Xfinity Mobile, the Comcast MVNO for Xfinity home internet customers, today introduced discounts for accounts with multiple lines. The discounts are greater for more lines, similar to what many other US carriers offer. While a single line of unlimited data remains $45/month, two lines are now $40 each, while four lines are just $30/line. Three lines are $33.33/line, to make the monthly total an even $100. Other aspects of Xfinity's mobile plan are unchanged. Xfinity Mobile runs on Verizon's 4G / 5G network.
Sony today announced its 2021 phone lineup for consumers: the Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III. The two phones are both high-end models with similar specs and features, with the 5 III being the smaller of the two. Both phones have OLED displays with 120 Hz refresh and three 12-megapixel rear cameras. While the standard and wide-angle cameras are similar to last year's models, the new periscope-style telephoto camera has its own optical zoom feature, offering both 2.9x and 4.4x zoom. The main and telephoto cameras include OIS (optical image stabilization). The phones are powered by Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 888 chip and offer excellent support for the (sub-6) 5G and 4G networks of T-Mobile and Verizon. Other specs include 4,500 mAh battery with 30W USB-PD fast charging, Android 11, NFC, memory card slot, headset jack, and IP68 water resistance. The stereo speakers are the first in a phone to support 360 Reality Audio. The Xperia 5 III has a 6.1-inch display with FHD+ resolution, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage. The larger Xperia 1 III has a 6.5-inch display with 4K resolution, 12 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage. The 1 III also adds a ToF camera, wireless charging, Gorilla Glass Victus on the front, and speakers that are 40% louder than last year's model. The Xperia 1 III design consists of frosted glass and "blasted" metal, available in black or purple. The 5 III has a mirror finish and will be available in black or green. Both phones will be ship in the US "this summer". Pricing is to be announced.
Samsung today announced the US launch of five new phones in the company's affordable Galaxy A series, including three 5G models. The Galaxy A32 5G will be the most affordable 5G model at just $280, and will be exclusive to T-Mobile (and Metro) at launch. Samsung is able to offer 5G at this prince thanks in part to the MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G chip in the A32 5G, whereas the two pricier 5G models use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G. Samsung announced the A32 5G and A52 5G a few weeks ago, but withheld US launch details at that time. The Galaxy A52 5G will run $500 and come to both AT&T and T-Mobile (including Metro). New is the Galaxy A42 5G, which is similar to the A32 5G but adds mmWave 5G for Verizon. It also swaps the 90 Hz LCD display for a 60 Hz Super AMOLED display, switches to an in-display (optical) fingerprint reader, and has double the storage at 128 GB. Most other keys specs are identical to the A32 5G. The A42 has a unique design on the back divided into four equal parts. Verizon starts selling the Galaxy A42 5G tomorrow for $400. All three 5G models will be available by the end of this week. The two more affordable 4G models are the A12 and A02s. We reported on the Galaxy A12 for AT&T on Monday. That model will also come to T-Mobile this week, and Verizon on April 29th. The most affordable model is the new Galaxy A02s (shown), "starting at" $110, although Verizon will sell it for $150 and T-Mobile says "Stay tuned for pricing details." The A02s has the same 6.5-inch HD display and huge 5,000 mAh battery as the A12, but with expected cost-trimming on the cameras (13 megapixel main and no wide-angle), processor (Snapdragon 450), and RAM (2 GB instead of 3). The A02s also loses NFC and the fingerprint reader, but keeps 15W fast charging, USB-C, memory card slot, and the headset jack. The A02s is distinguished by its textured design on the back, divided into sections diagonally. Verizon starts selling the A02s on April 29th; T-Mobile has yet to announce a launch date.
MVNO US Mobile today launched a special promo offering 50% off its plans for one year (up to a maximum of $250 saved for the whole year) when new customers activate a OnePlus 9 or OnePlus 9 Pro. US Mobile offers service on both the Verizon and T-Mobile networks, but this offer applies to customers signing up for the Verizon network, which US Mobile refers to as its "Super LTE network". US Mobile offers unlimited plans starting at $45/month for one line, or as low as $25/line for multiple lines. Non-unlimited plans range from $12/month for 1 GB of data to $30/month for 30 GB of data (all include unlimited talk and text). Prices do not include taxes and fees. All US Mobile plans include free access to 5G with compatible phones.
