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T-Mobile Raising Prices on Existing Plans

Yesterday, 11:52 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Yesterday, 11:55 AM

T-Mobile is increasing the price for existing customers on many of its legacy plans next month. Customers on the newest Go5G plans and some older high-end plans are not affected, but customers on many older plans will see an increase of up to $5/month for each phone line, and/or $2/month for each "connected device". Some customers report seeing an increase only for connected devices, not voice lines. The new rates go into effect on bills issued starting June 5th. T-Mobile sent text message notifications to affected customers this morning. As part of its merger with Sprint, T-Mobile was committed to not raise prices for three years; that commitment expired last year. T-Mobile says this is its first price hike in a decade. AT&T and Verizon have also recently raised their rates.


Metro Launches new REVVL Phones with Unique Perks Attached

May 14, 2024, 11:22 AM   by Rich Brome   updated May 14, 2024, 11:30 AM

T-Mobile today announced the REVVL 7 series of T-Mobile-branded phones exclusively for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile. T-Mobile also announced some slightly unusual perks exclusive to the REVVL series on Metro. First is no activation fees when activating a REVVL 7 5G or REVVL 7 Pro 5G (other brands incur a $25 activation fee). Metro is also introducing a lifetime limited warranty that covers "mechanical or electrical" issues for as long as you have the phone and maintain an account in good standing. Finally, Metro will give you a free charger for a new REVVL upon request. The REVVL 7 5G has a 6.58-inch LCD display with FHD+ resolution, Snapdragon 6 processor, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage (expandable), 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, and 15W charging. It also has a headset jack, NFC, fingerprint reader, and an 8 megapixel front camera. It will come in Arctic Gray (silver). The step-up REVVL 7 Pro 5G has all of that plus support for overseas networks, a larger 6.78 AMOLED display, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, OIS on the main camera, 25W fast charging, wireless charging (15W), a 16-megapixel front camera, Wi-Fi 6E, and USB 3.0. It will come in Azurite Blue (navy). The phones can be had for free for new customers or in some cases when trading in. Full retail price is $200 for the REVVL 7 5G and $250 for the REVVL 7 Pro 5G. They will be available on both T-Mobile and Metro starting May 23.


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

May 13, 2024, 3:47 PM   by Rich Brome

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


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

May 9, 2024, 7:46 PM   by Rich Brome

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


Motorola Gives its Stylus Phone a Spec Bump

May 9, 2024, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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


Mint Mobile Now Owned by T-Mobile

May 2, 2024, 10:45 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has completed its planned acquisition of Ka'ena Corporation, which includes the Mint Mobile brand. T-Mobile says Mint will "continue to operate autonomously ... similar to T-Mobile's successful acquisition of MetroPCS in 2013." T-Mobile is also introducing new perks for Mint customers, including a scam call screener and free roaming in Canada. T-Mobile also promises that Mint will continue to offer "a $15/month plan" of some type, but does not promise what that plan will include in the future. Also, "Ryan Reynolds will continue in his creative role on behalf of Mint."


FCC Fines Carriers for Selling Your Location Data Without Consent

Apr 29, 2024, 2:56 PM   by Rich Brome

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


TCL 50 Series Reaches US on Metro

Apr 24, 2024, 4:58 PM   by Rich Brome

TCL's new 50 series of phones is reaching US shores with the launch of the TCL 50 XL 5G on Metro by T-Mobile tomorrow. At $159, it's one of the more affordable 5G phones available to date. As the "XL" implies, the phone has a large display at 6.78 inches. Compared to last year's TCL 40 XL, the new model has 5G, a sharper display (FHD+) and more RAM (6 GB). Other features are similar, including a 50 megapixel main camera, 18W fast charging, 128 GB storage expandable to 2 TB via microSD, fingerprint reader, and a headset jack. The TCL 50 XL 5G is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ chipset.


