Verizon issues follow-up clarifying statement on unlimited data/upgrade announcement

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 18th, 2012, 05:18
Category: iPhone, News

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Sometimes things require additional explanation.

Per an email sent to the New York Times, Verizon on Thursday issued a statement clarifying the position it will take with customers who currently have grandfathered unlimited data plans, reiterating that the all-you-can-eat option will only terminate when upgrading to a new subsidized smartphone.

The statement quelled specious reports that claimed current unlimited data subscribers would be forcibly moved to the upcoming capped shared data plans expected to launch this summer.

Customers with unlimited plans will continue to be grandfathered in to the new pricing model that allows multiple users to share data on a single contract. Once the new plans debut, subscribers who choose to take advantage of subsidized phone pricing when upgrading will no longer have the option to continue their all-you-can-eat service.

The emailed statement:
– Customers will not be automatically moved to new shared data plans. If a 3G or 4G smartphone customer is on an unlimited plan now and they do not want to change their plan, they will not have to do so.

– When we introduce our new shared data plans, Unlimited Data will no longer be available to customers when purchasing handsets at discounted pricing.

– Customers who purchase phones at full retail price and are on an unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep that plan.

– The same pricing and policies will be applied to all 3G and 4G LTE smartphones.

Contrary to erroneous reports around the web, it will likely take years to phase out unlimited data plans, though Verizon is definitely urging customers away from that model.

On Wednesday, the carrier’s CFO Fran Shammo caused confusion by saying, “when [customers] “migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share.” While this might be true in some cases, the company’s stated policy clearly allows for the continuation of unlimited data access if customers pay full price for new handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon to end unlimited data plans in migration to 4G LTE, move towards shared data plans

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 17th, 2012, 06:26
Category: iPhone, News

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You might not like this.

Per Fierce Wireless, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo announced on Wednesday that the company will discontinue existing unlimited data plans when users move to the carrier’s faster 4G LTE network, pushing current 3G subscribers toward data share plans expected to launch later this summer.

At the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference Shammo said that current unlimited users, whose data plans were grandfathered in when Verizon made the switch to tiered plans in July 2011, would lose the all-you-can-eat option if and when they move to 4G.

Verizon is leveraging its speedier 4G LTE network to attract customers away from their US$30 per month unlimited plans to new data-sharing tiers which are scheduled for a mid-summer rollout.

“A lot of our 3G base is on unlimited,” Shammo said. “When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share. That is beneficial to us.”

In their quest to garner the highest possible revenue per user, carriers have quickly moved away from the unlimited data plan, which was first introduced as an enticement to enter the then-nascent smartphone market. With the rise of data-hungry handsets like the iPhone, wireless companies found that a capped and tiered pricing model was the most lucrative solution.

Currently, unlimited customers pay US$30 per month on Verizon’s network, identical to the price paid by grandfathered users on other networks like AT&T.

Unlike Verizon, AT&T extended its legacy plan to 4G LTE customers, but at the same time instituted speed throttling for users who pass a “threshold” of 3GB and 5 GB each month for 3G and 4G users, respectively. Earlier in May, AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said that he wishes his company never offered unlimited data.

Verizon’s upcoming data share plans are meant to streamline the management and offer an attractive price structure to contract owners who own multiple smartphones, such as small businesses or families. Shammo noted that the industry has crippled the smartphone market by restricting data usage to individual devices.

“If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective,” Shammo said.

Carriers have promised shared data plans for nearly a year, though the nation’s top providers only recently firmed up strategies and possible launch windows.

Shammo noted that as carriers implement shared plans, they will have to move from studying average revenue per user metrics to average revenue per account.

Pricing for Verizon’s data share plans have yet to be announced, but Shammo made it clear that the company is pushing hard for the new model.

“Everyone will be on data share,” Shammo said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1.1 update

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Date: Monday, May 7th, 2012, 09:58
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Not that iOS 5.1 wasn’t perfect, but there’s always room for a few bugs fixes.