Bullitt Group today announced the CAT S62 Pro, the latest in its line of ruggedized phones for field professionals. The company is releasing the US version today, which has excellent support for T-Mobile and Verizon 4G networks, and will also work on AT&T. The S62 Pro is the third CAT-branded phone to feature a FLIR thermal imager, and sports the most advanced thermal sensor in a phone to date with full-HD+ resolution, a high-end spec for this type of sensor. It's also the first CAT+FLIR phone with a sleeker design instead of the odd hump hat extended from the top of the S60 and S61. The camera software includes FLIR's newest algorithms for combining thermal and visible imaging in real time, with several options and adjustable intensity. The software also includes new "analytic and reporting features typically found in higher end, dedicated thermal imaging products", including the ability to generate PDF reports of thermal conditions. The phone is also rated IP68 & IP69 for water and dust, as well as MIL-SPEC for thermal shock, high & low temps, vibration, humidity, and salt mist. It's fully washable with soap. The screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 6 and works with gloves and wet fingers. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (which is expandable). Other specs include a 5.7-inch FHD+ LCD display, 12 megapixel main camera, 4,000 mAh battery, and Quick Charge 4. Other features include 4K video capture, Android 10, NFC, fingerprint reader, and LED notification light. Bullitt promises an update to Android 11 and three years of security updates. The CAT S62 Pro is available today starting today for $699 unlocked.
Verizon this week announced that it will finally shut down "the last of" its legacy 3G CDMA network on December 31, 2022. Verizon has set and extended the date several times already, but now promises that "The date will not be extended again." Verizon started preparing for this transition many years ago, requiring that all new phones (including basic feature phones) support 4G LTE and VoLTE. Newer Verizon phones do not even support CDMA, and Verizon stopped activating new CDMA devices starting in 2018. Verizon says that less than 1% of its customers still access the CDMA network. Verizon is urging customers still using CDMA devices to upgrade as soon as possible, saying they may "experience a degradation or complete loss of service" "as we move closer to the shut off date" and the company "will only be able to offer extremely limited troubleshooting help on these older devices." The move is necessary in order to free up radio spectrum for more-efficient technologies such as 4G LTE and 5G NR, which means better service to customers using those new technologies (which is over 99% of Verizon customers).
OnePlus today announced the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro, its newest flagship phones. The 9 Pro is a true flagship-class phone with a QHD AMOLED display with variable refresh from 1 to 120 Hz, and IP68 water rating, starting at $969. The standard OnePlus 9 is priced more like an "affordable flagship" at $729, but keeps many high-end specs like a Snapdragon 888 chip, 50-megapixel wide-angle camera, 120 Hz display, and wireless charging. Both models include "Hasselblad Camera for Mobile", which tunes the coloring of photos in auto mode "to bring more perceptually accurate and natural-looking colors to photos". The phones also include a Hasselblad Pro Mode, optimized for professionals who prefer to capture in 12-bit RAW for post-processing. OnePlus and Hasselblad have established a long-term partnership that will extend to phone sensors and optics in the future.
- The OnePlus 9 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip, sub-6 GHz 5G (including the forthcoming C-band), 8–12 GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128–256 GB UFS 3.1 storage, 4,500 mAh battery, Warp Charge 65T fast charging, 15W Qi wireless charging, 6.55-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh and HDR10+, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. Its main camera is 48 megapixel and can capture 8K video. A wide-angle camera clocks in at 50 megapixel and has a "Freeform" lens that reduces edge distortion. The wide camera doubles as a high-quality macro camera, and the camera app has a new Tilt-Shift mode. There's also an extra monochrome camera and a 16 megapixel front camera. Other features include Android 11, OnePlus' signature sliding alert switch, stereo speakers, NFC, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The lightweight frame is made from fiberglass-reinforced polymer. In the US, it will be available in two glossy finishes: Winter Mist (purple) or Astral Black. The base version is 8 / 128 GB for $729, with the 12 / 256 GB model going for $829 (in black only).
- The OnePlus 9 Pro builds on the standard model with numerous upgrades, including mmWave 5G, IP68 water resistance rating, aluminum frame, and 50W fast wireless charging. Battery and memory specs are the same. The display is slightly larger at 6.7 inches and has been upgraded with QHD+ resolution and curved sides. The display also features "Fluid Display 2.0", which automatically adjusts the refresh rate as needed from 120 Hz all the way down to 1 Hz, which saves battery life. This is made possible by an AMOLED display panel with a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) backplane layer. The phone senses ambient light from both the front and back, to automatically adjust both brightness and color temperature of the display. As for cameras, the main 48-megapixel sensor has been upgraded to a custom-designed IMX789 sensor, co-developed with Sony, with OIS. The 50-megapixel wide camera is the same, but a 3.3x telephoto camera has been added, with 8 megapixel resolution and OIS. The Pro also adds laser focusing and an extra microphone for audio zoom when recording video. The OnePlus 9 Pro be available in glossy Morning Mist (silver) with 8 / 128 GB for $969. The step-up 12 / 256 GB version will run $1,069 and come in Morning Mist or matte Pine Green.
