Samsung has introduced its third generation of Tactical Edition smartphones designed primarily for military personnel. For the first time, they support AT&T's FirstNet network and will be available to first responders. Also for the first time, there are two different models: a Galaxy S23 Tactical Edition, and a more-rugged Galaxy XCover6 Pro Tactical Edition. Samsung's Tactical Edition phones have a long list of specialized features and certifications tailored to military needs, including support for tactical radios, drone feeds, laser range finders, external GPS, and SDR receivers. Samsung now offers serverless license activation for streamlined setup. Samsung partnered with Juggernaut Case and Kagwerks to develop rugged, military-grade cases (available separately). The Samsung Galaxy S23 Tactical Edition and Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro Tactical Edition are available starting today through select IT channel partners.
AST SpaceMobile has achieved another important testing milestone by successfully making a 5G phone call on an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 via its BlueWalker 3 test satellite currently in orbit. The phone was located in a cellular dead zone on Maui, Hawaii. The connection used AT&T spectrum; the same radio frequencies AT&T uses for its land-based 5G network. The company has conducted a series of different tests over the past year to validate its technology, including the first phone call in April, followed by 4G data in June, data download rates of up to 14 Mbps, video calls, streaming video, and "full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers". The company says it is on track to launch five commercial BlueBird satellites — already under construction — in the first quarter of 2024. AT&T is one of the many companies worldwide that AST has an agreement with to provide satellite coverage where its land-based network does not reach. AST's technology is made possible by the satellite's massive antenna, "the largest-ever commercial communications array deployed in low Earth orbit."
Cricket has started selling two additional phones under its own brand, adding to what was already the largest lineup of white-label phones among US carriers. The Cricket Magic 5G offers 5G for just $140, while the Cricket Icon 5 is a 4G Android phone for just $90. Both offer basic features such as Android 13, a 13 megapixel main camera, 5 megapixel front camera, 4,000 mAh battery, HD+ display with notch, and a fingerprint sensor. The Magic 5G also has NFC and a slightly larger display at 6.6 inches (vs. 6.5" on the Icon 5). The Magic 5G is manufactured by Tinno, which also makes the Cricket Ovation 3. It may also come to AT&T branded as the AT&T Propel 5G. The Icon 5 is made by Coosea, which also makes the Cricket Debut Smart, Innovate E 5G, and Vision Plus. The Icon 5 may also come to AT&T as the AT&T Motivate 4.
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.
Nothing has unveiled its Phone (2), which will be Nothing's first phone officially available in the US. The phone has good support for most of the sub-6 5G and 4G bands used by T-Mobile and AT&T. Like the Phone (1), it has a distinctive transparent back with a pattern of functional, customizable lights called "Glyphs". The Glyph interface gains many new features and third-party integrations, such as a shrinking bar that visually shows how far away your Uber driver is. The back now uses 3D glass for a curved-edge design that helps the Phone (2) feel thinner. Both the front and back are Gorilla Glass, with a 100% recycled aluminum frame between. The OLED display is larger at 6.7 inches and sports thinner bezels. It's also brighter and adds LPTO technology enabling 1–120 Hz refresh and always-on capability. The processor has been upgraded to Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and the battery is larger at 4,700 mAh. The Phone (2) supports fast charging up to 45 watts, 15-watt wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. The rear cameras are still 50 megapixel main + 50 megapixel wide, but the main has been upgraded to a higher-quality Sony IMX890 sensor capable of 8-frame HDR. The front camera is also improved with a 30% larger sensor and 32 megapixel resolution. It's available with 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 128 – 512 GB storage. Other features include NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The phone comes with Nothing's OS 2.0 software, which has more distinctive theming of the icons and widgets. Nothing promises three years of OS upgrades and four years of security updates (every two months). The Nothing Phone (2) will ship July 17th starting at $599 in dark grey, or in white (with more RAM/storage) starting at $699 ($649 via pre-order).
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.
