Are you currently deciding whether you should get a new iPhone 4 from AT&T or wait a few weeks for the imminent Verizon iPhone launch? Do you need help determining which carrier provides the best cellular coverage in your most treaded areas? Do you just want extra fodder for the perpetual and infinitely ridiculous “my network is better than your network” argument that takes place on countless forums and blogs? Say hello to Coverage?, a new iOS app from Technomadia. The function of this great little app is quite simple; it allows users to quickly and easily view coverage maps for each of the four major U.S. carriers. Focus can be narrowed by carrier to 3G, 2G or roaming service, and multiple carriers can be viewed on the same map using simple toggle switches. The app uses Google Maps so it supports zooming and multitouch, and it really is quite useful for travelers and those who live in areas with fringe coverage. Coverage? costs $1.99 and is currently available in the App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Hit the break for a video demo. More →
Today, Sprint announced a new, 4G international-roaming agreement it signed with Jamaican carrier Digicel and Taiwanese carrier Global Mobile. The new agreement will allow select Sprint devices — currently the Sierra Wireless 250U and Sprint U600 — to operate on the aforementioned networks while traveling abroad.
“With these agreements, Sprint is kicking down the door to 4G international roaming and taking a first step toward allowing people to enjoy 4G service wherever they are around the globe,” said Matt Carter, Sprint’s 4G chief. “We’ve taken the 4G leadership position in the U.S. and are now proud to partner with visionaries Digicel and Global Mobile to solidify our international leadership role.”
Users who want to connect to the Digicel or Global Mobile network will have to do so utilizing Sprint’s SmartView Connection Manager software. The software will provide one-click activation, GPS services, Sprint Wi-Fi network locations, and custom enterprise configurations.
Unfortunately, the “pricing and launch details of the agreements are still to be determined.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
It looks like Verizon is continuing to get their proverbial “ducks in a row” for the launch of the Motorola DROID 2 Global — an Android 2.2 handset with a 1.2GHz processor and international roaming capabilities. Earlier today, a version of Verizon’s VZ Navigator specific to the DROID 2 Global popped up in the Android market. We know the device will be available in both black and white and, judging by this latest bit of leaked information, the device should be hitting store shelves in the not too distant future. Anyone planning on picking one up? More →
According to Droid-Life, yes. They seem to have come across a public test webpage URL on Verizon’s site that show the pricing for the soon-to-be launched Motorola DROID Pro at $299 with 2 year service agreement. Now, it’s possible the price is just a placeholder, but $299 for a primarily business-aimed handset wouldn’t be out of bounds in our opinion. Especially with global roaming capability. Thoughts?
We know the boo birds are going to have a lot of fun with this, but today Rogers officially introduced North American One Rate data roaming plans. In exchange for an extra $10 per month, Rogers subs will be able to get their data freak on south of the 49th without having to pay a penny for per Kb data roaming. Instead, the used data deducted directly from their normal monthly data bucket. Here are the plans:
- $20 Personal Email on BB CDN/US
- $35 Consumer/Small business BB (BIS) 500MB CDN/US Plan
- $35 Consumer/Small business 500MB CDN & US Data Plan
- $40 Consumer/Small business BB (BIS) 1GB CDN & US Plan
- $40 Consumer/Small business 1GB CDN & US Data Plan
- $45 500MB CDN & US Mobile Internet Flex Rate Plan
- $50 DAP (for MSD customers) 1.5GB CDN & US Data Plan
- $55 Corporate BB (BES) 1GB CDN & US Plan
- $55 Corporate BB (BES) 500 MB CDN & US Flex Rate Plan
We don’t think the One Rate roaming plans will “shatter people’s perception of wireless data roaming when visiting the United States” as Rogers has stated, but we also think it’s hard to argue against the transparency of the new plans. Now to do something about voice and SMS…
Fun fact: There’s nothing that says you can’t switch to this plan as you’re boarding your flight to NYC and then removing it as soon as you’re back on Canadian soil. More →
Well isn’t Big Red just the Robin Hood of US carriers… First Verizon announced a new policy where handset exclusivity is concerned — promising small carriers with 500,000 subscribers or less would have access to VZW-exclusive handsets six months after launch — and now the carrier is posing an amendment to roaming agreement laws. This time around, Verizon Wireless sent a letter to several senators recommending that large carriers should be required by law to enter into roaming contracts with smaller carriers in areas where they do not currently have coverage. These contracts should have minimum durations of two years, says Verizon, in order to give said small carriers time to build out their own networks. Awwee, sharing is caring. As generous as Verizon thinks its proposition is, at least one small carrier doesn’t exactly concur. Laurie Itkin, Leap Wireless’ director of government affairs, had this to say:
Verizon itself has relied on roaming agreements for over two decades as it built out its network and acquired competitors, but now has unilaterally decided that its remaining competitors are only entitled to roaming for two or three years.