Samsung Expands Mid-Range Lineup with Galaxy A35 5G

Apr 18, 2024, 10:50 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 19, 2024, 11:17 AM

Samsung is bringing more mid-range phones to the US this year with the introduction of the Galaxy A35 5G. Samsung brought the Galaxy A32 5G to the US in late 2021, but the A33 and A34 skipped the US. Samsung launched the A15 and A25 in January. The A35 is very similar to the A25, with just a slightly larger display (6.6 instead of 6.5 inches), IP67 water resistance, and Wi-Fi 6. Other specs are the same, including a FHD+ AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 5,000 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, 50 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, 13 megapixel front camera, Samsung Exynos processor, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage (expandable), and NFC. The Galaxy A35 5G is available starting today from T-Mobile, US Cellular, and unlocked from samsung.com. Update: AT&T, Metro, Consumer Cellular, Spectrum, and Xfinity also started offering the A35 this week.


Asus Goes Big with Zenfone 11 Ultra

Mar 14, 2024, 11:15 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 14, 2024, 11:59 AM

Asus has revealed its latest global flagship phone: the Zenfone 11 Ultra. This year's model abandons the compact form factor that was a hallmark of the Zenfone series in recent years; the 11 Ultra has a 6.78" FHD+ AMOLED display, whereas last year's model was just 5.9". This change in strategy allows Asus to all but combine its ordinary and gaming lineups; the Zenfone 11 Ultra is basically the same phone as the ROG Phone 8, with only a different outer design. The 11 Ultra has all of the top-end specs expected of a flagship phone in 2024. Unusually, it also includes a 3.5mm headset jack, which supports Hi-res Audio and Dirac Virtuo. The US model has very good support for T-Mobile and AT&T 5G and 4G networks. It will be available in four colors: black, gray, blue, and sand. For $900 unlocked, it comes with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Pre-orders start today. From now until April 14, 2024, Asus is offering a free pair of ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds worth $100. Read on for more specs.

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Motorola Brings More Affordable 5G Phones to its 2024 Lineup

Mar 12, 2024, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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


T-Mobile Fills in the Gaps in its Mid-Band 5G Network

Mar 7, 2024, 12:00 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is activating large swaths of fast mid-band 5G coverage across the country, primarily in rural areas. This new coverage is the result of the FCC's Auction 108 for 2.5 GHz spectrum, which concluded in late 2022. The newly-acquired spectrum covers 80 million people, and T-Mobile is lighting up 5G service in that band covering 60 million people over the next few days. 2.5 GHz, also known as band 41, is already the backbone of T-Mobile's 5G network, offering the most bandwidth of any sub-6 GHz band, which is why T-Mobile brands it as "Ultra Capacity 5G". As a mid-band frequency, it also offers a good balance of fast data speeds and good physical reach. T-Mobile already owned licenses for this band and operated 5G service with it across much of the country. But the 2.5 GHz band was originally licensed in an unusual way that left many geographic gaps. Auction 108 aimed to fix that, and T-Mobile forked over $304 million to the FCC for licenses covering the gaps in its mid-band 5G network. The affected rural areas may have had 5G service before, but only in other frequency bands that don't offer as much bandwidth, resulting in relatively slow data speeds.


T-Mobile Successfully Tests Faster 5G Uploads

Feb 16, 2024, 11:08 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile announced that it has achieved record-breaking uplink speeds of 345 Mbps on its 5G standalone (SA) network in a recent test using a new 5G technology called Uplink Transmit Switching. The technology combines carrier aggregation (CA) and SU-MIMO (single user multiple input, multiple output). This test delivered uplink speeds 25% faster than T-Mobile's previous record of 275 Mbps using sub-6 (non-mmWave) frequencies. The test used Nokia network equipment and a smartphone powered by a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. Not all 5G devices support Uplink Transmit Switching. T-Mobile's President of Technology Ulf Ewaldsson said: "we implore our partners around the globe to build the capability into the 5G ecosystem moving forward."


