While we don’t expect police will start arresting 9-year-old girls for unlocking their Winnie the Pooh smartphones anytime soon, we can’t say that the newly enacted American law that outlaws unlocking your smartphone sets a good precedent. Contrast this with what our neighbors to the north are pondering: According to CBCNews, Canada’s top telecom regulator wants to not only limit the early termination fees that wireless carriers can charge but also mandate that carriers unlock their smartphones under “reasonable terms.” Even more amazingly, CBC says that the country’s wireless carriers have actually praised the proposed new rules, as a Telus spokesman said they were “a good start to work from.” A public hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled to occur next month.
Rogers on Monday announced two new LTE devices that will offer even faster speeds than earlier 4G modems on its network. The company will soon launch the Sierra Wireless AirCard 330U LTE Rocket stick as well as the Sierra Wireless AirCard 763S LTE Rocket mobile hotspot. Both devices utilize the 2600MHz spectrum and will offer LTE download speeds of up to 40 Mbps, compared to the 12-25Mbps offered by Rogers’s earlier devices. ”We are thrilled to offer Canada’s fastest LTE devices on Canada’s fastest and largest LTE network,” said Rogers Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Boynton. “We were the first to launch an LTE network in Canada and we have invested in the network technology that enables us to keep raising the bar for our customers to experience faster speeds, more devices and more LTE plan options.” Plans for the LTE Rocket stick and mobile hotspot will start at $22.93 per month. Read on for Rogers’s press release. More →
Research In Motion’s recent BlackBerry outage was the worst in the company’s history, leaving BlackBerry users in the Middle East, Europe, parts of South America, Canada, Africa and the United States without service for a total of three days. This major outage could cost the Canadian vendor more than $100 million, Financial Post reported on Friday. The costs include refunds RIM may have to issue carriers for monthly fees it collects for each BlackBerry user. “Given a large portion of global traffic looks potentially affected we believe that a 5% impact to service fee revenue is plausible though likely worse case,” JPMorgan Chase analyst Rod Hall said. Read on for more. More →
Beginning on September 18th, AT&T will offer a new $25 GoPhone prepaid plan that will include 250 minutes and unlimited messaging. Starting on the same day, customers can opt to sign up for a new $10 international long distance plan that offers 250 minutes of calling to more than 50 countries. The minutes for both plans expire after 30 days. GoPhone customers will also be able to roam in Canada at a rate of $0.39 per minute. Text messages in Canada will cost $0.25 per message sent and $0.20 per message received. AT&T currently offers thirty different GoPhone devices ranging from basic handsets to more advanced Android or Windows Phone-powered smartphones. The plans do not require a contract and unsubsidized phone prices range from $19.99 on the low-end to $500 on the high-end. More →
BGR has reported on several occasions that Apple will announce its brand new iPhone 5 at the tail end of August with a September street date, though it looks like the company might make the iPhone 5 available a little bit later than that. According to confirmed information we have received from a reliable source at Canadian carrier Telus, Apple’s iPhone 5 looks to be touching down on October 1st in Canada. In the past, Apple has flip flopped between releasing its iconic smartphone in the U.S. first and then in Canada, or launching its smartphone simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada as it did with the iPhone 3GS. As such, it is currently unclear if Apple intends to launch the iPhone 5 in the U.S. and Canada at the same time or if we’re still looking at a September launch stateside, which we see as being likely. Hit the break for more. More →
On Thursday, Rogers and Ericsson officially activated the first Canadian 4G LTE network in Ottawa. “This network will power the next generation of innovative products and services in ways we’ve never seen before,” Rob Bruce, Rogers’ president of communications said. “[It] will be the backbone of Canada’s digital economy as we continue to move from a wired to a wireless world. We’re thrilled to welcome Ottawa — and Canada — to the future of the fast.” Rogers currently does not offer any 4G LTE smartphones but it is expected to launch devices from HTC and Samsung later this year, Toronto Sun reported. Rogers also said it will roll out its 4G LTE network to a total of 21 markets in 2012, starting with Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver this fall. More →
On Tuesday AT&T officially announced that its customers can now sign up for a $50 unlimited GoPhone plan that includes unlimited text, talk, and web for $50 per month. AT&T’s GoPhone option does not require a contract and it also allows customers to text Mexico, Canada, and 100 other countries at no additional cost. AT&T’s new pricing is a considerable drop from the original $60 per month GoPhone option, which just provided unlimited talk and text.Read on for the full release. More →
