Verizon Wireless on Monday announced a new prepaid plan that offers unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data for $80. The monthly plan is only being offered on the 3G Samsung Illusion, which can be had for $169.99 and will be available at Best Buy, Target, RadioShack and Walmart. Verizon also announced three different prepaid plans for its Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. The nation’s largest carrier is offering 250MB of data for usage for a week for $15, 3GB of data per month for $60, and 10GB a month for $90. The Verizon Jetpack 4510L will be available for $129.99. Verizon’s press release follows below.
Apple’s new iPad has already seen massive success, selling over 3 million units in less than four days of availability. The tablet features an updated A5X chip, a beautiful Retina display and 4G LTE connectivity. Due to the blazing fast 4G speeds on Apple’s iPad Wi-Fi + 4G models, it is estimated that half of all new iPads sold will be LTE enabled. Analytics firm Localytics has countered previous reports, however, stating that only 6% of all iPad sessions using apps with its tracking software installed connect to the Internet through a cellular network. The firm found that 89.7% of all iPads are Wi-Fi only, while 8.8% were 3G-enabled and 1.5% included 4G. Users with iPads equipped with 3G use cellular data 45% of the time, while users with 4G devices only utilize LTE 36% of the time. Localytics compiled its connectivity report using data collected between March 16th and March 21st, and the company’s infographic can be found after the break. More →
Sprint’s first 4G LTE device will be the Sierra Wireless Tri-Network mobile hotspot, SprintFeed reported on Tuesday. The device was originally announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but was overshadowed by the Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper. The Tri-Network hotspot can support up to eight simultaneous data connections using 3G, WiMAX or LTE connectivity. SprintFeed’s sources were able to confirm that the hotspot is scheduled to be released on May 18th, although pricing and data plan information is not yet available. More →
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh announced that they have discovered a means of wirelessly transmitting data thousands of times faster than current standards, PCMag reported on Wednesday. The team is led by Hrvoje Petek, a physics and chemistry professor at the university, who has theoretically found a way to transmit data between devices in the terahertz frequency. Petek’s discovery of “a physical basis for terahertz bandwidth” could potentially be used to leverage the “portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between infrared and microwave light” and transmit data at rates 1,000 times faster than today’s wireless standards, which are limited to the gigahertz frequency. “The ability to modulate light with such a bandwidth could increase the amount of information carried by more than 1,000 times when compared to the volume carried with today’s technologies,” Petek said. “Needless to say, this has been a long-awaited discovery in the field.” More →
AT&T wants customers who are still using 2G phones to upgrade to the company’s faster 3G and 4G networks, MarketWatch reported last week. The carrier is in the process of sending notices to customers asking them to upgrade their devices. “Your current, older-model 2G phone might not be able to make or receive calls and you may experience degradation of your wireless service in certain areas,” AT&T said in the letter. Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman, said the company is looking to use some of the 2G spectrum for newer technologies. “We’re simply urging them to upgrade to a new device if they want to,” he said. Siegel confirmed that the carrier sent notices to customers in the New York metropolitan area and may soon send them to other customers. He noted, however, that the program was voluntary and only affected a small number of subscribers. He also noted that most 2G phones will continue to work. “We are still supporting the 2G network,” Siegel said, although he did state that customers who continue to use 2G cell phones that operate on AT&T’s 1900-megahertz band will eventually lose service.
