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Motorola's new Edge Offers a Lot for $500

Today, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has taken the wraps off its new Edge phone for 2022. This is the little sibling to the Edge+, the company's flagship phone. It keeps many of that phone's best features, including a 50 megapixel main camera, large FHD+ OLED display with 144 Hz refresh and HDR10+, 30W fast charging, two-way wireless charging, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and NFC. And yet it's half the price at $500. It also represents a big win for Motorola as the first time since 2017 that a Motorola phone this high-end will be offered by all three top-tier US carriers. To achieve the lower price point compared to the Edge+, the new Edge (2022) uses a MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chip, the wide-angle camera is 13 megapixel instead of 50, the selfie camera is 32 megapixel instead of 60, and it drops stylus support. Camera features include 960 fps super-slow-motion and 4K HDR video capture. Its 6.6-inch main display hides an optical fingerprint reader and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The rest of the body is plastic, but with a back that looks like matte glass. Motorola boasts that this is one of its thinner and lighter phones, despite having a large 5,000 mAh battery. It supports Ready For, Motorola's unique software for hooking the phone up to large displays and other accessories for big-screen-optimized video streaming, gaming, and productivity apps. It ships with Android 12, but Motorola has improved its software commitment to three full OS upgrades and four years of bi-monthly security updates. It will come in one color: Mineral Gray. T-Mobile will launch it first, "in the coming weeks", offering it with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage for $498. Verizon's version will have 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, and of course adds mmWave 5G. AT&T will offer its own unique variant with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile, and Visible will also offer it. Motorola's unlocked version will have 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage; it will sell for $500 for a limited time, after which it will run $600. It will be available from Best Buy, Amazon, and Motorola.com.


Sonim XP5plus Emulates Traditional Two-Way Radios

Jul 15, 2022, 7:30 AM   by Rich Brome

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.


FAA Outlines One-Year Phase-In of Mid-Band 5G Near Airports

Jun 21, 2022, 7:30 AM   by Rich Brome

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 Launching Location-Based Routing of 911 Calls Nationwide

May 10, 2022, 10:11 AM   by Rich Brome

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.


AT&T Raising Rates on Some Older Plans

May 5, 2022, 1:14 PM   by Rich Brome

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 Adds 5G to its 2022 Mid-Range Lineup

Apr 21, 2022, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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.
Both phones come with Android 12 and Motorola promises one major OS upgrade (to Android 13). Motorola is also committing to three years of bi-monthly (every other month) security updates.


Cheaper Samsung Galaxy A13 Launches on AT&T Without 5G

Apr 8, 2022, 1:13 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 8, 2022, 1:47 PM

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 Expands 5G International Roaming

Mar 22, 2022, 2:18 PM   by Rich Brome

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 Galaxy A53 Coming to US in Two Weeks

Mar 17, 2022, 10:12 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 17, 2022, 10:49 AM

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 Moves to Three-Year Phone Financing

Feb 7, 2022, 12:17 PM   by Rich Brome

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 Launches C Band 5G in Eight Cities

Jan 19, 2022, 9:55 AM   by Rich Brome

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, Verizon Agree to Hold Back C Band 5G Near Airports

Jan 18, 2022, 2:29 PM   by Rich Brome

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.


What is C Band 5G?

Jan 14, 2022, 3:06 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 10, 2022, 5:53 PM

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.

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AT&T, Dish Big Winners in FCC's Latest Mid-Band Auction

Jan 14, 2022, 2:31 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 14, 2022, 2:56 PM

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. This new 3.45 GHz band, C Band, and Verizon's CBRS band (the 3.5 GHz band AKA band 48) are all covered by band 77, which is already supported in most new 5G phones launched by AT&T and Verizon since the beginning of 2021.


AT&T's Newest 5G Phone Offers Wireless Charging for $220

Jan 4, 2022, 1:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 7, 2022, 11:16 AM

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.


AT&T, Verizon Postpone C-Band 5G Launch by Another Two Weeks

Jan 3, 2022, 9:36 PM   by Rich Brome

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.


Samsung Revives S21 Fan Edition

Jan 3, 2022, 9:04 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 4, 2022, 9:01 AM

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, AT&T Moving Forward with C-Band 5G Launch This Week Over FAA Objection

Jan 2, 2022, 4:13 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 3, 2022, 9:38 PM

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.