Samsung Launching Two New Affordable 5G Phones Today, Too

Jan 17, 2024, 3:25 PM   by Rich Brome

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


T-Mobile's Space-Based Coverage Tested Successfully

Jan 11, 2024, 4:37 PM   by Rich Brome

SpaceX has successfully used an off-the-shelf cell phone to text message via its Starlink satellite network. The new-generation Starlink satellites that enable the service just started launching last week. The system uses T-Mobile-exclusive spectrum in the US, and T-Mobile plans to launch the service nationwide — covering dead zones — later this year. Any recent T-Mobile-compatible phone (supporting 4G LTE in band 25) should be able to use the service. Only texting will be allowed initially, with voice and data to follow in 2025.


T-Mobile Achieves World-First 6-Carrier Aggregation

Jan 4, 2024, 10:59 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has achieved the world's first six-carrier aggregation connection using sub-6 GHz spectrum on its live production 5G network. This allowed the mobile device to access 245 MHz of total bandwidth and reach download speeds over 3.6 Gbps. Carrier aggregation lets mobile devices cobble together multiple simultaneous connections to the network at different frequencies, for more total bandwidth, enabling faster data rates. While two- and three-carrier aggregation is now common with sub-6 5G networks, six is a first. T-Mobile's test used two channels in band 41 (2,500 MHz), two channels in band 2/25 (1,900 MHz) and two channels in band 4/66 (1,700 MHz). All of these bands offer relatively broad coverage (compared to mmWave, which is short-range).


SpaceX Launches First Batch of Starlink Satellites with "Direct to Cell" for T-Mobile Service

Jan 3, 2024, 11:51 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is one step closer to offering 100% nationwide coverage — even in the most remote areas — using SpaceX's Starlink satellite network. Last night, SpaceX successfully launched its first batch of Starlink satellites upgraded with Direct to Cell capabilities. This will enable existing 4G LTE cell phones to connect directly to Starlink and receive service. T-Mobile plans to begin field testing the service "soon". Following successful testing, the service will launch "with text messaging, with voice and data coverage to follow in the coming years" as SpaceX launches more satellites with this capability. Other providers around the world have also signed up with SpaceX to use Starlink to expand coverage, "including Rogers (Canada), Optus (Australia), One NZ (New Zealand), KDDI (Japan), and others, with more to come." SpaceX and T-Mobile announced plans for this technology in 2022.


T-Mobile Adds Hulu to Top-End Plan

Jan 3, 2024, 11:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Starting January 24th, T-Mobile's "Go5G Next" plan will include a Hulu subscription at no additional charge, in addition to Netflix, Apple TV+, and MLB.tv. Go5G Next costs $100/month for one line, with significant discounts for multiple lines.


OnePlus' First Foldable Aims High

Oct 19, 2023, 11:17 AM   by Rich Brome

OnePlus has launched the OnePlus Open, its first foldable phone. The flagship-class phone has top-end specs, going head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and Google Pixel Fold in both design and features. The phone has a 7.82-inch flexible display inside, protected by Ultra-Thin Glass, with a carbon fiber support structure underneath to reduce the crease at the hinge. The unique "Flexion" hinge is an 8-axis mechanism that uses just 69 parts, compared to the industry average of more than a hundred components. OnePlus claims this improves durability, and has had it tested and certified for a million fold actions. The outer display measures 6.31 inches and is protected by Ceramic Guard, which OnePlus claims is 20% more impact resistant than Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. Both displays are "ProXDR" LTPO AMOLED panels with 2K resolution and 120 Hz refresh. It does sport OnePlus' signature alert slider switch. The Hasselblad rear triple-camera system includes a 48 megapixel main camera with a Sony LYTIA-T808 sensor featuring stacked-pixel technology that boosts light intake. There's also a 64 megapixel telephoto camera with 3x periscope optical zoom and 6x lossless zoom via sensor crop. The wide-angle camera is 48 megapixel and has auto-focus. The Open is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip paired with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of UFS 4.0 storage. The 4,805 mAh battery can be fully charged in just 42 minutes thanks 67-watt fast charging. It has excellent support for T-Mobile's network, good support for Verizon's sub-6 network, and basic support for AT&T. The OxygenOS 13.2 software (based on Android 13) includes Open Canvas, a new interface for large screens with multi-window / split-screen tools and a "desktop-like taskbar". OnePlus will offer the Open in the US in black or green for $1,700. Pre-orders start today with full availability October 26th. Pre-orders include a free pair of OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds, worth $180.