Verizon this week told investors what it plans to do with the C-band radio spectrum it purchased for $45 billion in a recent FCC auction. The company will use it to deploy mid-band 5G, filling a crucial gap in the company's 5G network. Currently, Verizon offers low-band 5G with broad coverage but data performance barely better (and sometimes worse) than 4G. This is available to all customers at no extra charge. Verizon also offers "Ultra Wideband" 5G service using mmWave frequencies. This offers very fast data rates but very limited coverage. Verizon only offers Ultra Wideband to customers on pricier unlimited plans, excluding those on metered plans or the basic Start Unlimited plan. The new C-band 5G service should offer a better balance of coverage and data speeds. Verizon told investors that it will treat the new mid-band 5G service the same as its mmWave Ultra Wideband service, restricting access to customers on premium plans. Verizon also stated that all new phones it launches going forward will support C-band (band 77). The company plans to spend $10 billion over the next three years on the physical infrastructure to add C-band 5G to its network.
Kyocera's ultra-rugged 5G phone, the DuraForce Ultra, is now available from Verizon for $900. The phone was announced two months ago and combines high-end specs with a body that's durable, washable, and certified for hazardous locations.
The FCC today announced the winners of Auction 107 for radio frequency licenses in the coveted "C-Band". Verizon spent $45.5 billion, well over half the $81.1 billion total spent in the whole auction. All major US carriers spent large amounts, with AT&T spending $23.4 billion, T-Mobile spending $9.3 billion, and US Cellular spending $1.3 billion. Auction 107 is for radio frequencies spanning 3.7 to 3.98 GHz. This band is unusually large at 280 MHz wide, giving it valuable high capacity for many users and/or fast data speeds. Spectrum in these "mid-band" frequencies is also valuable because it's ideal for building 5G networks that offer a good balance of fast data speeds and broad coverage. Most current 5G networks in the US offer only fast speeds or broad coverage, an issue that is particularly acute for Verizon at the moment. Auction 107 is likely to be the largest and most important of several C-band auctions the FCC is holding. Auction 105 was the first, though it raised only $4.6 billion. The next will be Auction 110, for 3.45 – 3.55 GHz. The FCC finalized its proposed rules for that auction earlier this week.
Google Fi and Verizon Prepaid recently launched new introductory deals for new customers / added lines. Verizon Prepaid is offering the third month of service for free, while Google is offering half off the first three months of service. Verizon also offers "loyalty" discounts that kick in starting on the fourth month.
Visible just launched a variety of new service offerings and revamped plans. Customers with compatible phones can now access Verizon's 5G network at no extra cost. The company's unlimited voice service now includes calling to Canada, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Visible also now supports phone activation via eSIM on iPhones launched in 2018 (Xs and Xr) and newer, "with Android devices coming soon". Finally, the company has tweaked its Party Pay plans and added a referral program. Whereas Party Pay shared plans were previously capped at four people, they are now unlimited, with groups of four or more paying $25/month each. The company has also launched a community forum to help people find Party Pay groups to join. (The company does not require that groups be related, and in fact nearly one third of all customers using Party Pay are in a group with someone they don't know.) The referral program reduces your bill to $5 the month after you refer a new customer.
Motorola and Verizon are running a Valentine's Day sale offering a $500 discount on the flex-screen razr (2019) and the 5G edge+. Both are normally priced at $1000, so the discount cuts the price in half, to just $500. That is, by far, the lowest price for a foldable phone to date. This discount is available to both new and existing customers, and does not require a new line nor trade-in, but it does require a "select unlimited plan" and is only available online. The sale started February 4th and runs through February 14th. Further discounts can lower the price to zero with an eligible phone trade-in. The companies are also offering a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) deal on the edge+ "with new line activation and premium unlimited plan."
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority today announced the completion of its project to offer cellular service in all 100 miles of underground tunnels and stations in the Washington, D.C. Metrorail system. Passengers can now receive uninterrupted AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon service on their phones throughout their entire journey. The project was mandated in a bill passed by Congress in 2008.
Sony today launched the Xperia Pro, a $2,500 phone designed specifically for video and photo professionals. The Xperia Pro has four mmWave 5G antennas for reliable connection to Verizon's Ultra Wideband 5G network (where available). This enables live broadcast of video and speedy upload of photos. It has unique wired input capabilities — including micro-HDMI — allowing it to connect directly to professional video and still cameras. The phone also comes with an External Monitor app for use with professional cameras. A "Network Visualizer" feature helps users find the strongest 5G signal for solid live video transmissions. The Xperia Pro was first announced last February. Since then, the specs have been boosted from 8 to 12 of RAM. Other specs are as initially announced, including 512 GB storage, memory card slot, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, 4,000 mAh battery, and a 6.5-inch OLED display with HDR and unique 1644 x 3840 pixel resolution. Its built-in triple rear cameras are all 12 megapixel and include standard, telephotos, and wide lenses, aided by "3D iToF" and RGB-IR color sensors. Additional features include water resistance, NFC, Wi-Fi 6, fast charging, and front-facing stereo speakers. It's available starting today from B&H Photo.
