Samsung has a new, more affordable Galaxy S20 phone that starts at $699 while keeping the S20 specs and features that Samsung says surveyed users cared about most. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (abbreviated "FE") keeps flagship-level specs in some areas, such as Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, large (6.5") AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, LPDDR5 RAM, DeX, memory card slot, IP68 dust and water rating, and a metal frame. It also has triple rear cameras (12 megapixel main, 12 megapixel wide, and 8 megapixel tele), 32 megapixel selfie camera, NFC, in-display optical fingerprint reader, and Samsung's latest advanced camera features such as Single Take and Space Zoom (30x). Most US carriers will offer three color options: Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, and Cloud Lavender. Verizon will also offer a Cloud Red option. The unlocked version from samsung.com will come in those four colors plus Cloud Orange and Cloud White. Most US carriers are expected to offer the Galaxy S20 FE. Most versions will only support sub-6 GHz 5G, but a version that also supports mmWave 5G will be available from Verizon for $750, ($700 after $50 instant discount when choosing a two-year payment plan and either: adding a new line, or upgrading while on a premium Unlimited plan). While the 6.5" screen and 4,500 battery are closer to the $1200 S20+, the S20 FE naturally makes a few compromises compared to the $1000 S20 to achieve its low price: less RAM at 6 GB, a full-HD screen that's perfectly flat, no 8K video capture, and a polycarbonate back instead of glass. Pre-orders start today and include a $70 credit (for accessories, for example) on samsung.com. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition ships on October 2nd.
Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have officially launched ZenKey, a new way quickly log in to apps that leverages the authentication that happens automatically every time your phone connects to the cellular network. Apps must be updated to support ZenKey, and developers have the option of enabling ZenKey as the primary login, or as the second token in two-factor logins, replacing PIN codes sent my text message, for example. Customers must also download the ZenKey app (available for both iOS and Android) to start using ZenKey. Currently, only a handful of apps support ZenKey login, (mostly the carriers' own apps,) but carriers hope more apps will add support.
The first phone in LG's "Explorer Project" series is the LG Wing, a phone with a unique swivel display design. The 6.8-inch full-HD OLED main display swivels up to reveal a 3.9-inch second screen. The hinge features a hydraulic damper for smooth motion, and is rated for 200,000 swivels. The unique design is optimized for viewing videos full-screen while commenting or messaging on the second screen, for example. It can also keep GPS navigation full-screen while offering call controls on the second screen. A Grip Mode ignores accidental touches while recording video with the hinge open. A "Gimbal Motion Camera" mode takes this further with joystick, lock, and follow controls on the second screen. The 64 megapixel main camera is accompanied by two wide-angle cameras: a 12 megapixel "big pixel" camera plus another 13 megapixel wide camera. One wide-angle camera is mounted in standard portrait orientation while the other is rotated 90º to match the shape of the swivel screen when open. The 32 megapixel selfie camera pops up from the top of the phone. The Wing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 8 GB of RAM. It will come with either 128 or 256 GB of storage, plus a memory card slot. The 4,000 mAh battery can be charged via Quick Charge 4.0 or wireless charging. The Wing is rated IP54 for water and dust resistance. Available colors include Aurora Gray and "Illusion Sky". In the US, the LG Wing will launch first with Verizon, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T, and other US carriers. "Specific pricing, availability, specs and color options will vary by network partner."
Motorola today revealed the 2020 edition of its razr foldable phone, with upgraded specs across the board and a tweaked design. The general design is largely similar to the 2019 original, including the same flexible inner display and folding mechanism. The hinge has been tweaked with slightly more enclosed gears and is rated for 200,000 flips. The design is sleeker thanks to a 3D curved Gorilla Glass 5 front, and a chin made thinner by moving the fingerprint reader to the back. The frame is now made from 7000 series aluminum instead of stainless steel. Spec bumps include the addition of 5G, a larger battery (2,800 mAh), much better cameras (48 megapixel main with laser auto-focus and OIS + 20 megapixel selfie), Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB storage. The new razr has the same 2.7-inch, high-resolution touchscreen on the outside, which can run scaled-down versions of select Android apps. The outer interface includes a new navigation bar at the bottom and a customizable app menu. The revamped camera app includes a customizable mode carousel. 5G support includes bands 2, 5, 25, 41, 66, 71, and 78. The new Motorola razr will be offered by both AT&T and T-Mobile, a change from last year's model that was exclusive to Verizon. It will also be available unlocked for $1,400 from motorola.com, Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Amazon. It will be available in Blush Gold, Polished Graphite, and Liquid Mercury (shown). Motorola would only cite "this fall" as the launch timeframe.
