T-Mobile settles with FCC, agrees to post more transparent data throttling information

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014, 10:46
Category: News, wireless

tmobilelogo

When the FCC leans on you, it’s time to come clean.

Per AppleInsider, U.S. wireless provider and iPhone carrier T-Mobile this week announced it has reached an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission, in which it will be more upfront and honest with customers about its bandwidth speed.

T-Mobile has pledged to provide “accurate information” to customers about the speed of their Internet connection, even when their performance is throttled according with their data plan. The changes came from pressure by the FCC, after it was discovered that T-Mobile was providing customers with inaccurate information when they run sped tests.

(more…)

T-Mobile adjusts Simple Choice plan, allows for additional international calling options

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014, 13:44
Category: News, wireless

tmobilelogo

While the wireless carrier wars wage on, this might be a decent plan if you’re traveling.

According to iMore, T-Mobile has modified its Simple Choice calling plan to provide some cheaper options for international calls. Starting today, they can sign up to get unlimited calling from the US to landlines in over 70 countries for just US$5 a month per account, up to 10 lines, with the updated Stateside International Talk option. It’s also offering the same plan, plus unlimited calling to mobile phones in over 30 countries and 1,000 minutes to mobile phones in Mexico, for just US$10 a month per account.

(more…)

Verizon Wireless adopts harsher early termination fees, draws criticism

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 11:07
Category: News, wireless

verizonlogo

Well, this should give you another reason to dislike Verizon.

Per Macworld and Droid Life, wireless carrier Verizon recently changed the terms of its customer agreement to state that the carrier will not discount its early termination fee (ETF) until the eighth month of service.

In other words, if you signed up for a new iPhone with Verizon in December, you wouldn’t see a reduction in your ETF until at least July. Verizon previously discounted its ETF by $10 every month beginning with the first month of service.

The new terms only apply to new customers that sign up for service on or after Friday, November 14th. Under the new terms, your ETF would reduce by “US$10 per month in months 8–18, US$20 per month in months 19–23, and US$60 in the final month of your contract term.”

(more…)

AT&T ceases “permacookie” tracking program for the time being, Verizon still enacting its own version

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 04:45
Category: iPhone, News, privacy, wireless

attlogosmall

There are consequences for when a wireless carrier installs something that apparently tracks its user base a little too closely with no convenient means of removal.

Per Macworld and ProPublica, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have been caught up in a privacy firestorm over their use of so-called “permacookies,” a method of tracking what their users do while browsing the Web with the intent of sharing that data with advertisers. Verizon’s permacookie program lives on, but AT&T has ceased the practice.

(more…)

Rumor: Chipmakers gearing up production of Apple Watch components for possible early 2015 launch

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 13th, 2014, 10:59
Category: Hardware, Rumor, wireless

applewatch

Apple may have begun ramping up production of the Apple Watch for release in the relatively near future.

Per 9to5Mac and DigiTimes, while Apple has yet to provide a specific launch date for the Apple Watch, leaving its early 2015 timeframe and internal memo revealing a spring launch after Chinese New Year as the only information to go by in terms of a release date, chipmakers in Apple’s overseas supply chain are reportedly gearing up to begin production of the Apple Watch. The report, citing industry sources, claims that between 30 to 40 million units of the upcoming wearable device have been ordered.

(more…)

AT&T admits to testing “unique tracker” on smartphones, offers opt-out option

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:55
Category: iPhone, News, security, wireless

attlogosmall

This isn’t the best news.

According to Forbes, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have ceded that they’re tagging their customers with unique codes that are visible to third parties, making smartphone users far easier to track on the Web than they’ve ever been before, targeted advertising being that much easier to create as a result of this. After the findings by researchers, AT&T admitted it’s “testing” a new way of tracking its customers for ad display purposes.

“There’s nothing ready to announce,” said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel. “We’re still testing.”

But that means, yes, AT&T customers are being tagged by AT&T in a way that’s visible to the websites they visit, but AT&T says it’s building in what it considers to be a privacy-protective measure: the unique code for each user will change every 24 hours. Siegel says this is happening now, but Kenneth White, one of the researchers who discovered the tracking, says that is “categorically untrue,” saying he found three identifying codes being sent by AT&T that were persistent.

