#146 Apollo 11: 50th Anniversary

Celebrating the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, lots of link goodies and livestream fun to be had so let’s dig in!

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Sprint Will Merge with T-Mobile

Sprint And T-Mobile Merger For A 5G Powerhouse

Sprint and T-Mobile will merge to create a 5G powerhouse. After several years of on and off talks, it is now official that the merger will be realized. The deal could, however, face serious regulatory challenges.

Reason For The Merger

The ostensible reason for the merger is, if you ask the networks, all about 5G. T-Mobile’s John Legere will serve as CEO. Mike Sievert will continue operating as COO. Sprint chief Marcelo Claure will serve on the Board of Directors, alongside Masayoshi Son, CEO of Sprint’s parent company’ SoftBank.

What Is 5G

The two networks claim they can roll out a “broad and deep” 5G network faster if they do it together rather than by themselves. They head off concerns about reduced competitions by claiming that the 5G landscape involves not just mobile. 5G is becoming useful for fixed broadband. So the unified Sprint and T-Mobile will ostensibly compete against cable providers.

The two have wide swaths of wireless spectrum that only sometimes overlaps. You could see more comprehensive coverage. There is no question that the 5G’s gigabit-class bandwidth and low lag make it more a viable option for fixed internet access.

Replacing broadband is the focus of the first 5G deployment, not with upgrading your smartphones.
The deal should close not later than the first half of 2019 if regulators clear it. The problem is with the big “IF”. The current US government is anti-regulation. It has not been exactly kind to telecom related mergers. We cannot ignore the past when officials shot down AT&T’s attempt to buy T-Mobile back in 2011. T-Mobile and Sprint maintained that their unified company will produce more jobs. But large companies always claim this. Regulators will want proof that the combined company will not slash thousands of jobs in the name of eliminating overhead.

Effect Of The Deal

The deal would, unfortunately, reduce the US to just three major cell carriers. A merger could create a company on the same scale as AT&T and Verizon, forcing the incumbents of more competitive pricing, that is, assuming that sprint and T-Mobile will not use the merger as an opportunity to rest their laurels.

AT&T has more iPhone users, Verizon has more Android users

Subscribers from different telcos in the United States have varied opinions when it comes to choosing a smartphone. Although when we speak about operating systems, Google’s Android clearly leads the way with a 52.2% share to the 33.4% share by Apple.

But according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, who surveyed consumers that bought smartphones between June and August of this year, iPhone is more popular when clients choose AT&T.

At the same time, Verizon Wireless clients chose Android smartphones more frequent than that of the iOS device. Android smartphone has a slim lead from iPhone in Sprint and the Android is clearly the runaway winner in T-Mobile (which doesn’t carry the iPhone).

AT&T has been pushing  iOS or iPhone sales for years now and Verizon has been pushing Android handsets from their stores.

According to CIRP co-founder Michael Levin, as told to AllThingsD, “AT&T has clearly benefited from their early iPhone exclusivity. iPhones still account for more than half of their activations. Android makes up about a third, followed by a very small number of BlackBerrys and basic phones. Verizon has a more diversified operating system base. Android phones account for about half of activations there, iPhones about a quarter. They also activate a surprising number of basic phones.”

Image Source: phonedog.com

iPhone 5 pre-order stocks sold out in Verizon Wireless and AT&T

Pre-orders for Apple’s new baby, the iPhone 5, have come and then gone. More and more people are now ordering their iPhone 5 through the Web and Apple’s iOS app store, which they say is the best place to purchase the device.

Rather than waiting for the iPhone 5 to hit the shelves on September 21, individuals went online to purchase their latest gadgets.

Verizon Wireless was the telecom company to sell out their iPhone 5. It is good to note that they have offered their clients an unlimited data plan. This may the primary reason as to why their stocks was the first to sell out.

On their website, they said that the delivery dates for their iPhone 5s will be on September 26. This goes out to all iPhone 5 colors and all variants.

AT&T on the other hand, sold out a few hours after Verizon. The reason might be because of their shared data plans. Shipping days may last from 14 to 21 business days.

Ordering through Apple’s website was difficult for some as a few reported that they were having difficulty getting in the site.

If you hate having to wait in line in Apple Stores and camping out just to get your hands on an iPhone 5, then keep your fingers crossed that you can still find a US carrier offering the iPhone 5.

Try Sprint if they still have some units.

Image Source: blog.laptopmag.com

Verizon allows FaceTime use over data connection at no extra charge

Verizon Wireless has upped the ante for avid FaceTime users as the telecommunications firm said that using FaceTime over their data plans will not be charged. A big sigh of relief there for Verizon Wireless users.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “All Verizon Wireless customers will be permitted to use the data-intensive application with no additional charges, including those remaining on unlimited data plans.”

This comes as a big blow to AT&T and their subscribers as the company has previously decided, that although there won’t be any extra charges, but the data they will use will be subdivided into shared plans.

FaceTime used to be an app that only worked in WiFi connections. But on iOS 6, which runs the new iPhone 5, FaceTime can now be used in your network’s data connection.

Verizon Wireless subscribers fist pumped when they heard the news that they won’t be charged for extra when they use FaceTime.

Another telecom company has also come upfront to allow their subscribers to use FaceTime without paying an extra amount.

Sprint is also enabling their subscribers data usage for their FaceTime connection.

Verizon used to toy with the idea of shared data plans but has since pulled out from their shared data fantasies.