Samsung Brings 5G to Almost its Whole Lineup

Dec 1, 2021, 11:59 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today announced the Galaxy A13 5G, its most affordable 5G phone yet at $250. Typically, the two most affordable phones in Samsung's annual lineup are the A1x and A0x models, leaving the new Galaxy A03s as possibly the only model in Samsung's 2022 US lineup without 5G. Key features of the Galaxy A13 5G include a 50 megapixel camera, 90 Hz adaptive refresh display, 5,000 mAh battery, and NFC. It also has 15W fast charging, 64 GB of expandable storage, a fingerprint reader on the side, headset jack, macro camera, and depth camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip. It launches this Friday with AT&T and on samsung.com. T-Mobile will also launch it in January. The Galaxy A03s will sell for just $159. It has "a long-lasting battery, triple camera system, and fingerprint security". It launches in January with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.


Motorola's Affordable New moto g power has 90 Hz Screen

Nov 17, 2021, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has announced a new moto g power, just ten months after announcing the last one. The new moto g power (2022) has two key upgrades over the old 2021 model: a display with 90 Hz refresh, and a 50 megapixel main camera. It specs are otherwise comparable to the 2021 model, including a huge 5,000 mAh battery, fast charging, 6.5-inch HD+ display, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage (expandable). The new model is powered by a MediaTek Helio G37 chip. The phone also has a rear fingerprint reader, headset jack, FM radio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and IPx2 water resistance. The phone launch soon with Metro by T-Mobile and Republic Wireless, followed by Verizon, Boost, Xfinity, AT&T, Cricket, US Cellular, and Google Fi. It will also be available unlocked for $200, or $250 for a version with 128 GB built-in storage.


C-Band 5G Launches Delayed until Next Year

Nov 4, 2021, 11:25 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T and Verizon have agreed to an FAA request to delay the launch of 5G in new C-Band radio frequencies by one month, while potential interference issues are addressed, reports the Wall Street Journal. Both companies were planning to launch the highly-anticipated mid-band 5G service on or around December 5th, but will now launch the service no sooner than January 5th, 2022. The FAA, which regulates aircraft, is concerned that C-Band frequencies are too close to the frequencies used by some RADAR altimeters, instruments that measure the distance between aircraft and the ground. The FCC — which regulates communications including radio airwaves — disputes the FAA's claim that the new 5G networks could cause this type of interference. The new 5G networks will operate at up to 3.98 GHz, while the altimeters operate at 4.2 – 4.4 GHz. Radio equipment operating at different frequencies can sometimes still interfere if the frequencies are close enough and inadequate filters are used. The new C-Band 5G networks are highly anticipated because this band enables 5G networks with a good balance of coverage and faster data speeds. Phones that support 5G NR in band 77 will support the new C-Band 5G networks in the US.


Cricket Ditches Data Speed Caps, Adds 5G to All Plans

Oct 29, 2021, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Cricket made two major changes to its prepaid plans today, bringing them in line with the competition in two important ways. First, Cricket is removing the cap of 8 Mbps on 4G LTE download speeds. Second, the company is now including access to 5G on all plans at no extra cost. Previously, the artificial speed cap applied to most Cricket plans; only the priciest plan ($60/month for one line) included 5G and was exempt from the speed cap. No other US carrier has implemented a blanket speed cap quite the way Cricket did. Other US prepaid brands already include sub-6 5G with most plans at no extra charge. Cricket's plan structure and pricing is otherwise unchanged, starting at $30/month for 2 GB of data, up to $60/month for unlimited data and premium features like mobile hotspot, cloud storage, and HBO Max. Multi-line discounts can bring down the cost of certain plans to as little as $25/line/month for unlimited data. Cricket also announced that it has reached 12.4 million subscribers, an increase of two million over the past two years. Cricket is a brand of AT&T and uses the AT&T network.


