5G networks are a bright spot in the future of wireless communication; a lot of carriers are in on it, and a lot of customers are excited about it. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T already have plans in place to implement a 5G network. So it makes sense that Sprint has caught up and designed one too.
According to CNET, Sprint said it will be working with its parent company SoftBank and chip maker Qualcomm to develop 5G technologies for its 2.5 gigahertz band of spectrum. Sprint promises that its 5G services will deploy by late 2019.
Whether or not 2019 is a realistic promise is hard to say. According to CRTC, “analysts warn that [5G technology] is still years away due to the lack of access to sufficient higher frequency radio waves necessary to offer super-high speeds.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are launching parallel probes into the mobile industry’s security update practices. The agencies want to determine how manufacturers issue security updates for mobile devices, and how carriers review and release the patches.
“As consumers and businesses turn to mobile broadband to conduct ever more of their daily activities, the safety of their communications and other personal information is directly related to the security of the devices they use,” stated an FCC press release.
“There have recently been a growing number of vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems that threaten the security and integrity of a user’s device, including ‘Stagefright’ in the Android operating system, which may affect almost 1 billion Android devices globally.”
In all, the FTC has contacted eight companies – Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung – to gain insight into how manufacturers determine if a vulnerability needs to be patched. It has also asked for a list of all devices offered for sale since 2013, with information on any bugs that have impacted them and any fixes that were issued.
The main concern is that delays in developing patches may be leaving devices unprotected. Older devices may never receive the necessary protection.
A New Jersey mother is fighting to restore her credit after a deal with T-Mobile went wrong. Last year Andrea Sanchez switched her services from Sprint to T-Mobile, with a sales associate assuring her that T-Mobile would buy out her Sprint contract and pay off any balanced owed. She agreed to a new T-Mobile promotion, paying $100 for two lines: her iPhone and iPad Mini. She also opted to upgrade her devices.
Sanchez was surprised when T-Mobile shipped back her old iPad just weeks later. When she inquired with the sales associate, she was told to pretend it was a freebie, even though she thought it was too good to be true. She was right – the Sprint bills started rolling in, claiming she had an overdue account.
When she went back to the store to inquire, the manager told her T-Mobile would only cover a certain amount and the rest was her responsibility. Problem was she had a contract that said the full amount would be covered. Soon the matter was sent to collections.
“There’s no amount of money that can make bad credit look good,” Sanchez was quoted as saying in a NJ.com article. “I work too hard. I pay my car and rent on time, and this just made things really bad for me.
“…”I just want them to pay exactly what they owe so I can move on with my life and move into a new home and eventually buy a new car. I can’t do that without good credit. So therefore, my buyout was never done and I was sold a dream that later cost me more than money.”
Once media intervened, Sanchez did receive the money from T-Mobile to pay off the Sprint balance. However, Sprint is refusing to have the matter removed from her credit record, despite it not being her fault. Doesn’t sound very fair, does it?
The results are in: T-Mobile is the top performing carrier in the United States, says OpenSignal’s recently released State of Mobile Networks report. According to the testing firm’s data, T-Mobile has increased its LTE coverage by 81 percent, bringing it in line with big players like Verizon.
“Verizon is still the operator to beat when it comes to network reliability, but T-Mobile is squaring off against the super-carrier in download speed,” states OpenSignal’s report. “Nationally both operators are averaging 4G connections of 12 Mbps, and in a speed comparison in the 11 largest U.S. cities, T-Mobile just barely edged out Verizon. AT&T and Sprint hardly even factored in the contest.”
T-Mobile was recognized with three awards: 3G latency, 3G download speed and 4G download speed. Verizon slid in second place with nods for its 4G coverage and download speeds. It was bad news for AT&T and Sprint, which fell far behind in just about every category.
To learn more, check out the full OpenSignal report.
T-Mobile is ramping up its efforts to snatch customers from Sprint, offering a $200 T-Mobile credit to anyone switching from Sprint or its subsidiaries Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Additionally, T-Mobile will cover up to $650 in early termination fees and additional payments for anyone making the transition from its competitors. No device turn-in is required.
This is a time sensitive offer and part of the holiday deal season. The decision to target Sprint isn’t surprising, considering the company was previously America’s third largest carrier before T-Mobile supplanted it earlier this year. The feud is not one sided either. Sprint has recently introduced a plan that would give customers a 50 percent discount on their current rate plan to switch from many carriers, including T-Mobile. T-Mobile CEO John Legere called the promotion a sign of desperation on Sprint’s part.
“I cannot think of any wireless customers in more desperate need of some holiday cheer than those Sprint customers still hanging on over there,” Legere was quoted as saying. “Those poor people have put up with the nation’s slowest and smallest LTE network.”
In a move to poach sales from the four major U.S. carriers, Apple recently changed the way it sells iPhones by introducing the iPhone Upgrade Program.
The 24-month program was designed for users always wanting the latest iPhone. Customers will pay a monthly fee of $32.41 for the latest iPhone 6S, and will be allowed to trade in their device for the iPhone 7 after 12 months.
The iPhone 6S can currently be purchased from Apple for $649. The iPhone Upgrade Program will lease the latest iPhone over a 24-month period for $777.84. This price includes the Apple Care+ insurance package which usually costs $129 and offers software support, hardware repairs for two years and two incidents of accidental damage coverage.