CAT today launched the S42, its latest "mid-range" rugged phone, for sale unlocked in the US. Like most CAT phones, it's rugged and waterproof (IP68), but also fully washable with soap and water. It's rated for 6-foot drops onto steel, and also meets US military spec for thermal shock, vibration, humidity, and salt mist. It has a large 4,200 mAh battery and NFC. Its 5.5-inch HD screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and works with both gloves and wet fingers. Other specs include a MediaTek Helio A20 chip, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, memory card slot, LTE Cat. 6, dual-band Wi-Fi, and VoLTE. It ships with Android 10 plus a commitment to an Android 11 update. It also has a programmable side button, headset jack, and micro-USB connector. It has good support for AT&T's 4G network including band 14, and good support for T-Mobile's 4G network including bands 25, 26, 41, 66, and 71. It's available now for $329, from catphones.com and multiple online retailers.
T-Mobile today announced that will start selling the LG Velvet on September 10th. T-Mobile's version will be powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 1000C chip, instead of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765G. This change will allow T-Mobile to offer the Velvet for $588, a tad cheaper than the $600 that AT&T charges for its Velvet. The Dimensity 1000 is MediaTek's flagship SoC with integrated 5G, and the 1000C variant is tailored to the US market. The 1000C also adds supports for Dual Display, a key feature of flagship LG phones such as the Velvet. The Velvet will be the first 5G phone in the US powered by a MediaTek chip. T-Mobile will offer two color choices: Aurora Gray and Pink White.
T-Mobile today announced the launch of 5G in valuable 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum in 81 "new cities and towns". Many of the new areas are suburbs of the eight major cities already launched: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.. However some all-new areas include select neighborhoods near Tampa, Boston, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Portland (Oregon). T-Mobile says it is adding mid-band 5G to 1,000 cell towers per month, brining the service to "thousands of cities and towns across the country" by the end of the year. The company is also adding more mid-band spectrum to cell towers already enabled with mid-band 5G, for even greater capacity and data speeds. T-Mobile is the only major carrier with significant mid-band spectrum, which offers a good balance of speed and coverage for 5G service, compared to other bands.
The FCC today published the winners of the recent Auction 105 for part of the 3.5 GHz band. Verizon shelled out $1.9 billion for 557 licenses covering 157 counties, likely covering major cities. Dish Network (bidding as "Wetterhorn Wireless") shelled out $913 million for 5,492 licenses covering 3,128 counties. Several cable companies also participated, but for fewer and/or less-valuable licenses. In this part of the 3.5 GHz band, each license covers 10 MHz of bandwidth in one county. The FCC auctioned off a maximum of seven licenses in any given county, with each company allowed to own a maximum of four licenses per county. Verizon appears to have approached that maximum in the counties it bid for, gaining 40 MHz of spectrum in a slight majority of its 157 counties, and 30 MHz in all or most of the rest. Dish won spectrum covering many more counties, but likely in more rural areas since it paid less for those licenses. Dish appears to have averaged closer to two licenses (20 MHz) per county. Dish currently operates the Boost brand using the T-Mobile network, but is preparing to build its own 5G SA network over the coming years. Auction 105 is the first of three FCC auctions for different parts of the 3.5 GHz band. This auction covers 3550-3650 MHz. The next 3.5 GHz auction starts in December.
Samsung has revealed new details of its Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable phone, the successor to last year's pioneering Galaxy Fold. While Samsung has improved or refined most aspects of the design — including the hinge — the much larger outer display stands out, having grown from 4.6 to 6.2 inches, and now protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The flexible inner display is also larger thanks to thinner bezels, and is protected by Samsung's proprietary Ultra Thin Glass material that debuted on the Galaxy Z Flip earlier this year. It also supports adaptive screen refresh up to 120 Hz. Both screens have a single hole punch for a 10-megapixel selfie camera. The three rear cameras (standard, wide, and 2x telephoto) are all 12 megapixel. It has a 4,500 mAh battery. It supports 25W fast charging, 11W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. Its radios include both sub-6 and mmWave 5G, UWB, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It's available in one spec configuration — 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage (no memory card slot) — for $1999. Samsung is also expanding the "Galaxy Z Premier Service" included with all of its Z series phones with new VIP amenities such as Founders Card membership. Color options for the Z Fold2 are: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Optionally, the hinge color can be customized, which a choice of four metallic hinge colors: silver, gold, red, or blue. Starting September 18th, it will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked directly from Samsung. Pre-orders start at midnight tonight. Read on for a photo gallery, full specs, and new software feature info.
T-Mobile today introduced three new models in its own-branded REVVL series: the REVVL 4, REVVL 4+, and REVVL 5G. The REVVL 5G will sell for $400 — or $200 with a new line of service — making it the most affordable 5G phone in the US to date. All three phones run Android 10 and have a fingerprint sensor.
