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T-Mobile to Adopt GSMA Universal RCS Profile

Tuesday, 2:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Tuesday, 7:54 PM

T-Mobile today said it plans to expand its support for Rich Communications Services during the second quarter of the year by adopting the GSMA Universal Profile. This will allow T-Mobile customers to take advantage of RCS-based features, such as video chat and large file transfers, with the native Android Messages texting app on their handset. The GSMA Universal Profile, for example, will let people send files as big as 100MB via messaging in addition to audio notes and more. T-Mobile is working with Google and other carriers around the world to ensure its RCS service is compatible with those used by competing networks, such as Sprint in the U.S., which adopted Google's RCS standard several years ago. This means people will be able to send rich messages to one another without downloading or installing a third-party messaging application, such as WhatsApp. T-Mobile said its customers can expect to see an update to the Android Messaging app arrive during the second quarter of the year. Moreover, the company intends to bring RCS Business Messaging to its network down the road. This will let businesses chat directly with customers for actions such as taking restaurant reservations or setting appointments. T-Mobile already offers RCS service to its own customers and has since 2015. AT&T and Verizon support their own RCS-like messaging services and have not announced plans to support the GSMA Universal Profile for RCS.

Honor View10 Available for Preorder In the US for $499

Mar 12, 2018, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei said that its Honor View10 smartphone is available in the U.S. starting today. The phone will be up for preorder between March 12 and March 22, with shipments starting March 22. The View10 has a unibody aluminum chassis with smooth edges and curved glass. The display measures 5.99 inches and adopts the 2:1 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by Huawei's top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor with 8 cores, 6 GB of memory, and 128 GB of storage. The View10 includes a dual-camera array on the rear. The main camera has a full-color, 16-megapixel sensor and the secondary camera has a monochrome, 20-megapixel sensor. They can tap into PDAF and the Kirin 970's neural processing unit for sharp focus and portrait photos with blurred backgrounds. Other features include a 13-megapixel selfie camera, fingerprint sensor, NFC, dual SIM cards, 3,750mAh battery, 4K video capture, aptX HD, Microsoft Translate, muted notifications during gaming, screen recording, face unlock, and 3.5mm headphone jack. The Honor View10 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with Huawei's EMUI 8 user interface on board. It includes U.S. LTE Bands 2, 4, 5, 7 12, and 17, which gives it average support for AT&T and T-Mobile. Missing are newer bands such as T-Mobile's 66/71. The View10 is being sold in blue and black, unlocked, for $499. Honor is selling the phone from its own web site. The company didn't say if other online retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, or B&H, will also sell the phone.

Huawei Mate 10 SE Is an Upgraded Honor 7X

Mar 7, 2018, 8:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei recently began selling the Mate 10 SE via Amazon and other online retailers. The phone carries over most specs from the Honor 7X, which means it includes an aluminum unibody chassis with 2.5D curved glass and a 5.9-inch 2:1 aspect ratio display. It is powered by Huawei's Kirin 659 processor and has dual cameras, a fingerprint reader, a 3,340mAh battery, and Cat 6 LTE. It runs Android 7 Nougat with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 user interface on board. The one significant change under the hood concerns memory and storage. Where the Honor 7X had 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, the Mate 10 SE has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The improvement in RAM should give the Mate 10 SE an edge in performance over the Honor 7X. On the exterior, the Mate 10 SE loses the Honor branding in favor of Huawei's, and the dual-camera array is encircled in a single frame rather than two. Amazon is selling the Mate 10 SE in gray and gold for $230 (about $30 more than the Honor 7X). It is unlocked and compatible with AT&T/T-Mobile and their prepaid brands.

U.S. Carriers Creating Stronger Tool to Verify Customer ID

Mar 2, 2018, 2:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

All four major carriers in the U.S., AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are building a "multi-factor authentication" method that will rely on peoples' cell phones to gain account access. The system, which has been in development since last September, is expected to launch before the end of the year. The goal is to cut back on identity theft and fraud enabled by weak or exposed passwords. The carriers said it will employ a "cryptographically verified phone number" that assesses data including device IP, SIM card, account, and how long customers have been with the carrier. "In addition, advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities will be used to help assess risk and protect customers," said the carriers in a statement. How this will be used by people on a day-to-day basis is still unknown. The group expects to provide more information later this year.