Cricket Upgrades its Sub-$100 Icon Series

Oct 8, 2021, 3:10 PM   by Rich Brome

Cricket today launched the Icon 3, the third in its series of own-brand phones that sell for under $100. The Icon 3 sells for $90. The phone is very much entry-level, yet has significant upgrades over the Icon 2 it replaces. The new model adds a fingerprint reader and steps up to a taller 6.5-inch display with a modern notch design. RAM has been upgraded from 1 to 3 GB, and storage from 16 to 32 GB. The main camera is also a bit sharper at 8 megapixel, and the battery slightly larger at 3,500 mAh. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio A20 processor. While the Icon 2 was manufactured by Tinno, the Icon 3 is manufactured FIH, a subsidiary of Foxconn. Cricket's Ovation 2, released in June, is also made by FIH. The Ovation 2 was also released under the AT&T brand with a different name, and regulatory documents indicate AT&T plans to do the same with the Icon 3. Cricket is a brand of AT&T.


Motorola's New Budget Phone is Already Very Popular

Oct 7, 2021, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola today announced the moto g pure, the company's latest entry-level phone. The phone will be sold by essentially every carrier in the US, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, Metro, Boost, US Cellular, and Xfinity. Verizon will be the first to offer it, for $150 starting October 14th. Other carriers will offer the phone "in the coming months". Motorola will sell the phone unlocked for $160, with pre-orders starting October 14th. The phone will come in two variants: one for AT&T, Cricket, and Verizon — with support for AT&T's unique bands 14 and 30 — and the other for all other carriers, supporting T-Mobile's network and overseas 4G networks. Both variants will be powered by a MediaTek Helio G25 chip. The phone's features include a fingerprint reader on the back, basic water resistance, headset jack, and dual-band Wi-Fi. The HD+ display measures 6.5 inches. The 13 megapixel main camera is joined by a depth camera for portrait shots and a 5 megapixel front camera. Motorola claims two days of battery life from the 4,000 mAh battery. It has 3 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage, which is expandable with a memory card. It comes with Android 11 and Motorola promises one major OS upgrade plus two years of security updates (at least quarterly).


FCC Kicks Off Third Auction for Mid-Band 5G

Oct 5, 2021, 1:04 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC today started Auction 110, the third in a series of auctions to sell licenses for valuable C-band (mid-band) radio frequencies that offer a good mix of data speeds and coverage when deployed for 5G networks. All three major US wireless carriers have registered and qualified to bid in the auction. The most recent auction in the series was Auction 107, which was for the highest and widest range of frequencies in the band. In that auction, all three major carriers spent billions, with Verizon spending the most. Before that, Auction 105 — for the middle range of frequencies — saw Verizon and Dish Network come out on top. The current auction is for the lowest range of frequencies in the band: 3,450 – 3,550 MHz. The US government only decided a little over a year ago to allow commercial service in this new range of frequencies. The Department of Defense currently uses this radio spectrum for radar operations that support missile defense, counter-mortar capabilities, weapons control, electronic warfare, air defense, and air traffic control. Auction proceeds must cover 110% of the expected sharing and relocation costs for federal users currently operating in the band, which in this case is estimated to be over $14 billion.


Hackers May Have had Access to the Majority of Text Messages Sent in the US Since 2016

Oct 5, 2021, 12:29 PM   by Rich Brome

Telecom infrastructure provider Syniverse recently disclosed to the SEC that it discovered a hack of its systems this year, which appears to have been ongoing since 2016. The compromise affects the Electronic Data Transfer (EDT) environment for 235 of its customers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The EDT handles a wide variety of sensitive customer data, including the content of SMS text messages, call records, data usage records, and billing details. Ninety-five of the top 100 mobile carriers in the world are Syniverse customers. Syniverse's systems allow different carriers around the world to connect to each others' networks, exchanging text messages between networks and enabling roaming agreements and billing.


Nokia's Third G-Series Phone Adds 5G

Sep 22, 2021, 11:01 AM   by Rich Brome

Nokia today announced the third phone in its relatively new G series. The Nokia G50 has 5G and costs $299. Key features include a large 6.82-inch HD display, large 5,000 mAh battery for "two-day battery life", and a 48-megapixel main camera. The G50 also has 18-watt fast charging, a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera, NFC, side fingerprint reader, memory card slot, and headset jack. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB built-in storage. It has decent support for AT&T's 4G and low-band 5G networks, although it lacks LTE 14/29/30 and NR 77 (US C-band) that would give it the best performance with AT&T. It will not be certified for Verizon and lacks LTE 71 that would give it decent support for T-Mobile's network. The phone is available in two colors: Midnight Sun (rose gold) and Ocean Blue. The Nokia G50 ships starting Sept. 30th and is available for pre-order from nokia.com starting today.