“AT&T does not currently have a mobile Relevant Advertising program. We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” read a statement from AT&T. “For instance, we are testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices to use in programs where we serve ads to the mobile device. This daily rotation on the numeric code would help protect the privacy of our customers. Customers also could opt out of any future AT&T program that might use this numeric code.”

(more…)

AT&T confirms Apple SIM card lock, says customers will need to buy new SIM card to change carriers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:11
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, wireless

attlogo

There may be increased competition and good deals to be had in the wireless markets, but the major carriers will still try to lock you in…

Per Re/code, wireless carrier AT&T has apparently taken advantage in the change to the SIM card found in the new iPad, which apparently allows customers to designate which wireless carrier they’d like to use it with, by essentially locking its customers in to the service, requiring the customer to purchase an entirely new SIM card to change their provider.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed to Re/code that customers who use the Apple SIM on AT&T will need another SIM card to switch carriers, but stressed that the device itself remains unlocked.

“With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want,” he said. “It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”

(more…)

Samsung announces next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology, cites speeds five times faster than 802.11ac protocol

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, 11:57
Category: Hardware, News, wireless

samsunglogo

As much as you may love your 802.11ac Wi-Fi router, it may not be the fastest thing on the block for long.

Per Macworld, on Sunday, Samsung announced it’s developing new 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology that can boost network speeds fivefold, from today’s 866Mbps per-device maximum to a blistering 4.6Gbps. At that rate, Samsung says, a 1GB movie file can transfer from one device to another in under 3 seconds.

This feat is achieved by ditching the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless channels used by today’s routers and jumping to the 60GHz frequency band.

(more…)

Verizon backs off on controversial data throttling plan set to begin in October

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:27
Category: News, wireless

verizonlogo

A little competition’s a good thing.

According to The Verge, a statement from wireless carrier Verizon stated that the company will not be throttling 4G LTE data speeds for users grandfathered in to unlimited data plans, while at the same time announcing a buffed data plan promotion.

In July, Verizon announced plans to expand its “network optimization” initiative, which amounts to throttling data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the telco’s 4G LTE network is congested. The enhanced policy was set to go live in October.

Verizon Wireless won’t be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest U.S. carrier has just announced that it’s “decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.”

(more…)

Energous developing wireless Wattup technology, could allow for gadget charging across a room

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 23rd, 2014, 14:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News, wireless

wireless.rechargingx299

We’ve all dreamed of charging our devices from across the room.

This may soon be a reality.

Per the MIT Technology Review, startup Energous is developing a technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch or top off your phone while buying a coffee in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup called Witricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage. But it works and devices can be charged wirelessly if they are connected to an external receiver, or slotted into a special protective case.

During a recent demonstration, an iPhone was plugged into a white device shaped like a smartphone atop a little stand. Another iPhone sits on the table, wearing a bulky Energous case. Across the table, a briefcase-sized wireless energy transmitter sits on another tripod and a plug dangling from that was plugged into the wall.

The demonstration showed the iPhone’s charge progress, as measured via an app on a nearby iPad, the wireless energy transmitter being controlled via an app on the iPad. A small beep indicated that the iPhone’s charge cycle had begun and recharging works more than 10 feet from where the power is emitted, and you can move the device around while it’s charging.

The most common wireless-charging technology currently available is magnetic induction, which uses coils to transfer power over small distances via a magnetic field. This is the method used to recharge electric toothbrushes, for example.

Energous’s charging method uses a transmitter with lots of small antennas to send radio waves to a receiver connected to the gadget being charged. The transmitter uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby gadgets that are authorized to receive a charge. Once it finds one, the transmitter directs radio waves toward the receiver, which collects them and converts their energy to DC power so it can charge the phone.

The transmitter and receivers Energous brings to my office can send power to two devices that require less than 10 watts of power at a distance of up to 15 feet; eventually, Energous says, it will be able to charge more gadgets at a time.

The company expects the first products using its technology—such as smartphone cases that can deliver wireless power to the devices—to be shown off by partner companies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January and go on sale later in the year. Company representatives had predicted that a phone case would cost about US$75 to US$125, which is within the range of what you’d pay today for a case that provides extended battery life, though the transmitter for charging things probably would cost around US$300.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.