Kyocera today announced the DuraForce Ultra 5G UW, Kyocera's first 5G phone for the US and the first ultra-rugged phone in Verizon's 5G phone lineup. This ultra-rugged is certified military standard 810H to withstand drops of up to 5 feet directly onto concrete, water immersion (IPX6/IPX8), dust (IP6X), extreme temperatures, salt, fog, solar, shock, hazardous work environments and more. It's also fully washable and certified for Class I, Division 2 hazardous locations. Kyocera put its "virtually scratchproof" Sapphire Shield protection on both the display and camera lenses. It has a 24 megapixel main camera, 16 megapixel wide-angle (117º) camera, and an 8 megapixel front camera. It also has a ToF camera for fast auto-focus and advanced AR. The main camera supports pixel binning in low light, there's a multi-frame Super Night Vision mode, and an underwater mode. An Action Overlay "provides outdoor enthusiasts the ability to add elapsed time, distance, speed, G-force, altitude, date/time and map of route traveled to photos and videos". Dual front speakers provide 106dB of speakerphone and PTT volume for loud environments. The DuraForce Ultra also supports 802.11mc indoor positioning, CBRS, and Mission-Critical PTT (MCPTT). Other specs include a 4,500 battery, wireless charging, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 5.45-inch full-HD display that works with gloves and when wet, fingerprint reader on the side, and a 3.5mm jack that supports stereo audio and PTT controls. Pricing will be announced when it launches on Verizon, which will be "very soon", according to Kyocera.
Motorola today unveiled a full lineup of four new affordable phones, including three g-series models ranging from $169 – $299 and one 5G model for $399. All four feature large batteries (4,000 – 5,000 mAh) and large displays (6.5 – 6.8 inches). All four also include a fingerprint reader, multiple cameras, headset jack, memory card slot, USB-C connector, and a "water-repellant design" that protects against accidental spills, splashes, sweat, or light rain. They ship with Android 10 and Motorola promises one full OS version update plus two years of security updates. Moto's latest camera app supports AI scene detection and optimization, Google Lens, portrait mode, RAW format, Active Photos, Auto Smile Capture, Gesture Selfie, time-lapse, and slow-motion on all models. All four also support gestures such as Lift to unlock, Flip for DND (Do Not Disturb), Pick up to silence, and Fast flashlight, where a quick double-chop motion turns the flashlight on or off. All four phones will be available unlocked as well as from many US carriers.
- moto g play (2021): The most affordable at $170, this phone has a 6.5-inch HD display with notch, huge 5,000 mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset, 3 GB RAM, and 32 GB built-in storage. Its primary 13 megapixel camera is assisted by a depth camera for portrait mode, and the front camera is 5 megapixel. It also has 10W fast charging. The new moto g play will be offered in the coming months by AT&T, Cricket, Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, Metro by T-Mobile, T-Mobile, Republic Wireless, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile.
- moto g power (2021): Upgrades compared to the g play include: Snapdragon 662 chipset, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, up to 15W fast charging, "48 megapixel" main camera that outputs 12-megapixel photos using pixel binning, 2-megapixel macro camera, and an 8-megapixel front camera. The upgraded main camera enables a Night Vision mode and better low-light performance in general. The camera app also gains Cinemagraph mode, Group Selfie, and Spot Color for video. The fingerprint reader moves to the side and the display is slightly larger at 6.6 inches, with a corner hole-punch design. This new moto g power will sell for $250, although Best Buy will sell a variant with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage for $200. It will also come to Boost Mobile, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, Republic Wireless, US Cellular, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile in the coming months.
- moto g stylus (2021): This model adds a stylus that stows in the bottom-right of the phone. It comes with two special apps: Moto Note and Coloring Book. The stylus also offers system-wide shortcuts and works with third-party apps. This is the only model of the four to come with a smaller 4,000 mAh battery, which Motorola says was necessary to make room for the stylus. It has several spec upgrades compared to the g power, including a larger 6.8-inch display with full-HD resolution, Snapdragon 678 chipset, 128 GB storage, 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, 16 megapixel selfie camera, and 4K video capture. It will sell for $300 unlocked. Boost Mobile, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, and Republic Wireless will also offer it in the coming months.
- Motorola one 5G ace: Combines the best of the g power and g stylus specs (minus the stylus) while adding 5G (sub-6 GHz only) thanks to its Snapdragon 750G chipset. Other upgrades include 6 GB RAM, NFC, and an official IP rating for water resistance: IP54 for the T-Mobile version and IP52 for other versions. The display measures 6.7 inches with a centered hole-punch design, and the fingerprint reader is located on the back. It will run $400 unlocked. AT&T, Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, Metro by T-Mobile, T-Mobile, Republic Wireless, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile will also offer it in the coming months.