AT&T's Newest 5G Phone is Just $90

Sep 10, 2021, 11:56 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 21, 2021, 2:28 PM

AT&T Prepaid and Cricket are offering a new, white-label 5G phone for as low as $90, a new milestone for affordability of 5G phones. AT&T Prepaid is offering the phone as the AT&T Radiant Max 5G. AT&T's web site shows a list price of $180, but is currently selling the phone for $90. The price is a limited-time offer, expiring Oct. 21st, and requires a prepaid Unlimited or Unlimited Plus plan. Cricket (a brand of AT&T) is selling the same exact phone as the Cricket Dream 5G for $190. The phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 700, a chip specifically designed to enable more-affordable 5G phones. The phone is manufactured by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn. Specs include a 6.82-inch HD display, 4,750 mAh battery, 48 megapixel camera, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage (expandable). Key features include a fingerprint reader, 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi, and a headset jack. It's available now from Cricket and AT&T Prepaid.


T-Mobile Takes Crown of Fastest Mobile Network

Aug 27, 2021, 2:35 PM   by Rich Brome

For the first time, T-Mobile has won the title of Fastest Mobile Network in PCMag's annual nationwide drive test. T-Mobile's 5G network was the fastest in 24 out of 36 tested cities and regions. PCMag attributes the win to T-Mobile's use of mid-band spectrum (band 41, around 2,600 MHz) for 5G. This unique frequency band was originally owned by Sprint, and T-Mobile has been aggressively re-deploying it for 5G since merging with Sprint. Mid-band frequencies are ideal for 5G, offering a good balance of coverage and potential data speeds. AT&T and Verizon recently purchased C-band spectrum that will let them deploy mid-band 5G networks like T-Mobile starting by the end of this year. Verizon's "Ultra Wideband" mmWave 5G network is the fastest 5G network, but has very limited coverage. AT&T and Verizon's sub-6-GHz (non-mmWave) 5G networks are often barely faster than 4G. Looking only at 4G networks, AT&T was once again the winner.


Motorola's new Edge has a 108 Megapixel Camera

Aug 19, 2021, 2:30 PM   by Rich Brome

Motorola today announced a new premium-tier phone: the Motorola edge (2021). The headline features are a 108 megapixel main camera and a large 6.8-inch display with adaptive refresh up to 144 Hz. It also has a large 5,000 mAh battery, 30-watt fast charging, Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, Wi-Fi 6E, and NFC. The 108-megapixel camera operates in 9-pixel pixel-binning mode by default, for excellent low-light performance with 12 megapixel output. It's accompanied by am 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a depth camera, and a 32 megapixel selfie camera. Verizon will offer a version supporting its mmWave 5G network, while the unlocked version has excellent support for the 4G and sub-6 5G networks of both T-Mobile and AT&T. The unlocked version will be available in blue for $700. It goes on sale September 2nd with a special price of $500 for a limited time. Pre-orders start August 23rd. Verizon and Spectrum Mobile will offer the Verizon version later this fall; pricing for that version is yet to be determined.


FCC Debuts Standardized 4G Coverage Map

Aug 10, 2021, 9:53 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has launched a new interactive map showing 4G LTE coverage for the whole US. It includes Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and US Cellular networks. The data is sourced from the carriers, but is required to meet standards intended to make the data uniform and allow apples-to-apples comparisons. "Specifically, it shows where customers can expect to receive 4G LTE broadband service at a minimum user download speed of five megabits per second (5 Mbps) and a user upload speed of one megabit per second (1 Mbps) based on propagation modeling." Another "voice" layer shows where users should be able to get basic service regardless of data speed.


