Netflix raises prices, intros new plans

By on July 12, 2011 at 6:30 PM.

Netflix raises prices, intros new plans

Netflix announced two new unlimited DVD plans on Tuesday, including a $7.99 option for one DVD at a time and an $11.99 option that allows users to rent two DVDs at a time. The company also said that it will discontinue its current $9.99 monthly option that provides access to unlimited DVD rentals and unlimited instant streaming each month. Instead, the movie rental service will charge users $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming and a minimum of $7.99 per month for unlimited DVDs (with one rented out at a time at that rate). Essentially, that means users with the current $9.99 offering will instead have to cough up $15.98 per month in order to maintain their current subscription plan. “Reflecting our confidence that DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us, we are also establishing a separate and distinct management team solely focused on DVDs by mail, led by Andy Rendich, our Chief Service and Operations Officer and an 11 year veteran of Netflix,” the company said in a blog post. Netflix’s current plans will expire in September, and users will need to switch to a new plan by that time. More →

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AT&T to offer standard iPhone insurance beginning July 17th

By on July 5, 2011 at 9:31 AM.

AT&T to offer standard iPhone insurance beginning July 17th

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 →

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FCC launches PLAN emergency alert service for mobile devices

By on May 13, 2011 at 2:05 PM.

FCC launches PLAN emergency alert service for mobile devices

The city of New York has teamed up with the FCC and wireless carriers to unveil a new emergency alert system called PLAN. PLAN can notify mobile users in a specific geographic location of a hazardous or potentially life threatening situations. The new system was announced a few days ago at an event at the still-under-construction World Trade Center site, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented:

One of the many lessons that were reinforced on 9/11 is the importance of getting clear and accurate information to the public–that’s why we’ve made improving our emergency public communications a top priority. As part of this effort, we’re harnessing tech in innovative new ways, which is something I found to be effective in both business and government for improving service delivery.

The system taps into the existing Emergency Alert System that notifies the public of an emergency by radio or TV, though PLAN (Personalized Localized Alerting Network), takes emergency alerts into the modern age with a pretty smart system. With a compatible phone, your mobile device will be able to receive an emergency alert based on your geographical location. For instance, if there was an alert about an imminent threat to public safety for New Jersey (nobody likes New Jersey) and you were not in New Jersey at the time, you would not get the alert. PLAN consists of three alerts: those issues by the President, alerts warning of imminent threats, and Amber Alerts. The last two can be blocked by an individual but not an alert from the President. The system will be available in New York and Washington, D.C. by the end of the year, and will roll out nationally by April of 2012. More →

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Apple readying 'crowd-sourced traffic' service in 'next couple of years'

By on April 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM.

Apple readying 'crowd-sourced traffic' service in 'next couple of years'

Included in Apple’s “Q&A on Location Data” press release this morning was a rare and concrete statement that pointed to a future project the company is working on. “Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years,” reads the release. Currently, iOS offers its users traffic-data through the bundled Google Maps application. It is unclear whether Apple is collecting this information to supplement the aforementioned offering, or — as rumors suggest — to build a new application that is less reliant on Google. Either way, it is an unusual statement from the Cupertino-based company about a future service. More →

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Verizon Wireless 4G LTE MiFi available now, in stores April 21st

By on April 18, 2011 at 9:28 AM.

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE MiFi available now, in stores April 21st

While we’ve been testing out Samsung’s 4G LTE mobile hotspot for a couple weeks, there’s just something about Novatel that we can’t shake. After all, they were the first with a MiFi device. If you have been holding on to the thought of a 4G LTE MiFi ever since CES, today is the day. The Verizon Wireless MiFi 4510L 4G LTE mobile hotspot is now available for purchase from Verizon online, and will be available in stores on April 21st for $99 after a two year service agreement and rebate. Verizon’s $50 monthly service plan gets you 5GB of data usage, with additional usage billed per gigabyte. The new MiFi, in addition to obviously supporting Verizon’s 4G LTE network, features the ability to share a microSD card over your mini wireless-network and offers an eInk display which conveniently shows network status and battery life at all times on the front of the unit. Verizon has also noted — via Twitter — that it has “a mess of new cities and towns” launching with LTE this Thursday, April 21st. The full press release is after the break. More →

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AT&T to launch LG, Android smartphone in prepaid and postpaid flavors

By on April 12, 2011 at 11:29 AM.

AT&T to launch LG, Android smartphone in prepaid and postpaid flavors

Via a press release today, AT&T announced that it will be offering two, Android-based LG handsets in both the prepaid and postpaid variety. The postpaid Phoenix and prepaid Thrive both sport a 600MHz processor, 3.2-inch touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, aGPS, 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera, microSD card slot, and 7.2Mbps HSDPA radio. Both smartphones, which run Froyo (Android 2.2) will be available on April 17th with the Phoenix retailing for $49.99 with a signed two-year agreement and the Thrive retailing for $179.99 contract-free. Prepaid customs that purchase a Thrive must sign-up for one of three new, prepaid data-plan offerings also announced: $25 for 500MB, $15 for 100MB, or $5 for 10MB. The full press release is after the break. More →

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T-Mobile to introduce two new international calling plans that don’t suck

By on March 4, 2011 at 3:23 AM.