T-Mobile Is Building 5G in 30 Markets This Year, Will Launch In New York City In the First Quarter of 2019

Feb 27, 2018, 12:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 27, 2018, 12:12 PM

T-Mobile today provided more details concerning its forthcoming 5G network. It will be building 5G across 30 cities in the U.S. this year. It will start with New York City in the 600 MHz and mmWave spectrum bands. Other named cities include Dallas, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. The company has been fortifying its LTE 4G network with technologies such as carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, License Assisted Access, and FD-MIMO with 64 antennas (32 transmit, 32 receive). The company is not going to cap its LTE network in any form, continuing to use it for the foreseeable future. All these technologies have helped the company prepare for 5G. T-Mobile says 5G and 4G are going to coexist and live together. T-Mobile reiterated that it will first use its 600 MHz spectrum for 5G, though it is also eyeing the 3.5 GHz mid-band and 28 GHz mmWave spectrum. The FCC expects to auction off 28GHz later this year. T-Mobile didn't specify what mmWave spectrum it will us for its 5G network. T-Mobile sees 5G encompassing fixed broadband (routers), mobile service (phones, AR/VR, wearables, drones), and IoT (sensors, industrial automation). It will cover every inch of the U.S. with some 5G service by 2020 with equipment from Nokia and Ericsson. The company is already deploying 5G NR-capable hardware in its base stations. T-Mobile expects to debut the first 5G smartphones and other products during the first quarter of 2019.

Google's Phone App Now Transcribes Voicemail for T-Mobile Customers

Feb 27, 2018, 10:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Google Phone app for Pixel and Nexus devices now offers Google-powered voicemail transcription for T-Mobile USA users. Google's app will transcribe incoming voicemails and drop the text in the voicemail tab of the app itself. T-Mobile customers who use a Pixel or Nexus can then scan the text without dialing for their voicemails. Google has offered voicemail transcription to its Google Voice customers for years. The company hasn't said if or when the transcription feature might expand to other carriers. Verizon is the only carrier that sells the device directly to consumers. Google sells an unlocked version, compatible with T-Mobile, from its own web store. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store.

MediaTek Brings the Smarts with Helio P60 SoC

Feb 27, 2018, 9:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MediaTek announced the Helio P60 system-on-a-chip, a processor that adopts artificial intelligence and other advanced features for mid-range devices. The P60 relies on a big.LITTLE architecture with four ARM A73 processors at 2 GH and four ARM A53 processors at 2 GHz. MediaTek says the chip pushes speeds up by 70% and power efficiency by 25% when compared to the P30. It includes an ARM Mali-G72 GPU clocked at 800 MHz for a 12% improvement in mobile gaming. The MediaTek P60 introduce a multi-core AI processing unit that includes facial, object, and scene recognition for security and camera apps. Developers can tap into the MediaTek NeuroPilot AI SDK and Neural Network API to take advantage of these features. MediaTek says the P60 supports dual-camera configurations of up to 20 megapixel and 16 megapixel pairings, or a single camera up to 32 megapixels. The tri-core image signal processor can handle bokeh effects, noise reduction, and support HDR viewing and recording. The P60 is paired with MediaTek's Cat 7 LTE 4G WorldMode Modem with support for dual SIMs, HPUE, and band 71 (for T-Mobile). MediaTek expects to see handsets powered by the Helio P60 reach the market before the end of the second quarter.

FCC Targeting November 5G Auction for 28 GHz

Feb 27, 2018, 6:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency will commence an auction for 28 GHz airwaves as soon as November. Pai expects the spectrum in question will be used for 5G. As soon as the auction for 28 GHz spectrum is finished, the FCC will move forward with another auction for 24 GHz spectrum for the same purposes. Pai is seeking public input on the idea. "To set the foundation for these auctions, the FCC will ask for public input this spring on the right procedures for these auctions," said Pai in remarks made at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. In order for the auctions to proceed, Pai says Congress will need to pass legislation by May 13 concerning upfront payments to be made by potential bidders. The agency is already looking at the use of 6 GHz spectrum for 5G based on feedback provided by the public last year. Future 5G networks will likely be deployed on low-band, mid-band, and high-band spectrum. For example, T-Mobile expects to launch 5G using its 600 MHz spectrum (low) holdings, while Sprint is looking at its 2.5 GHz spectrum (mid) for 5G. Further, the FCC says it has already changed some rules to help speed up 5G deployment. "We want to remove outdated rules and make it easier to deploy wireless infrastructure," said Pai. Relaxing rules governing how cell sites are deployed will let carriers put small cells where they need to in order to densify their networks. The FCC Chairman also spent time espousing the value of his open internet order, which removes net neutrality rules. He called the "light-touch regulation" one of the major pillars to his approach to 5G.

U.S. Carriers Share Galaxy S9 and S9+ Launch Plans and Pricing

Feb 25, 2018, 3:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

All four major carriers in the U.S. plan to sell the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ beginning in March. Preorders for the phones kick off March 2 and the handset is expected to be available in stores on March 16. Samsung itself is selling the unlocked version via its web site. The S9 costs $720 and the S9+ costs $840. Customers can apply for financing from Samsung to break down the cost of the phone over 24 months. Samsung is offering app to $350 off the price with a qualifying trade-in. Pricing from U.S. carriers varies significantly.