You know what they say… Give ‘em an inch and they take a mile. Truth be told of course, expecting a tiny carrier to build out a massive network in two years is a bit on the ridiculous side. Then again, considering there is currently no law covering this type of agreement, something may be better than nothing.
Let’s face it, cell phone usage in Canada is expensive but making a few phone calls while abroad can result in a bill that can do more more damage to your wallet than your mortgage payments. So call it a response to the global recession or a way to lure people into using their phones overseas but Rogers has come out with some new Travel Packages that can actually save subscribers anywhere from $15 to well over $100 dollars. The Travel Packages are good for one month once added to your account and require no contract. They’re also automatically removed from your account at the beginning of your next billing cycle. Hit the jump to check out the new rates.
Okay, so get a load of this. Apparently (please note the emphasis) a former employee of Globalive aka Global Wireless, the next big Canadian wireless provider that is building a UMTS / HSPA network with service planned for all provinces and territories excluding Québec, recently got canned for “poor performance in marketing”. This of course led to him logging on to HoFo and leaking everything about the carrier’s plans except what the CEO ate for breakfast. There is tons of stuff to cover and the slides are pretty grainy at best, so we’ve taken the time to write it all out for our Canadian friends. Now hit the jump and prepare to mess yourself because if even half of this stuff is true, the Canadian wireless landscape is about to make a serious shift for the better starting in Q4. Just one question — why no BlackBerry love?
Thanks, “Ex-Global Wireless Employee”!
In a move that is sure to give executives and customer service reps from other carriers a major headache, Vodafone UK has announced that it will be doing away with all roaming charges. The change applies to both Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly customers from June 1st until the end of August, and applies to over 35 European countries. The only catch is that customers must sign up for Vodafone Passport in order to enjoy calling, texting and picture messaging at the same rates as at home. As for which countries are included in the Summer promotion, it seems that every major European destination is covered: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Vatican City, New Zealand, and Australia. To opt into the promotion, text “Passport” to 97888 if you are a Pay Monthly customer or 2345 if you are on Pay as you Go.
Jet setters, listen up! We got our hands on a Verizon Wireless document that details two new global data plans for plain Jane handsets. Windows Mobile and BlackBerry are out of luck this time around. You and your “high-powered” devices still have the unlimited $64.99 (on top of a voice plan) and $69.99 (data only) Global Email plans. Starting November 16th, Verizon will introduce 2 new bolt-on plans for data usage when you and your “regular-powered” handset are traveling internationally. You can select from a 10MB plan for $19.99/month or a 20MB plan for $29.99. Yes, the plans are a bit pricey but they are not nearly as expensive as the pay-as-you-go fees which can be as high as $20.48/MB. Yikes! The new data plans will allow you to use picture and video messaging, access Visual Voice mail, use Mobile IM, download BREW content and browse the web on your handset while traveling abroad. These new plans are only available for locations that are part of Verizon’s Preferred Data Coverage which includes eight new International CDMA destinations: Bermuda, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Saipan, Guam and South Korea. Interested parties will have to contact Verizon to get the full list when the plans go live next week. So there you have it, a few new options for you travel bugs that always need to be connected while on the go.
Here in the United States, there are not legal limits on what carriers can charge for roaming, and things can get pretty pricey if you’re on a regional plan (which most people are not). This gets to be more of a problem if you’re a social butterfly on a continent with a lot of small, densely clustered countries. Last year, the European Union introduced caps on what European carriers are allowed to charge customers who roam in the EU. The current limit is 49 euro cents per minute for outgoing calls (about 72 cents US) and is being reduced to 46 euro cents (about 67 cents US). Incoming calls currently may be billed at up to 24 euro cents (about 35 cents US) and will be dropped to 22 euro cents (about 32 cents US). Rejoice, as these limits go in to effect this Sunday, August 31. Further, the European Commission wants the EU to impose a cap on SMS roaming of about 11 to 15 euro cents (16 to 22 cents US). While the economic consequences of price ceilings are something better understood by, well, an economist, we do applaud lower tariffs (didn’t you know that you’re supposed to italicize foreign expressions?).
All of the above prices, of course, exclude European VAT (Value Added Tax), so quadruple them for a more accurate figure.