- REVVL 5G: Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip and a 4,500 mAh battery. Key specs include 6.53-inch full-HD display, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, and triple rear cameras. The main camera has a 48 megapixel sensor, joined by an 8-megapixel wide camera and 5 megapixel macro camera. A 16 megapixel front camera sits behind a corner hole-punch in the display.
- REVVL 4+: Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chip and a 4,000 mAh battery. Key specs include 6.52-inch HD display, 4 GB RAM, and 64 GB storage. The main camera has a 16 megapixel sensor. A 16-megapixel front camera is located in a display notch. It will sell for $192.
- REVVL 4: Powered by a MediaTek Helio A22 chip and a 3,500 mAh battery. Key specs include 6.22-inch full-HD display, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, 13 megapixel main camera, and 5 megapixel front camera. It runs $120.
Microsoft is finally ready to launch the unique, dual-screen Surface Duo device it first revealed almost a year ago. The Android 10 device has two 5.6-inch OLED displays, joined by a narrow 360º hinge, which can work together as one 8.1-inch display. Microsoft has customized both the Android OS, and its suite of productivity apps for Android, to enable new dual-screen functionality. The Surface Duo will launch September 10th starting at $1399. It has excellent support for the 4G networks of AT&T and Verizon, and decent support for T-Mobile's 4G network, although it does not support band 71. It will be available unlocked as well as from AT&T. Key specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 128 or 256 GB of storage, Cat. 18 LTE, 3,577 mAh battery capacity, 18W fast charging, fingerprint reader, and USB-C 3.1 including video output to DisplayPort or HDMI. It has an 11 megapixel camera that supports 1080p video conferencing and 4K video capture. The 360º hinge lets the single camera face inward or outward. When open, the Surface Duo is just 4.8mm thick.
Samsung has revealed the first details of its next premium foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold2. Also, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have all announced that they will offer the Z Fold2. Both screens have been made larger compared to the original Fold. The outer display is now a full 6.2 inches, covering most of the front surface, a huge improvement over the 4.6-inch display on the original Fold. The inner, flexible display has been enlarged from 7.3 to 7.6 inches. The flexible display is now protected by Samsung's UTG (Ultra Thin Glass) just like the Galaxy Z Flip. The hinge looks similar, but has been re-engineered using over 60 precision parts. The phone also has a small camera hole punch on both displays, and 4,500 mAh battery capacity. The Z Fold2 will come in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. Samsung is keeping full details under wraps until September 1st, when pre-orders will also go live. Read on for more photos.
T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon will all launch the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G this month, starting with T-Mobile on August 7th. The A51 5G is just $500, making it the most affordable 5G phone offered by US carriers to date. Verizon's model, which adds mmWave 5G, will run $550, according to a Verizon spokesperson. The A51 5G was announced in April. Compared to the 4G A51, the A51 5G adds not only 5G, but also a larger battery and more RAM. AT&T, Verizon, and Xfinity already offer the 4G version. Other specs include a 6.5-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, 32-megapixel front camera, fast charging, NFC, and a memory card slot.
T-Mobile today enabled SA (standalone) mode on its nationwide 5G network. T-Mobile is the first carrier in the world to launch 5G SA technology on this scale. The launch immediately boosts T-Mobile's 5G coverage by 30%. It also improves the latency (responsiveness) of the 5G network by up to 40%, according to the company. The 5G network now covers nearly 250 million people in more than 7,500 cities and towns across 1.3 million square miles. Previously, T-Mobile's 5G network (like most 5G networks to date) only operated in NSA mode, which relies on a 4G LTE network for basic connectivity and setting up 5G data connections. T-Mobile's implementation of 5G NSA used a higher frequency band for the 4G connection, which restricted coverage. Now that 5G can operate on its own in band 71 (600 MHz) using SA technology, 5G coverage is much greater and can be accessed more reliably indoors.
The Sprint brand is no more, as T-Mobile today completes its effort to bring former Sprint stores and other assets under the T-Mobile umbrella with re-branding. Most Sprint stores closed early last night to give employees time to conduct the T-Mobile make-over. The Sprint web site is also gone; sprint.com now re-directs to t-mobile.com. Customers previously with Sprint can now access their accounts via t-mobile.com. The two companies legally completed their historic merger on April 1st. T-Mobile has not yet announced its timeline for phasing out legacy Sprint technology such as its CDMA network.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, a variant of the company's folding-screen, clamshell-style phone that adds sub-6 GHz 5G and a faster processor, but is otherwise similar to the 4G version. In the US, it will be available for $1,450 starting August 7th from AT&T and T-Mobile, and unlocked from Samsung, Amazon, and Best Buy. The processor is Qualcomm's new, top-end Snapdragon 865+, compared to the older Snapdragon 855+ in the 4G version. The Z Flip 5G will support the sub-6 GHz 5G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile in bands 2, 5, 25, 41, 66, and 71, as well as 4G LTE in all US bands. The 5G variant looks identical to the 4G model, except it comes in new colors: Mystic Gray and Mystic Bronze, both with a haze finish that minimizes fingerprints. The Z Flip has a unique bending display featuring "flexible glass". The Z Flip also has a 3,300 mAh battery and 8 GB of RAM.