T-Mobile Pushing Customers on Old Plans Onto More Expensive Plans

Oct 12, 2023, 9:16 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is using an unusual strategy to nudge customers on older plans into paying more money. Customers on One, Simple Choice, Magenta and Magenta 55 Plus plans will soon receive a notice that they are being moved to an equivalent newer plan priced at approximately $10 more per line. Customers will have the choice to opt out of the change and keep their old plan, but must call customers service before a certain date (not yet announced) to do so. The plan changes take effect by default starting with the November bill cycle.


Motorola's new razr Foldable is Just $600

Oct 10, 2023, 8:15 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has announced launch details for its new razr (2023). Not to be confused with the higher-end razr+ that launched earlier this year, the new razr is a more affordable model. In fact, it is, by a wide margin, the most affordable foldable phone to reach the US to date. Motorola will sell it unlocked for $600 for a limited time, with a full retail price of $700. This new model keeps many of the high-end features of the pricier razr+, such as basically the same 6.9-inch flexible main display, 8 GB of RAM, a dedicated 13 megapixel wide-angle camera, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi 6E. Other features include a 64 megapixel main camera and a relatively large battery (4,200 mAh) for a flip-style foldable. The most obvious difference is the smaller outer display. But Motorola has added something new: Motorola Unplugged, a software feature that lets you take "digital breaks" where you choose just a few essential apps that will remain available while everything else disappears. Both AT&T and T-Mobile will offer this new razr, along with Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket, Xfinity Mobile, US Cellular, Boost, and Consumer Cellular. Motorola and most carriers will offer it starting October 19th.


T-Mobile Buying Low-Band Spectrum from Comcast, as Comcast Launches its own 5G Network

Sep 13, 2023, 10:08 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has reached an agreement to lease and then purchase radio spectrum licenses from Comcast worth $3.3 billion. The licenses are for 10 MHz of bandwidth around 600 MHz (band 71). T-Mobile already uses band 71 to provide blanket coverage. As one of the lowest frequencies in use for cellular networks, 600 MHz reaches long distances and well into buildings, with tradeoff of not providing the best high-speed data rates. This additional spectrum should help T-Mobile improve the baseline capacity of its network in areas where higher-frequency bands don't reach, improving network coverage and reliability. Comcast is preparing to launch its own 5G network starting this month in Philadelphia. The company has been testing its own 5G network in both the 600 MHz and CBRS (band 48) bands. Performance in the unlicensed band 48 has "exceeded our expectations", leading to the conclusion that Comcast is "unlikely to need the 600 MHz spectrum licenses that we currently hold to support our wireless customers." But the spectrum is valuable, especially to T-Mobile. Comcast has offered Xfinity Mobile wireless service to its home internet customers for several years using the Verizon network. Launching its own network in select markets will reduce traffic from Xfinity Mobile customers on the Verizon network, and presumably save money for Comcast. Verizon also uses band 48, so most of Xfinity's lineup of (Verizon-compatible) phones already support band 48, while not all support band 71.


Sonim XP10 Reaches T-Mobile

Aug 29, 2023, 9:05 AM   by Rich Brome

Sonim's flagship rugged smartphone, the XP10, is now available in some form from all three major US carriers. It launches today for T-Mobile business customers, after launching first on AT&T and more recently with Verizon. The XP10 supports sub-6 5G on both T-Mobile and AT&T. Like all Sonim phones, it has an ultra-rugged, waterproof design that can be used without a case. The Sonim XP3plus — a rugged flip phone — is also available for all three major US carriers. Sonim has been doing well in the US market, and recently announced plans to expand into more affordable durable phones for consumers. Those phones are expected to reach the market with "two tier-one carriers in North America" in 2024.