  • AT&T: AT&T is asking subscribers to its AT&T Next plans to pay $26.34 per month for 30 months for the S9 (total: $790), or $30.50 per month for 30 months for the S9+ (total: $915). AT&T says business customers can get a $150 activation credit with they by the S9 or S9+ on an installment plan. The devices support Band 14, and thus the AT&T-run FirstNet public safety network. AT&T's prepaid brand, Cricket Wireless, plans to sell the Galaxy S9 and S9+ at full cost.
  • Sprint: Sprint is selling the S9 for $33.00 per month with $0 down on a Sprint Flex lease (total: $792). The Galaxy S9+ will be $38.00 per month with $0 down on a Sprint Flex lease (total: $912).
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile is asking customers to pay $30 per month for 24 months for the S9 with $0 down (total: $720), and $30 per month for 24 months for the S9+ with $120 down (total: $840) For a limited time, postpaid customers can get up to $360 off either phone with a qualifying trade-in when the S9 or S9+ is purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile's prepaid brand, MetroPCS, will sell the Galaxy S9 starting March 16 for full price.
  • Verizon Wireless: Last, Verizon Wireless is charging $33.33 per month for 24 months for the S9 (total: $799) and $38.74 per month for 24 months for the S9+ (total: $930). Customers who switch to Verizon, port in their line, and trade in an old phone may get up to $500 in bill credits towards the purchase of a Galaxy S9 or S9+.

T-Mobile and Nokia Hit 1.3Gbps Downloads Using LAA

Feb 23, 2018, 10:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Moble says it has attained download speeds of 1.3 Gbps using LTE-LAA technology from Nokia. The result was reached in a lab using Nokia's commercial Nokia AirScale Micro RRH platform. The companies paired licensed and unlicensed bands using five-channel carrier aggregation, 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and LAA on 14 antenna layers. LTE-LAA is a stepping stone between today's 4G and future 5G networks. T-Mobile says it plans to deploy LTE-LAA in small cell configurations in high-traffic urban locations to help densify its network, boost speeds, and improve capacity. T-Mobile didn't say what markets might gain access to this network technology, nor what devices might support it.

T-Mobile Rolls Out Another Deal for iPhones and Apple Watch

Feb 21, 2018, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has a new promotion targeting Apple products. First, T-Mobile is offering a $200 rebate to those who purchase an iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, or 7 Plus. The rebate is being offered in addition to the value of a trade-in. People who trade a device in at T-Mobile stores will be given instant credit for the trade, though T-Mobile will accept trades sent via mail. Further, T-Mobile is offering a buy-one, get-one deal on iPhones. Customers who buy two iPhones and port-in or activate a new line of service on at least one device can receive the second device for free (via monthly bill credits). Customers will have to pay tax on purchases at the point of sale. People who cancel service will be responsible for paying the balance of any devices on their account. Last, T-Mobile is offering a deal on the Apple Watch 3. Those who buy one Apple Watch 3 can snag a second for half price ($215). These promotions kick off on February 23 and will be available for a limited time.

Sprint Targeting a Fall Launch for VoLTE

Feb 15, 2018, 9:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint expects to deploy voice over LTE across its network starting this fall. Sprint competitors AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless already offer VoLTE across the bulk of their footprints, making Spring the last major carrier to deploy the upgraded voice technology. "For more than a year we’ve been testing VoLTE and preseeding our customer base with VoLTE-capable devices in preparation for our commercial deployment starting this fall," said Sprint to Fierce Wireless. "Our network today offers a great HD Voice experience on a very efficient 1x platform, and our goal with VoLTE is to match this same high-quality experience that our customers have today." VoLTE allows devices to connect voice calls over carriers' data networks, rather than legacy voice networks, and delivers as much as three times the clarity. Sprint didn't say which devices support VoLTE, nor did it say if its VoLTE service will be compatible with those of other network operators. AT&T and Verizon, for example, allow some customers on some devices to connect VoLTE calls across carriers, though typically VoLTE calls are limited to intra-carrier connections.

T-Mobile Rolls Out More Rebates and Savings

Feb 13, 2018, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced new ways for its postpaid and prepaid customers to save some green. First, T-Mobile has a buy-one, get-one offer on deck for LG handsets. Postpaid customers who buy the G6, V30, or V30+ on a T-Mobile equipment installment plan can snag a second LG phone (of equal or lesser value) for free via monthly bill credits. This BOGO offer is available to new and current customers. Second, prepaid customers who switch from another carrier and port their number to MetroPCS will receive a $150 instant rebate that can be used toward the price of any phone. T-Mobile says the devices such as the Samsung J7 Prime, LG Stylo 3 Plus, ZTE Blade ZMAX, or LG K20 would all be free thanks to the rebate. New customers will have to sign up for MetroPCS' Unlimited LTE plan. Third, existing MetroPCS customers can score a $50 instant rebate when they add a line to an existing Unlimited LTE plan ($60/mo). The $50 rebate can be applied to a phone priced $79 and higher. Last, MetroPCS is still running its four lines for $100 deal. New or existing customers who port in at least one line can get up to four lines of unlimited talk, text, and LTE data for $100. These deals will be available for a limited time.