AST SpaceMobile has conducted a successful test of 4G LTE data service from its test satellite in orbit to a standard, unmodified smartphone using an existing AT&T cellular frequency band. The test "achieved repeated successful download speeds above 10 Mbps", proving the system is capable of more than just basic voice and messaging service. The test took place in Hawaii. The company has previously conducted successful tests of voice calls. The company will soon test 5G service. AT&T plans to use the AST system (once operational) to provide nationwide coverage where its land-based network doesn't reach. T-Mobile is working on a similar system with SpaceX Starlink. Other companies — such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Bullitt — are launching solutions that offer a similar service but require special technology added to the phone. Solutions that work with any smartphone require massive antennas in space. AST's test satellite is 693 square feet. Another major point of differentiation is whether each service provides just messaging, or messaging and voice, or also data.
Motorola has launched two new foldable phones, creating a lineup of 2023 razr phones with flexible display technology. The higher-end razr+ has the largest outer display of a modern flip-style phone, and is the thinnest when closed. The design no longer features a "chin", bringing it closer to Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip series in appearance, and Motorola is matching Samsung on price at $1,000. The lower-end model will presumably be more affordable, breaking new ground in the US as a sub-$1,000 foldable at launch. Both new razr phones have the same 6.9-inch AMOLED inner display with FHD+ resolution, HDR10+, and at least 144 Hz refresh (165 Hz for the razr+).
- The 2023 razr+ is powered by a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip paired with 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. The large AMOLED outer display surrounds the outer cameras. It measures 3.6 inches and sports 1066 x 1056 resolution, HDR10+, and up to 144 Hz refresh. Motorola has created a new software experience for the large outer display that includes functionality for apps like Google Maps, Google News, Google Wallet, weather, and Spotify. It also has new customization options and even mini-games. The battery is 3,800 mAh. The main camera is 12 megapixel with f/1.5, dual-pixel PDAF, and OIS. Standard colors are Glacier Blue and Infinite Black, both of which employ a 7000-series aluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus on both sides. A Viva Magenta (Pantone color of the year) edition swaps out glass for vegan leather on the bottom half. This color will be exclusive to T-Mobile in the US.
- The 2023 razr will be a more affordable option and perhaps the most affordable foldable phone on the market, although Motorola has not yet set a specific price. Its OLED outer display is a more modest 1.5 inches with just 194 x 368 resolution. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip paired with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. The main camera is 64 megapixel (f/1.7) with OIS and laser autofocus. Interestingly, the battery is larger at 4,200 mAh. The design consists of 7000-series aluminum, vegan leather, and Gorilla Glass Victus protecting the outer display. It will come in Sage Green, Summer Lilac, and Vanilla Cream.
Motorola has launched the 2023 edition of its moto g stylus 5G, a mid-range phone that offers a few extras for $400 (or less through some carriers). This year's model is more compact, with a 6.6 inch display instead of 6.8". It also updates the processor to the newer Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip and adds stereo speakers. Other specs and features remain the same, (and a major upgrade over this year's 4G model). That includes the integrated stylus, 120 Hz display, 5,000 mAh battery, 50 megapixel main camera, combined wide/macro camera, NFC, memory card slot, headset jack, and fingerprint reader. The phone has excellent support for all major (sub-6) frequency bands used in the US. It comes with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage,. It appears to be very popular with carriers. Cricket will sell it starting this Friday, June 2nd. It will also be offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro, Consumer Cellular, US Cellular, Boost, Google Fi, Xfinity, Optimum, and Spectrum.
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.
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.
Motorola has introduced two new models in its "moto g" series of affordable phones.
- The moto g 5G (2023) is very similar to last year's moto g 5G, offering 5G for a low price. Updates include 120 Hz display refresh (vs. 90), 15-watt fast charging (vs. 10), and stereo speakers. A Snapdragon 480+ ship replaces the MediaTek Dimensity 700 in last year's model. Other specs are essentially unchanged, including a 6.5-inch, HD+ display and a 48 megapixel camera. It has excellent support for all US networks. It will be available with AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro by T-Mobile, Boost Infinite, Boost Mobile, Google Fi Wireless, US Cellular, and Consumer Cellular, with dates and pricing TBA. It will also be available unlocked starting May 25th for $250. Color options are Ink Blue and Harbor Gray.