Image Source: cultofmac.com

T-Mobile to offer “truly unlimited” 4G data to clientele

T-Mobile is going to go against the tide joining Sprint, as the company announced that they will be offering unlimited data service to their customers.

Unlike AT&T and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile has decided to offer a “truly unlimited” 4G data plan that has “no data caps, speed limits or bill shock.”

You will be charged an extra $20 to your text plan and $30 when bundled together with your voice and text plan. The total bill for an unlimited plan which includes unlimited voice, text and 4G data could cost you as much as $89.99.

This is cheaper compared to AT&T’s 20 GB data plan. The latter charges you $200 per month when you add it to your unlimited text and voice calls. Sprint on the other hand is offering an unlimited data plan with unlimited text and calls for $110.

T-Mobile is hoping that this new unlimited data plan could further boost the number of their subscribers. They are currently lagging behind market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

4G LTE technology is coming to T-Mobile next year so be sure to include this in your decision before you sign up for this service.

This new unlimited 4G data plan will be available to US consumers beginning September 5.

Image Source: tmonews.com

Firefox OS gets telco and manufacturer support

Mozilla and its latest HTML5 based operating system for mobile devices received a pat from the back from major telcos, as they are about to step on to the OS market.

With a great catchy name, Firefox OS, Mozilla’s bid to enter into the OS wars started on the right track as quite a number of operators and manufacturers were optimistic as to what Firefox OS can achieve.

According to Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs as told to The Next Web,  “The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use. The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.”

The introduction of Firefox OS by Mozilla is aimed to give an open Web standards based experience across different platforms at an affordable rate.
The Next Web report also added that carriers who have vowed support for the Firefox OS are Etisalat, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Sprint, Smart and Deutsche Telekom.

TCL Communication Technology and ZTE also voiced their support to the OS by making devices that will be supporting Firefox OS.

Do you think Mozilla will be a tough rival for iOS and Android?

Image Source: technocrates.org

 

Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx unseats Apple’s iPhone

It seems like iPhone’s biggest rival isn’t the Samsung Galaxy S3 after all.

According to William Blair analyst Anil Doradla, the iPhone has been dethroned as North America’s best-selling smartphone since its launch.

Doradla says that although the iPhone is still the best-selling smartphone on the AT&T and Sprint list, the Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx has toppled new when we speak about Verizon.

It is good to note that Verizon has been aggressively marketing their 4G devices.

This comes as a surprise, since the iPhone 4S lacks 4G LTE capability. The Motorola 4G Razr Maxx and even the Galaxy Nexus have this capability. While the latter hasn’t really bothered the iPhone that much, Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx seems like an excellent competitor.

Dorodla added that consumers are not holding on to their plans of buying an iPhone in anticipation of future smartphones to come. But this may change in a few months. He doesn’t believe that Apple will be shaken up by this development, since he believes that Apple will release an iPhone with 4G LTE compatibility.

The Galaxy Nexus by the way is the third top selling smartphone in Verizon’s line, behind the iPhone and the Razr Maxx.

Are you holding out on buying a new phone?

Image Source: ibtimes.com

Sprint to unveil own version of online wallet

Telecommunications giant, Sprint is reportedly launching their own version of the Google Wallet.

To be called “Touch”, Sprint’s mobile wallet is rumored to be launched as early as this summer. Unlike Google Wallet, the company is said to want to create a relationship with banks and other service providers.

According to a report by NFC Times, “The limitation isn’t the wallet’ the limitation is the secure element.”
CNET contacted Sprint to comment about the NFC Times report and the company sent this: “In keeping with our open approach, Sprint is actively working with others in the mobile payment ecosystem. We will continue to bring practical, easy-to-use mobile payment solutions to customers on Sprint devices, however, we don’t not have any new to share at this time.”

Google is the first company to launch their own digital wallet. Other companies have been toying with the idea, but have not yet released their own wallet.

Sprint is currently the only network backing up the Google Wallet. If the reports are true that the company is going to release their own version of the wallet, it is unclear whether they’d still continue to carry Google’s wallet or would they be discarding it for their own.

Are you willing to use you smartphones to purchase products?

Image Source: uberphones.com

Sprint to offer prepaid iPhone 4S

A day after Samsung announced that Sprint will start selling the Galaxy S III on June 21st, Sprint is once again at the headlines after a report saying that it will be offering prepaid iPhones in the US.

Though Sprint will be using its subsidiary, Virgin Mobile, to release their iPhone prepaid plans, this move will enable their subscribers, both potential and current, to have an iPhone without paying the hefty price tag of a wireless contract.

A few days ago, another telco, Leap Wireless, said that they are going to offer a prepaid plan for the iPhone. With a monthly fee of $55, this comes without a two year lock for the device. And by the way, Leap Wireless is a subsidiary of Cricket Wireless.

If Virgin Mobile pursues its plan to offer prepaid iPhones to consumers, they will be the second telecommunications company to do so.

The Leap Wireless $55 monthly prepaid plan for the iPhone is for the 8GB and 16GB models of the iPhones 4S. Under the prepaid plan, consumers can purchase the 8GB iPhone 4S at $399.99 and the 16GB model for $499.99.

The 16GB iPhone 4S is currently priced at $649.99 for major networks without bundling it with a plan.

Sprint or Cricket Wireless? The decision is up to you!

Image Source:gottabemobile.com