T-Mobile Drops BOGO Deal On Phone Lines

Feb 9, 2018, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a buy-one, get-one deal for service plans. Subscribers to a T-Mobile One family plan (minimum two lines) can add a third line of service at full price and get a fourth line of service for free. The fourth line is free after monthly bill credits. Without auto-pay, each line will carry an additional $5 monthly fee. The free line is available as long as subscribers maintain at least three paid lines. T-Mobile says the BOGO line deal can be combined with its BOGO deals on smartphones, which let people score free or reduced-cost handsets when two are purchased at the same time. The company is offering up to half off an Apple Watch when purchased with another at full price (Digits plan required). Last, T-Mobile is offering discounts on select accessories, such as Beats headphones. The BOGO deal on service lines and discounted Apple Watch deal kick off on February 10 and will be available for a limited time.

AIRWAVES Act Would Have FCC Auction Off 5G Spectrum

Feb 8, 2018, 11:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A new bipartisan act proposed by Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania aims to ensure the licensed and unlicensed spectrum needed for 5G is available. The Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum, or AIRWAVES Act, explicitly suggests the government free up high-band spectrum via auction in order to lay the groundwork for 5G. Part of the act requires that 10% of the proceeds of spectrum sales go toward the development wireless broadband in rural areas. “The bipartisan AIRWAVES Act is the kind of bill that will make a difference in the lives of Internet users," said Lance. "The internet is the lifeblood of the American economy. To compete in the 21st century we must have a robust spectrum pipeline so we can win the race to 5G. We also have to close the connectivity divide and bring reliable internet service to a larger segment of Americans — especially those in unserved areas." The 3GPP 5G NR specification includes support for low-band spectrum (600 MHz), mid-band spectrum (3.5 GHz), and high-band spectrum (50 GHz). While some U.S. operators (T-Mobile) have 600 MHz spectrum holdings, the 3.5 GHz and 50 GHz bands are not generally available. The FCC will need to open them up and auction them off to jumpstart true 5G deployments.

T-Mobile Seeking mmWave Spectrum In Ohio for 5G

Feb 7, 2018, 8:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 7, 2018, 9:07 AM

T-Mobile has agreed to purchase mmWave spectrum in Ohio that it has earmarked for 5G. Specifically, it is looking at 1150 MHz of LMDS spectrum. LMDS spectrum falls in the 28 GHz to 31 GHz range. "The requested spectrum assignments will allow T-Mobile to deploy the 27,500 to 28,350 MHz portion of the licenses for next generational 5G mobile services in accordance with recent technologies that can leverage millimeter wave bands for fixed and mobile wireless communications," said the company in its filings with the FCC. T-Mobile would also use some of the LMDS spectrum for microwave backhaul. The move is attention-grabbing mostly because to-date T-Mobile has said it will deploy 5G in its existing 600 MHz footprint. Last year, T-Mobile eschewed the idea of mmWave spectrum when it first announced its plans for 5G. Many of the benefits of the 5G NR spec will be found in mmWave spectrum. The company has little spectrum in the mmWave bands, particularly when compared to competitors AT&T and Verizon. The terms of T-Mobile's purchase of LMDS spectrum were not disclosed.

OnePlus 5T and Honor 7X Now Available In Red

Feb 5, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

OnePlus and Honor today made red versions of their most recent devices available to U.S. consumers. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red Limited Edition phone (pictured) will be sold from OnePlus' web site starting February 6. Anyone who preorders the handset before February 9 will receive free upgraded shipping. The OnePlus 5T Lava Red is sold with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It costs $559. Huawei's Honor brand is also bringing a red phone to the U.S. The Honor 7X in red is available from the Honor web store starting today. It costs $199. Both phones are sold unlocked with support for AT&T and T-Mobile. Supplies are limited.

T-Mobile Says It Will Rely On 100% Renewable Energy By 2021

Jan 29, 2018, 9:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile won't be swapping its magenta duds for green, but the company has committed to moving its business to 100% renewable energy by 2021. The company already buys power from the wind-driven Red Forks Wind Power Project in Oklahoma, which went online late last year. Today, T-Mobile said it will buy 160 MWs from Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project in Kansas starting in 2019. Together, these two projects will provide T-Mobile with 320 MWs of power, or enough to cover 60% of its energy needs nationwide. In order to reach its goal of 100% renewable power by 2021, T-Mobile will buy wind capacity each year to account for every unit of electricity it consumes. To cement its commitment to renewable power, T-Mobile has joined the RE100 climate group. Major businesses including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook already belong to RE100. T-Mobile will reports its electric consumption to RE100 each year as it transitions to low-carbon power sources.