- The moto g stylus (2023) takes a different approach, cutting some specs to reach a lower price compared to last year's model. The new model is more compact with a 6.5-inch HD+ display and no wide-angle camera. What the new model keeps is the large 50 megapixel main camera, 90 Hz display refresh, and, of course, built-in stylus. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio G85 4G chip. Cricket, Straight Talk, and Walmart Family Mobile will all offer the phone. It will also be available unlocked for $200 starting this Friday, May 5th. It has excellent support for all US 4G networks. It will come in Midnight Blue and Glam Pink.
AST SpaceMobile has successfully completed a test of the first full two-way voice call using a standard, off-the-shelf cell phone connecting directly to a satellite in orbit (instead of to a land-based network.) Other recently-announced space connectivity solutions have focused only on messaging, not voice calls, and/or require new phones with added satellite technology. This test used an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 connecting directly to AST's BlueWalker 3 test satellite in orbit. It took place in Texas using AT&T radio frequencies; AT&T plans to use AST's system to provide coverage in remote areas. AST has completed additional tests that "confirm the ability to support cellular broadband speeds", as well as multiple cellular technologies from 2G to 5G. Tests also confirm compatibility with a variety of different phones and other cellular devices.
AT&T has released updated numbers on its growing 5G network. AT&T 5G now covers 290 million people, or 87% of the US population. AT&T has also accelerated its rollout of higher-speed 5G using mid-band (C-Band) and mmWave (which AT&T brands "5G+") frequencies. AT&T now offers fast mid-band 5G covering 150 million people, "more than double our original end-of-year 2022 target". The company also doubled the number of arenas, stadiums, and airports with ultra-fast mmWave 5G, bringing that number to nearly 70. Including 4G, AT&T's network now covers more than 2.91 million square miles, the most of any US carrier. That's an increase of 100,000 square miles in 2022, an area the size if the UK. That includes a 40% increase in coverage on federally recognized tribal lands in the last 2 years.
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.
Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy A14 5G, its most affordable 5G phone to date. The new phone shares most specs with its predecessor, the Galaxy A13 5G. The biggest upgrade is the front camera, which goes from 5 megapixel to 13 megapixel. The display is also slightly larger at 6.6 inches. Other features remain the same, including a 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, and a fingerprint reader. Cricket's price is $190, while AT&T is offering the phone for $2/month over 36 months (to both new and existing customers, no trade-in required. Both brands will start selling the phone on January 13th.
The FCC has officially proposed new rules that would require wireless carriers to route 911 calls to the appropriate call center based on the caller's actual location, instead of the location of the nearest cell tower. This change should reduce incidents where 911 calls or texts are routed to the wrong 911 call center when the caller is near a city or county border. This mis-routing requires manual re-routing to the correct call center, "which can waste valuable time and resources during emergencies." The new rules take advantage of new technology that enables this capability. While mobile phones already transmit a phone's actual location to the call center when contacting 911, using this information in the call routing step is a new technology. The rules would only apply to newer 4G and 5G networks where this technology is easier to implement. AT&T has already deployed this technology.
Motorola's edge 30 fusion — a model that would normally only be sold in other parts of the world — will come to the US as an unlocked phone compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. This special edition will come in Pantone's just-announced Color of the Year 2023, Pantone 18-1750 "Viva Magenta". The edge 30 fusion is a near-flagship-level phone, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ chipset, pOLED display with 144 Hz refresh, and 50 megapixel camera with OIS. Other specs include a 4,400 mAh battery, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB storage, 13 megapixel wide-angle camera, 32 megapixel front camera with auto-focus, and Wi-Fi 6E. Although it supports enough frequency bands to function on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks, it does not support all of the bands necessary for full coverage and best data speeds. (For example, it lacks 4G in bands 30 and 71, and lacks 5G in band 2.) Motorola will sell the phone starting December 12, unlocked on its web site for $800, in a bundle that includes the Moto Buds 600 ANC Bluetooth earbuds in the complementary color PANTONE 19-2118 "Winetasting". The phone will also be available on its own, in Lazuli Blue, for $700.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, AT&T will allow customers of other carriers to roam on its network in Florida for free, "even if their carrier's service isn't available after the storm."
