The HTC First, or “Facebook phone” as many prefer to call it, is officially a flop. It certainly wasn’t a good sign when AT&T dropped the price of HTC’s First to $0.99 just one month after its debut, and now BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone. More →
It’s good to be king, but ensuring your kingdom continues to expand is always a top priority. According to a recent report from ABI Research, the world’s top-10 wireless carriers — which include Verizon Wireless (No.2) and AT&T (No.4) — took in a combined $202 billion in gross profit last year. That 2012 total is up 4.2% compared to the prior year, but high plan prices and growing subscriber bases aren’t drumming up the growth rates they used to. “As the underlying lift from accumulating subscribers has matured, carriers are starting to cast around for additional revenue streams that don’t just boost revenues but also profitability,” said ABI analyst Jake Saunders. “There is still tremendous income to be generated from mobile services; the Top 10 Mobile Carriers alone generated US$202 billion in gross profit, up 4.2 % year-on-year in 2012.” According to the research firm, IP-based value-added services are now a big focus for top carriers as they look elsewhere for growth opportunities.
HTC’s “First” smartphone received mixed reviews from critics when it was released last month. The handset received praise for its affordable price — $99 with a new two-year agreement — and critics liked its decent internal hardware as well as the fact that it was running a nearly stock version of Android. Reviewers were less enthusiastic about the device’s rear camera and integrated Facebook Home software, however. BGR noted in a review last month that while Facebook Home is appealing for the frequent social network user, it is still a long way off from being a finished product. But despite the sizeable advertising budget, sales of the HTC First appear to be off to a slow start. AT&T this week slashed the price of the smartphone from $99 to $0.99 with a new two-year agreement and reduced the off-contract price from $450 to $350. Although no sales data has been released, the recent price cut suggests that Facebook may be in the midst of its First big mobile flop.
In move that Sigmund Freud would certainly approve of, T-Mobile has released a new ad that claims its network “pipes” are able to gush out more data at a faster rate than AT&T’s, which can apparently only muster a slow trickle. The point of the new ad seems to be that T-Mobile’s network can give iPhone 5 users faster data service despite having very limited LTE availability because it’s not as “overcrowded” as AT&T’s, which is just a nifty way of saying that AT&T has tens of millions more subscribers. T-Mobile has made AT&T its biggest target for ridicule in its “UNcarrier” campaign where it’s been trying to redefine itself as a more consumer-friendly wireless carrier. AT&T so far has responded to T-Mobile’s barbs with a one-word response of “whatever.” A video of the ad is posted below. More →
The latest flagship phone from Samsung is off to a hot start, but some customers felt slighted when they found out that about half of the Galaxy S4′s internal storage is eaten up by the OS and system files. Samsung’s somewhat curt response was to suggest users buy a microSD storage card, but a new solution presented itself on Monday. AT&T confirmed on Twitter that beginning May 10th, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will be available with 32GB of internal storage for $249.99 on contract. Presuming the Android OS and Samsung’s apps take up the same amount of memory on the 32GB model as they do on the 16GB version, users who opt for the $250 Galaxy S4 should have nearly 25GB of internal storage to work with out of the box.
LG has continued to make inroads in the lucrative mobile market that in recent years has become dominated by its South Korean rival Samsung. The company has taken an aggressive approach against Samsung and even attempted to steal the thunder away from its Galaxy S4 event earlier this year. LG’s original Optimus G smartphone was well received by critics and LG hopes its sequel will find even more success. But can the Optimus G Pro hold its own in a Galaxy controlled by Samsung? More →
The biggest decision that outgoing Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski made during his tenure was to block the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, which earned him plaudits from rival carrier Sprint and scorn from AT&T executives. The Hill reports that Genachowski still has absolutely no regrets for thwarting AT&T’s T-Mobile takeover bid and said this week that a wireless industry dominated by AT&T and Verizon would be a “very bad thing for our innovation economy.” More →
AT&T on Wednesday announced the upcoming launch of LG’s latest flagship smartphone, the Optimus G Pro. The newest addition to LG’s Optimus smartphone lineup features a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 5.5-inch full HD 1080p display, a 3,140 mAh battery, a 13-megapixel camera and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. “The LG Optimus G Pro gives AT&T customers the ability to create and share rich content easily,” said AT&T’s SVP od devices, Jeff Bradley. ”There’s no better place to experience that content than exclusively on our 4G LTE network, the nation’s fastest.” The Optimus G Pro will cost $199.99 on contract when it becomes available beginning May 10th.
AT&T on Tuesday posted first quarter earnings of $0.64 per share on revenues of $31.40 billion, thus matching Wall Street expectations of $0.64 EPS on revenues of $31.75 billion. The carrier posted a net addition of 291,000 subscribers on the quarter, bringing its total subscriber number to 107.3 million. What’s more, the company also reported that its churn rate is down year-over-year-, going from 1.46% in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.38% in Q1 2013. AT&T also reported selling 4.8 million iPhones on the quarter, thus helping the carrier maintain its spot as the top iPhone carrier in the United States. AT&T shares were down by around 1.25% in after hours trading on news of its Q1 earnings.
AT&T will be moving up the release date of Samsung’s highly anticipated Galaxy S4 smartphone. The carrier opened preorders for the device last week with a ship date of April 30th. AT&T is now notifying customers to tell them that some preorders will arrive on April 25th. The company also revealed on its Twitter page that the smartphone will be available in stores two days later on April 27th, the same day as Sprint. More →
The smartphone that changes everything is now available for purchase. The HTC One is unquestionably the best Android smartphone on the market right now, and it is available for purchase beginning Friday from both AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile will then launch the sleek new smartphone next Wednesday. The HTC One release comes at a time when HTC absolutely needs a successful launch to help stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, the One has just over a week on store shelves at AT&T and Sprint before Samsung’s Galaxy S4 launches and draws away the spotlight. More →
It looks like Samsung’s Galaxy S4, one of the most highly anticipated smartphones of year, finally has a ship date on the nation’s leading smartphone carrier. AT&T on Tuesday made the Galaxy S4 available for preorder starting at $199.99 on a two-year agreement for the 16GB model. The phone will ship by April 30th according to the carrier’s website, and Engadget reports that handsets will be delivered to those who preorder by Friday, May 3rd. The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with full HD resolution, a quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, up to 64GB of internal storage and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
AT&T (T) on Tuesday announced plans to build an advanced fiber optic network that is capable of speeds up to 1Gbps in Austin, Tex. The company’s announcement came shortly after Google (GOOG) confirmed that it will launch its gigabit broadband Internet service, known as Google Fiber, in the city later next year. AT&T didn’t reveal additional details such as an estimated launch date, although the company said it is anticipating that it will “be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives.” AT&T’s press release follows below. More →