T-Mobile is temporarily offering lower prices for accounts with four to six lines on its Essentials plan. Normally $30/month/line, families and small businesses with four lines can now sign up for the Essentials plan for just $25/month/line. Adding a fifth or sixth line is just $20/month/line. Unlike T-Mobile's pricier Magenta plans, Essentials plan rates do not include taxes and fees. The Essentials plan does include 5G data, but limits data speeds during network congestion (giving Magenta-plan customers priority), limits mobile hotspot use to 3G speeds, limits data in Canada and Mexico to 2G speed, and does not include data roaming for other countries. Nor does Essentials include perks like Netflix and Gogo, although it does include T-Mobile Tuesdays.
LG today finally revealed the US launch details for its design-centric flagship phone for 2020, the Velvet. The Velvet will be offered by all three major US carriers, starting with AT&T tomorrow. It specs are just shy of competing flagship phones, but still very high-end. Crucially, it's significantly cheaper at just $600. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip, 6 GB of RAM, and a 4,300 mAh battery. The AT&T and T-Mobile versions offer sub-6 GHz 5G. As usual, Verizon will offer a special version that also supports mmWave 5G. Other specs include a 6.8-inch full-HD OLED display with HDR10, 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, 16 megapixel selfie camera, Quick Charge 4+, and IP68 water resistance. It also has 128 GB of storage, memory card slot, headset jack, NFC, stereo speakers, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The Velvet supports its own Dual Display, which adds a second full-size display plus small outer display as part of a hinged case accessory. The Velvet also supports and optional stylus, and can operate in a special desktop mode when connected to a large external monitor or TV. LG has emphasized design in launching the Velvet, touting its "3D Arc Design", "raindrop-inspired rear camera array", "flowing lines, polished surfaces, curved corners and symmetrical front and rear edges". Colors available in the US include Aurora Gray, Aurora Silver, Aurora Red, and Pink White, although specific colors and pricing "will vary by network partner". The Velvet will come to T-Mobile and Verizon "later this summer".
T-Mobile gave an update on its 5G rollout today, including plans to launch 5G NR SA (Standalone) technology later this quarter (by the end of September at the latest). All current 5G deployments use NSA (Non-Standalone) technology, which relies on 4G as the network backbone. 5G SA technology does not rely on 4G. According to T-Mobile, this will enable the company to "expand our coverage and bring with it improved latency and faster uploads". T-Mobile also announced the launch of new 5G coverage in "Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Richmond, Va., Topeka, Kan., Sussex County, Del., and coming soon in Buffalo, N.Y." The company also announced the launch of faster 5G service in the 2.5 GHz frequency band in Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles.
T-Mobile today revealed that August 2nd is the date it will officially retire the Sprint brand and unify the recently-merged company under the T-Mobile brand. Sprint stores will be rebranded "with a fresh coat of magenta paint". And next week, T-Mobile will announce "new, aggressive offers ... saving people money".
T-Mobile launched a new initiative today called ScamShield. The program includes a suite of several technologies designed to combat scam calls and robocalls, all of which are now free for all T-Mobile, Metro, and Sprint customers. Advanced caller-ID is included, which identifies many callers even if they aren't in your contact list. This feature was previously called Name ID and incurred a charge of $4/month/line with many plans. T-Mobile also detailed its own proprietary technology which uses machine learning to identify suspicious callers at the network level. T-Mobile claims this technology performs 30% better than the offerings of competitors like Verizon. T-Mobile's list of suspicious numbers is updated every six minutes. All customers can choose to have all such calls automatically blocked today, for free, by dialing #662#. Starting July 24th, T-Mobile and Metro customers can download a free app called ScamShield that offers a number of additional options and features for managing such calls. Sprint's Call Screener app is also free. The new initiative also includes features for protecting and managing the privacy of your personal phone number. PROXY# is a free second phone number you can give out instead of your real, main number. On incoming calls, an indicator on your phone shows which number is being called, and the second number has its own voicemail inbox. Finally, NumberChange is a new option that lets you get a whole new primary number once, for free, for a "clean slate".
US carriers have launched a flurry of new entry-level phones from LG and Samsung in recent weeks. The phones include three new models from each of the two manufacturers. They range in price from $60 to $260.
