Verizon Wireless on Wednesday confirmed that it will soon begin charging subscribers a $30 upgrade fee when they purchase new wireless equipment on contract. Verizon is currently the only major carrier that does not charge customers a fee when upgrading their devices on a new two-year contract — AT&T and Sprint each charge customers $36 to upgrade to a new device on contract, and T-Mobile charges an $18 upgrade fee. “On April 22, Verizon Wireless is implementing a $30 upgrade fee for existing customers purchasing new mobile equipment at a discounted price with a two-year contract,” the carrier said in a statement. “This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever.”
Cell phone bills are a tough pill to swallow each month, often reaching well into the hundreds-of-dollars range for families or even individuals. Regional and prepaid carriers offer some relief, but users who need nationwide coverage and a wide variety of handsets to choose from often have no choice but to pay a premium. According to documents recently obtained and published by the American Civil Liberties Union, consumers and business users aren’t the only ones overpaying wireless carriers for service. Read on for more. More →
Nokia plans to eliminate 4,000 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting effort that will see much of its manufacturing shift to Asia. The cuts will be made across three Nokia plants — 2,300 workers will be shed in Komarom, Hungary, 700 will lose their jobs in Reynosa, Mexico and 1,000 more in Salo, Finland will be laid off. Each of the three plants will continue to operate at reduced capacities, and the move is part of a larger effort to cut costs following the €1 billion loss Nokia reported last quarter. “Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive,” Nokia EVP of Markets Niklas Savander said in a statement. “We recognize the planned changes are difficult for our employees and we are committed to supporting our personnel and their local communities during the transition.” Nokia’s full press release follows below. More →
Global mobile phone shipments grew 14% annually to shatter the previous shipment record in 2011. Market research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that 1.6 billion cell phones were shipped last year, representing more than one-fifth of the world’s total population, which surpassed 7 billion in late October last year according to the Population Reference Bureau. An earlier report from the GSMA estimated that there are now more than 6 billion total mobile connections worldwide. Read on for more. More →
Google’s Android platform continued to grow rapidly in the third quarter of 2011 as shipments of Apple’s iPhone declined. New data released by market research firm Gartner on Tuesday shows that Android powered more than half of the smartphones that sold to end users last quarter at 52%. In the same quarter last year, Android was found on just 25.3% of smartphones sold. The second largest share last quarter belonged to Symbian according to Gartner, though it’s share was nearly halved from 36.3% in the third quarter last year to 16.9% last quarter. Read on for more. More →
Global cell phone shipments grew 14% annually to reach 390 million units in the third quarter as China-based ZTE passed Apple to become the No. 4 cell phone vendor in the world by volume. Market research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics on Thursday released global mobile phone shipment data for the third quarter of 2011, and the landscape is shifting. Nokia remained atop the list, having shipped 106.6 million cell phones in the September quarter, and Samsung remained in the No. 2 spot as mobile phone shipments exploded to 88 million units from 71.4 million in the same quarter last year. Read on for more. More →
For the first time, the number of wireless devices connecting to cellular networks in the United States and its territories over the past six months has surpassed the country’s total population. A semi-annual survey conducted by the CTIA found that wireless subscriber connections now total 327.6 million while the population of the U.S. and its territories is now 315.5 million people. This means the wireless penetration rate in the U.S. in now 103.9% according to the CTIA, marking the first time that wireless penetration has surpassed 100% in the U.S. The CTIA also noted that wireless data connections increased 111% compared to its previous semi-annual survey, and wireless service revenue in the U.S. totaled $164.6 billion during the 12-month period ending June 2011, up 6% from the same period in 2010. The association’s full press release follows below. More →
The CTIA recently filed a lawsuit in San Francisco, California in an effort to block the city’s “Cell Phone Right-to-Know” ordinance, which the CTIA says is misinforming consumers. The ordinance requires cell phone retailers to post information about cellular radiation next to devices, which the CTIA argues wrongly suggests there is proof phones cause brain tumors and pose other health risks. “The materials the City would require be posted and handed out at retail stores are both alarmist and false,” the CTIA said in a statement. “The FCC and FDA have repeatedly found that cell phone use does not pose a danger to human health. The Ordinance recommends such things as turning the phone off when not in use, a suggestion that would render critical emergency communications unavailable to San Francisco residents.” Read on for more. More →
Gartner on Thursday issued its global mobile phone sales data for the second quarter, which shows that the industry grew 16.5% from the same quarter last year, to 428.7 million units. Smartphone sales jumped 74% year-on-year, with 107.7 million smartphones having been sold to end users around the world. “Smartphone sales continued to rise at the expense of feature phones,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “Consumers in mature markets are choosing entry-level and midrange Android smartphones over feature phones, partly due to carriers’ and manufacturers’ promotions.” Android was the top smartphone operating system in the second quarter with a market share of 43.4% and unit sales totaling 46.78 million devices, and Symbian’s 23.85 million devices secured it a No. 2 position with 22.1% of the smartphone OS market. Apple’s iOS held 18.2% of the smartphone market last quarter, followed by RIM’s BlackBerry OS at 11.7%, Samsung’s Bada OS at 1.9% and Microsoft mobile platforms at 1.6%. Gartner also said Nokia was the world’s top smartphone vendor in the second quarter, though it did not provide data to support this claim in its press release, which follows below.