Samsung will bring its newest rugged phone for enterprise customers — the Galaxy XCover6 Pro — to 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.
Another affordable 5G phone from Samsung has launched in the US. AT&T has started online sales of the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G for $300, in both postpaid and prepaid channels. The A23 5G is a small step up from the A13 5G, which AT&T sells for $250. For that extra $50, you get a sharper FHD+ display instead of HD+, and an 8 megapixel selfie camera instead of 5 megapixel. It also adds a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera on the back, and is powered by a Snapdragon 695 chip instead of a MediaTek Dimensity 700. Other features and specs are similar, including a large 5,000 mAh battery, NFC, expandable storage, fingerprint reader, and a headset jack. AT&T's web site currently shows delivery dates starting Sept. 7th.
AT&T will offer the new Moto Edge (2022) — normally $500 — for just $180 for a limited time starting Sept. 2. The deal is open to new and existing customers, does not require a trade-in, but does require a qualifying unlimited plan and phone payment plan ($5/month for 36 months).
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.
Sonim has introduced the XP5plus, an update to its XP5s rugged feature phone with PTT (push-to-talk) designed for first responders and other field workers. While the phone has several upgrades, the most unusual is the two large physical knobs on the top, for PTT channel select and volume. This makes the phone physically operate more like the traditional two-way radios it's designed to replace. The knobs allow full control over the PTT features "without users ever taking their eyes off the mission in front of them." A version without the knobs is also available. It also has a "Sonim SecureAudio" accessory connector to ensure that the "wide range of industrial grade accessories including headsets [and] RSMs" available stay attached even during rigorous activity. Its rugged creds include military ratings for ruggedness and IPx9K, which rates it for not only water, but high-pressure steam, pressure washing, and detergents. The XP5plus has a larger display and battery compared to the XP5s. It has extra-loud front-facing speakers, camera, and expandable storage. AT&T is offering the XP5plus starting today for $298. The XP5plus is, of course, compatible with FirstNet, AT&T's exclusive network that offers first responders priority access to band 14.
The FAA, wireless carriers, and the aviation industry have reached an agreement that will allow AT&T and Verizon to fully utilize their new mid-band 5G radio spectrum near airports by this time July 2023. The agreement includes a phased approach that will allow loosened restrictions by the end of 2022. AT&T and Verizon paid billions to the FCC for the right to use the airwaves starting at the end of 2021. Mid-band spectrum is ideal for 5G and allows the carriers to offer much better 5G service. But the FAA objected that 5G in this band could interfere with radio altimeters — critical airplane safety equipment in some conditions — that operate in a nearby band. This led to last-minute delays in launching the new 5G service. Testing has since found that most airplanes tolerate the signals just fine, but some smaller regional aircraft have altimeters with inadequate filters. These planes that are "most susceptible to interference" must be retrofitted with improved filters by the end of 2022. "This work has already begun and will continue on an expedited basis. At the same time, the FAA worked with the wireless companies to identify airports around which their service can be enhanced with the least risk of disrupting flight schedules." Additional filters and replacement altimeters will be installed on less-affected aircraft by July 2023, enabling "minimal restrictions" on 5G networks by that time.
AT&T is the first US carrier to launch location-based routing of 911 emergency calls to the appropriate call centers on a nationwide basis. Previously, 911 calls were routed to call centers based on the cell tower location, and then a more precise phone location transmitted to that call center. But one cell tower can cover an area with up to a ten mile radius, so in border areas where state, county or city boundaries overlap, 911 calls were sometimes routed to the wrong call center, causing delays in emergency response. With this new technology — called "Locate Before Route" from Intrado — a more precise phone location (within 50 meters) is used to decide which call center should receive the call, enabling a more efficient emergency response. AT&T has deployed the technology in 17 states and territories; the nationwide rollout is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.