T-Mobile Updates its REVVL Affordable 5G Phones

Aug 24, 2023, 2:44 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 24, 2023, 7:22 PM

T-Mobile has launched updated versions of its REVVL 6 series of affordable 5G phones. The new REVVL 6x 5G and REVVL 6x Pro 5G are similar to their predecessors, with a few upgrades like double the storage (now 128 GB on the 6x and 256 GB on the 6x Pro). That is the only notable change on the larger Pro model. The smaller 6x also gains a couple of features were previously exclusive to the Pro model: a 50 megapixel main camera and NFC; however it no longer supports the bands necessary for 3G or 4G service overseas. Other specs remain largely unchanged. The smaller 6x has a 6.52-inch HD+ display, 4,500 mAh battery, and 4 GB of RAM. The larger 6x Pro has a 6.82-inch HD+ display, 5,000 mAh battery, 6 GB of RAM, and wireless charging. Both are powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset. Both have a fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack. The REVVL 6x comes in Lunar Gray for $200. The REVVL 6x Pro comes in Moonlit Ocean (dark blue) for $230. Both are available starting today from both T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile.


T-Mobile to Lay Off 5,000 Employees

Aug 24, 2023, 10:00 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile plans to lay off 5,000 employees over the next five weeks. The number amounts to about 7% of staff and will not affect retail nor customer care positions. The reductions will be in "primarily duplicative" corporate and "back-office" jobs. Five years ago when T-Mobile sought FCC permission to merge with Sprint, the companies promised 3,000 – 11,000 additional positions instead of layoffs.


T-Mobile Picks up Nokia's New Repairable, Affordable 5G Phone

Aug 15, 2023, 12:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 15, 2023, 1:56 PM

HMD Global has two new, affordable Nokia phones for the US market, and one of them is an affordable 5G phone with a user-replaceable display, battery, and charging port. The new Nokia G310 5G uses HMD's "QuickFix" design. Through a partnership with iFixit, users can get easy-to-follow repair guides and genuine spare parts to repair their own phone. This helps a phone last longer, which saves the user money and is better for the planet. The Nokia G310 5G is powered by a Snapdragon 480+ 5G chipset, has a 6.6-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh, and a 5,000 mAh battery. It also has a 50 megapixel main camera, NFC, 20-watt fast charging, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB of storage (expandable), and a fingerprint reader on the side. It will be available from both T-Mobile and Metro, starting at $186 on August 24th. The Nokia C210 is a 4G phone that starts at just $109. It's powered by a Snapdragon 662 chipset paired with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB storage (expandable). The display measures 6.3 inches and the battery clocks in at 3,000 mAh. There's also a 13 megapixel camera. It hits Metro on September 14th.


Nothing Phone (2) Sports Upgraded Specs, More Useful Glyphs

Jul 11, 2023, 10:55 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 11, 2023, 12:26 PM

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).


Fairphone 4 Comes to the US

Jul 7, 2023, 12:43 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jul 11, 2023, 8:39 AM

Fairphone has announced that its repairable, sustainable, privacy-focused smartphone will now be available for the first time in the US. The Fairphone 4 is available from Murena, the company behind the /e/OS software that powers the device. /e/OS is basically "deGoogled" Android. The Fairphone 4 is modular, repairable, and built to last with a 5-year warranty. Parts like the display and battery are user-replaceable with no more than a screwdriver. (iFixit gives it a Repairability score of 10/10.) And yet it has a dust/water rating of IP54. The phone is Fairtrade Gold certified, with all materials responsibly sourced and conflict-free. The body has an aluminum frame and recycled plastic back. It's powered by a Snapdragon 750G chip and available with either 6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage or 8 / 256 GB. The storage is expandable with microSD, but it does not have a headphone jack. The 6.3-inch display has FHD+ resolution and is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The main and wide-angle cameras are both 12 megapixel (48 megapixel with pixel binning) while the front camera is 25 megapixel. The 3,905 mAh battery supports 20W fast charging. The Fairphone 4 is only recommended for use with the T-Mobile network in the US. It supports important T-Mobile bands like 41 and 71, but does not support all T-Mobile network bands for maximum speed and coverage. Pricing starts at $630. It's available now in either green or grey from murena.com.


