Internal T-Mobile memo says customers can keep rate plans following AT&T merger

By on September 20, 2011 at 4:55 PM.

Internal T-Mobile memo says customers can keep rate plans following AT&T merger

One of the most common questions we saw from T-Mobile subscribers when AT&T announced its plans to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion was perhaps also the most obvious: what happens to my rate plan? T-Mobile is widely known for its aggressive service pricing while its potential acquirer, AT&T, is not. The question isn’t only on the minds of consumers, either. The United States Department of Justice is suing to block the merger and in its filing, the DOJ states, “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market.” According to a purported internal document obtained by TmoNews, T-Mobile customers will be able to keep their service plans indefinitely should AT&T’s acquisition of the carrier proceed. “T-Mobile customers will be able to keep their rate plans,” the internal FAQ reads. “They will be able to do so for as long as they want to, even when their terms end and the service continues on a month-to-moth basis.” The wording suggests that T-Mobile customers will be out of luck if they want to purchase a new subsidized phone under contract, however, though it does not state explicitly that new contracts will require customers to switch to a standard AT&T rate plan. More →

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Sony’s first Honeycomb tablet launches to scores of eager… seniors?

By on September 12, 2011 at 3:35 PM.

Sony’s first Honeycomb tablet launches to scores of eager… seniors?

Sony can finally add tablets to the laundry list of consumer electronics categories it addresses, but the launch of its premier device — the Sony Tablet S — is raising questions as to how seriously Sony plans to take the tablet space. The 9.4-inch Honeycomb tablet features a Sony “TruBlack” display, a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and the ability to control Sony televisions, Blu-ray players and other peripherals with a custom universal remote app, but we’re not sure Sony has its sales strategy ironed out just yet. Read on for more. More →

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Verizon Wireless’ Motorola DROID BIONIC launches September 8th, $299.99

By on September 7, 2011 at 8:30 AM.

Verizon Wireless’ Motorola DROID BIONIC launches September 8th, $299.99

Verizon Wireless on Wednesday finally made the Motorola DROID BIONIC official, again, along with release details and pricing. The sleek Android smartphone launches Thursday, September 8th, for a hefty $299.99 on contract. Spec highlights include a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP processor, 1GB of RAM a 4.3-inch qHD display, the Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS and, of course, compatibility with Verizon’s lightning fast 4G LTE network. Verizon’s full press release follows below, and don’t forget to check out our hands-on photos and impressions of the Motorola DROID BIONIC. More →

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Cost of 4G LTE devices to drop significantly next year

By on September 2, 2011 at 7:00 AM.

Cost of 4G LTE devices to drop significantly next year

As much as smartphone, mobile hotspot and connected notebook users love the blazing fast speeds afforded by 4G LTE service, it’s tough to be an early adopter when new devices carry such a premium. Verizon Wireless’ latest 4G phone, the DROID Charge, hit the market at a jaw dropping $300 on contract, for example. According to a report from DigiTimes on Thursday, devices with embedded 4G LTE radios are about to get significantly less expensive. With various chipset vendors set to begin mass production of new single-mode LTE chips later this year and Qualcomm preparing production of its multi-mode LTE chips in the first half next year, prices are expected to drop substantially in the second half of 2012. The new components are expected to decrease the cost of LTE network interface cards by 50% or more, and those savings will hopefully trickle across a variety of 4G LTE-enabled end user products quickly. More →

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AT&T to finally launch LG Thrill 4G on September 4th, $99.99

By on August 30, 2011 at 10:15 PM.

AT&T to finally launch LG Thrill 4G on September 4th, $99.99

AT&T is finally set to launch its first 3D smartphone, the LG Thrill 4G. No, that 4G doesn’t mean users will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s soft launched 4G LTE network, but the Thrill will begin burning up AT&T’s previous-generation fourth-generation network when it becomes available for purchase this Sunday, September 4th. We reviewed the LG Thrill 4G last month and we were a little surprised by the fact that we really did enjoy recording and viewing 3D content on the device. Overall, however, we found the Thrill 4G to be a mediocre phone that’s bulky, heavy and not overly competitive with modern Android offerings from the likes of HTC and Samsung. At $99.99 however, those looking to play around with the 3D features shouldn’t be disappointed. More →

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Upcoming Amazon tablet to undercut Apple's iPad