Some AT&T customers on older service plans will see a price hike of up to $6/line. AT&T is encouraging customers to upgrade to new plans "which offer many additional features, more flexibility for each line on their account and, in many cases, a lower monthly cost".
Motorola has announced two new mid-range phones with 5G. Both are essentially 5G upgrades of existing 4G models already announced for 2022. Both will come to a wide range of US carriers, including AT&T, Cricket, Boost, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile. Both have a 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, 10-watt fast charging, fast-refresh display, water resistance, fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack.
- The moto g stylus 5G (2022) has a three key upgrades compared to both last year's model and this year's 4G model: a 120 Hz display (a first for the g series in the US), a Snapdragon 695 chip, and NFC. The LCD display measures 6.8 inches with FHD+ resolution. The phone also has an 8 megapixel wide/macro camera and 16 megapixel front camera. Naturally, it has a built-in stylus. While the base version has 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, versions will also be available with 6 or 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. Verizon will also offer a version with mmWave 5G. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $500 starting April 28th. Carriers are expected to sell it for less, at dates to be announced. It will come in two colors: seafoam green and steel blue.
- The moto g 5G is essentially a 5G version of the moto g power (2022). Like that model, it has a 6.5-inch LCD display with HD+ resolution and 90 Hz refresh. The selfie camera does get a bump up to 13 megapixel. Extra rear cameras are a depth camera and 2 megapixel macro camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip paired with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. An unlocked version will also be available with 6 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $400 starting May 19th. Carriers are expected to sell it for less, at dates to be announced.
While AT&T (and Cricket) already offers the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G, the company has confusingly just launched a very different model called the "Samsung Galaxy A13" (no 5G). Besides lacking 5G, most of the specs are also different, including the display, cameras, processor, RAM, and storage. Instead of a 6.5-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh, it has a 6.6-inch FHD+ display with 60 Hz refresh. It also adds a 5 megapixel wide-angle camera, but the front camera is 8 megapixel instead of 32. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos chip instead of a MediaTek. The RAM goes from 4 to 3 GB and the storage takes a hit from 64 to 32 GB. Both models do share a 5,000 mAh battery and 50 megapixel main camera. For all the downgrades, the new 4G model is only $10 cheaper from Cricket ($160 instead of $170). From AT&T, the new 4G model is available with prepaid service for $190 ($95 with a new line), while the 5G model is available to prepaid and postpaid customers for $250.
AT&T now offers 5G roaming in over 35 international destinations. Unlimited high-speed data service, including 5G, is included with AT&T's International Day Pass. The Day Pass runs $10/day for up to ten days, after which it's free for the remainder of the billing period. The countries where 5G roaming is now offered include Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, parts of Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, and more.
Samsung today fleshed out more of its 2022 lineup of affordable Galaxy A-series phones. The new Galaxy A73, A53, and A33 are nearly identical in design and features, differing only in a few display and camera specs. All three models have a full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with a thinner bezel. The A73 and A53 have 120 Hz display refresh, while the A33 is 90 Hz. The screen sizes are 6.7", 6.5", and 6.4", respectively. The A53 has a 64 megapixel main camera with OIS, 12 megapixel wide-angle camera, 5 megapixel macro camera, depth camera, and a 32 megapixel selfie camera. The A73 bumps the main camera up to 108 megapixel, while A33 steps down the resolution a bit with a 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and 13 megapixel selfie camera. All three models have 5G, a large 5,000 mAh battery, 25-watt fast charging, expandable storage (up to 1 TB), and a fingerprint reader. The stereo speakers have been made louder and support Dolby Atmos. The body uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and provides IP67 water resistance. Samsung has brought some key camera features from its flagship phones to the A series for the first time, such as 12-frame night mode, auto frame rate for better low-light video, and enhanced portrait mode with better edge detection. The phones ship with Android 12 (Samsung One UI 4.1), and Samsung will offer an industry-leading four generations of major OS updates. Samsung calls the new design Ambient Edge; both the A33 and A53 (shown in photo) will be available in black, white, blue, and peach. Samsung also announced an A23 for markets outside the US that steps down the specs with 4G and an LCD display. Samsung isn't commenting on US launch details for the A73 and A33 just yet, but the Galaxy A53 will be available on March 31st at T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as AT&T and Samsung.com on April 1st. It will start at $450 and come with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB built-in storage. Pre-orders start today and are eligible to receive a pair of Galaxy Buds Live.