- LG's new most affordable phone goes by many names and ranges in price from $60 to $160. It's offered by just about every carrier except Verizon. T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro offer it as the Aristo 5. Boost offers it as the Tribute Monarch. U.S. Cellular offers it as the K8x. All of those versions come with 32 GB of storage. Only AT&T's version comes with just 16 GB of storage, which they offer from AT&T Prepaid as the Phoenix 5, or from Cricket as the Fortune 3. Oddly, Cricket also offers this phone as the Risio 4. The Risio 4 and K8x have a front camera that's downgraded from 5 to 3 megapixel. Key specs in common include a 5.7-inch HD display with notch, MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 2 GB RAM, and a 3,000 mAh Battery. It also has a 13-megapixel main camera, dedicated wide-angle camera, and a rear fingerprint reader.
- LG Harmony 4: Currently available only from Cricket (for $140), this step-up model has a larger display (6.1-inch), larger battery (3,500 mAh), and more RAM (3 GB). It also has USB-C and a better front camera. Regulatory filings indicate it may also come to Verizon prepaid and TracFone using the Sprint network.
- LG K51: Already available from T-Mobile, Metro, and Boost, this model is now available from Verizon for $168. Compared to the Harmony 4, it offers an even larger display and battery. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor.
- Samsung A01: First launched on Verizon in April, Samsung's most affordable phone is now available from AT&T, Cricket, and Metro, for $115, $60, and $160, respectively. It has USB-C and fast charging, but no fingerprint reader.
- Samsung A11: A big step up from A01, this $180 phone is now available from AT&T and Verizon. It will launch with Boost on July 21st at a limited-time price of $130. It has a 6.4-inch HD display with a hole-punch design, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, fingerprint reader, and a dedicated wide-angle camera.
- Samsung A21: Now available from Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro, Sprint, and Boost. While the standard price is $250, Metro is charging $260 while Boost is currently offering it for $200. It has a similar display and battery compared to the A11, but has upgraded cameras, MediaTek Helio P35 processor, 3 GB RAM, and NFC.
T-Mobile US and Dish Network today announced that they have completed the previously-announced sale of Boost, the prepaid arm of Sprint. Dish now owns the Boost brand and takes responsibility for its 9.3 million customer accounts, hundreds of employees, and thousands of independent retailers. Boost customers are promised a smooth transition thanks to a seven-year agreement for Dish to use the T-Mobile network while Dish builds its own 5G SA (stand-alone) network. Dish unveiled two new plans for Boost customers. The "$hrink-It!" plan offers lower rates over time, to encourage customers to stay with Boost. It's similar to a plan Boost offered six years ago, as well as Verizon's new prepaid plans. It starts at $45/month for 15 GB of data, with a $5/month discount after three on-time payments, and an additional $5/month discount after six total on-time payments. The other new plan offers 10 GB of data plus unlimited talk and text for $35/month. Both plans will be available starting tomorrow, July 2nd. Dish also unveiled a new logo for Boost that blends the existing Boost logo with the Dish logo. Dish paid $1.4 billion for Boost, the same amount originally agreed upon when the deal was first announced. The sale was required by the government in order for T-Mobile to win approval for its deal to merge with Sprint. Dish has started building its own 5G SA network, having recently signed infrastructure deals with Fujitsu, Altiostar, and Mavenir.
Regulatory filings for a new phone from TCL bear the name "REVVL 4+" and describe a phone supporting all of the network bands unique to the T-Mobile/Sprint network. Since 2017, T-Mobile has offered a series of white-label phones under its own "T-Mobile REVVL" brand. Most of the first and second generation REVVL phones were made by TCL. Last year's REVVLRY and REVVLRY+ were the third generation, and the first to be made by Motorola. The filings reveal very few details about the phone, except the FCC approval confirms it will have NFC, and the Bluetooth SIG approval confirms it will have Bluetooth 5.0. The Bluetooth approval for this phone is shared with the TCL 10L, indicating the REVVL 4+ may be based on the 10L. The TCL 10L is a mid-range Android phone with a Snapdragon 665 processor, 48 megapixel main camera, wide-angle camera, and "Super Bluetooth" supporting up to 4 simultaneous connections.
T-Mobile's rewards program — T-Mobile Tuesdays — is now available to Sprint customers. Upcoming offers include 50 Starbucks Stars and three free months of Postmates Unlimited.
Samsung's new mid-range 5G phone, the Galaxy A71 5G, will be available from T-Mobile and Sprint this Friday for $600. Samsung has also made it official that both Verizon and AT&T will offer the phone "later this summer", and that it will also be available unlocked. We broke the news about the Verizon version of the A71 5G a month ago. T-Mobile and Sprint will offer the Galaxy A71 5G in a "Prism Cube Black" finish. The A71 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, has a 6.7-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display, 4,500 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, quad rear cameras including a 64 megapixel main camera, and 6 GB of RAM. T-Mobile also announced today that it will carry many of the other models in Samsung's latest A-series of phones. The slightly cheaper Galaxy A51 5G will come to the T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro brands this summer. The company will also offer the entry-level A01, A11, and A21, at prices ranging from $160 to $250.