Sony continues to be targeted in a series of cyberattacks that have resulted in the theft of personal information belonging to over 100 million Sony customers. Following breaches of the company’s PlayStation Network, Sony Online Entertainment, So-net Entertainment and most recently, the Sony’s Greek website, hackers have breached a database associated with Sony Ericsson’s Canadian online shop. Personal data including names, email addresses and passwords belonging to more than 2,000 customers was compromised, but Sony said no credit card numbers were stolen. A Lebanese hacking group called Idahca claimed responsibility for the attack, and it said the information obtained has been leaked on Facebook and Twitter. It is unclear if this latest attack is tied in any way to previous attacks on Sony’s various digital properties. More →
Netflix released its fiscal first quarter 2011 earnings on Monday and, thanks to record amounts spent on marketing, the firm reported an increase in net customer additions and a spike in revenues. The video subscription service added 3.3 million domestic net customers during the quarter, a 94% increase year-over-year — that service now serves 23.6 million subscribers globally. Netflix reported revenues of $719 million, up 46% year-over-year, and a net income of $60 million, an 88% jump from the same period a year ago. The company said noted that it expects DVD shipments to decline and spending on streaming content to “increase substantially” in the second quarter and beyond. Hit the jump for Netflix’s letter to shareholders. More →
eBay has revealed sales figures for the iPad 2 during its first two weeks on the market. The online auction house created a chart that shows just under 12,000 iPad 2 units were sold during the two week period that it was exclusively available in the United States. The graphic notes that 35% of iPad 2 units sold during that 2 week period were to international customers looking to get an early taste — that figure is down from the 65% of international customers who purchased the original iPad on eBay. Canada and Russia were the two largest importers, each purchasing about 500 iPad 2 tablets. Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Kingdom each bought about 350. Australia purchased 317 iPads last year, but only purchased 110 iPad 2 devices in 2010. The 16GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad 2 was the most popular, as it represented 30% of all iPad 2 sales. Apple has yet to release its official iPad 2 sales figures. More →
If you’re a Canadian resident struggling with the newly imposed broadband data quotas, you’re definitely going to appreciate this. Netflix has announced a new set of tools available to Canadian users that can curb the amount of data used while streaming movies by up to 66%, “with minimal impact to video quality.”
“In the past, viewing 30 hours of Netflix could consume as much as 70 GBytes, if it was all in HD, and typically about 30 GBytes,” writes Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix. “If any member wants to change back to higher data usage and video quality, they can do so on the Manage Video Quality page, found under Your Account.”
Using the new settings, that same 30 hours of video can be viewed with just 9GB of data flying over the wire. If you’re interested to know exactly how Netflix has managed to slice and dice its data usage, there is some technical information waiting for you after the break. More →
Want some of that dual-core goodness north of the border? You’re in luck, as Bell Mobility has officially launched the Motorola ATRIX handset. The device comes complete with the aforementioned 1GHz dual-core processor, 4-inch qHD display, 1GB of RAM, front and rear cameras, and Android 2.2. The handset will retail for $169.95 with a signed 3-year contract and Bell will offer the Standard Dock, Vehicle Dock, HD Multimedia Dock, and LAPDOCK for $49.95, $59.95, $129.95, and $329.95 respectively. Bell’s ATRIX will not, unfortunately, be able to take advantage of the company’s 42Mbps or 21Mbps HSPA+ networks — a 14.4Mbps HSPA radio is all the handset will be working with. Regardless, if you’re a Bell customer in the market for a beastly, dual-core handset, here’s one to add to your list. More →
WIND Telecom SpA announced on Thursday that the shareholders of Russian mobile operator VimpelCom have voted to approve the acquisition of WIND Telecom for $6 billion. VimpelCom said regulators approved the acquisition as well. The deal covers all of WIND Telecom’s assets, which includes Orascom Telecom, a major WIND Mobile shareholder, and VimpelCom will add nine new markets including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Italy and Canada to the eleven it already covers. When finalized, the purchase will make VimpelCom the world’s fifth largest mobile Teleco with more than 173 million subscribers. “This is great news for us. Our partner, Orascom, will be even larger and stronger as a financial partner. This gives us more leverage and increased scale with telecom network equipment manufacturers and more importantly, for devices including handsets and tablets,” said Anthony Lacavera, WIND Mobile’s chairman, adding that the purchase will give WIND more access to long distance roaming services. Lacavera said he would provide more information as new details on the acquisition emerge.