Unless you live in California, it can be difficult to imagine just how dramatic the effects of the drought have been. Recent reports are calling this the worst drought in 500 years, and the implications reach much further than simply forcing Californians to limit the amount of water they use to keep their lawns green. More →
In an ideal world, you’d be allowed to use as much water as you needed to keep your massive lawns and golf courses looking nice and green. However, with California facing an unprecedented drought that’s showing no sign of ending, the state has had to place limits on the amount of water people can use. The Washington Post brings us word that this water rationing is really not going over well in wealthy Californian communities such as Rancho Santa Fe, whose residents consume five times more water per capita than the state average. As you’d expect, the people who are upset by the new rationing policy come across as equal parts clueless and entitled. More →
Remember Citigroup’s recent security breach? The firm originally said that 200,000 accounts — 1% of its customers — were compromised, but now Citi is going on record and saying that hackers gained access to a total of “360,083 North America Citi-branded credit cards.” Unfortunately, the company hasn’t provided any details on how the attack occurred, or who was behind it; the infamous hacking group LulzSec, which claimed responsibility for a number of recent high-profile targets including Sony, hasn’t yet mentioned any involvement. If you’re an optimist, the good news is that Citigroup says the number of active accounts affected is actually below the 360,000 figure — because of subsequent account closures — and that the hackers didn’t steal info enough to actually use the credit card numbers. 217,000 customers have already been provided with replacement cards, and California residents were hit the hardest — 80,000 of the numbers stolen were from that state. More →
The Public Utilities Commission in California will investigate AT&T’s planned acquisition of T-Mobile, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The Golden state is one of three states that Sprint has asked to investigate the deal — the other two are West Virginia and Louisiana. “We believe a thorough investigation will reveal the negative implications for pricing, choice, and innovation critical to California’s economy,” Sprint’s public affairs manager, John Taylor, said. “Sprint is pleased that the commission will open up a proceeding to investigate the proposed takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T.” AT&T originally filed its informal notice with California’s Public Utilities Commission on May 3rd, and Sprint protested the filing on May 19th when it asked for a review of the merger. The regulators will consider three options, one of which is a choice to notify AT&T that its purchase is not “pre-approved” after the standard 30-day time period after an application is submitted. Sprint has opposed the acquisition from day one, and its CEO Dan Hesse said the deal would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. More →
Via a short press release, T-Mobile announced the addition of five metropolitan areas to its HSPA+ portfolio. Des Moines, Iowa; Gainesville and Panama City, Florida; Monterey, California; and Savannah, Georgia will now have access to T-Mobile’s 21Mbps, HSPA+, 4G network. The company notes that customers can expect real-world speeds between 5Mbps and 12Mbps depending on network traffic. T-Mobile now covers 157 markets with its 21Mbps, HSPA+ network, and expects to double speeds to 42Mbps in 2011. More →
Honoring a verbal commitment it reiterated last week, U.S. wireless provider Sprint has officially launched its 4G, WiMAX network in San Francisco, California. “The Bay Area is responsible for creating so much new technology and today we are bringing the power of 4G to our customers in that region who are hungry for fast mobile broadband,” said Sprint’s president of 4G, Matt Carter. “The introduction of Sprint 4G will be a great asset for this area, and we encourage customers to try it by using one of our well-regarded 4G mobile devices.” SF becomes Sprint’s 71st market to be officially anointed with the 4G signal. If you’re in the Bay Area, let us know what kind of speeds you’re seeing. More →
Early this morning, the nation’s fifth largest cellular provider — MetroPCS — announced three new cities now incorporated into its LTE fold: Boston, New York City, and Sacramento. The company currently has one LTE mobile handset offering, the Samsung Craft, and has LTE talk and data plans starting at $55 (including taxes and fees).
“As the only no annual contract, pay-in-advance wireless service provider offering 4G LTE services, we continue to build our network to allow more customers to experience our unparalleled value and flexible, affordable service,” said Roger D. Linquist, MetroPCS’ president, chairman, and CEO. “By offering customers the ability to do more with easy access to their social networks, exclusive MetroSTUDIO content and expanded web browsing capabilities, we are giving our customers what they need – a way to stay connected, without sacrificing time or money.”