Verizon has lengthened the term of its phone financing plans. While customers could previously choose to pay for a new phone in monthly installments over 24 or 30 months, the only option now is 36 months, a full three years. This aligns with recent changes by AT&T, while T-Mobile still offers financing over just two years. Customers can still choose to pay full retail price for a phone upfront to avoid a contract. Verizon's financing plans are zero-interest and do not require a down-payment, although an activation fee usually applies.
AT&T and Verizon have finally launched 5G service in the C Band, after a chaotic last-minute battle with the FAA and airlines over potential interference with airplane radio altimeters. AT&T's launch footprint today appears more limited than Verizon's. AT&T is launching the service — which it brands "5G+" — in "limited parts of" Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. Verizon's launch today covers 90 million people. Verizon originally promised 100 million people covered at launch, but had to scale back coverage near airports to appease airlines scrambling to comply with last-minute restrictions imposed by the FAA. AT&T offers at least 17 phones that are compatible with C Band 5G, including most recent phones from Apple, Samsung, and Google. 5G in the C Band should offer a better balance of good coverage and fast data speeds compared to existing 5G service. We recently published a complete guide to C Band 5G.
AT&T and Verizon are moving forward with this week's launch of 5G service in the new C Band, but have voluntarily agreed to new restrictions around airports at the request of major US airlines. The airlines have asked for 5G in the C Band to be banned within two miles of airport runways, a limitation that will severely reduce availability of the service in some cities. Verizon's initial launch will now cover 90 million people, down from the 100 million originally promised. The FCC and wireless industry insist that 5G in the C Band poses no danger to airplanes. 5G in this band is already operating in over 40 countries with no reported issues. But the FAA remains unconvinced that the service cannot interfere with some airplanes' radio altimeters, which use a nearby radio frequency to measure distance to the ground. The FAA came to an agreement with AT&T and Verizon on airport restrictions earlier this month, but also instituted new rules for airlines that apply to certain airports near C Band 5G networks and certain weather conditions. The FAA has so far tested and approved two radio altimeter models, exempting 45% of the US commercial fleet from the rules. But airlines say the rules would still have resulted in over 1,000 additional cancelled flights on days with poor weather. The new 2-mile restriction should allow the FAA to relax those rules until more testing and new rules can be put in place that will allow C Band 5G near airports.
There's a whole new kind of 5G being launched and talked about in the US in 2022: C Band. It's much faster than existing "nationwide" 5G, yet has better coverage than hard-to-find mmWave 5G. For AT&T and Verizon, it represents a huge leap forward in the 5G race. For their customers, it will mean the first time many of them will experience a significant difference between 4G and 5G. So what is C Band? Is it just hype or something to actually get excited about? Is "C Band" the best term for this? Where did this band come from? Does it pose a danger to planes? And where does T-Mobile fit into all this? We answer all those questions and more in this in-depth guide to everything C-Band.