The program may prove enticing to customers because all phones will be unlocked. “The iPhone Upgrade Program isn’t tied to a single carrier,” says Apple. “You don’t need a multiyear service contract.”
In an attempt to compete, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has introduced a limited time offer called Jump on Demand. The 18-month leasing plan for the iPhone 6S is just $20 per month. In order to purchase the phone at the end of this period, users will pay $164, making the total price of the device just $524.
Sprint has also announced a 22-month iPhone Forever program, allowing customers to upgrade to the newest iPhone whenever one becomes available. The iPhone 6S is available for just $15 per month on the condition an old iPhone is traded in. The monthly price is $22 without a trade-in.
Verizon and AT&T both have comparable installment plans, but have yet to release any promotions related to the upcoming iPhone launch.
The competition between U.S. carriers continues to heat up, benefitting customers. Sprint has just launched a new monthly fee plan called “iPhone Forever,” available at a discounted price for a limited time. This new plan is designed to ensure all subscribers have the latest iPhone models, which is ideal for users who always want the newest Apple products.
This plan typically costs $22 per month on top of service fees. It ensures users are eligible to trade in their previous model and upgrade to the latest iPhone whenever a new model is released.
For a short while, the “iPhone Forever” plan is being offered at the discounted price of $15 per month. Customers willing to trade in their existing smartphone for a 16-gigabyte iPhone 6, and upgrade to another iPhone before December 31, will maintain the $15 fee until the time of their next upgrade.
All major U.S. carriers are venturing away from contracts in favor of upgrade programs, and Sprint claims its “iPhone Forever” plan will save users a minimum of $20 per month compared to similar programs offered by its competitors.However, these savings depend on your device and service needs.
Users who are satisfied with the base iPhone model will benefit most, and the advantage shrinks for those who desire a larger screen or higher capacity. Whether or not the plan works out to be a deal also relies on heavy data usage. The price gap will diminish considerably if users don’t need unlimited data.
That being said, this plan is still a good deal, especially if you are satisfied with your coverage and are not planning on switching platforms.
According to a recent announcement, Sprint is updating its Open World international calling program to include free mobile calls and texts to and from Canada and Mexico. This will be included in monthly customer cellular plans without additional roaming charges. Customers will also receive up to 1GB of free 3G data when traveling in Canada and Mexico.
Sprint’s Open World program already offers roaming in 34 countries, as well as five cents per minute domestic calls to Latin America, the Dominican Republic and over 180 other countries when added to a domestic service plan. Customers also get 1GB of free data when traveling to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay. Sprint anticipates additional countries in South America will be added in the future.
Outside of Latin America, Open World participants pay 20 cents per minute for voice calls, and texts are free. Use of 3G data is billed at $30 per GB.
“We’re opening up the world and breaking down borders so more Sprint customers can stay in touch with the people who are important to them,” said CEO Marcelo Claure in a statement. “Sprint is making it easier for our customers to connect without roaming charges or excessive fees for calls or texts.”
According to T-Mobile – who have also added free calls and texts to Canada and Mexico under their “Mobile without Borders” program – 35 percent of all international calls and 55 percent of all international travel from the United States involved Canada and Mexico. In 2014, this led to $10 billion in global roaming charges.
Sprint’s new family plan includes more data than T-Mobile, with more savings than similar packages offered by Verizon and AT&T, making it the best option available to those in the U.S seeking a family deal.
The plan includes four lines, unlimited talk and text and 10GB of high-speed data for the price of $100 per month. How does this compare to other carriers providing the same amount of data? Those who switch from Verizon will find themselves saving $480 a year, and that figure increases to $720 for those switching from AT&T.
The demand for data continues to rise among families, whether it is for video calling or streaming. Sprint is also giving families who use more than the monthly 10GB the option of upgrading to 40GB a month for only $20 more.
“Family members have differing data needs: music downloads, emails, movies. You have to supply the right amount of data to keep everyone under the same roof satisfied, deliver it at a price that works with the family budget, and offer to refill data affordably if the family runs low,” said Sprint’s chief marketing officer Kevin Crull.
Sprint’s video streaming limit on its alleged “All-In” plan created controversy among customers, causing the U.S. carrier to rethink its fine print.
Sprint recently introduced its new “All-In” plan to consumers, using David Beckham as its prime advertising tool. Beckham, a friend of CEO Marcelo Claure, can be seen in the company’s new commercial pitting the All-In plan against a seemingly inferior AT&T plan. All-In costs $80 per month and includes a $20 lease on handset as well as $60 for unlimited text, phone, and data services.
“If you went to a restaurant that advertised a cheeseburger for 99 cents, but when you show up, they said it’s an extra $2 for the bun or $1 for lettuce, you would feel misled. Yet, that’s what the industry has been doing with its wireless plan,” Claure said. “Why can’t everyone just advertise the full price of both the plan and the smartphone – an All-In plan? That was the idea behind what we’ve created.”
The All-In plan has been generating a lot of buzz, but it hit one major snag on the day it was announced. After responding to many complaints, Sprint had to withdraw the video streaming limits that were included in the unlimited data plan.
The fine print on the deal included a 600 kilobits per second limit on video streaming. According to Robert Herron, a blogger who follows Sprint, this is simply not enough data to watch YouTube or Netflix.
“At Sprint, we strive to provide customers a great experience when using our network,” Claure said in a brief statement about the issue. “We heard you loud and clear, and we are removing the 600 kbps limitation on streaming video.”