Dish Turns to AT&T as New MVNO Partner

Jul 19, 2021, 10:52 AM   by Rich Brome

Dish has struck a 10-year deal to use AT&T's network to provide service for Dish's mobile customers. Dish's mobile brands include Boost Mobile, Ting, and Republic Wireless. Until now Dish has relied on T-Mobile's network, an arrangement put in place when Sprint sold Boost to Dish as a condition of Sprint's merger with T-Mobile. Dish's deal with T-Mobile was for seven years, giving Dish time to build its own 5G network. That the new deal with AT&T spans ten years calls into question Dish's commitment to fully building out its own network.


AT&T Expands 5G Network, Details Plans for Next Year

Jul 14, 2021, 8:32 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T today shared an update on the expansion of its 5G network, and shared plans for its 5G network going forward. The company's sub-6 GHz 5G network now covers 250 million people nationwide. AT&T "5G+" — its brand for mmWave 5G — now covers parts of 38 cities and 20 venues (stadiums and arenas). The company plans to expand that mmWave network to 40 cities + 40 venues by the end of this year. mmWave offers much faster data speeds than sub-6 GHz 5G, but with very limited coverage. Finally, the company plans to start deploying C-Band 5G before the end of this year, expanding to cover 70–75 million people by the end of 2022, and 200 million by the end of 2023. C-Band is a new frequency band recently auctioned off by the FCC that allows a better balance of data speeds and coverage compared to existing bands. AT&T purchased licenses for 80 MHz of this spectrum, and will start deploying the first 40 MHz this year.


AT&T Upgrades International and Top-End Plans

Jul 12, 2021, 12:17 PM   by Rich Brome

AT&T has tweaked its International Day Pass and Unlimited Elite plan, adding more value for the same price. The International Day Pass is now free after the first ten days per billing period, offering a much better value on longer overseas trips. As before, the Day Pass offers unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data for $10/day, or $5/day for additional lines on the same account traveling at the same time (for customers on an unlimited plan). The International Day Pass covers 140 countries and destinations. Later this summer, AT&T will make International Day Pass automatic whenever customers travel overseas, instead of needing to enable it first. Separately, AT&T announced that its top-end Unlimited Elite plan will now include 40 GB of hotspot data (up from 30) and 4K video streaming. The plan is also now truly unlimited, whereas before customers might experience slowdowns if they exceeded 100 GB. This change brings Unlimited Elite in line with T-Mobile's competing Magenta Max plan. Customers already on Unlimited Elite will receive the new upgrades automatically.


Moto g stylus 5G Comes to AT&T, Cricket, Boost with Heavy Discounts

Jul 9, 2021, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Boost Mobile started selling the new Motorola moto g stylus 5G this week. Cricket starts selling the phone today, and AT&T will start sales July 16th. All three brands are offering the phone for far less than the $400 that Motorola is asking for the unlocked version. Boost's web site lists the full price as $250 but is currently selling it for $200. Cricket's price is $100 for new customers or $150 for existing customers. AT&T is selling the phone for $180 on a 36-month installment plan ($5/month) with an unlimited plan (for both new and existing customers, for a limited time). The version offered by carriers has 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, while Motorola's pricier unlocked version has 6 GB RAM and 256 GB storage (though the phone has expandable storage.) T-Mobile and Metro are also slated to sell the phone soon.


AT&T Picks Google Messages for RCS

Jul 1, 2021, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T and Google have forged an agreement to make Google's Messages app the default messaging app for all AT&T customers using Android phones. T-Mobile made a similar commitment in March, leaving Verizon as the only top-tier US carrier to not standardize on Google's Messages app for next-generation rich messaging using the RCS industry standard. AT&T's move will help ensure AT&T and T-Mobile customers can enjoy interoperable rich messaging among Android phones between the two carriers. RCS is a replacement for SMS that offers better group messaging, typing indicators, and encryption, among other features. RCS offers features comparable to Apple Messages. However, Apple has yet to support the RCS industry standard, so iOS does not yet offer interoperable rich messaging with Android phones.


TCL Launches 20 Series in US

Jun 28, 2021, 8:45 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 28, 2021, 8:04 PM

TCL today revealed the US launch details for its new 20 series of phones: the TCL 20 Pro 5G, 20S, and 20 SE.