Per Mac|Life, Apple released iOS 5.1.1 on Monday. The update offers the following fixes and changes:

– Improves reliability of using HDR option for photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut.

– Addresses bugs that could prevent the new iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks.

– Fixes bugs that affected AirPlay video playback in some circumstances.

– Improved reliability for syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List.

– Fixes an issue where ‘Unable to purchase’ alert could be displayed after successful purchase.

Users can install iOS 5.1.1 using the over-the-air Software Update from your device Settings, or by plugging into iTunes and downloading it from there. As always, recommends devices are plugged into a power source while installing.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback whatsoever, please let us know in the comments.

Third-generation iPad to arrive in 12 additional countries this Friday

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Date: Monday, April 16th, 2012, 10:54
Category: iPad, News

There’s only a few certainties in this world. Death and taxes are the discouraging ones, but the likelihood of the iPad 3 arriving in your country is the third (and more upbeat) one.

Per AppleInsider, Apple will launch its new third-generation iPad in a total of 12 countries this Friday, April 20, while even more countries, including India, will get the new iPad a week later.

The full list of countries where the new iPad will debut this Friday is Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, South Korea, St. Maarten, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In addition, a week later, on Friday, April 27, the new iPad will also become available in Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa, and Thailand.

The new iPad will be available starting at a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only model. Apple will also sell the 16-gigabite Wi-Fi iPad 2 for US$399.

The new iPad also comes available in a model with 4G LTE high-speed wireless Internet. However, customers in the latest launch countries will be restricted to slower 3G speeds, as the new iPad is only compatible with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada.

The third-generation iPad has seen the fastest international roll-out of any Apple product ever. It originally debuted in mid-March in the U.S. and nine other countries, while an additional 25 countries and territories gained the new iPad just a week later.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

nTelos regional wireless carrier to carry iPhone 4, 4S units

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Date: Wednesday, April 4th, 2012, 07:33
Category: iPhone, News

nTelos Wireless, a Virginia-based wireless company with more than 400,000 subscribers, will become the fifth U.S. carrier to sell Apple’s iPhone when it launches on April 20.

Per AppleInsider, nTelos is the second regional carrier to partner with Apple, as the company began expanding to smaller U.S. carriers last October when it struck a deal with C Spire Wireless, which has about 900,000 customers.

The 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 will be available through nTelos for US$50, while the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S can be had for US$150, 32 gigabytes for US$250, and 64 gigabytes for US$350. Those contract-subsidized prices are all US$50 cheaper than the offerings from the company’s competitors.

nTelos offers unlimited voice, text and data for one line for US$100 per month. Two lines can be purchased for US$140 per month, and additional lines after that cost US$50 each.

Availability of the iPhone to nTelos is possible because the carrier relies on a CDMA network, similar to the technology that powers Verizon and Sprint’s wireless networks.

As of Wednesday, the iPhone 4S is listed as “coming soon” on the nTelos Wireless website. Sales will officially begin at 7 a.m. on April 20 through nTelos retail stores, at the company’s website, or by calling 1-888-427-8858.

nTelos offers nationwide voice and data coverage for subscribers based in Virginia and West Virginia, along with portions of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky.

When the iPhone launches with nTelos, it will join AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and C Spire as one of five official U.S. carriers. The one glaring omission from the list of official Apple partners is T-Mobile, which is the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. with 34 million customers.

T-Mobile’s lack of access to the iPhone is a result of the company’s 3G service relying on the uncommon 1700MHz and 2100MHz bands, which are not supported by Apple’s smartphone. Users who operate an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile’s network are restricted to much slower “EDGE” speeds.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Barclays report hints at components for next-gen iPhone, highlights 4G LTE elements

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, 06:50
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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There’s always a next generation of a product.

And there’s always speculation as to what components will be used in it.