AT&T Follows T-Mo and Verizon, to Offer Free Olympic Roaming

Jan 25, 2018, 3:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said that like its competitors T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, it will offer customers the opportunity to use their mobile devices during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at no extra cost. Specifically, AT&T will waive the $10 fee normally charged for the AT&T International Day Pass. The Pass gives AT&T customers access to their data, calling, and messaging plan from more than 100 countries around the world for $10 per day. Data consumed when roaming comes out of customers' normal monthly data buckets. Americans who travel to South Korea to attend the games won't have to pay the $10 daily fee from February 1 through March 20.

T-Mobile, Verizon Offer Free Roaming In Korea During Olympics

Jan 25, 2018, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Americans traveling to South Korea to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be able to roam for free if they subscribe to T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile says its customers can take advantage of free unlimited high-speed data, unlimited calls within South Korea and back to the U.S., as well as free texting while attending the games. The service will be made available automatically to T-Mobile customers visiting South Korea between February 7 and March 20. T-Mobile customers will need to be on a post-paid plan to roam in South Korea at no cost. No other actions are required. Verizon says its customers can roam in South Korea for free during the games, too, but its subscribers will have to jump through some hoops. To start, Verizon customers will have to enroll in the Verizon Up rewards program by January 28 and then sign up for the company's Travel Pass service. Verizon Up provides access to rewards, such as event tickets, though it also opens Verizon customers up to more targeted advertising based on location and browsing habits. Travel Pass normally costs $10 per day when roaming, but Verizon will waive the fee for those who sign up for Verizon Up and register with TravelPass before they leave for South Korea. Verizon is offering customers 500 MB of high-speed data per day while in South Korea. Verizon customers will need to have a world phone in order to roam in Korea.

T-Mobile Completes Acquisition of Layer3 TV, Preps TV Service

Jan 23, 2018, 9:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it has completed its acquisition of Layer3 TV, a deal originally announced late last year. T-Mobile will use Layer3 TV's technology to create and launch a new TV service that will be delivered over T-Mobile's LTE network. T-Mobile’s new TV business unit will be led by Jeff Binder, CEO of Layer3 TV, who joined T-Mobile as an Executive Vice President. When first announced, T-Mobile CEO John Legere insisted T-Mobile's TV service will be "disruptive" and will take full advantage of the latest technology and best content from today's top creators. In addition to T-Mobile's network, the as-yet-unnamed TV service will be supported by T-Mobile's retail stores, and sales and service organizations. T-Mobile has not indicated when and where this television service might launch, nor what it expects to charge per month. The company already allows people to stream as much video via LTE as they wish, and offers some customers Netflix for free. T-Mobile competitors AT&T and Verizon already each have their own television services, both mobile and in-home. Customers can sign up on T-Mobile's web site to receive special discounts when the service launches.

Verizon Fires Back at T-Mo with BOGO Of Its Own

Jan 22, 2018, 5:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said customers can save big on select smartphones with a new buy-one, get-one offer that kicks off January 23. New and existing customers who add a new line of Verizon Unlimited service will be able to buy the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S8, Motorola Moto Z2 Force, or LG V30 and get a second one for free. In order to qualify for the offer, both devices will need to be purchased on a monthly installment plan. The BOGO deal also requires a trade-in, the value of which can be put toward the purchase price of the new phones. Verizon will cover the cost of the second phone via monthly bill credits over the course of 24 months. Customers won't be able to mix and match: the second phone must come from the same manufacturer as the first, though people can opt for the larger Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy S8+ and cover the difference in cost on the second device. The Verizon BOGO deal counters a similar one launched by T-Mobile earlier this month.

Sprint's U11 Earns Its Oreo Treat Starting Today

Jan 22, 2018, 8:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC said that Sprint will begin pushing the Android 8 Oreo system update to its variant of the HTC U11 starting today. The news was shared by HTC executive Mo Versi on Twitter. Android 8 Oreo includes notification dots, picture-in-picture, and auto-fill. The new code from HTC also includes other bug fixes and tweaks. Though the update is available today, it may take up to a week to reach all users. The unlocked and T-Mobile variants of the U11 were updated to Android 8 late last year, as were most variants of the HTC U11 Life. HTC still plans to distribute Android 8 Oreo to the HTC 10 and U Ultra.

