Wireless carriers are still in the process of transitioning from 3G to 4G (and from fake 4G to 4G), but chatter surrounding the eventual transition to 5G is already starting to pop up. Wonderful. Before we get ahead of ourselves and before carriers start arguing over what 5G is and is not, CommScope recently put together a nice infographic that’s worth checking out to put the history of cellular communications in perspective. Titled “The evolution of the G,” the infographic details the history of cellular networks starting with 1G in Japan in 1979 and wrapping up with today’s modern 4G wireless networks — which, as an aside, weren’t really “4G” networks until the ITU gave up and let anyone call just about anything “4G.” CommScope’s infographic follows below. More →
As people continue to look for ways to “cut the cord” and move away from traditional cable services, right now they largely have no choice but to continue subscribing to ISPs’ Internet services even if they cancel pay-TV. Over the next few years, however, that need might fade in many regions. According to new research from ABI, LTE-FDD (frequency-division duplex) will expand to cover 57% of the global population by 2018 while LTE-TDD (time-division duplex) will cover 52% of the population by that point in time. More →
Although Verizon has said that it will no longer support grandfathered unlimited data plans for users upgrading to LTE smartphones, it seems some users have had success with porting over their unlimited data plans to the company’s speedy 4G network. Clinton Stark of Stark Insider says that he recently upgraded from his original Motorola DROID to a Samsung Galaxy S III and was able to renew his $29.99 unlimited data plan without a hitch. However, Stark also warns that the ability to grandfather your unlimited plan won’t be around much longer and he suggests upgrading to a new LTE phone soon before Verizon catches on. More →
Now that T-Mobile and AT&T don’t have to pretend to like each other anymore, the nation’s No.4 carrier can go back to attacking AT&T and its top-selling smartphone, Apple’s iPhone 4S. T-Mobile debuted a new TV commercial this week that once again takes aim at AT&T’s slow network and Apple’s popular iPhone. ”If this is the speed of the iPhone 4S on AT&T, what does 4G speed on T-Mobile look like?” the ad’s narrator asks as a man cruises along the highway on a motorcycle. Then, T-Mobile’s TV spokeswoman flies by the man while decked in leather on her new motorcycle. T-Mobile might be going out of its way to draw attention to the fact that Apple’s iPhone will be supported on its network by the end of the year but in the meantime, expect plenty more ads taking shots at Apple’s handset and its top U.S. carrier partner. The full video can be viewed below. More →
Sprint on Wednesday announced that its upcoming flagship Android smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G LTE, will become available on May 18th for $199.99 on contract. While Sprint doesn’t yet have a nationwide 4G LTE network to support the new One-series smartphone, subscribers will find plenty of cutting-edge technology to tide them over until Sprint begins flipping the switch on LTE. Key features of the new phone include a 4.7-inch 720p HD display, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera with HTC’s Image Sense technology, and Sense 4 atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. BGR took a hands-on look at the EVO 4G LTE last month and called it an impressive smartphone with an aesthetic that may be a deal-breaker for some. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →
T-Mobile has acknowledged internally that Apple’s iPhone offers a “poor customer experience” on its network, but the nation’s No.4 carrier is working as quickly as it can to change that. The company announced this past February that it will be performing upgrades to its network that bring faster data speeds to users who purchase an iPhone on their own and unlock it for use on T-Mobile, and on Tuesday the carrier said the work will be performed ahead of schedule. More →
Following AT&T’s failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, AT&T had to pay a lofty break-up fee as per the terms of its agreement. AT&T’s related expenses totaled $4 billion, and included in that sum was the transfer of AWS spectrum licenses to T-Mobile in 128 different markets. On Wednesday, T-Mobile announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved the transfer. ”We applaud the FCC for acting swiftly to approve the transfer of these spectrum licenses,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. The nation’s No.4 carrier will use its newly acquired spectrum to help build out its next-generation 4G LTE network, which it hopes to launch next year.
