Over the last couple of years we’ve all finally gotten used to 4G LTE being the mobile standard our phones use… so of course, the next network tech is already in development. The wireless companies’ plans for expanding LTE networks sound simple: piggyback off spectrum that’s sitting right there, available for anyone to use, so the metaphorical pipes can be bigger. Except that could cause big problems for basically all the wireless tech we already use.
How much LTE mobile data does your family (or just the unrelated people on your mobile phone plan) really need? 10 GB? 20? 40? It depends on what you do with your mobile device and where you use it, but most people don’t use that much. Today, T-Mobile announced new plans designed to compete with similar offerings from Verizon, but that include more data than most people could need. [More]
Another day, another lawsuit against Apple: This time around, the company’s facing a lawsuit from Ericsson that seeks to ban imports on all iPads and iPhones amidst a dispute about licensing fees for several patents.
It’s the end of an era! Or at least, the beginning of a process that will eventually lead to the end of an era. 3G was once the great new hotness that made everyone run out and buy an iPhone, but over the years it’s been left in the dust by faster 4G LTE service. Now Verizon, the country’s largest wireless carrier, has started down the road that will eventually kill off the venerable 3G once and for all.
Not all 4G networks are created equal. The iPhone 5 officially hit T-Mobile on Friday, April 12, but not all T-Mobile iPhones are created equal. You can buy a phone from T-Mobile itself, or an unlocked one from Apple that comes with a T-Mobile SIM, but not every iPhone for sale is compatible with T-Mobile’s 4G network. Many customers are going home with an older version that’s not compatible with T-Mobile’s network, defeating the point of owning a 4G LTE device. The problem is that many T-Mobile and Apple Store employees aren’t aware of the difference.
Facing criticism — and consumer complaints to the FCC — over its decision to limit the non-WiFi use of Apple’s FaceTime video chat app to customers who have shared data plans, AT&T announced yesterday that it will allow folks with the iPhone 5 (but without unlimited data plans) to use the app over its network. [More]
Sprint already explained that even though it’s in third place among U.S. wireless carriers, it meant to get ditched by about 459,000 of its customers in order to move its network from 2G to LTE. And now it’s gained a significant chunk of new customers by buying up a bunch of spectrum and customers from U.S. cellular in a new deal the company just announced. [More]
Erica and her family are Sprint customers who are eligible to upgrade their phones in a few months, but they have a dilemma. In the market where they live, Sprint’s 4G service is the older WiMax network. An upgrade to LTE is coming…sometime in the next year. They have their choice of phones that can use one network or the other, but not both. Yes, this is the very definition of a first world problem, but it’s a gamble. Do they choose faster data now and being forced to use 3G after the upgrade comes, or the other way around?
With Verizon already touting its 4G LTE roll-out and AT&T claiming that LTE is currently available in 47 markets around the country, third-place wireless competitor Sprint needs to do everything it can to compete. Over the weekend, the company finally flipped the switch on its LTE network, but unless you live in some parts of Texas, Georgia and Missouri, you’ll probably still be waiting.
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when life hands you $4 billion in cash and wireless spectrum because your merger with AT&T couldn’t pass regulatory muster, you build out a 4G LTE network.
“AT&T Inc. flipped a switch and turned on its 4G wireless network Wednesday,” reports the WSJ. “The switch, however, was in the company’s marketing department.” Taking advantage of loose definitions for what qualifies as 4G, AT&T has simply relabeled its existing, and much-maligned, 3G network as 4G.
When Verizon Wireless begins to introduce plans for its next generation data network later this year, don’t expect to see any all-you-can-eat unlimited offerings. In an interview with BusinessWeek, the company’s CFO said the company will likely have to change how it bills for data consumption as more data-hungry smartphones and apps enter the marketplace–and that means tiered data plans similar to the ones AT&T has introduced to help control data consumption.
Verizon’s next generation of devices will run on the GSM network that will be used by AT&T and T-Mobile, meaning that in a few years, customers with unlocked phones will be able to move between the three providers without purchasing new equipment. Verizon currently uses a CDMA network along with Sprint, but last week announced that it would use the GSM-protocol LTE (Long Term Evolution) for their fourth-generation data services. Note, Verizon’s LTE phones will not be backwards-compatible with the current GSM networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. Both are expected to support LTE. And don’t expect to see the new phones anytime soon…