T-Mobile Rolls Out Another BOGO

Jan 10, 2018, 10:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 10, 2018, 1:39 PM

T-Mobile today announced a buy-one, get-one deal that sees major discounts on top phones. T-Mobile says 12 flagship devices from the likes of Apple, LG, and Samsung qualify for the promotion, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, G6, V30, S8, Note8 and others. To qualify, customers will have to activate one new line of service and buy both phones on a monthly installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device (up to $750) over the course of two years. Customers who want a deal on a single handset can earn a $150 rebate plus the value of a trade-in. Accepted trades include recent flagships from LG and Samsung. Last, T-Mobile is targeting Verizon Wireless customers. It will give Verizon subscribers who leave big red up to $650 and pay off the balance of their Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ and other popular smartphones. Those who switch will need to subscribe to a T-Mobile One Plus plan to get the reimbursement for old phones. All three promotions go into effect January 12.

Qualcomm's RF Front End Popular with Phone Makers

Jan 9, 2018, 12:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today said a number of leading handset makers have adopted its radio frequency front-end. Some of the OEMs include Google, HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony Mobile. This means these smartphone manufacturers will rely on Qualcomm's hardware to ensure their devices can talk to wireless networks. This is particularly important for T-Mobile, as the RF front end provides comprehensive 600 MHz band (B71) support. T-Mobile is deploying LTE on its 600 MHz spectrum now and plans to use it for 5G service down the road. The RF front end includes a modem-to-antenna system using the new QPM26xx series gallium arsenide-based power amplifier module. The module contains duplexers, envelope tracker, antenna tuners, antenna switches, and discrete and integrated filter modules. Qualcomm says its RF front end supports features such as Gigabit LTE, 4x4 MIMO and LTE Advanced today, and will evolve to handle 5G technologies in 2019.

Honor Plans to Add Animoji To Phones This Year

Jan 8, 2018, 3:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei's Honor brand expects to roll out an animoji-style feature to its V10 smartphone later this year. The company demonstrated the facial recognition technology on stage during the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Using the V10's user-facing camera and special software, people will be able to make faces that are then animated on the screen, similar to the iPhone X's animoji feature. Honor's animations were more complex than Apple's, at least according to the demonstrations made on stage, as the animoji were more responsive to minute facial expressions. Honor did not say exactly when the feature will be available, but it will first reach the V10. The company also spoke about its plans for the U.S. market. Honor is already on step two of a three-step plan. The first was to enter the open market with support for select GSM networks. The second was to expand compatibility to all GSM networks in the U.S. The third, and yet unrealized, step is to sell its devices from one or two U.S. carriers. Honor did not say if it has made progress with U.S. network operators, such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

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AT&T Ditching its Band 71 Licenses

Jan 7, 2018, 7:14 PM   by Rich Brome

AT&T is selling $1 billion worth of recently-acquired radio spectrum licenses to an obscure Virginia company, according to documents filed recently with the FCC. The spectrum in question is all (or nearly all) of the 600 MHz (band 71) licenses that AT&T acquired in an FCC auction just one year ago. 600 MHz is radio spectrum previously used for over-the-air TV channels 38-51. T-Mobile owns the most 600 MHz spectrum in the U.S., and has already started deploying LTE service in that band. AT&T is selling the licenses to LB Spectrum Holdings, an affiliate of Columbia Capital that apparently raised nearly a billion dollars to bid in the FCC's 600 MHz auction as Columbia Crest, but failed to secure any licenses. The licenses being sold include many major metro areas, including San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. AT&T's sale may be motivated by the recent success of FirstNet in securing the participation of all 50 states. FirstNet will be a new, unified public-safety LTE network operated by AT&T in 700 MHz spectrum known as band 14. Operating FirstNet gives AT&T the right to use part of that band for its own commercial purposes.

T-Mobile Accelerates 600 MHz LTE Deployments

Jan 3, 2018, 1:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has significantly expanded the availability of LTE service on its 600 MHz (Band 71) spectrum around the country. The Un-carrier debuted its 600 MHz service in Cheyenne, Wyo., last August. Since then, T-Mobile has lit up LTE on 600 MHz in 586 cities and towns around the country, including 156 new markets over the last few days. T-Mobile did not share the names of these new markets, though it had previously said it would first target rural markets with its 600 MHz spectrum. Few devices are able to use Band 71 just yet. One example is the LG V30 smartphone. T-Mobile plans to launch more than a dozen new 600 MHz capable smartphones this year, ranging from entry-level to flagship devices. In terms of T-Mobile's total coverage, the company now claims to provide access to 322 million people, up from 315 million last year. T-Mobile now covers 99% as many Americans as Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile plans to deploy some 5G service on its 600 MHz spectrum, where is has 31 MHz across much of the country, as soon as 2020. Last, T-Mobile said it closed its agreement to purchase the remaining interest of Iowa Wireless from Aureon on January 2. This will give T-Mobile more coverage in Iowa and western Illinois.