Dish is trying to re-negotiate its deal to buy Boost Mobile, according to reporting from Fox Business. The US Department of Justice mandated that Sprint sell its Boost prepaid business as part of the company's deal to merge with T-Mobile. The agreed-upon purchase price was $1.4 billion, but Dish is now balking at that number. T-Mobile would need to find another buyer, and a major private equity firm may be interested. Dish was supposed to close the Boost purchase by June 1st. The DoJ has its own final deadline of July 1st for the deal.
Motorola is refreshing its entry-level lineup with a new Moto e for 2020 and a new model at the low end of its (mid-range) g series. The Moto e (2020) and Moto g fast will both be available unlocked and with Boost, and the Moto e will be available with several other US carriers as well.
- Moto e (2020): This year's Moto e delivers several major upgrades over last year's e6. It has a larger display (6.2-inch vs. 5.5-inch) thanks to a modern notch design. It also has a larger battery: 3,550 mAh vs. 3,000 mAh, and it steps up to a 600-series Snapdragon processor (the 632) compared to last year's 400-series chip. It also offers 32 GB of storage — double last year's amount — and adds both a depth camera and a fingerprint reader. Keeping things affordable, its front camera is 5 megapixel, it has 2 GB of RAM, and it uses a micro-USB charging connector. It does, however, have water-repellent coating, 3.5mm headset jack, and a memory card slot. It will be available unlocked for $150, and later sold by Verizon Prepaid, T-Mobile, Metro, US Cellular, and Xfinity Mobile. There are two variants with different network support: The version for Verizon supports fewer LTE bands, but, oddly, full support for AT&T's LTE network is only found on Verizon's version.
- Moto g fast: The $200 Moto g fast is a more-affordable cousin to the recently-announced Moto g power (2020) and Moto g stylus. Like those models, it has a 6.4-inch display with a corner hole punch design, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, water resistance, a fingerprint reader, and triple rear cameras (including wide and macro). Making it more affordable is the HD+ display resolution, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and an 8 megapixel selfie camera. It has the same 4,000 mAh battery as the Moto g stylus and the same 16 megapixel main camera as the Moto g power. Other features include USB-C, fast charging, 3.5mm audio jack, and a memory card slot. So far, Boost is the only US carrier that has announced plans to carry the Moto g fast.
T-Mobile is offering free, unlimited service to all official EMS, police, and fire agencies in the US. The new type of plan includes unlimited smartphone and tablet data within the US, including 5G. Streaming video is limited to SD quality (1.5 Mbps) and mobile hotspot is limited to 1 GB at high speed, but otherwise, data, text, and voice are all unlimited and free within the US. The plan includes 5 GB of high-speed data in Canada and Mexico, but no other international features are included in the free plan. A step-up plan for $15/month offers unlimited texting and basic data worldwide, 20 GB of mobile hotspot data, and unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi with Gogo. The new plans are available to all full-time staff using a company account registered to a verified first responder agency. Inclusion of volunteers will be at the discretion of the station chief or commander in consultation with T-Mobile. T-Mobile has committed to offering these plans for ten years.
Boost Mobile is the first US carrier to launch the LG Stylo 6, an update to the popular Stylo 5 series. Compared to the 5 series, the Stylo 6 has a larger display, larger battery, more storage, and more cameras. It's about the same width and thickness as the 5, but taller. This, plus a modern all-screen design, allow an increase in screen size from 6.2 to 6.8 inches. It also has a 4,000 mAh battery and 64 GB of storage. The 13-megapixel rear camera has been joined by a depth camera and 5-megapixel wide-angle camera. The front camera, which sits in a small screen notch, has been upgraded to 13 megapixel. The Stylo 6 is powered by Android 10 running on a MediaTek Helio P35 processor with 3 GB of RAM. Other features are similar to the Stylo 5 series, including a pop-out stylus, full-HD display resolution, NFC, rear fingerprint reader, memory card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. Boost is selling the LG Stylo 6 for $180, starting today. The FCC has also approved a different variant of the Stylo 6 that seems designed for T-Mobile's network. The Stylo 5 series was offered by all major US carriers and most prepaid brands.
T-Mobile has launched enhanced 5G service in New York City that uses three very different frequency bands to provide a unique blend of broad coverage and high speeds, according to a tweet from Neville Ray, the company's President of Technology. The network includes band 71 (600 MHz) for broad 5G coverage, although with speeds only marginally faster than 4G. This is the same band T-Mobile has deployed for "nationwide" 5G coverage. It also includes mmWave 5G, which offers the highest speeds but with coverage limited to the densest areas of the city. Finally, it includes band 41 (2.5 GHz), which offers something in-between. Band 41 is the new addition to the company's 5G network in NYC. Band 41 was owned by Sprint, so the recent merger of the two companies made today's launch possible. Of T-Mobile's current phone lineup, only the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra can access all three bands.