The next-generation iPhone is no different.

Per AppleInsider, investment firm Barclays reported Wednesday in a research note that among the parts Apple is expected to utilize are Qualcomm’s “MDM9615” LTE chip, which supports both voice and data connections on high-speed 4G networks.

That chip would be a change from the new iPad, which features Qualcomm’s “MDM9600” modem. But that hardware only offers data connections over 4G LTE, not voice.

Like the iPhone 4S, the next iPhone is expected to be a “world” device compatible with a variety of 4G LTE networks. That’s different from the new iPad, which comes in two different models compatible with Verizon and AT&T wireless networks in the U.S.

In addition to Qualcomm, companies that are said to be supplying potential components to Apple are chipmakers Skyworks Solutions, TriQuint Semiconductor, and Avago Technologies.

Barclays sees Skyworks Solutions emerging as a likely winner with Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which it expects will launch this September. For Apple, the addition of a 4G LTE radio is expected to cost between US$3 and US$10 extra versus the 3G radio in the iPhone 4S.

The timeframe presented by Barclays aligns with a report from last month which indicated that the next iPhone will arrive in September or October of this year. That would be about one year after the arrival of the iPhone 4S, which marked the change of Apple’s typical iPhone launches in June or July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

FaceTime connections on iPad 3 to be limited to Wi-Fi networks, won’t function over 4G LTE networks

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 06:24
Category: iPad, News

It looks like your new iPad 3 won’t allow FaceTime calls over a 4G connection.

And it might not paint your living room as promised.

Per some testing performed over at The Verge, the new iPad will need to connect to a Wi-Fi network to use FaceTime. Though the news hardly comes as a surprise, since Apple’s 3G-enabled iOS devices are unable to use FaceTime over 3G, it does put to rest questions about whether the added download speeds from LTE might open up the feature for 4G cellular networks.

Report author Dieter Bohn found the LTE FaceTime restriction to be “doubly frustrating” because Verion LTE iPads can generate Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi networks that would presumably allow other iOS devices to make FaceTime calls via the same LTE connection.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled FaceTime alongside the iPhone 4 in 2010. The video calling service launched as Wi-Fi only, but Jobs promised that Apple would “work a little bit with the cellular providers” in hopes of bringing it to mobile networks.

Early reviews of the iPad show that LTE service on the device is significantly faster than previous-generation 3G networking. Journalist Walt Mossberg said he averaged download speeds of 17 megabits per second on Verizon, while a colleague averaged 12 mbps on AT&T’s network. The mighty David Pogue tested the iPad in three cities and got speeds ranging from 6 to 29 mbps.

The new iPad goes on sale at 8 a.m. local time in 10 countries on Friday. The device will be available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple secures 200,000 preorders for iPhone 4S China Unicom launch

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:43
Category: iPhone, News

After a long, drawn-out effort to get the iPhone 4S in Chinese stores, the handset is almost there.

The iPhone 4S had a strong debut on another major carrier Friday, as 200,000 preorders were made ahead of Apple’s launch on the China Telecom network.

The iPhone 4S is now available for use on China Telecom’s network, and is on sale at the carrier’s 2,850 retail outlets across China. Ahead of Friday’s launch, the carrier took more than 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S, according to MIC Gadget.

Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom have only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking orders on March 2. Orders from Beijing alone were said to have topped 10,000, while another 20,000 were purchased by customers in Shanghai.

China Telecom officials reportedly said that demand for the iPhone 4S at launch has been greater than they anticipated. A ceremony to commemorate the launch was held on Thursday in Shanghai.

Apple and China Telecom announced in February that the iPhone 4S would be coming to China’s third-largest wireless operator on March 9. As of last November, China Telecom had a total of 117 million subscribers, 28 million of which made use of the company’s high-speed 3G service.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

The carrier is offering the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for free to customers who sign a two-year contract with a monthly plan starting at 389RMB (US$62 U.S.), which is slightly more than competing carrier China Unicom’s 386RMB plan. However, the China Telecom service offers more data and voice minutes, but fewer text messages, when compared to its rival.