Sprint’s highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Nexus is no longer available for pre-order after initial stock sold out this week. Pre-order availability began just this past Monday, and Sprint’s pre-sales launch inventory was depleted by Thursday evening. It is difficult to gauge demand since the number of Galaxy Nexus handsets Sprint had allocated for pre-sales is unknown, but a source told BGR that “pre-sales supply was healthy” ahead of the device’s launch on April 22nd. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus features a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera, 32GB of internal storage, NFC and 4G LTE connectivity, though Sprint’s LTE network has not yet launched. The Galaxy Nexus is not compatible with Sprint’s current 4G WiMAX network.
4G LTE devices are apparently so hot this year, Sprint is selling LTE phones without a network to support them. Sales of 4G-equipped smartphones, tablets, portable hotspots and other devices are set to explode in 2012 as carriers continue to expand 4G coverage and roll out new networks. In a recent report, market research firm ABI Research said that 4G device sales will balloon nearly 300% to 87 million units in 2012. ABI notes that higher prices are still a barrier to 4G devices in some regions, however, and consumer confusion is an issue as well. “As evidenced by the Australian iPad 3 promotion fiasco, when iPad 3s were being promoted as being ‘LTE-ready,’ even though the modem is unable to access the Australian LTE spectrum band, the number of LTE spectrum bands will hamper initial pricing and product roll-out,” ABI analyst Philip Solis said. “Nevertheless, in addition to 61 million 4G handsets being shipped in 2012, we estimate 26 million 4G non-handset products will be shipped. In the short-term, most of that will reflect customers purchasing USB dongles for legacy laptops and netbooks, followed by customer premise equipment, or home modem, purchases.” ABI’s press release follows below. More →
The four major carriers in the United States — Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — all advertise some form of 4G technology, whether it is LTE, WiMAX or HSPA+, and each company claims to have either the most reliable, biggest, fastest or best network. PCWorld put the carriers claims to test in its “2012 Mobile Speed Test” and found that AT&T’s 4G LTE service featured the fastest download speeds while Verizon’s 4G LTE network provided the fastest upload speeds. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 21 network was the fastest 3G service and the carrier’s HSPA+ 42 service held its own with both AT&T’s and Verizon’s 4G networks, making T-Mobile a good choice for many wireless users who are looking for affordable plans. Sprint’s 3G service and WiMAX technology lagged behind the competition according to the report. The “real-world speed tests” were conducted in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington DC. PCWorld’s press release follows below. More →
Sprint announced last week that pre-orders for one of its first 4G LTE-enabled smartphones were going live on April 12th, and now the carrier has made launch details official. LG’s affordable Viper 4G LTE will become available in just over a week on April 22nd for $99.99 on contract. While this makes LG’s new smartphone one of the most affordable LTE-equipped smartphones on the market — in line with the Nokia Lumia 900′s retail price, though the phone is free for the time being — buyers will be hard-pressed to find LTE service for the time being. The LG Viper 4G LTE features a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a 4-inch 800 x 480-pixel display and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →
LightSquared founder Phillip Falcone said he may consider voluntary bankruptcy for his troubled wireless broadband venture, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. “There are arguments that we would be better off in bankruptcy than not,” Falcone said. “LightSquared, if I have to, I’ll put it into bankruptcy. I don’t care,” adding that he would maintain control of the company if it were to file. LightSquared planned to build a high-speed data network that would cover as many as 260 million users, however it failed to gain approval from federal regulators. The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February due to concerns surrounding interference with GPS systems. Through his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone has invested roughly $3 billion in the failed venture. Bankruptcy is “not what I want, not what I desire, I’d rather find a different way out,” he said. More →
Sprint is known for its unlimited data plans and it is currently the only major carrier that doesn’t throttle excessive data use. Following the announcement that Sprint planned to discontinue its WiMAX buildout and switch to the more widely used LTE standard, however, the company never mentioned whether its upcoming LTE network would continue to offer unlimited data plans. To clarify the issue, Sprint on Tuesday confirmed to TechHog that its 4G LTE devices “will be available on Sprint’s network featuring unlimited data.” While the carrier’s initial 4G LTE rollout will be limited, data-hungry users who are not pleased with AT&T and Verizon’s 2GB and 5GB plans may be tempted to switch to Sprint when the carrier’s LTE services begin to go live in the coming weeks and months. More →