T-Mobile has successfully tested a variety of 5G SA (stand-alone) technologies on a production network, using hardware from multiple vendors on both the network and device ends. The successful tests pave the way for T-Mobile to launch 5G SA later this year. In a world first, T-Mobile used a commercial 5G smartphone from OnePlus to test a low-band 5G SA data session, a VoNR voice call, and a ViNR video call, all on a production network. In another first, T-Mobile successfully tested 5G SA data between commercial modems from different vendors: MediaTek and Qualcomm. The 5G SA production network uses technology from Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, and Qualcomm. Current 5G networks are NSA (non-stand-alone), which means they rely heavily on existing 4G networks. Currently, 5G phones connect primarily to 4G networks; data sessions that happen over 5G are orchestrated over 4G. 5G SA removes the dependence on 4G networks, marking the next step in the evolution of 5G. It will also enable lower latency and faster data speeds. VoNR will eventually allow voice calls over 5G networks, removing the last dependence on 4G. But first, an intermediate technology called "Evolved Packet System (EPS) fallback to VoLTE" will allow 5G SA to launch before VoNR is ready. It allows 5G phones to connect primarily to a 5G SA network, but fall back to 4G for voice calls. T-Mobile has successfully tested this technology with a MediaTek chipset. T-Mobile has also tested ViNR, the video-calling technology built into the 5G standard.
Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T are working with iHeartMedia to donate 200,000 cell phone chargers to hospitals in major cities hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. "Many patients seeking treatment for Covid-19 either forget to bring their phone charger to the hospital or don’t have one easily accessible. Losing the ability to communicate with friends and family during a pandemic can be terrifying and healthcare workers are struggling to keep up with the demand for chargers." Cities receiving the donations include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
LG and Tubi announced a deal to preload the Tubi video-streaming app on LG phones. Tubi is a division of FOX Entertainment. The Tubi app offers over 20,000 movies and TV shows for free, with ads. The app is already loaded on LG phones sold by T-Mobile, and is coming soon to LG phones sold by Metro and US Cellular. Additional carriers will be announced soon. The multi-year partnership is expected to cover "tens of millions of LG mobile phones in the US and Canada".
T-Mobile is beginning to launch 5G network upgrades that utilize assets of the former Sprint network. In Philadelphia, customers can now access 5G using both low-band (band 71) and mid-band (band 41) radio spectrum, offering better mix of coverage, capacity, and speed. T-Mobile will make this upgrade next in New York City, where the company also operates a mmWave 5G network, so customers there will be able to access 5G in all three classes of radio frequencies, offering an even better experience. T-Mobile is also launching low-band 5G in Detroit, St. Louis, and Columbus, Ohio today. Finally, the Sprint-branded Samsung Galaxy S20 will gain access to T-Mobile's "nationwide" low-band 5G network later this month.
OnePlus has revealed its new lineup for 2020 — the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro — both of which have 5G. They also manage to pack larger batteries into slightly thinner bodies compared to their predecessors. Both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset and support sub-6 GHz 5G. A special version of the OnePlus 8 for Verizon will also support mmWave 5G. Otherwise, the OnePlus 8 differs little from the OnePlus 7T, except it's very slightly smaller, and it loses the 12 megapixel telephoto camera, replacing it with a 2 megapixel macro camera. The larger OnePlus 8 Pro combines the best of the OnePlus 8 and last year's 7T Pro, including a larger QHD display and 3x telephoto camera. But it also adds a long list of new features, such as 120 Hz screen refresh, super-fast (30W) wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, IP68 water and dust rating, faster (LPDDR5) RAM, 48-megapixel sensors in both the main camera and the 120º wide-angle camera, a unique "color filter camera", a dedicated flicker sensor for challenging indoor lighting, and video HDR. The 8 Pro also includes MEMC, a form of motion smoothing that upsamples 24fps video content for the phone's 120 Hz display, and HDR Boost, which enhances non-HDR content for the phone's HDR10+ display. The new OnePlus camera app in the 8 and 8 Pro is designed to recognize and automatically focus on dog and cat faces in addition to human faces. Both models use OLED displays with a corner hole-punch design. They also include NFC, Wi-Fi 6, Amazon Alexa, and OnePlus' signature three-position sliding ringer switch. Both models support 5G in bands 2, 5, 41, 66, and 71, for full support of all US sub-6 5G networks in the near future. They also support all current US bands for 4G networks, except band 14 for AT&T's FirstNet. Both models will be available unlocked April 29th from Amazon and direct from OnePlus.com. The OnePlus 8 starts at $699 for the version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, which only comes in Glacial Green. $799 gets you 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, but that version only comes in "Interstellar Glow" (shown). Both T-Mobile and Verizon will also offer the OnePlus 8 starting April 29th. T-Mobile will offer it in Interstellar Glow and Onyx Black. Verizon's version will also support mmWave 5G. It runs $800 and will come in Polar Silver and Onyx Black. The OnePlus 8 Pro will only be available unlocked for now. It starts at $899 for 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, available in frosted-glass Glacial Green or Onyx Black. The 12/256 GB version runs $999 and comes in Ultramarine Blue (shown), Glacial Green, or Onyx Black.