The US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) just announced the winners of its auction 110, for prime new mid-band radio spectrum ideal for 5G. AT&T and Dish spent the most, each splurging for enough licenses to cover the entire continental US. AT&T spent $9 billion, while Dish spent $7.3 billion. AT&T purchased the maximum number of licenses allowed in each area (four), giving it 40 MHz of new bandwidth nationwide. Dish appears to have purchased closer to 3 licenses per area on average, for potentially around 30 MHz of bandwidth nationwide. T-Mobile laid out $1.4 billion for licenses covering 79 of the 406 geographic areas offered. US Cellular spent $580 million. Verizon did not appear to win any licenses, although they were already big winners in the two previous mid-band auctions, and therefore did not need this particular spectrum as much as AT&T did. T-Mobile already operates more mid-band 5G than anyone else, and also participated in the C Band auction. Auction 110 is for the 3.45 GHz band (spanning 3.45 – 3.55 GHz), which is very near the new C Band spectrum that AT&T and Verizon are expected to launch next week for new 5G service. However it is a lower frequency than C Band, and therefore should not run into the same issues with the FAA that recently delayed the launch of 5G in the C Band.
AT&T has announced the Fusion 5G, an AT&T-branded affordable 5G phone that will go on sale this Friday, January 7th for $220. Unusually for such an affordable phone, it supports wireless charging, and has a 48 megapixel main camera. The quad rear cameras also include an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel macro camera, and depth camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip. Other features include a 6.82-inch HD+ display, 4,750 mAh battery, fast charging (fast charger included), NFC, a fingerprint reader on the back, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB of storage (expandable). It runs Android 11. The phone is sourced through Emblem and appears to be a variant of the AT&T Radiant Max 5G, which is manufactured by FIH. The Radiant Max is also sold as the Dream 5G by Cricket.
After initially rejecting the FAA's last-minute request to delay the launch of 5G in the C Band, the two carriers have now agreed to another two-week delay, following an earlier one-month delay. The services will now launch in mid-January.
A model previously rumored to have fallen victim to supply-chain issues, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition) is finally coming to market this month. Samsung will use the new model as the more-affordable alternative to the forthcoming S22 series, rather than keep last year's flagship S21 models on the market at lower prices as the company has done in the past. This new strategy should help the company address ongoing supply-chain issues. Compared to the standard Galaxy S21 model, the new S21 FE has a larger display (6.4"), larger battery (4,500 mAh), and higher-resolution front camera (32 megapixel). It still achieves a lower price point with less RAM (6 GB), a less-capable telephoto camera (8 megapixel instead of 64), and an optical fingerprint reader instead of ultrasonic. It keeps "fan-favorite" features of the S21 series such as the Snapdragon 888 chip, 120 Hz display refresh, triple rear cameras (including wide and tele), IP68 water rating, wireless charging, fast charging, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It ships with Android 12 and the US version will support both sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE goes on sale January 11th for $700 (with 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage). A version with 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage will also be available, for $770. It will be available in four colors: lavender, white, olive, and graphite. AT&T, Cricket, Verizon, and US Cellular will carry the phone, and it will also be available directly from Samsung's web site. Verizon confirmed that it will offer all four colors and both memory options, starting January 11th.
Verizon and AT&T this morning refused a request by federal transportation officials to delay this week's planned launch of 5G service in the critical new C Band. [Update: By evening, the two companies agreed to a two-week delay.] The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) insists that the service could potentially interfere with radio altimeters that planes use to measure distance to the ground in poor weather. The companies, along with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), insist that such interference is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. Radio altimeters use a frequency band close to the C Band. The frequencies do not overlap, but radio equipment with inadequate filters can sometimes be affected by adjacent frequencies. The FCC specifically set aside empty "guard bands" to avoid such interference before auctioning off the C Band to private companies, but the FAA insists a risk remains. C-Band frequencies are already in use for 5G in other countries, with no evidence of interference with airplane systems. To appease the FAA, Verizon and AT&T have already delayed the launch of 5G in the C Band by one month. In their latest letter to the FAA, they have offered to further limit the power of transmissions near airports while any potential effects are studied. While the companies had already agreed to similar temporary power limits in specific areas, the new proposal matches stricter limits currently in place in France. The two companies spent more than $80 billion in total to acquire licenses in the C Band from the FCC, with the promise that they would be able to offer improved 5G service by the end of 2021. C Band frequencies enable 5G service with a better balance of data speeds and coverage compared to the frequency bands currently in use by AT&T and Verizon.