Nokia plans to exit its low-end feature phone and Symbian smartphone businesses in North America following the launch of its first round of Windows Phones, Journal blog AllThingsD reports. Nokia has historically had a great deal of trouble placing smartphones with carriers here in the U.S., and the Finnish phone maker has subsequently not had much success penetrating the market. Moving forward, however, Nokia is betting the bank on smartphones in North America. “When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc.,” said Nokia President Chris Weber in an interview with AllThingsD. “It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do (elsewhere).” Weber continued, “We’ll develop for North America and make the phones globally available and applicable. In fact, evidence of that is that the first Windows Phones that will ship are being done by our group in San Diego.” Nokia is expected to launch its first Windows Phone-powered smartphone later this year. More →
A recent survey found that 33% of Americans would sooner give up sex for a week than go without their mobile phones for the same period of time. Navigation software leader Telenav surveyed 514 mobile phone users in the U.S. last month to find out how willing they were to give up certain things ahead of their cell phones. Respondents were most willing to part with alcohol instead of their phones, with 70% saying they would go a week without booze before going a week without a phone. At the other end of the spectrum were computers, with only 20% of those surveyed having said they would prefer to part with a PC than a cell phone. A few more interesting snippets were also provided: 63% of BlackBerry users and 62% of Android users said they had never paid more than $1 for an app, compared to 45% of iPhone users. 50% of iOS users and 55% of Android users said they update social networks from their phones, compared to 40% of BlackBerry users. Finally, 66% of all smartphone users polled said they sleep with their handsets next to them. Telenav’s infographic detailing highlights from the survey follows below, along with the associated press release. More →
The results of a recent European study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that there is no connection between cell phone use and an increased risk of brain cancer, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. There were 1,000 participants in the study, including 352 people aged seven to nineteen who were diagnosed with a brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. The report “shows that a large and immediate risk of cellphones causing brain tumors in children can be excluded,” Dr. Martin Roosli, an epidemiologist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute said. The results are in contradiction of a recent World Health Organization study, which said that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic.” However, the WHO report was shot down immediately by the Economist, which said it was not possible for cell phone radio waves to cause cells to mutate, and a second report in Environmental Health Perspectives that argued there is evidence “increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumors in adults.” One World Health Organization cancer epidemiologist, Kurt Straif, told The Wall Street Journal that the results from the latest survey may not be 100% accurate. “Participants with brain cancer may not have the best recall for how often they used their phones,” he argued.
Nokia plans to drop prices across its entire product line this September in an attempt to bolster sales, industry insider Eldar Murtazin claimed on Friday. The struggling Finnish cell phone vendor will cut phone prices by 10% according to the Russian blogger, who has an extensive history of accurately reporting inside information pertaining to Nokia and other smartphone vendors. “Nokia are going to cut prices for the whole product line by 10 per cent in September,” Murtazin posted on his Twitter account. “They struggle for a market share worldwide.” Nokia’s share of the global cell phone market has been steadily declining as the company failed to adjust its strategy to the changing marketplace over the past few years. As a result, Nokia recently announced that it would dump its aging Symbian smartphone platform in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system moving forward. The vendor is expected to launch several new Symbian devices through the first half of 2012, but it will offer Windows Phones as well beginning later this year with a device codenamed “Sea Ray.” More →