Samsung has a slew of new phones coming to the US in its more-affordable A-series, including one launching tomorrow for $110, and a 5G model launching this summer for $500.
- Galaxy A01: One of Samsung's most affordable phones at $110. Specs include a 5.7-inch HD display, 13 megapixel main camera, depth camera, 3,000 mAh battery, fast charging, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Verizon will launch the A01 tomorrow, April 9th, and the FCC has also approved versions specifically designed for AT&T and T-Mobile.
- Galaxy A51 (4G): A mid-range model selling for $400. Specs include a 6.5-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display, quad rear cameras, including a 48 megapixel main camera, 12 megapixel wide camera, plus macro and depth cameras, 32 megapixel selfie camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, in-display fingerprint reader, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB storage, and a memory card slot. Launching tomorrow, April 9th. Verizon and Sprint will launch the A51 this week, and the version approved by the FCC for the US has excellent support for all US 4G networks.
- Galaxy A51 5G: A 5G version of the A51, with similar specs, except a larger battery (4,500 mAh) and more RAM (6 or 8 GB). Will sell for $500.
- Galaxy A71 5G: Similar to the A51 5G, but with a larger display (6.7-inch), better main camera (64 megapixel) and faster charging (25W instead of 15W). Will sell for $600.
- Galaxy A21: A $250 phone with a 6.5-inch HD display, 16 megapixel main camera, wide camera, macro camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, rear fingerprint reader, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot.
- Galaxy A11: A $180 phone with a 6.4-inch HD LCD display, 13 megapixel main camera, wide camera, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, rear fingerprint reader, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and a memory card slot.
The California Public Utilities Commission yesterday issued an order clarifying that it has not yet granted approval for Sprint and T-Mobile to merge in California, and the merger cannot proceed in that state until it does so. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the merger on April 16th.
T-Mobile is offering most customers with two or more voice lines free access to Quibi, the new mobile-only premium video streaming service launching April 6th. Eligible customers get a full year of Quibi free, and can continue receiving free access after that if they opt out of T-Mobile's free Netflix offer. Quibi is normally $5/month, or $8/month without ads. T-Mobile's offer is for the $5/month plan with ads. Quibi has a number of shows lined up featuring A-list celebrities. All episodes are 10 minutes or less, and are filmed so they can be viewed in either portrait or landscape video. To be eligible for the T-Mobile offer, customers must have two or more voice lines at standard rates on a Magenta or ONE plan. First Responder, Military, and Magenta Plus 55 plans are also eligible, as are small business customers with up to 12 lines. Customers have until July 7 to opt in to the offer.
T-Mobile has officially completed its merger with Sprint. For the moment, the merger has little effect on customers, but "Sprint" lives only as a brand of T-Mobile, not a separate company. As of today, Sprint is no longer trading under its own symbol on the stock exchange. Current Sprint customers can keep their plans for the near future. As a condition of regulatory approval, T-Mobile has committed to not raise prices for three years. But over time, the Sprint brand will be replaced by T-Mobile. The companies have been making technical preparations for the merger since it was announced. Most new phones introduced by Sprint and T-Mobile in the past year are capable of accessing both networks, ensuring a smoother transition. The companies have already announced expanded roaming for Sprint customers on the T-Mobile network, for Sprint customers with those newer phones. While all major US wireless carriers are deploying 5G in both sub-6 GHz and mmWave radio frequencies, the new T-Mobile will have the key advantage of access to mid-band frequencies in the form of Sprint's unique band 41 (2.5 GHz). 5G in this band can offer a unique balance between high speeds (like mmWave) as well as broad coverage (like other sub-6 bands). The company claims that combining the two networks into one will allow the company to offer "14 times more capacity in the next six years than T-Mobile alone has today", "average 5G speeds up to eight times faster than current LTE in just a few years", and "$43 billion in synergies for all shareholders", mostly from "reducing redundant cell sites and rapidly deploying spectrum and other technologies more efficiently." The new company announced plans to invest "$40 billion into its network, business and more over the next three years." The company also announced that Mike Sievert will replace John Legere as T-Mobile CEO effective today, one month earlier than previously announced.