By on August 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

Upcoming Amazon tablet to undercut Apple's iPad

Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet will soon launch for “hundreds less” than Apple’s $499 entry-level iPad 2 tablet, the New York Post reported on Thursday. According to the report, which cites an anonymous source, Amazon will launch its first Android tablet in September or October and aggressive pricing is seen as crucial to Amazon’s success in the space. BGR exclusively reported back in May that Amazon is working on two tablet devices — the entry-level dual-core “Coyote” and the high-end quad-core “Hollywood” — and at least one of them is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Amazon’s tablet offerings will reportedly feature the Android operating system, perhaps heavily customized, along with deep integration of several Amazon services such as the Amazon Appstore, the Kindle eBook store, Amazon’s Cloud Drive service and others. More →

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Sprint's BlackBerry Curve 9350 launches September 9th; priced from $49.99

By on August 23, 2011 at 11:35 AM.

Sprint's BlackBerry Curve 9350 launches September 9th; priced from $49.99

Sprint on Tuesday announced the upcoming launch of RIM’s brand new BlackBerry Curve 9350 smartphone. Just made official Tuesday morning, the Curve 9350 features RIM’s famous candy bar design as well as GPS and Wi-Fi support, a 5-megapixel camera and the BlackBerry 7 OS. “It is exciting to see the BlackBerry Curve line continue to evolve, building upon past success,” said Sprint’s VP of product development David Owens in a statement. “This latest iteration offers the recognizable form factor our customers have come to enjoy, while adding powerful new features and innovative apps of BlackBerry 7 to deliver the smoothest and fastest BlackBerry Curve experience to date.” Sprint’s BlackBerry Curve 9350 will launch on September 9th for $79.99 with a new two-year contract. Sprint business customers may qualify for pricing as low as $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →

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Sprint's BlackBerry Bold 9930 just $199.99 online

By on August 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM.

Sprint's BlackBerry Bold 9930 just $199.99 online

Sprint has never been known to follow convention. While other carriers are milking heavy data users for as much as possible, for example, Sprint is standing strong and maintaining its unlimited data plans for as long as possible. Another example: Sprint announced the BlackBerry Bold 9930 last week, stating that it would charge customers $249.99 on contract for the device. The nation’s No. 3 carrier made the device available on Sunday as promised, but the phone is actually priced lower online than Sprint announced; just $199.99 will score you RIM’s latest flagship smartphone from Sprint’s online shop. Oddly, the same $200 can also land you an old Bold 9650 if you have an aversion to touchscreens and gorgeous hardware. Sprint’s Torch 9850 launched at the promised $149.99, but we can’t imagine opting for it over the Bold 9930 for just $50 more. Interested parties may want to hit the read link quickly in case Sprint has a change of heart. More →

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Most expensive BlackBerry Bold 9900 yet hits T-Mobile on August 31st for $300

By on August 17, 2011 at 8:00 AM.

Most expensive BlackBerry Bold 9900 yet hits T-Mobile on August 31st for $300

T-Mobile subscribers who thought $250 was a tough pill to swallow for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 will be none too happy with this morning’s news. T-Mobile on Wednesday finally announced the imminent launch of its Bold 9900 variant, which will become available on August 31st for a whopping $299.99 with a new two-year contract. What’s more, that price is after a $50 mail-in rebate, so subscribers looking to nab the latest flagship out of Waterloo, Ontario will have to part with $350 to do so. Ouch. “T-Mobile is excited to add a BlackBerry smartphone to T-Mobile’s best 4G product lineup ever,” T-Mobile VP of product management Andrew Morrison said in a statement. “With the new BlackBerry Bold 9900, we are offering our socially-active and business-minded customers a powerful device with a unique proposition — the pairing of a nationwide 4G network with the mobile communications efficiency that has become synonymous with BlackBerry smartphones.” T-Mobile’s full press release follows below. More →

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Sprint to launch BlackBerry Bold 9930 ($249.99), Torch 9850 ($149.99) on August 21st

By on August 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM.