Verizon has once again delayed the planned shutdown of its legacy CDMA network. The company originally planned to shut down the network at the end of 2019, then in mid-2019 postponed it to the end of 2020. Now, the company says: "we don't have a plan to shut it down at this time". Verizon's original CDMA network was first launched as a 2G network by Bell Atlantic in 1996. Verizon then upgraded that CDMA network to 3G with the rollout of EV-DO technology in 2004. Each separate network technology requires its own dedicated part of the radio spectrum, and older technologies make less-efficient use of the limited resource that is radio spectrum. Verizon's original plans to phase out CDMA would have freed up more of Verizon's licensed spectrum for newer, more efficient 4G and 5G technologies, allowing the company to accommodate more 4G and 5G customers with better service. But apparently more customers remain active on the CDMA network than Verizon is willing to leave stranded.
Kyocera Mobile is featuring a new video on its home page that teases the "fastest", "toughest", and "loudest ultra-rugged device" with "5G connectivity", "coming soon in 2021". This week the FCC approved a Kyocera phone matching that description, with frequency bands that indicate it's intended for Verizon's network. The phone, with technical model number E7110, supports both sub-6 and mmWave 5G, as well as NFC. Little else was revealed by the FCC approval documents. It's not yet clear if the phone will be exclusive to Verizon. Kyocera's last major phone for the US — the DuraForce Pro 2 — was released first for Verizon, then with AT&T five months later.
Verizon today announced the availability of "Nationwide" low-band 5G in four new areas of the country and faster "Ultra Wideband" mmWave 5G in parts of four new cities. The low-band network (offering wide coverage but speeds closer to 4G) is now available to an additional 24 million customers in central Texas, Tulsa, upstate New York, and the New England area. The "Ultra Wideband" mmWave 5G network — which offers much faster speeds but has coverage limited to specific dense areas of major cities — is now available in parts of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Albuquerque, and Durham. Verizon also announced that it has deployed carrier aggregation (CA) on its mmWave 5G network, enabling double data rates for "peak speeds up to 4 Gbps possible in some locations".
Ting introduced new rate plans today that completely revamp the way the MVNO charges for service. The company previously offered fixed allotments of data, voice, and text messages, which could be customized individually. The new plans join the rest of the industry in offering unlimited voice and texting standard, and unlimited 2G data when high-speed data run out. Three main plans offer different high-speed data options. The "Flex" plan starts at $10/month, plus $5/month for each 1 GB of shared high-speed data. Ting's "high-speed" data includes 4G LTE and 5G access. The step-up "Set 5" plan runs $25/month for 5 GB high-speed data, all of which can be used for mobile hotspot. Finally, the "Unlimited" plan offers 12 GB high-speed data, 12 GB of which can be used for mobile hotspot, for $45/month. An Unlimited Pro plan offers 35 GB of high-speed data for $60/month. Ting operates on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks.
Nokia's first flagship phone in the US in many years is the Nokia 8 V 5G UW for Verizon. The 8 V is a variant of the Nokia 8.3 5G, Nokia's first 5G phone globally. The 8 V adds mmWave 5G and comes in a Meteor Gray finish, but is otherwise identical to the 8.3 5G. The 8V will be available from Verizon and Best Buy for $700 starting November 12th. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset. Key specs include a large 6.8-inch display, large 4,500 mAh battery, 64 megapixel main camera with Zeiss lens, 12 megapixel wide camera, and a 24 megapixel selfie camera. It also has fast charging, a headset jack, memory card slot, and dedicated programmable shortcut button. The fingerprint reader is integrated into the lock button on the side. The premium design is made from metal and 3D curved glass. HMD Global, the company behind Nokia phones, will run a US marketing campaign for the 8 V starring Lashana Lynch from the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die.
In late 2020, the focus of the mobile world is still on 5G, but it's not on flagship phones; the hot race is who can offer the best $400 5G phone. Verizon's big bet in this race is on the TCL 10 5G UW, which stands out for including faster mmWave 5G, a feature that usually carries a price premium. And this phone has a number of other specs usually found only on much pricier phones. So what corners did TCL cut to reach this low price? Is the phone actually any good? We took it for a quick spin to find out. Here are our first impressions.
Getting a 5G phone for Verizon just got a lot more affordable with the introduction of the TCL 10 5G UW. The phone is notable for several reasons. First is the $400 price point, a full $150 lower than Verizon's cheapest 5G phones before today. The $400 price point matches T-Mobile's cheapest 5G phone, the REVVL 5G, which is also made by TCL. In fact, the two phones are closely related, sharing many specs and the same "T790" technical model number. The TCL 10 5G UW is also notable for including faster mmWave 5G, a feature that usually carries a price premium. No competing phone near this price point includes mmWave, and Verizon's 5G phones usually carry a $50-100 premium because Verizon requires that all of its 5G phones include mmWave. The 10 5G UW is also notable for being the first TCL-branded phone in the postpaid lineup of Verizon, the largest carrier in the US; this marks a major milestone for the TCL brand. Finally, the 10 5G UW includes several high-end specs one might not expect in such an affordable phone, such as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G — a chip also found in some flagship-level phones — as well as 6 GB RAM, HDR10 display, and a 48-megapixel main camera. The premium design sports Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and 3D curved Gorilla Glass 5 on the back covering a subtle, dark prismatic crystal design. Additional specs include a 6.53-inch full-HD display, 128 GB storage plus memory card slot, 4,500 mAh battery, fast charging, and Super Bluetooth for connecting up to four audio devices simultaneously. It also has a wide-angle camera, macro camera, NFC, rear fingerprint reader, and a headset jack. It ships with Android 10 but TCL promises an update to Android 11 is on the way, along with at least two years of quarterly security updates. The TCL 10 5G UW will be available from Verizon starting this Thursday Oct. 29th.
