FreedomPop has developed a new “4G case” that’s designed specifically for people who own an Apple (AAPL) iPod touch but who don’t feel like paying for an iPhone or signing a two-year service agreement with a mobile carrier. Per CNET, the new FreedomPop iPod touch 4G Sleeve plugs into the iPod touch’s docking port and provides access to Sprint’s (S) 4G WiMAX and LTE networks. While the case itself costs $99 to buy, FreedomPop is giving users 500MB of free monthly data to play around with and users can add more data to their plans if they refer friends to the service. Users can then buy more monthly data for the Sleeve at $10 per additional gigabyte. More →
Sprint has been selling 4G LTE smartphones for weeks now and soon it will finally have LTE services to go with them. The company on Wednesday said that its LTE network will go live on July 15th in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Kansas City and San Antonio. Sprint will roll out LTE in more cities throughout the rest of the year as well, although at this time the company isn’t offering any timetable for future launches. Sprint is also promising that the LTE network will herald some improvements to its long-neglected 3G EV-DO Rev. A networking, including “better signal strength, less dropped/blocked calls, faster data speeds, expanded coverage and better overall performance.” Sprint’s first commercial LTE offerings will mean that T-Mobile will soon be the only major American carrier to not offer LTE services. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Verizon and T-Mobile have agreed to swap some critical LTE spectrum licenses on the AWS band, although the deal’s completion depends on Verizon acquiring several spectrum licenses from major cable companies. Under the agreement, Verizon and T-Mobile will swap licenses on the AWS band that spans from 1710MHz to 1755MHz for uplink and 2110MHz to 2155MHz for downlink to patch up weak spots in their LTE spectrum portfolios. For its part, T-Mobile says it “will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y.” while Verizon will get spectrum licenses that cover roughly 22 million people. One potentially awkward aspect of the deal, however, is that T-Mobile has been very aggressive in opposing Verizon’s attempts to acquire AWS spectrum licenses from major cable companies such as Comcast and Cox for around $3.9 billion. It will be interesting to see whether T-Mobile suddenly changes its tune on the proposed spectrum deal now that it’s depending on it for its own spectrum needs. Hit the jump for Verizon’s full press release. More →
T-Mobile, which is expected to be the last major carrier in the United States to launch 4G LTE services presuming Sprint actually gets its act together and launches LTE this year, has delivered an update on its progress through its official blog. Here are the basic highlights: T-Mobile will be conducting trials of LTE Release 10 equipment this summer and is still on track to launch its LTE network next year. T-Mobile is upgrading 37,000 cell sites to LTE and has already secured zoning approval for 19,500 sites. The carrier expects to have 400 sites upgraded to LTE by the end of June and 2,500 sites upgraded by the end of July. In all, T-Mobile is spending $4 billion to deploy LTE across its network. More →
The word on the street is that Apple could file for a temporary restraining order against the Samsung Galaxy S III on Friday. Naturally, Samsung probably wouldn’t be too happy with that, which has led FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller to speculate that Samsung will try to enact revenge by filing similar complaints against Apple whenever it comes out with its newest iPhone. But if Samsung is really hell-bent on going after Apple, why is it waiting around for the iPhone 5 to come out? One answer may lie in the strength of Samsung’s patent portfolio. More →
Everyone agrees that it’s bad to surf the web while driving, but what if a car happens to double as a giant smartphone? Verizon is taking some steps toward making this happen as it has formed an industry group called the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars that includes several major auto manufacturers interested in bringing LTE connectivity to cars. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota are joining Verizon as the group’s initial members. The forum has also snagged Massachusetts Institute of Technology mechanical engineering professor Sanjay Sarma to provide guidance on academic technology research relevant to wireless tech and the auto industry. Hit the jump for the full release. 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 →
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 →
Sprint’s director of consumer acquisition, David Owens, said at the CTIA Wireless trade show on Tuesday that he’s “still bullish on Apollo,” possibly indicating the nation’s third-largest carrier plans to soon offer a wider selection of Windows Phone devices, PCMag reported. Owens at CES in January said the network’s only Windows Phone handset, the HTC Arrive, hadn’t “done well enough for us to jump back into the fire.” He did say, however, that Sprint would look into Windows Phone 8, known as Apollo, in the “August-September time period.” When asked about Samsung’s Galaxy S III, Owens said the carrier was “very pleased with the success of the Galaxy S II,” but he would not give further details about Samsung’s next-generation flagship phone. Owens did say that Sprint plans to release “12-15 LTE devices” between now and the end of the year, including smartphones, tablets, USB modems and hotspots. So far, the company has announced the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Viper and the HTC EVO 4G LTE. More →
HTC and Verizon Wireless on Monday unveiled their newest DROID-branded smartphone, the DROID Incredible 4G LTE. Launching in the coming weeks, the newest addition to the Incredible franchise features a 4-inch qHD Super LCD display, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera, Beats Audio and Sense 4 atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. No details regarding pricing were made available, however the phone made a brief appearance on Verizon’s website listed at $299.99. The HTC One S, which the new Incredible is based on, is currently available from T-mobile without LTE connectivity for $199.99 on contract. Verizon’s full press release follows below. 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 →