Sprint to launch BlackBerry Bold 9930 ($249.99), Torch 9850 ($149.99) on August 21st

Sprint on Monday announced that it will launch Research In Motion’s latest CDMA smartphones — the BlackBerry Bold 9930 and the BlackBerry Torch 9850 — on Sunday, August 21st. In line with BGR’s exclusive report from earlier this month, Sprint will offer the Bold 9930 for $249.99 on contract and the Torch 9850 will cost $149.99 on contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. The Bold 9930 is RIM’s brand new touch-and-type flagship smartphone, which launched on rival carrier Verizon Wireless this morning at the same $250 price point. The Torch 9850 is an affordable full touchscreen smartphone that picks up where RIM’s Storm lineup left off. Both smartphones feature Research In Motion’s latest BlackBerry 7 OS and are part of the largest global launch in RIM’s storied history. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →

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BlackBerry Bold 9930 now available from Verizon for $249.99 [updated]

By on August 15, 2011 at 7:30 AM.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 now available from Verizon for $249.99 [updated]

Verizon Wireless is now offering RIM’s highly anticipated BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphone for $249.99 on contract. BGR exclusively reported last week that Sprint would soon be selling the new touch-and-type Bold for $249.99, and at that time we indicated that other U.S. carriers would likely launch the device at the same price point. Verizon Wireless is now the first carrier to do so, and while early adopters are sure to snatch up the long-awaiting 9900/9930 despite its $250 price tag, widespread adoption may be hindered until the new smartphone dips to $199.99 on contract. We reviewed the new BlackBerry Bold last week and found that the hardware is absolutely worth carriers’ high cost of entry. We also found that RIM’s BlackBerry 7 software, despite improved performance and fluidity, left much to be desired.

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless’ full press release now follows below. More →

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Sprint's BlackBerry Bold 9930 priced at $249.99, Torch 9850 will run $149.99

By on August 11, 2011 at 10:09 AM.

Sprint's BlackBerry Bold 9930 priced at $249.99, Torch 9850 will run $149.99

Is RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9930 worthy of a $250 price tag? Sprint seems to think so. BGR has obtained a copy of an upcoming Sprint flier that reveals pricing for several devices, including RIM’s new flagship CDMA smartphone, the BlackBerry Bold 9930. According to the document, Sprint’s BlackBerry Bold 9930 will cost $249.99 with a new 2-year agreement. Sprint’s upcoming BlackBerry Torch 9850 will cost $149.99 on contract, and the Samsung Conquer 4G will cost $99.99, as we knew. The $249.99 price tag on the new Bold at Sprint could also mean we can expect similar pricing from other major carriers. We really like the aggressive Torch 9850 pricing — $150 is a terrific starting point for RIM’s new full touchscreen device, and when it drops to $99.99 later this, it will be a steal. $250 is still a tough pill to swallow, however, and we think the above-average cost could slow adoption of the Bold fairly significantly. Early adopters will be on board regardless, of course, but average consumers and businesses — especially SMBs — might think twice before parting with $250 for the 9930. Do we think RIM’s new touch-and-type Bold is worth $250? We’ll that’s an entirely different story, and you’ll have to wait for our full review to find out. An image of the full page from Sprint’s flier follows below. More →

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Carriers dig deeper hole with lack of innovative 4G LTE pricing, Ovum says

By on August 9, 2011 at 7:01 AM.

Carriers dig deeper hole with lack of innovative 4G LTE pricing, Ovum says

Wireless carriers around the world are digging themselves into a deeper hole by neglecting to experiment with innovative pricing models for 4G LTE services. While consumers have exhibited concern surrounding tiered data plans and bandwidth throttling, Ovum believes such models are necessary to combat the growing capacity crunch plaguing cellular service providers. This crunch, of course, is serious enough that AT&T is hoping to soon $39 billion in order to acquire T-Mobile USA and use the carrier’s precious spectrum for its 4G LTE network build-out. Smartphone and mobile broadband users are pumping more data over wireless networks than ever before, and speedier 4G LTE service only stands to exacerbate the situation. Additionally, carriers are missing the opportunity to find new ways to squeeze more revenue out of this new premium high-speed service. “We looked at the LTE pricing strategies of operators in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the US, and were disappointed with our findings,” Ovum analyst Nicole McCormick said in a statement. “LTE provides operators with the opportunity to experiment with new and innovative pricing models, which allows them to find the best way of deriving revenues from the premium service. However, most operators have not grasped this opportunity. Instead, LTE tariffs in the regions Ovum analysed are dominated by unlimited offerings and large data buckets, which can be problematic.” Ovum’s full press release follows below. More →

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