Verizon today launched the Motorola One 5G for $550, matching the price of the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G, Verizon's cheapest 5G phone before today. AT&T sells the One 5G for $445, but Verizon's version adds support for mmWave 5G, which Verizon calls Ultra Wideband.
At Apple's iPhone 12 launch event, Verizon announced the launch of its nationwide sub-6 GHz 5G network, offering broad 5G coverage from Verizon for the first time. The network covers over 200 million people spanning 1,800 cities and towns. The company also detailed plans to continue expansion of its mmWave "Ultra Wideband" network, offering even higher speeds in select dense areas. The company is launching mmWave 5G in 19 new cities today, including Baltimore, Hartford, Jersey City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tucson. That bring Verizon's mmWave city count to 55, a number they expect to reach 60 by the end of the year.
Google today announced its 5G Pixel phones for 2020: the Pixel 5 and "Pixel 4a (5G)". The confusingly-named Pixel 4a (5G) actually has more in common with the Pixel 5 than with the Pixel 4a. Both have a large OLED display (6–6.2 inches) with HDR, large battery (roughly 4,000 mAh), the exact same high-quality camera arrays, Titan M security chip, and are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip. The key differences are that the Pixel 5 has wireless (and reverse wireless) charging, water resistance, aluminum (vs. polycarbonate) body, and 8 GB RAM instead of 6. However only the Pixel 4a (5G) has a 3.5mm headset jack. The new Pixels include several new camera features. Night Sight in Portrait Mode lets you take portrait shots with blurred backgrounds even in very low light. Portrait Light lets you simulate a studio light and position it anywhere relative to your subject. That feature can also be applied to existing photos in Google Photos. Video mode now lets you choose from three different stabilization modes, including a new Cinematic Pan mode. The main camera is the same 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture that Google has used in Pixel phones for the past year. The two new 5G models also have a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a departure from the Pixel 4 which had a telephoto camera instead. A new Hold for Me feature lets you assign Google Assistant to monitor a call on hold and alert you when a person is on the line. Extreme Battery Saver lets you pick which apps are essential and shuts down everything else to prolong battery life up to two days. Hold for Me and Extreme Battery Saver will come older Pixel phones via software update. Google has also improved its Recorder app, which records audio while transcribing it to text, even offline. Now, you can crop and remove sections of audio by simply editing the text. The Pixel 5 will be available unlocked in mint or black starting October 15th for $699. Pre-orders are open now. It will also come to Verizon with mmWave 5G for the same price, at a later date. The Pixel 4a (5G) will be available unlocked in November for $499, in black or white. Verizon will sell a version with mmWave 5G for $600, and will start taking pre-orders for that version October 29th.
Verizon will start taking pre-orders for the LG Wing on Oct. 1 for $1000, with full launch on Oct. 15. AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the Wing at a later date.
Verizon today launched the TCL Signa, the first TCL-branded phone to be launched by one of the big three US carriers. Previously, most TCL-made phones offered in the US bore the company's Alcatel brand. Although the Signa is an $80 entry-level phone for Verizon prepaid customers, it marks a major step in TCL's effort to expand the TCL brand in the US mobile market. Verizon lists the phone as the "Alcatel TCL SIGNA" on its web site, but the phone itself bears just the TCL and Verizon logos. The Signa has a 5.5-inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, 3,000 mAh battery, 8 megapixel main camera, USB-C, Android 10, dedicated Google Assistant button, memory card slot, and headset jack. It's available now for $80.
Samsung has a new, more affordable Galaxy S20 phone that starts at $699 while keeping the S20 specs and features that Samsung says surveyed users cared about most. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (abbreviated "FE") keeps flagship-level specs in many areas. This includes Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, large (6.5") AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, LPDDR5 RAM, DeX, memory card slot, IP68 dust and water rating, and a metal frame. It also has triple rear cameras (12 megapixel main, 12 megapixel wide, and 8 megapixel tele), 32 megapixel selfie camera, NFC, in-display optical fingerprint reader, and Samsung's latest advanced camera features such as Single Take and Space Zoom (30x). Most US carriers will offer three color options: Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, and Cloud Lavender. Verizon will also offer a Cloud Red option. The unlocked version from samsung.com will come in those four colors plus Cloud Orange and Cloud White. Most US carriers are expected to offer the Galaxy S20 FE. Most versions will only support sub-6 GHz 5G, but a version that also supports mmWave 5G will be available from Verizon for $750, ($700 after $50 instant discount when choosing a two-year payment plan and either: adding a new line, or upgrading while on a premium Unlimited plan). While the 6.5" screen and 4,500 battery are closer to the $1200 S20+, the S20 FE naturally makes a few compromises compared to the $1000 S20 to achieve its low price: less RAM at 6 GB, a full-HD screen that's perfectly flat, no 8K video capture, and a polycarbonate back instead of glass. Pre-orders start today and include a $70 credit (for accessories, for example) on samsung.com. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition ships on October 2nd.
