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Apple iPhone Leasing Program Competes with Carriers

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

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Verizon Launches Online Video Service

This week U.S. carrier Verizon became the latest to release an online video service. Similar to Netflix, the goal of the new Verizon service, named “Go90,” is to attract a generation of “cordcutters” who are opting for Internet rather than a cable or satellite subscription. Online video services are not uncommon these days, and have lost the novelty that Netflix initially brought to the table. In the United States, services like Sling TV from Dish, HBO Now and Sony’s PlayStation Vue are only some of the options available to consumers. However, Go90 has one important distinguishing feature: it’s free. Funded

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Verizon Gets Rid of Contracts and Simplifies Plans

Verizon recently announced it will be doing away with traditional phone plans and ditching contracts in favor of four simplified data plans ranging from 1GB to 12GB. These new phone plans represent a shift away from the way Verizon has traditionally operated, as they will require users to pay for their smartphones in monthly installments or buy them outright from the beginning. Instead of locking users into contracts by offering subsidies on their handsets, this new trend set by T-Mobile two years ago offers lower service fees in exchange for users purchasing their devices themselves. Verizon’s four new data plans

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Sony and Verizon Announce Xperia X4v Release in United States

Sony recently announced its new device, the Xperia Z4v, will be carried exclusively by Verizon in the United States. This device is the latest in the line of Z3 phones uniquely carried by Verizon. The Z4v features a 5.2-inch Full WQHD “Triluminos” display, which is an LED screen that comes with Sony’s “X-Reality” technology. This technology is meant to provide a “wider palette without risk of over saturation.” The processor is a Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64 bit SoC. The device has 32GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot with the potential for 128GB of additional storage. The device

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Verizon and Sprint to Pay $158M FCC Settlement for Bill Cramming

Verizon and Sprint are out a combined $158 million in restitution and fees for allowing and profiting from “cramming” charges. Verizon settled with the FCC to pay $90 million after it was caught placing recurring charges on consumer cell phone bills without the full consent of the customer. Sprint will pay $68 million for like practices. AT&T recently paid $105 million over cramming issues, and T-Mobile has also come to similar terms wit the FCC. “For too long, consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things that they did not buy,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a

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Verizon Buys AOL for $4.4 Billion

In a push for digital content, Verizon Communications Inc. is set to buy AOL Inc. for $4.4 billion. The deal will give the biggest wireless carrier in the U.S. access to AOL’s mobile video platform and content. Verizon’s offer of $50 per share represents the need for telecom companies to diversify their offerings, as more and more customers are watching videos and accessing other content on their mobile phones. AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong estimates that 80 percent of media consumption will be on mobile devices in the near future. “…If we are going to lead, we need to lead

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ESPN Sues Verizon Over New Pay TV Offering

ESPN, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Co., has filed suit against Verizon for breach of contract relating to Verizon’s new pay TV plan. Legal documents sent to the Supreme Court of New York State claim Verizon violated its obligations “under certain license agreements.” Traditional subscriptions require customers to pay for a large group of networks often including ESPN, whereas Verizon’s new pay TV package offers customers smaller genre-specific channel packs such as sports, kids or news. Media companies that focus on sport content, such as ESPN, are alleging these packages violate their contract with Verizon. “ESPN is at the forefront

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Verizon Offering Custom Pay TV with Monthly Customization

Verizon Communications Inc. is launching a new plan for pay TV, which will allow customers to choose which channel bundles they wish to see every month. While this move is just a small step towards true “a la carte” programming, Verizon is hoping the added flexibility will entice customers enough to compete with its cable rivals, as well as upstart Web TV companies. Verizon’s new “Custom TV” packages will start from $65 per month, and will include broadband service, 36 fixed basic channels and two genre-based channel packs. The company will offer seven channel packs in total, such as a

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Sprint Half-Price Promotion Targets Verizon and AT&T Customers

Sprint is promising to cut bills in half for customers willing to switch from it larger rivals AT&T or Verizon. As of December 5 in Sprint stores, customers who bring in a current bill from either AT&T or Verizon will be set up with a new plan for half the price of the service portion of their bill. Customers will also receive a gift card of up to $350 to cover the cost of early termination fees incurred by leaving their carriers. However, the promotion requires customers to turn in their existing devices and buy an unsubsidized device either up

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Verizon Fined for Violating Subscriber Privacy Rights

In yet another case of the telcos not looking out for customers’ best interests, Verizon has been slapped with a $7.4 million fine for failing to notify subscribers of their privacy rights. The settlement between Verizon and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was announced last week. According to a FCC release, Verizon failed to disclose privacy rights to two million new customers and ended up using that information to market products to them. The Communications Act requires companies to obtain consent from consumers before undertaking such acts. “In today’s increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor

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