MetroPCS is now offering its LTE services in nine major metropolitan areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, New York City and Sacramento. More →
Despite being slightly overshadowed by a certain announcement from Verizon Wireless, MetroPCS announced Wednesday the launch of its “4G” LTE network in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. San Francisco joins Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Detroit and Dallas-Forth Worth in the growing list of markets now covered by MetroPCS’ LTE network. MetroPCS plans to expand its 4G services to cover Atlanta, Boston, Jacksonville, Miami, New York, Orlando, Sacramento and Tampa between during the course of December and early 2011. Currently, MetroPCS only has one LTE-compatible cell phone available — the Samsung Craft, which is available for $299 with no contract. The carrier also has two available 4G service plans: a $55 “4G” plan, which includes unlimited nationwide calling, text messaging, picture messaging and 4G data; and a $60 “4G Premium” plan, which adds unlimited on demand video. More →
Early this morning, WiMAX network operator Clearwire announced the availablity of its 4G network to residents of Sacramento, California. “Whether as a critical link for the Pony Express or for the first transcontinental railroad, Sacramento has long been at the forefront of this country’s ever-growing need to communicate. With today’s launch, Sacramento reinforces its historical position as a communications hub and becomes the anchor to Clearwire’s 4G network in the Central Valley,” said CLEAR’s regional GM, Allan Lamb. The Sacramento installation adds another 1.2 million potential customers to Clearwire’s portfolio.
UPDATE: Sprint has posted a press release indicating that their 4G service — which runs on Clearwire’s network — is also available to its customers in the Sacramento market [Read]. More →
RIM’s mythical sliding device finally got official after years and years of rumors. It’s being released tomorrow exclusively on AT&T and features the all new BlackBerry 6 operating system. We’re talking multitouch, gestures, redone multimedia applications, and a whole lot more. It packs the best camera of any BlackBerry, a touch screen, full keyboard, and even an optical trackpad to help with navigation. Not to mention it has a web browser that is actually usable, and everything is packed in a pretty tight package. We have been using a BlackBerry Torch 9800 for over 5 days, and we’re excited to share our thoughts on it with you. More →
A California smartphone user has filed a class-action lawsuit against his wireless provider, T-Mobile USA. The plaintiff became upset and sought legal council after T-Mobile sent him the following message:
Your data usage in this billing cycle has exceeded 10GB; Data throughput for the remainder of the cycle may be reduced to 50kbps or less.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs phone became “virtually useless” after his data speeds were throttled, and the user is now stuck in a 2-year contract with the not-really-unlimited mobile provider. Regardless of your feelings on this particular filing, it will be interesting to see how the case is ruled. A judgement in the classes favor could spur a tidal wave of similar suits as many U.S. carriers tout “unlimited” data plans that actually have a data cap. Any guesses on how the plaintiff hit 10GB of data in under a month? Our guess is pictured above. More →
If you live in Modesto, CA; Stockton, CA; Jacksonville, FL; Wilmington, DE; or Grand Rapids, MI get ready, because Sprint is about to start pumping sweet, sweet 4G right to your door. In a press release this morning, Sprint announced the newest cities to be blanketed with 4G and that, “later this year, Sprint will launch Boston, Miami, New York and Los Angeles, enabling millions more to harness this powerful new service.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Clearwire announced on Thursday that it has begun rolling out its 4G WiMAX service to seven new cities in four states. The lucky seven include Eugene, OR., Merced, CA., Visalia, CA., Yakima, WA., Tri-Cities, WA., Rochester, NY., and Syracuse, NY. Folks in these locales who are already rocking an HTC EVO 4G or an Overdrive 3G/4G mobile hotspot can sit back and enjoy their newly acquired 4G speeds. Those of you still sporting last year’s 3G technology now have a reason to jump on board the WiMAX bandwagon. More →