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have officially launched ZenKey, a new way quickly log in to apps that leverages the authentication that happens automatically every time your phone connects to the cellular network. Apps must be updated to support ZenKey, and developers have the option of enabling ZenKey as the primary login, or as the second token in two-factor logins, replacing PIN codes sent my text message, for example. Customers must also download the ZenKey app (available for both iOS and Android) to start using ZenKey. Currently, only a handful of apps support ZenKey login, (mostly the carriers' own apps,) but carriers hope more apps will add support.
Verizon has introduced new Unlimited data plans for non-phone devices including smartwatches, tablets, and mobile hotspots. The new $10/month plan intended for smartwatches covers both watches with their own phone number and those using NumberShare to share a phone number between a phone and a watch. It includes 15GB of top-speed 4G LTE data, plus unlimited voice and texting. Previously, Verizon charged up to $15/month for just 1 GB of data. Existing customers will automatically be switched to the new pricing. The $20 plan, intended for tablets and hotspots, also includes 15 GB of top-speed data but adds hotspot functionality. Finally, a new Unlimited Plus plan for $30/month doubles the "premium" 4G data allotment to 30 GB and includes unlimited 5G data. Customers with a higher-end Unlimited phone plan (Do More or Get More) can get a 50% discount on Unlimited Plus, bringing it to just $15/month. The new plans are available starting today.
The first phone in LG's "Explorer Project" series is the LG Wing, a phone with a unique swivel display design. The 6.8-inch full-HD OLED main display swivels up to reveal a 3.9-inch second screen. The hinge features a hydraulic damper for smooth motion, and is rated for 200,000 swivels. The unique design is optimized for viewing videos full-screen while commenting or messaging on the second screen, for example. It can also keep GPS navigation full-screen while offering call controls on the second screen. A Grip Mode ignores accidental touches while recording video with the hinge open. A "Gimbal Motion Camera" mode takes this further with joystick, lock, and follow controls on the second screen. The 64 megapixel main camera is accompanied by two wide-angle cameras: a 12 megapixel "big pixel" camera plus another 13 megapixel wide camera. One wide-angle camera is mounted in standard portrait orientation while the other is rotated 90º to match the shape of the swivel screen when open. The 32 megapixel selfie camera pops up from the top of the phone. The Wing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 8 GB of RAM. It will come with either 128 or 256 GB of storage, plus a memory card slot. The 4,000 mAh battery can be charged via Quick Charge 4.0 or wireless charging. The Wing is rated IP54 for water and dust resistance. Available colors include Aurora Gray and "Illusion Sky". In the US, the LG Wing will launch first with Verizon, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T, and other US carriers. "Specific pricing, availability, specs and color options will vary by network partner."
Verizon has reached an agreement to buy TracFone, the country's leading prepaid mobile provider and largest reseller of wireless services. TracFone operates a family of value-oriented brands that includes StraightTalk, Net10, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, PagePlus, Walmart Family Mobile, SafeLink, and ClearWay. As an MVNO, TracFone replies on other mobile networks. Out of 21 million total TracFone customers, 13 million already use the Verizon network. "Following the acquisition, Verizon expects to bring its award-winning 4G LTE and 5G networks and other innovative technologies to Tracfone customers". Verizon already offers its own prepaid service and has a prepaid subsidiary called Visible. Verizon expects to keep all 850 TracFone employees. The $6.25 billion deal is expected to close in about a year.
The FCC has approved a version of the TCL 10 5G with a combination of frequency bands unique to Verizon's 4G and forthcoming sub-6 GHz 5G networks. Unlike all of Verizon's current 5G phones, it does not seem to support Verizon's existing mmWave 5G network. mmWave offers fast speeds but very limited coverage. mmWave also required special antennas in the phone, which is why Verizon's 5G phones to date have often been $50–100 more expensive than the the versions without mmWave offered by other carriers. No longer requiring mmWave will enable Verizon to offer more affordable 5G phones. Verizon is expected to launch its sub-6 GHz 5G network (with vastly greater coverage) in the coming months. TCL has already announced that the TCL 10 5G would come to a major US carrier by the end of the year, with TCL branding, for under $500.
