AT&T has announced that it will offer standard insurance to iPhone owners beginning on July 17th. Previously, AT&T subscribers were able to sign up for a more expensive $12 monthly insurance plan, which had a $199 deductible. Protection will now cost just $4.99 per month with the standard plan and it is expected to have a $125 deductible, which covers all models of the iPhone for loss, accidental physical or liquid damage, theft, and mechanical or electrical failure. “Effective July 17, 2011, the Apple iPhone (all models) will be eligible for coverage with the AT&T Mobile Insurance program (formerly Wireless Phone Insurance),” AT&T said in a statement on its mobile insurance page. “Enrollment restrictions apply. Customers can only enroll within 30 days of a new activation or upgrade, prior activations or upgrades outside of 30 days are not eligible.” More →
Facebook now has 750 million monthly active users worldwide, TechCrunch reported on Friday. That’s incredible growth since our June 1st story, which suggested that the social network was closing in on 700,000,000 users worldwide. In that report, emerging markets showed the most growth — Brazil’s user base jumped 11.4% in May alone — and the United States was the top country; U.S. users were responsible for 149.4 million Facebook accounts. Last July, Facebook announced that it had hit the 500 million user mark, but it hasn’t publicly revealed any figures since then. Facebook only measures active users and only counts those who have logged into the social network during the past 30 days. More →
T-Mobile USA introduced two new 4G prepaid plans on Tuesday. These plans are in addition to the new prepaid options the carrier announced on May 23rd. One costs $50 per month and provides unlimited text, talk, and 100MB of data. The second offers 5GB of data, and unlimited talk and text for $70 per month. As usual, any subscriber that surpasses the data allotment will see their data speeds drop considerably until the next billing cycle begins. Hit the break for T-Mobile’s press release. More →
Looks like the weekend’s going to start a bit early. Hulu’s subscription-based Hulu Plus service will launch for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 on Friday, and here’s the best part: it’s free for Xbox Live (Gold and Silver) users until May 6th. After that you’ll have to drop $7.99 per month to kick back and watch your favorite shows from ABC, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, MTV, and others. Hulu’s even adding Kinect support, which means you’ll be able to play, pause, fast forward, or rewind whatever you’re watching with your voice or with a gesture. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to the latest rumor, T-Mobile may be adding a fourth plan to its Mobile Broadband portfolio. Currently, the company offeres three data buckets to its wireless broadband customers: 10GB monthly plan for $84.99, 5GB monthly plan for $49.99, and a 200MB monthly plan for $29.99. Blog TmoNews is reporting, however, that the carrier will be adding a fourth, 2GB monthly option that retails for $39.99 to its repertoire this Thursday, April 28th. The carrier-specific site has a fairly good track record when it comes to T-Mobile pricing and plan changes — we won’t be surprised if this broadband-addition pans out. The four plan menu would give T-Mobile the widest selection of consumer, broadband data plans amongst the quartet of major U.S. wireless carriers. More →
Apple on Tuesday announced that its new App Store subscription model is available to all publishers. First introduced with News Corp’s The Daily, Apple’s new subscription model allows publishers to charge a recurring fee for content such as digital magazines and newspapers. The feature has been highly anticipated by publishers, who often claimed that the lack of a subscription model for publishers on the iPad was the main reason magazines and newspapers have not gained the traction many had hoped for. Subscription models now available to publishers include weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly and yearly subscriptions. On the user side, iOS device owners will be able to manage all of their App Store subscriptions from a single page. Hit the jump for Apple’s full press release. More →
Way back on the 20th, we told you that Sprint would be tweaking its customer loyalty rewards program — lovingly known as Premier. Recently, Sprint contacted BGR to clarify a few details about exactly what has to happen for customers to qualify for the program’s restructured incentives.
A gold level member will receive 25% off the purchase of 2 or more accessories, customer news letters, “just because” perks, first to buy offers, and the ability to upgrade one device after 12 months of service. To qualify for a Premier Gold membership, users must have an individual monthly plan costing $89.99 or more or a family plan costing $169.99 (before any applicable discounts).
A silver level member will receive the same benefits as gold members — 25% off the purchase of 2 or more accessories, customer news letters, “just because” perks, and first to buy offers — but will not have the ability to upgrade a device after 12 months of service. To qualify for a Premier Silver membership, users must have an individual monthly plan costing between $69.99 and $89.98 or a family plan costing between $99.99 and $169.98 (before any applicable discounts).
Any customer, regardless of rate-plan price, that has been with Sprint over ten years will automatically qualify for Premier Gold. There you have it. Straight from the horses mouth.
At the Le Web conference in Paris France, Facebook’s platform chief, Ethan Beard, told technology blog TechCrunch that his company’s Facebook Connect service now has 250 million users making monthly connections via third-party sites. Mr. Beard went on to note that 100 million of those users began using the Connect service within the past year and that Facebook is adding nearly 10,000 sites per day.
Do any of you utilize Facebook connect to authenticate to sites other than FB? Login with your Facebook account below to drop us a comment. More →
Today, Virgin Mobile USA quietly added a 1GB prepaid data-plan to its Broadband2Go offerings; the plan will retail for $20 per month. The 1GB plan, which will be a Walmart exclusive, fills the gap between the company’s $10, 100MB and $40, unlimited monthly data options. Here is an official statement from a Virgin Mobile representative:
Today Virgin Mobile launched an exclusive $20 Broadband2Go mobile broadband plan available only at Walmart stores and online at www.Walmart.com. This new offer, available only to consumers who have purchased or will purchase a Novatel Wireless MiFi® 2200 device or Ovation™ MC760 USB device from a Walmart store or from www.Walmart.com, provides 1 GB of data for an affordable $20/month price point.
The company noted that the plan is aimed at “budget-conscious consumers who are looking for a mid-tier plan falling somewhere between heavy and light usage.” Not a bad option for those in need of both mobile connectivity and contract flexibility.
We’re not sure if we should blame U.S. wireless carrier Sprint for coming up with this idea, or Bell Canada for running with it. BGR has just obtained a memo that indicates Bell customers will have to fork over a $10 per month premium for access to the company’s HSPA+ wireless network. The memo seems to indicate that the first set of devices to succumb to this fate will be a “Turbo Stick” and “Turbo Hub”; the memo is vague enough (mentioning “high speed devices”) that it could include smartphones. This may be the unfortunate reality we’re all going to have to deal with as carriers go to 4G; or in this case “4G.” If you’re a Bell customer, feel free to sound off and let us know what you think.