OnePlus' New Mid-Range Phone Has a 108 Megapixel Camera

Jun 15, 2023, 11:35 AM   by Rich Brome

OnePlus has launched the OnePlus Nord N30 5G in the US, offering well-rounded mid-range specs but two unusual features: a 108 megapixel main camera and 50-watt fast charging. It's available from T-Mobile, Metro, and unlocked. The Samsung main camera sensor operates in 9-pixel-binning mode by default, outputting high-quality 12 megapixel images even in low light. Or it can use the extra pixels to offer up to 6x zoom. The two other rear cameras are a 2 megapixel macro camera and 2 megapixel depth camera. The front camera is 16 megapixel. The 6.72-inch LCD display offers FHD+ resolution and 120 Hz refresh. It's powered by a Snapdragon 695 chip paired with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage (expandable by up to 1 TB). Other features include NFC, a headset jack, and stereo speakers. OnePlus promises one OS upgrade and three years of bi-monthly security updates. T-Mobile is selling the phone for $264, Metro is selling it for $280, and OnePlus is selling it directly for $300. It is approved for use with AT&T and has basic support for AT&T's 4G/5G network. For a limited time, OnePlus is throwing in a free pair of OnePlus Nord Buds 2 Bluetooth earbuds (worth $59), a free year of Google One, and 20% off a case. The Nord N30 is available starting today. The same phone is available in other markets as the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G.


Motorola Gets Serious About Foldables with New RAZR Lineup

Jun 1, 2023, 1:00 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jun 1, 2023, 1:31 PM

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.
Both phones also have Android 13, excellent support for sub-6 5G and 4G networks in the US, a 13 megapixel wide+macro camera, 32 megapixel inner camera, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 30W fast charging, 5W wireless charging, IP52 water rating, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, NFC, and a fingerprint reader. The 2023 razr+ will go on sale June 23rd with AT&T, T-Mobile, Spectrum, Google Fi and Optimum, as well as universally unlocked. Pre-orders start June 16th. The 2023 razr "will be available in the coming months."


2023's moto g stylus 5G is Smaller

May 30, 2023, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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.


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

May 10, 2023, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

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


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

May 4, 2023, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

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


Motorola Updates its Most Affordable Phones

May 2, 2023, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

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.
Both phones have a 5,000 mAh battery, 4 GB RAM, fingerprint reader on the side, expandable storage, headset jack, 8 megapixel front camera, and a 2 megapixel macro camera. Over the past two years, Motorola has offered both a 4G and 5G version of the moto g stylus. The 4G model is typically announced first, and a 5G model (with upgraded specs) a few months later.


T-Mobile Rolls Out New Plans with Two-Year Phone Upgrades

Apr 20, 2023, 12:00 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile is making it easier and a better deal to switch service to them, and introducing new plans. The new Go5G and Go5G Plus plans include a new phone up front (up to $830) with trade-in (up to six years old), and a phone upgrade every two years. Baked into both plans is a price lock guarantee, and the Go5G Plus plan comes with a promise that new and existing customers will always get the same phone deals. T-Mobile is making it easier to switch to its network by paying off existing phones — even if locked (for a limited time) — or contract termination fees, and customers are still eligible for the free new phone. T-Mobile's "Go Back Guarantee" gives new customers 30 days to change their mind, in which case customers get $50/line to cover switch-back costs. The new Go5G and Go5G Plus plans are very similar to the company's existing Magenta and Magenta Max plans, respectively, which will continue to be available. The difference is that the Go5G plans are an additional $5/line/month, and include an extra 10 GB of hotspot data. Other plan features are identical, such as unlimited premium data on the higher-end plan and 100 GB premium data on the cheaper plan. T-Mobile is also introducing a cheaper version of its Essentials plan called Essentials Savings. This offer is for a limited time but also includes a price lock guarantee. Essentials Savings includes everything the standard Essentials plan includes, such as 50 GB of premium data, but is $10/month cheaper for one or two lines, or $5/month cheaper for four lines. Because it doesn't offer a third line free like the standard Essentials plan, the price is the same for three lines.


