing its own AWS and 700 MHz spectrum with 50 MHz of the 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum, and using advanced technologies such as 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM, Verizon was able to achieve peak speeds of 790 Mbps. Verizon has been testing this technology in its Texas labs since last year. It was able to deploy the service with gear from Ericsson and Qualcomm. Verizon says this marks the commercial launch of its LTE-A service in Band 48. The initial market with access to Band 48 service is Boca Raton, Fla. Verizon says its expects to debut devices with support for Band 48 later this year. Verizon didn't say what markets might be next to see Band 48 service go live.
Verizon Wireless today said it will sell the Moto G6 Play, Moto E5 Play (pictured), and Moto G6 phones from Motorola. The G6 Play and E5 Play will be offered by Verizon Prepaid. The E5 Play is available starting today for $95, and the G6 Play will follow soon. The Moto G6 will be sold by Verizon’s standard postpaid service beginning May 24. Pricing for the G6 Play and G6 were not announced. Motorola revealed all three phones last month. The E5 Play is an entry level phone, while the G6 Play and G6 are mid-range devices. All three run Android 8 Oreo.
Verizon Wireless has helped a small app-based service called Visible get off the ground in recent months, according to TechCrunch. Visible is an invite-only service that acts like an MVNO. People who are invited to join will be sent a SIM card that they can use along with the app to access Verizon’s LTE 4G service, with unlimited data, calls, and messaging for $40 per month. Verizon says Visible does not throttle users and it relies on internet-based billing, such as PayPal and Venmo. For the moment, Visible is only available to unlocked iPhones.
Sony fans can bring the Xperia XZ2 Compact to Verizon, according to the company. The XZ2 Compact has passed device certification at Verizon, which means it will function properly on Big Red's network. Verizon customers can buy the Xperia XZ2 Compact unlocked from Best Buy and bring it to their local Verizon store for BYOD activation. The XZ2 Compact may be small, but it has nearly all the features of the larger XZ2, including a Snapdragon 845 processor, 2:1 full-HD display, 19-megapixel camera, fingerprint reader, NFC, and memory card slot.
AT&T does not plan to sell LG's new flagship phone, the G7 ThinQ, according to The Verge. Instead, the company plans to offer an exclusive phone from LG later this summer. “We offer a strong lineup of devices from LG today. And we’re planning to launch a new LG device this summer only from AT&T," said the company in a statement. AT&T competitors Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular all plan to sell the G7 ThinQ, which will be available for preorder starting on or about May 25. T-Mobile said it will sell the G7 later this spring. AT&T did not provide a reason for skipping the G7 ThinQ.
Following T-Mobile’s lead, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular have all committed to selling the new LG G7 ThinQ phone. Verizon Wireless said it will begin accepting preorders on May 24. Verizon did not specify a ship date. Sprint said it will start taking preorders on May 25, with an expected June 1 ship date. U.S. Cellular said it will take orders for the G7 ThinQ beginning June 1. None of these carriers has indicated what the phone might cost. AT&T is the only major carrier yet to announce launch details for the G7.
Samsung will install mobile apps from Verizon's Oath on all its Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones moving forward, according to Reuters. The two have signed a distribution agreement that will see Oath's Newsroom, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, and Go90 mobile apps preloaded on the phones. "The amount of content consumption on phones is continuing to skyrocket and I think brands and consumers want more high quality content," said Oath CEO Time Armstrong. Oath hopes owners of the S9 and S9+ will use the apps and view the advertising therein. Further, Samsung and Oath will let advertisers put ads that resemble content within the apps. "This gets ads one step closer to being direct to consumer," said Armstrong. "You can’t be more direct than being on the mobile phone home screen and app environment." The two companies will split the revenue generated by the ad views. Oath is the combined entity that used to be AOL and Yahoo. The companies didn't say when the apps will be added to S9 and S9+ phones.
Verizon Wireless today released a Spanish language version of its My Verizon app. Verizon says the app should be easy for people to use on Android and iOS devices alike. For example, the app will automatically open in Spanish for those who've set their phone's language to Spanish. Further, when people switch their phone from Spanish to English, the app will also automatically change. The My Verizon app lets people view and manage their data and bill details; change their plan when needed; and tap into on-demand support. Verizon says more features are headed to the My Verizon app in the near future. My Verizon is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
The Justice Department, during closing arguments of its case against the AT&T-Time Warner merger, suddenly suggested the judge weigh "alternative" remedies should he choose not to block the deal. The Justice Department has fought against the merger from the start, saying AT&T would use Time Warner's content as a weapon against consumers, raising prices and limiting competition. Throughout the six-week trial, however, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon has seemed skeptical of the Justice Department's case. In a surprise twist, Justice Department attorney Craig Conrath took advantage of his closing arguments to suggest Leon take at least some protective measures. If Leon chooses to allow the deal to proceed, Conrath asked that the judge force AT&T to divest part of Time Warner in order to close the deal — specifically Turner Networks. Time Warner generates television and movie content and is separate from Time Warner Cable, which provides cable TV and internet service in New York. This deal is just for Time Warner the content company. Conrath also suggested that AT&T be forced to make "structural" alterations to minimize the deal's effect on customers. The Justice Department had already asked AT&T for divestures. It refused, saying such requirements weren't necessary. AT&T insists it needs to acquire Time Warner in order to compete with Verizon Communications. The judge said he will announce his decision at a hearing on June 12.