T-Mobile Rolls Out iPhone BOGO Promo

Dec 20, 2017, 10:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a new buy-one, get-one promotion for select iPhones. People who purchase an Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus can earn a second iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, or 8 Plus (up to $700) for free. The devices must be purchased on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will make monthly payments for the second device over a period of 24 months until it is paid off. Further, T-Mobile is offering up to $300 off the iPhone X when people trade in a recent iPhone. The $300 rebate is applied via monthly payment credits over 24 months (~$12/mo) when the iPhone X is purchased on an equipment installment plan. These deals kick off Thursday, December 21. T-Mobile is already offering BOGO deals on select LG and Samsung smartphones.

T-Mobile Variant of HTC U11 Life Scores Android 8 Oreo

Dec 18, 2017, 1:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Owners of the T-Mobile variant of the U11 Life smartphone can expect to receive the Android 8 Oreo over the coming days, according to HTC. HTC has made the system update available and will roll it out beginning today. It may take up to a week to reach everyone. The unlocked version of the U11 Life was updated to Oreo last month. Other HTC handsets on deck to receive Android 8 Oreo include the 10 and U Ultra.

Blu Life One X3 Adopts Metal-and-Glass Design and Packs 5,000mAh Battery

Dec 14, 2017, 6:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Dec 14, 2017, 11:34 PM

Blu Products today announced the Life One X3, a mid-range handset from the unlocked phone maker. The One X3 has a curved-edge glass screen and an aluminum frame painted in matte black. The display measures 5.5 inches and offers full HD resolution. Blu gave the One X3 an octa-core MediaTek 6753 processor at 1.3 GHz with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. An impressively large 5,000mAh battery lurks within in the chassis to provide more than a day of battery life. The One X3 sports two 13-megapixel cameras, one on front and one on back. Both cameras have their own flash and can capture full HD video. Other specs include Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 17, 28) for moderate compatibility with AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS. The phone ships with Android 7 Nougat. Blu says the One X3 is available from Amazon.com starting today. The standard retail price is $250, but the Life One X3 will be available for a limited time at $150.

T-Mobile to Buy Layer3 TV and Launch TV Service Next Year

Dec 13, 2017, 10:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has set its sights on the cable TV industry and hopes to disrupt that market beginning next year. The company today announced plans to acquire Layer3 TV, which already delivers internet-based television service in five markets around the country. T-Mobile will use Layer3 TV's technology to create and launch a new TV service that will be delivered over T-Mobile's LTE network. "People love their TV, but they hate their TV providers. And worse, they have no real choice but to simply take it — the crappy customer service, clunky technology and outrageous bills loaded with fees! That’s where we come in. We're gonna fix the pain points and bring real choice to consumers across the country," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. Legere insisted T-Mobile's TV service will be "disruptive" and will take full advantage of the latest technology and best content from today's top creators. In addition to T-Mobile's network, the as-yet-unnamed TV service will be supported by T-Mobile's retail stores, and sales and service organizations. Jeff Binder, CEO of Layer3 TV, added, "No market needs Un-carrier-ing more than pay TV, so we’re completely stoked to join T-Mobile in disrupting the status quo!" T-Mobile did not say how much it will pay for Layer3 TV, nor when this television service might launch, not what it expects to charge per month. The company already allows people to stream as much video via LTE as they wish, and offers some customers Netflix for free. T-Mobile competitors AT&T and Verizon each have their own television services, both mobile and in-home. T-Mobile needs to enter the TV space in some capacity in order to offer customers a similar set of services.

Huawei's Honor 7X Available for Pre-Order Today for $199

Dec 5, 2017, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei said its Honor 7X handset will be available to U.S. consumers beginning today. Anyone interested in the phone can pre-order it from the Honor web site. Available in black, gold, and blue, the Honor 7X costs $199 and is sold unlocked with support for GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. The 7X has an aluminum unibody chassis with 2.5D curved glass and a 5.9-inch 2:1 aspect ratio display. It is powered by Huawei's Kirin 659 processor and has dual cameras, a fingerprint reader, a 3,340mAh battery, and Cat 6 LTE. It runs Android 7 Nougat with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 user interface on board.

Hands On with the T-Mobile REVVL Plus

Nov 17, 2017, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile's relatively new REVVL brand is all about affordability and popular features, like large screens and fingerprint readers. The REVVL Plus is the second in the series, made by Coolpad. It has a massive six-inch, 16:9 display, a fingerprint reader, and dual cameras. Otherwise, it's a pretty standard affordable Android phone. What's it like in person? We checked it out.

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T-Mobile Says 5G Network On Deck for 2020

Nov 16, 2017, 4:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it will deploy 5G across much of the country within a few years using its low-band 600 MHz spectrum. “We’re committed to drive a 5G rollout by 2020 across the nation,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray during an investor conference. That doesn’t mean T-Mobile is ignoring high-band spectrum, which competitors AT&T and Verizon are pursuing. “There’s been a lot of discussion of millimeter wave and the kind of surgical, tactical deployments of 5G, and we’ll be there too. But we’ll deploy in the 600 MHz for 5G as we move into the next decade.” AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all pushing to deploy 5G technologies as soon as possible even though the standard has not been defined. Al three are already pushing out gigabit LTE, a stepping stone to 5G. AT&T is its own 5G technology in Houston and Indianapolis. T-Mobile didn’t say what markets might see potential 5G service first.