The FCC today published the winners of the recent Auction 105 for part of the 3.5 GHz band. Verizon shelled out $1.9 billion for 557 licenses covering 157 counties, likely covering major cities. Dish Network (bidding as "Wetterhorn Wireless") shelled out $913 million for 5,492 licenses covering 3,128 counties. Several cable companies also participated, but for fewer and/or less-valuable licenses. In this part of the 3.5 GHz band, each license covers 10 MHz of bandwidth in one county. The FCC auctioned off a maximum of seven licenses in any given county, with each company allowed to own a maximum of four licenses per county. Verizon appears to have approached that maximum in the counties it bid for, gaining 40 MHz of spectrum in a slight majority of its 157 counties, and 30 MHz in all or most of the rest. Dish won spectrum covering many more counties, but likely in more rural areas since it paid less for those licenses. Dish appears to have averaged closer to two licenses (20 MHz) per county. Dish currently operates the Boost brand using the T-Mobile network, but is preparing to build its own 5G SA network over the coming years. Auction 105 is the first of three FCC auctions for different parts of the 3.5 GHz band. This auction covers 3550-3650 MHz. The next 3.5 GHz auction starts in December.
Samsung has revealed new details of its Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable phone, the successor to last year's pioneering Galaxy Fold. While Samsung has improved or refined most aspects of the design — including the hinge — the much larger outer display stands out, having grown from 4.6 to 6.2 inches, and now protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The flexible inner display is also larger thanks to thinner bezels, and is protected by Samsung's proprietary Ultra Thin Glass material that debuted on the Galaxy Z Flip earlier this year. It also supports adaptive screen refresh up to 120 Hz. Both screens have a single hole punch for a 10-megapixel selfie camera. The three rear cameras (standard, wide, and 2x telephoto) are all 12 megapixel. It has a 4,500 mAh battery. It supports 25W fast charging, 11W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. Its radios include both sub-6 and mmWave 5G, UWB, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It's available in one spec configuration — 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage (no memory card slot) — for $1999. Samsung is also expanding the "Galaxy Z Premier Service" included with all of its Z series phones with new VIP amenities such as Founders Card membership. Color options for the Z Fold2 are: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Optionally, the hinge color can be customized, which a choice of four metallic hinge colors: silver, gold, red, or blue. Starting September 18th, it will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked directly from Samsung. Pre-orders start at midnight tonight. Read on for a photo gallery, full specs, and new software feature info.
Motorola today announced the Motorola One 5G, a new sub-$500 phone with 5G and six cameras. It will launch with sub-6 GHz 5G "soon" on AT&T, while a version that also supports mmWave 5G will launch on Verizon in early October. Exact pricing and launch dates were not revealed. The One 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip and huge 5,000 mAh battery. It also has a 6.7-inch, full-HD display with HDR10 and 90 Hz refresh, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, memory card slot, headset jack, and NFC. Its four rear cameras include a 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and a 5 megapixel macro camera with a unique ring flash. Its dual hole-punch selfie cameras include a 16 megapixel standard camera and an 8 megapixel wide camera. Its side-mounted fingerprint reader can be double-tapped to summon a pop-up widget with customizable shortcuts to apps and app actions.
Verizon will start selling the LG Velvet this Friday, August 21st, for $700. Verizon has a US exclusive on the Aurora Red color. AT&T already sells the Velvet in silver and gray, and T-Mobile also plans to sell the Velvet. As with many 5G phones this year, only Verizon's model includes mmWave 5G as well as sub-6 GHz 5G. Verizon currently only offers a mmWave 5G network, with higher speeds but limited coverage. The company will launch its sub-6 5G network (with broad coverage but less impressive speeds) "soon".
Verizon has tweaked its unlimited plans to include more value at the same prices. The Just Kids plan now includes unlimited 4G data instead of a set 5GB. It's limited to 5 Mbps speed, just enough to stream video. The premium Play More and Get More plans now include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Previously, they only included Apple Music. (Apple Music is still included with Get More, but not Play More.) Previously, all plans included one free year of Disney+; that's been cut to a six-month trial on the cheaper plans. Verizon has also clarified that all of its unlimited plans will include access to the company's forthcoming sub-6 GHz "5G Nationwide" network with broad 5G coverage. Currently, Verizon only offers a mmWave "5G Ultra Wideband" network with higher speeds but very limited coverage. Access to that network will still require a premium plan such as Play More, Do More, or Get More. Those plans also include "Premium Network Access", which means priority access to the network (up to 50 GB), and the option for HD video streaming. Start Unlimited (and premium-plan customers exceeding 50 GB in one month) will experience slower speeds in times of network congestion. Plan prices remain unchanged. Play More — the cheapest plan to include the new streaming services — runs $80/month for a single line, $70/month/line for two lines, $55 with three lines, $45 with four lines, or $40 for five or more lines. Those prices also require Auto Pay and paper-free billing. Taxes and fees not included. The new plans will be available starting August 20th.