Huawei's survival in America is facing a new threat: a criminal investigation over whether or not it violated sanctions preventing the sale or export of select goods to Iran. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into Huawei's dealings with Iran to see if it broke U.S. law, though it's unclear how far along the probe is and what specific allegations are being made. The investigation "follows administrative subpoenas on sanctions-related issues from both the Commerce Department and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control," reports the Wall Street Journal. If Huawei is found to have violated U.S. law, it could be hit with severe penalties. The U.S government has already targeted the company this year, suggesting it is a security threat. AT&T and Verizon Wireless backed out of distribution deals with Huawei after being pressured by the U.S. government, and lawmakers have proposed to make it illegal for government employees to use Huawei phones. Huawei, the world's third-largest maker of phones, did not comment on the new assault. Last year, Huawei rival ZTE settled a similar lawsuit over sanction violations.
The GSMA telecommunications group today said it will pause work on the eSIM standard while the U.S. Justice Department completes its investigation over the technology. The Justice Department alleges that AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and the GSMA have been colluding to make it more difficult for consumers to take advantage of the benefit of eSIMs. eSIMs act as an electronic version of the physical SIM cards most phones use to identify the subscriber on the network. The original idea behind the cards was to make it easier for consumers to switch network providers via software. Apple and other companies complained to the U.S. government that AT&T, Verizon, and the GSMA are in fact doing the opposite, and making it more difficult for eSIM devices to be used on competing networks. Apple uses its own Apple SIM, which works like an eSIM, in some iPads. Verizon said the inquiry was "much ado about nothing." AT&T and Apple have not commented on the matter.
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating AT&T and Verizon for secretly colluding to put carrier-locking ability into the new eSIM industry standard, according to the New York Times. eSIM technology eliminates the physical SIM card that gives a phone its number and identity on the network, replacing it with a virtual SIM that can be loaded and replaced over the network. The Apple Watch and Pixel 2 already include eSIM, but the standard is new and evolving. As originally designed, eSIM could make it easier for consumers to switch their existing phone to a different wireless carrier. AT&T and Verizon are accused of secretly colluding with the GSMA standards group to alter the standard so that eSIM phones could be locked to one carrier. Such a move could be harmful to smaller carriers, and thus the alleged collusion could run afoul of antitrust laws. The Justice Department investigation started when both a phone maker and another carrier filed formal complaints.
Verizon Wireless today debuted Verizon Smart Family, a revamped service to help parents keep track of how their kids use their phones. The app allows parents to manage screen time by pausing the internet, to check battery status, and to view texts and calls. Verizon Smart Family provides more fine-tuned content filters, which help parents block inappropriate web sites and apps. The service also includes an optional location-tracking feature with geo-fencing. Verizon Smart Family costs $4.99 per month per line for the basic service, and $9.99 per month per line with location tracking. Verizon Smart Family is available starting April 19.
Motorola's g-series phones have a long-held reputation for value and quality. With the 2018 incarnation, Moto is trying harder than ever to bring high-end features and design to a low price point. For $250, you get a metal body, curved glass back, full-HD screen with 2:1 ratio, dual camera with portrait mode and object recognition, USB-C, fast charging, a fingerprint reader, an ultrasonic sensor that lights up the screen as you approach. It also has much better support for U.S. LTE networks than most unlocked phones, including Verizon, Sprint, and newer bands used by AT&T and T-Mobile. How does it stack up in person? Here are our first impressions.
Motorola today announced four new affordable Android phones coming to the U.S. market before mid-year. Spread across the Moto e5 and Moto g6 series, all four new phones share the company's evolved design language that debuted with the Moto X4 last year. They also all sport a fingerprint reader, a clean version of Android 8 Oreo, Moto Actions gesture shortcuts, a water-repellent coating, front cameras with an LED flash, 3.5mm audio jacks, and memory card slots. They have Qualcomm Snapdragon 400-series processors supporting Cat. 6 LTE, and excellent support for all major US networks, including Sprint, Verizon, and band 66.
- Moto g6: The highest-end model of the group, it has a curved glass back, metal frame, and a 5.7-inch full-HD display with 2:1 ratio. It's powered by a Snapdragon 450 processor with either 3 or 4 GB of RAM, and 32 or 64 GB of storage. The 3,000 mAh battery supports fast charging via the USB-C port. The 12-megapixel camera (f/1.8) is aided by a 5-megapixel camera for depth sensing, to create portrait effects. The camera app includes object, landmark, and text recognition, as well as slow-motion and time-lapse modes. An ultrasonic system detects when you approach the phone and lights up the display to show the time and notifications. It will be sold unlocked for $249, and via carriers.
- Moto g6 Play: This more affordable model (at $199) has a rounded polycarbonate back and metal frame. The 5.7-inch display with 2:1 ratio is 720p HD resolution. It's powered by a Snapdragon 427 processor with either 2 or 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The 4,000 mAh battery supports fast charging via micro-USB. The main camera is 13-megapixel camera with PDAF, while the front camera is 8-megapixel. Like the g6, it will be sold unlocked and via carriers. It supports all AT&T bands, include LTE 14, 29, and 30.
- Moto e5 Plus: A larger version of the Moto g6 Play. It has the same design and features, except the battery steps up to 5,000 mAh, the display size is bumped to 6 inches, and it adds laser focusing to the camera. The processor is a Snapdragon 435 and there is just one configuration with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. It will be available in the U.S. exclusively from carriers.
- Moto e5 Play: A lower-end model, similar to e-series models of years past. Its plastic shells pops off to reveal a removable (2,800 mAh) battery. Its 5.2-inch display has HD resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. The Snapdragon 427 processor is accompanied by 2 of RAM and 16 GB of storage. (However at least one variant will have a Snapdragon 425 processor that only supports Cat. 4 LTE.) The cameras are 8 megapixel (rear) and 5 megapixel (front), and it can record 1080p video. Like the other models, it has dual-band Wi-Fi, a fingerprint reader, and gesture shortcuts. It will also be available exclusively from carriers.