T-Mobile Snaps Up Mint Mobile

Mar 15, 2023, 8:47 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 15, 2023, 10:34 AM

T-Mobile has signed a deal to buy Ka’ena Corporation and its subsidiaries and brands: Mint Mobile, Ultra Mobile, and Plum. The Mint and Ultra brands will continue under the T-Mobile umbrella, alongside Metro by T-Mobile and Connect by T-Mobile. Ryan Reynolds, the existing owner of Mint, "will continue on in his creative role on behalf of Mint." Mint already uses the T-Mobile network and will continue to do so. T-Mobile promises that Mint's $15/month pricing will remain unchanged. The deal is a mix of cash and stock valued at up to $1.35 billion, dependent on future performance. The transaction is expected to close later this year.


SpaceX to Start Testing Direct-to-Phone Starlink Service This Year

Mar 14, 2023, 10:36 AM   by Rich Brome

A SpaceX executive has confirmed that — this year — the company plans to "start getting into testing" its new service that will let regular cell phones connect directly to its next-generation Starlink satellites. SpaceX announced plans for the service last year and a partnership with T-Mobile to offer the service in the US. In the US, the service will use a small, unique frequency band called the G block of band 25 (1910–1915 MHz for uplink and 1990–1995 MHz for downlink). T-Mobile has exclusive nationwide rights to that band in the US. Existing T-Mobile phones are compatible with the band, and setting it aside exclusively for satellite use should avoid conflicts with land-based networks. The service for phones requires new second-generation Starlink satellites with larger antennas. SpaceX intends to launch most 2nd-gen. satellites on its new Starship rocket, but has already started launching a "mini" version of the new satellites on its existing Falcon 9 rockets. It's unclear if the "mini" version includes the larger antennas necessary for service to phones.


T-Mobile Makes Upgrades to its 5G Network

Mar 1, 2023, 12:19 PM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile has announced two key steps in upgrading its 5G network to be faster and more advanced. First, the company has successfully tested four-carrier aggregation with 5G SA (stand-alone). In the test, this technology allowed a Samsung Galaxy S23 to hit peak speeds topping 3.3 Gbps. The test combined two channels (carriers) of 2500 MHz spectrum (band 41) and two channels of 1900 MHz spectrum (band 2/25), creating an one effective channel of 5G SA that was 225 MHz wide. "Customers with the Samsung Galaxy S23 will be among the first to experience four-carrier aggregation later this year with more devices to follow." The other announcement is the deployment of VoNR in six cities. VoNR is 5G-native voice calling; currently, most voice calls are still made over 4G LTE. The six cities that now have VoNR enabled are: New York City, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City. Consumers are unlikely to notice a change, although voice call setup time should be slightly faster. Behind the scenes, VoNR allows phones to stay connected to 5G continuously, which in turn enables 5G SA features like network slicing (for enterprise customers). VoNR is also necessary to enable the eventual phase-out of 4G LTE, although that is not expected any time soon.


T-Mobile Details 5G Expansion

Dec 12, 2022, 9:59 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile's 5G network covers 323 million people and its faster "Ultra Capacity" 5G network now covers 260 million people, a goal the company has set for the end of this year. 300 million is the company's plan for the end of 2023. T-Mobile has also just launched 5G nationwide in band 2 (1900 MHz), adding more nationwide 5G capacity in a band with good coverage. The company also continues to roll out three-carrier aggregation (3CA), offering the fastest 5G speeds possible. This feature is available "in parts of the network now" for customers with a Samsung Galaxy S22. 3CA "will expand nationwide, and be accessible by additional devices, in the near future."


Motorola Brings High-End Edge 30 Fusion to US

Dec 2, 2022, 12:30 PM   by Rich Brome

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.


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