T-Mobile Rolls Out Buy-One, Get-One Deal On Flagship Phones

Nov 16, 2017, 9:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today revealed a holiday promotion that can net people a free flagship smartphone. Customers who purchase one new phone at full price will be able to snag a second for free, through monthly rebates. Handsets that qualify for the promotion include the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Note8, and S8 Active, and the LG G6, V20, V30, and V30+. The first phone will need to be financed through T-Mobile's equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will then make the monthly payments on the second device over a 24-month period. T-Mobile said customers interested in the iPhone X can score up to $300 in rebates with an eligible trade-in, though there's no BOGO deal for the iPhone. The promotion kicks off November 17.

MetroPCS Offering a Year of Amazon Prime for Free

Nov 16, 2017, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said people who switch to MetroPCS and subscribe to an unlimited plan will enjoy a year of Amazon Prime for free. Amazon Prime gives people access to discounted shipping from Amazon.com, as well as access to Amazon's music and video streaming services, online photo storage, and other perks. Amazon Prime typically carries a cost of $99 per year. In addition to Amazon Prime for free, MetroPCS will give those who switch a free Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime smartphone. The free phone also requires customers subscribe to the unlimited plan. MetroPCS is offering four lines of unlimited service for $100. The J7 Prime has a 5.5-inch screen, 1.5 GHz octa-core processor, 8-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front camera, 16 GB of storage, and a 3,300mAh battery. The phone normally sells for $209. MetroPCS said the Amazon Prime and free J7 Prime promos will only be available for a limited time.

Sprint Adds Free Hulu to Unlimited Plan

Nov 15, 2017, 9:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint and Hulu today said they've partnered together so Sprint customers can enjoy access to Hulu's content for free. New and existing Sprint Unlimited Freedom subscribers can add Hulu at no extra charge. Hulu has three services tiers: streaming with limited commercials for $8 per month, streaming with no commercials for $12 per month, and streaming with live TV for $40 per month. The Sprint promotion applies to Hulu's entry-level limited commercials plan. Sprint and Hulu hope to offer an upgrade option for Hulu's sports and news-focused live TV plan in the near future, but potential pricing wasn't revealed. Sprint Unlimited Freedom customers can stream HD content over the network, though only some of Hulu's content is available in HD. Sprint says customers can sign up for free access to Hulu starting November 17. The move by Sprint and Hulu mirrors a similar tie-up between T-Mobile and Netflix.

T-Mobile's Revvl Plus Hits Stores November 17 for $200

Nov 14, 2017, 8:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Revvl Plus, made by Coolpad, is the latest smartphone to carry the T-Mobile brand. This big brother to the Revvl offers big features at a small price. The Revvl Plus cranks the screen size up to 6 inches with full HD resolution. The phone is powered by a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor with 2 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The Revvl Plus boasts dual cameras on the rear, a rare feature for a phone at this price point. The main sensor captures 13-megapixel HDR images while the secondary sensor captures 5-megapixel shots. The front camera has its own 8-megapixel camera. Other features of the Revvl Plus include fingerprint sensor, LTE, expandable storage, and 3,380mAh battery. T-Mobile plans to sell the phone starting November 17. It will cost $200, or $8 per month for 24 months with an $8 down payment. The Revvl Plus runs Android 7.1 Nougat.

T-Mobile Says Gigabit LTE Available to Select Phones

Nov 9, 2017, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 9, 2017, 12:32 PM

T-Mobile today said more customers around the country should have access to faster wireless speeds. The company has reached several new milestones with respect to its wireless network. First, it has doubled its LTE-Advanced footprint to more than 920 markets. The company has deployed a trio of LTE-A technologies, including carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, and 256 QAM, in 430 of those markets. Gigabit LTE relies on a combination of these three LTE-A technologies along with certain on-device components and proper backhaul. Together, these technologies are able to improve spectral efficiency, reduce congestion, and deliver the highest-possible speeds to handsets. Only a few devices equipped with the Snapdragon 835 processor with X16 LTE modem can access Gigabit LTE, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition, and the LG V30. T-Mobile customers who own these devices and live in the 430 markets with carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, and 256 QAM may be able to tap into Gigatbit LTE download speeds (800 Mbps). Gigabit LTE is a stepping stone to 5G and T-Mobile plans to keep moving forward. The company is prepared to launch LTE-License Assisted Access (LTE-LAA) later this year. LTE-LAA makes better use of unlicensed spectrum on small cells. T-Mobile did not provide a timeline for these network upgrades.

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