One analysis has projected that the addition of China Telecom as an official Apple partner will add sales of between 3 million and 5 million iPhones. But the nation’s largest carrier, China Mobile, does not yet offer Apple’s iPhone, though there are more than 15 million unlocked handsets on its network.

If you’re traveling/based over in China and can offer any feedback about the iPhone 4S launch on China Unicom, please let us know in the comments.

iPad 3 shipping estimates slip to March 19 for certain models

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Date: Thursday, March 8th, 2012, 10:38
Category: iPad, News

You people wanted the iPad 3…now you might have to wait a few extra days to get yours.

Per AppleInsider, shipping estimates for the white 4G LTE model from AT&T have slipped to March 19 at Apple’s online store.

Both the 16-gigabyte and 64-gigabyte models are now advertised to ship by March 19, while the 32-gigabyte model is still shown to deliver on March 16.

There are not yet any delays for the Wi-Fi-only models, or any of the Verizon models. In addition, all of the black third-generation iPad models compatible with AT&T remain available for delivery on March 16.

Next Friday’s iPad launch marks the most ambitious debut yet for a new version of Apple’s touchscreen tablet. It will launch on day one in a total of 10 countries: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Demand for the iPad is expected to continue to grow, bolstered by the Retina Display on the latest model, as well as a lower US$399 entry price for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only iPad 2. The 3G-capable 16-gigabyte iPad 2 is also available for US$529.

AT&T publishes full content of company’s data-throttling policy

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Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012, 07:02
Category: iPhone, News

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After a fair amount of consternation, wireless provider AT&T has published a Web page laying out precisely who will be affected by the policy, and what customers’ options are.

Per Macworld, unlimited data customers on the 3G network will be warned via text message when their usage approaches 3GB within a single billing cycle. If the 3GB ceiling is breached, users will find their data speed reduced for the remainder of the billing cycle; as of the beginning of the subsequent cycle, however, their speed will return to normal. Data quantity is truly unlimited, though, the carrier says—customers can continue to use as much as they want, even after the 3GB ceiling is passed. The company does not specify by how much customers’ speeds will be reduced.

Customers using the carrier’s 4G LTE network have a higher threshold; their speeds will only be dialed down once they hit 5GB.

AT&T says that the speed reductions will only affect the top 5 percent of its customers. The measures have been put in place because of the rapid increase in wireless data traffic created by the increased adoption of smartphones in the past five years; by AT&T’s figures, that number has skyrocketed from 7 million phones in 2006 to 39.4 million in 2011, yielding a wireless data traffic increase of 20,000 percent. According to AT&T, it has invested US$95 billion in its networks over that period, including US$20 billion in 2011; another US$20 billion is earmarked for 2012.

In addition, the network lays out where the majority of that data is getting eaten up, which is to say streaming HD movies. AT&T’s handy chart estimates that streaming HD movies gobbles up 306MB an hour, a sizable increase from the roughly 120MB of data that AT&T says one hour of standard video consumes.

Users can check their current month’s data usage by dialing *data# on their mobile phone’s keypad, or access previous months’ usage at their AT&T account online. The company also offers a mobile app for iPhones that provides the same data.

As for customers’ options, AT&T lays out a few suggestions, including using Wi-Fi when available, since that data does not count against the carrier’s data plans. And, of course, customers can continue using their current unlimited data plan, if they don’t mind the speed reductions. Users can also switch to one of the company’s current tiered data plans, which offer 300MB for US$20 per month, 3GB a month for US$30, or 5GB per month for US$50. But, in those cases, users must pay overage charges for exceeding the data cap: US$20 for another 300MB on the lowest plan, US$10 per gigabyte on either of the higher plans. That would seem to give little incentive for unlimited data customers to switch.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.