T-Mobile to introduce two new international calling plans that don’t suck

According to the latest intel gathered by TmoNews, the nation’s fourth largest carrier, T-Mobile, will begin offering two new, pre-paid international calling plans on March 13th. Aimed at those who frequently dial from the U.S. to friends and family internationally, the plans include unlimited calling to landlines in 50+ countries, unlimited text messaging to any mobile phone in over 220 countries, and discounted calling to international mobile and landline numbers. The plans look like this:

  • $60 – International Unlimited Talk & Text with 100MB of domestic data
  • $80 – International Unlimited Talk & Text with 2GB of domestic data

Both plans also include unlimited, domestic voice minutes and text messages. That’s a pretty strong offering — especially in the pre-paid category — from T-Mo. Thoughts? More →

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AT&T announces two new postpaid data plans for tablets; new activations get one month free

By on March 3, 2011 at 11:29 AM.

AT&T announces two new postpaid data plans for tablets; new activations get one month free

Via a quick press release, AT&T has announced two, new postpaid data plans available to its tablet users. The new offerings closely match the prepaid options currently being offered, with a slight twist. “The new plans can be added to customers’ existing monthly wireless statements, offering the simplicity of a single monthly bill,” writes AT&T. Postpaid customers will be billed at an overage rate of $10 per gigabyte — prepaid customers have to buy an additional 2GB allotment when they exceed their quota ($12.50 per gigabyte). The company is also offering some incentive to jump on the postpaid bandwagon, “For a limited time, customers who activate a new postpaid $25/2 GB plan will receive the first month free.” Both the postpaid and prepaid options are on a month-to-month basis, no contract required. Hit the jump for the full press release.

More →

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T-Mobile readying truly unlimited data plan?

By on February 23, 2011 at 2:25 AM.

T-Mobile readying truly unlimited data plan?

According to a tip received by TmoNews, the nation’s fourth largest carrier — T-Mobile — is readying a new, unlimited data-plan for launch later this year. The information comes courtesy of a training document, which reads:

Please note that a [sic] an unlimited plan for more than 5GB of monthly data use will launch sometime this year.

Currently, users on T-Mobile’s unlimited, monthly data plan are subject to throttled downlink speeds after 5GB of use; presumably the new plan would up or remove the full-speed quota. The title of said document is “T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot” and it’s purpose is to educate T-Mo reps on how to prevent “third-degree bill-shock.” Nice. More →

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More details on AT&T’s Any mobile calling plan emerge

By on February 9, 2011 at 10:01 PM.

More details on AT&T’s Any mobile calling plan emerge

AT&T will be launching its Unlimited Messaging with Mobile to Any Mobile plan tomorrow. Just ahead of the launch, BGR has acquired an internal AT&T memo that details exactly what customers will have to do to qualify for said plans. Spoiler alert: not much. Surprisingly, there isn’t any fine print with AT&T’s latest offering. Customers with individual, post-paid lines costing between $39.99 and $59.99 per month are eligible for the unlimited texting and mobile to mobile offer — individual plans over $59.99 include unlimited calling. Customers with family, post-paid lines costing between $69.99 and $109.99 per month are also eligible for the offering — family plans over $109.99 *drumroll* include unlimited calling. That’s pretty much it… no red tape. Who’s jumping on this tomorrow?

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AT&T to offer unlimited any mobile to mobile calling; carrier agnostic, available tomorrow

By on February 9, 2011 at 11:15 AM.

AT&T to offer unlimited any mobile to mobile calling; carrier agnostic, available tomorrow

Piggybacking on an offering available to Sprint customers for some time, AT&T will launch an unlimited “Mobile to Any Mobile” calling plan beginning tomorrow. Details on the plan, for the time being, are scarce. What we do know is that users will be required to have the $20, unlimited text-messaging plan ($30 for family plans) to be eligible for the program. No word on whether there will be an added fee for the any mobile-to-mobile privilege, or if it will now be a part of the unlimited messaging plan. Seems like a pretty good deal if it’s included free of charge… thoughts?

UPDATE: Unlimited, any mobile to mobile calling is included free with the unlimited text messaging plan. The full press release just crossed the wire and is waiting for you after the break. More →

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AT&T introduces hotspot data plan; gives extra 2GB to those tethering

By on February 2, 2011 at 3:58 PM.

AT&T introduces hotspot data plan; gives extra 2GB to those tethering

Today, via a press release, AT&T announced one addition and one change to its smartphone data plan offerings. First, the addition. AT&T will now offer a mobile hotspot plan that will provide users with 4GB of monthly data to use via their handset or while connected to their handset as a hotspot. The plan will be available February 13th and will retail for $45 per month. Second, AT&T is revising the data allowance on its smartphone tethering offering. Previously, users could pay $20 per month for the ability to tether their smartphone to their computer; no additional data was provided for this fee, you simply shared your 2GB monthly allowance with your computer. Now, those who pony up the $20 will be given an additional 2GB of bandwidth (for a total of 4GB monthly) to play with. Not bad AT&T, not bad at all. Customers who are already enrolled in the tethering plan will receive a text message from AT&T around February 13th alerting them of their newly increased data pool. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →

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The international heist: carriers, consumers, and global smartphone data

By on February 1, 2011 at 1:11 PM.

The international heist: carriers, consumers, and global smartphone data

While the debate over domestic data limits — 2GB versus 5GB versus truly unlimited — continues, another, more controversial smartphone bandwidth topic is slowly coming to a boil: international data. For those of you who frequently venture out of the confines of these United States, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t yet made your way out of the country in the smartphone era, you’re in for a rude awakening. Exorbitant costs, pathetic data allowances, and little recourse… it wasn’t always as bad as it is now. But, like all things in the cellular industry these days, carriers seem to be charging more for less. Are you the kind of person who always has your passport and smartphone with you when you travel abroad? Are you sick of being raked over the coals? Read on for our thoughts. More →

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