  • The 20 Pro 5G is an affordable flagship phone with 5G for $500. It has a curved-edge TCL AMOLED display, satin glass back, 48 megapixel Sony-made main camera, 16 megapixel wide-angle camera, and wireless charging. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chip with 6 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, and a 4,500 mAh battery. It has excellent support for all 5G and 4G US networks, including Verizon. It's available in Moondust Gray and Marine Blue.
  • The 20S has a 64 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, huge 5,000 mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. It also has a Snapdragon 665 processor and 4 GB RAM. It has excellent support for Verizon and T-Mobile 4G networks, and decent support for AT&T. It runs $250 and comes in Milky Way Black and Frosted Blue.
  • The 20 SE is only $190 but comes with 48 megapixel main camera, wide camera, 4 GB RAM, and huge 5,000 mAh battery. It has basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and comes in Nuit Black and Aurora Green.
All three phones are available starting today on Amazon.com. As a launch promotion for this week only, TCL is offering a free pair of TCL MOVEAUDIO earbuds with the purchase of a TCL 20 Pro 5G or 20S. The 20 Pro 5G comes with the MOVEAUDIO S600 (a $100 value) using promo code TCL20BOGO1
, while the TCL 20S comes with the MOVEAUDIO S150 (a $40 value) using promo code TCLBOGO2.


Motorola Adds 5G to the Moto G Stylus

Jun 9, 2021, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola today announced the moto g stylus 5G, a version of this year's moto g stylus with 5G and a larger battery, for $400. The new 5G model has excellent support for all 5G and 4G networks in the US, (except mmWave 5G.) The battery has been bumped up from 4,000 mAh to a whopping 5,000 mAh. The 5G model has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset instead the Snapdragon 678 in the 4G model. Although the 480 is a 4-series chip, it's newer than the 678 and offers similar performance. The 48 megapixel main camera offers access to the full 48 megapixel resolution, and the fingerprint reader is located on the back instead of the side. Other specs and features are similar to the 4G model, including a huge 6.8-inch full-HD display, wide camera, macro camera, 16 megapixel selfie camera, fast charging, memory card slot, and headset jack. The software is Android 11 with a nearly stock Google interface. Added stylus-oriented software includes the Moto Note app, Coloring Book app, and a customizable shortcut bar that appears when the stylus is removed. The stylus itself has been redesigned to be easier to remove and replace, and has a new feature that can help you find the stylus if you lose it. New features in the camera app include Spot Color for video and Dual Capture, which combines video from the front and rear cameras. The moto g stylus 5G will come in Cosmic Emerald. AT&T, Cricket, T-Mobile, Metro, Boost, Xfinity, and Spectrum will offer a version with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (launch timing and pricing TBA), while the unlocked version sold by Motorola (plus B&H, Best Buy, and Amazon) will up that to 6 GB RAM / 256 GB storage. The unlocked version goes on sale for $400 on June 14th.


Cricket Goes for Another Ovation

Jun 1, 2021, 5:02 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 1, 2021, 5:03 PM

Cricket today launched its latest Cricket-branded affordable Android phone: the Ovation 2. The new phone is very similar to the first Ovation in terms of specs and features. The biggest difference is a taller screen that brings the screen size to 6.8 inches. Key specs include a MediaTek Helio A22 processor, large 3,900 mAh battery, 13 megapixel main camera, 5 megapixel wide camera, 8 megapixel front camera, and a fingerprint reader on the back. It also has 3 GB RAM, 32 GB built-in storage, a memory card slot, and a headset jack. The phone comes in "Evergreen" and available now for $130. The Ovation 2 is manufactured by FIH (a division of Foxconn) and sourced for Cricket by Emblem, which has a multi-year contract to supply AT&T and Cricket with private-label phones. The original Ovation was manufactured by Tinno.


AT&T Spins Off Media Biz

May 17, 2021, 10:15 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T is shedding its WarnerMedia division, which includes HBO, CNN, DC Comics, Warner Brothers, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. In a complex deal, WarnerMedia will leave AT&T and merge with Discovery, Inc., to form a new media company. AT&T will receive $43 billion as part of the transaction. AT&T says the deal will create an opportunity for "stepped-up investment in growth areas", including mobile broadband. AT&T completed its purchase of Time Warner three years ago. Verizon sold its media division two weeks ago.


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