AT&T on Monday announced a new plan that will let developers pay for the data used by their apps and services. The data consumed by apps that make use of this new feature would not apply toward a user’s data cap. The new service was pitched as a way for content providers to ease customers’ growing concerns over wireless data usage, however one public interest group sees the feature as a slap in the face to AT&T subscribers. “This new plan is unfortunate because it shows how fraudulent the AT&T data cap is, and calls into question the whole rationale of the data caps,” Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. “Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It’s a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.” Read on for more. More →
A judge in Southern California on Friday awarded $850 to an iPhone user who was throttled on AT&T’s network, according to the Associated Press. Judge Russell Nadel of Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli, who filed a small claims case against AT&T last month. Spaccarelli argued that the carrier unfairly slowed speeds on his iPhone 4′s unlimited data plan and said his phone was being throttled after using a mere 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data per month, even though AT&T’s 3GB monthly plan costs the same price of $30 per month. Judge Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $85, instead of the $10,000 he requested, for each of the 10 months left on his contract — totaling to $850. More →
One week after dismissing Samsung’s first German patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, a German court has also rejected a second suit, reports Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Judge Andreas Voss of Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court on Friday addressed Samsung’s argument that certain 3G and UMTS technology in Apple’s iPhones infringes the South Korean company’s patents. The Judge dismissed these claims early Friday morning, however he did not immediately offer an explanation for his decision. Mueller, who attended the pronouncement, says the outcome of Samsung’s suit may be based on the validity of the specific patent in question, in which case Samsung could still prevail in any of its three other 3G/UMTS-related patent complaints it filed against Apple in Mannheim. Samsung originally brought five suits against Apple in Germany, claiming Apple’s mobile devices infringe various 3G/UMTS wireless standards patents it holds. More →
More than 50% of all phones sold this year will be capable of running on 4G or 3G data networks, according to a new report from ABI Research. “As the festive cheer of the holiday season dies away, the mood among handset vendors remains quietly confident regarding 2012,” Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting for ABI Research said. “The outlook will yield growth in the order of 8%, netting 1.67 billion handsets shipped worldwide by the end of 2012. Particularly notable is for the first time, 3G and 4G handset shipments will capture more than 50% of total handsets shipped.” Read on for more. More →
Sprint, a carrier that often touts itself as the only carrier with “truly unlimited” data plans, actually throttles its heaviest data users. Speaking at an investor conference on Thursday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse admitted that Sprint imposes limits the top 1% of data hogs. “For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off,” Hesse said. The executive explained that Sprint needs to throttle — or slow down the data speeds — of its heaviest users in order to make room for the growing number of smartphone users on its 3G and 4G WiMAX networks. Earlier on Thursday Sprint detailed its first 4G LTE markets, which will roll out in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio during the first half of this year. More →
Verizon Wireless was the first major carrier to launch its super fast 4G LTE network in the United States. Being the first comes with its fair share of problems, however. Earlier this week Verizon’s 4G LTE network suffered its third major outage in the month of December. In an interview with GigaOM, Verizon Wireless vice president of Network Engineering Mike Haberman responded with:
Being the pioneers, we’re going to experience some growing pains. These issues we’ve been experiencing are certainly regrettable but they were unforeseeable.
Haberman went on to blame all three outages on the process of replacing old signaling architectures used in 2G and 3G networks while on 4G, known as the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). Ever since April, IMS has caused problems leading to network failures. After fixing various software bugs, users were able to again reconnect to 3G EV-DO and 4G LTE services. However, the IMS glitches returned in December and have caused the company headaches. The first outage on December 7th was caused by the failure of a back-up communications database. The second, last week, was the result of an IMS element not responding properly, while Wednesday’s outage was caused by two IMS elements not communicating properly, Haberman told GigaOM. In a statement released by the company, Verizon says that it will not rest until their 4G LTE network performs at the highest levels that customers have come to expect. More →
Verizon Wireless users are once again suffering from a widespread 4G LTE and 3G EV-DO data outage. The outage is the third one of the month and only seems to be affecting users with 4G LTE devices. A recording on Verizon’s support line reveals that the company is aware of the issue and working to fix it, but no indication was given as far as when service might be restored. We have received reports stating that service is out across the country, with confirmed outages in parts of New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and other regions.
UPDATE: Verizon Wireless issued BGR the following statement on the outage: “We are investigating reports of some customers experiencing trouble accessing the 4GLTE network. The network itself continues to operate and all customers continue to be able to make calls, send text messages and utilize data services. 3G devices are operating normally.”
Deutsche Telekom recently detailed the breakup terms AT&T agreed to following the deterioration of its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA. Deutsche Telekom will receive $3 billion in cash and T-Mobile USA will benefit from fresh AWS spectrum as well as a new 7-year 3G roaming deal with AT&T. “As part of the break-up fee, T-Mobile USA will receive a large package of AWS mobile spectrum in 128 Cellular Market Areas (CMAs), including 12 of the top 20 markets (Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Baltimore and Seattle),” Deutsche Telekom said in a statement. “The UMTS roaming agreement for the U.S. in T-Mobile USA’s favor has a term of over seven years and will allow the company to improve its footprint significantly among the U.S. population and offer its customers better broadband coverage for mobile communications services in the future.” The company also said that T-Mobile USA’s 3G network will grow from blanketing 230 million potential customers to covering 280 million people. Deutsche Telekom’s full press release follows below. More →