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AT&T Launches Eight New 4G LTE Markets Across US

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 24 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

This morning, AT&T announced yet another set of cities/towns that have been graced with their 4G LTE network. It seems that the network won’t stop its rollout, at least until every US resident is bathed in faster data speeds.

As for the competition, Verizon announced the end of its 4G LTE rollout quite some time ago, and we actually expected the same from AT&T, as both carriers are now focusing on LTE-Advanced in select markets. Verizon is also beefing up large chunks of its LTE network to XLTE, which simply boosts bandwidths in struggling sectors. 

But what about T-Mobile and Sprint? Well, both seem to rather announce new LTE markets at press events, thinking its best to light up 100 markets at a time, instead of gradually rolling them out. While it makes a better headline to do that, it’s hard to keep track exactly of the progress both companies are making for their customers.

Check below for the full list of new markets for 4G LTE from AT&T.

New Markets

  • Connersville, Ind.
  • Mankato-North Mankato, Minn.
  • Escanaba, Mich.
  • Van Wert and Mansfield, Ohio
  • Clearlake, Calif.
  • Huntington and Johnstown, Pa.
Via: AT&T

 

AT&T Launches Eight New 4G LTE Markets Across US is a post from: Droid Life

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Root Method Released for LG G3 on Verizon and AT&T

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The phone isn’t all that old here in the US, but already the LG G3 has been rooted on AT&T and Verizon. For anyone who is still keen on tweaking their phones and throwing on custom ROMs in the future (once a custom recovery is released), this is great news for you. 

A few developers over on XDA have released a root method for the G3, which looks rather simple for those who are willing to give it a try. It appears you will need a Windows machine, a handful of drivers installed, and then a little bit of adb know-how.

Of course, once root access is gained, you can install root-only applications, perform additional system tweaks, and a whole lot more. This is how we all got into Android, remember?

Our buddy Shane aka DroidModderX has posted up a detailed walkthrough video for anyone hoping to perform this root process. If you are feeling gutsy, have at it.

Via: XDA

Root Method Released for LG G3 on Verizon and AT&T is a post from: Droid Life

AT&T has been unsuccessful in kicking customers off their unlimited plans

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

AT&T Trottles Unlimited Data Plans nbcbayarea

AT&T eliminated their unlimited data plans for new customers in 2010. A year later, AT&T told those customers with an unlimited data plan that they would have their plans throttled if they consumed enough data to put them in the top 5 percent of the heaviest data users in a billing period.

AT&T never bothered trying to show that the top 5 percent were actually slowing down the network. In reality, AT&T was telling those on unlimited data plans to switch to AT&T’s metered tiers where throttling did not occur.

Therefore, AT&T was telling customers that if they pay $30 for “unlimited” service, you were getting just 2 GB’s of data before your phone was heavily throttled to unusable speeds. However, you could pay the exact same price for an AT&T tiered data plan ($30 for 3 GB of data) which allowed a customer to get hit hard with overage fees.

forcedoutofunlimitedplan

It is 2014 and still 44% of AT&T customers are on grandfathered unlimited plans.

As GigaOM notes:

“The report uses data from a survey of 500 people to estimate what proportion of subscribers to the big four carriers are on unlimited data plans. CISP’s survey, however, contradicts AT&T’s own numbers which state that “81% of smartphones are on metered plans.” Aside from AT&T, of course, Sprint and T-Mobile, both of which highlight unlimited data in their marketing, have 78% of their customers on unlimited plans. Verizon has the smallest proportion of unlimited plans at 22% of its customers, partially due to a less forgiving grandfathering policy which requires subscribers to give up their unlimited data when upgrading their device.” - GigaOM

What makes this story even more remarkable is that AT&T has spent the last four years pulling out all tricks of the trade in getting unlimited data users off their plans.

  • Jailbreak your phone? Off unlimited
  • Tether unofficially? Off unlimited
  • Use unsanctioned mobile hotspot apps? Off unlimited
  • Seem to be a heavy user? Off unlimited
  • Want to use data monitoring tools? Off unlimited
  • Used AT&T’s phone insurance/warranty plans? Off unlimited
  • Want to use Facetime? Off unlimited
  • Are you breathing? AT&T will gladly kick you off unlimited without telling you!

Despite subscriber additions, carriers face growth questions

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

WirelessSubRevenueProfit BusinessWire

As this site discussed earlier today, T-Mobile is expected to continue their reign as the “fastest-growing” carrier once Q2 results are released later this month.

Now, the Wall Street Journal notes that although analysts expect all major carriers (except Sprint) to continue overall net additions of postpaid subscribers (which usually leads to higher earnings and better margins) in the Q2, there are also a number of questions marks about the near future of the major wireless carriers.

Even with those additions, Verizon did not see their earnings rise after interest, taxes (well, if they pay any), depreciation and amortization. In fact, margins for major four carriers rose just 1.3 percentage point during the last quarter, even as average revenue per postpaid user fell 3.4% year over year.

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As the Wall Street Journal states, “while the new plans boost revenue and margins since a portion of revenue is booked upfront, those benefits will likely be offset by service discounts and higher retention costs.”

AT&T did just that by booking revenue upfront to hide the fact that the effect that lower prices had on their recent bottom line. Verizon and T-Mobile did not have this issue because of lower adoption rates.

T-Mobile has been a significant pain to AT&T who has countered a number of T-Mobile’s policies and lowered their prices to match T-Mobile. Verizon, on the other hand, have mostly stayed out of the price wars for a variety of reasons ranging from their network stability/size to fears from Wall Street about Verizon spending a bit too much money on customers.

“Verizon expects only 30% of smartphones acquired by customers to be leased in Q2 compared to over 50% at AT&T,” said BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk. “While we expect that mix to rise to 50% over time, the slower adoption at Verizon should help the company to limit ARPU declines and deliver service revenue growth in the low- to mid-single digits while AT&T suffers from a more than 5% contraction in service revenue later this year.” - FierceWireless

AT&T LG G3 eschews Qi, goes with PMA wireless charging

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

We are somewhat used to having variations between carriers or regional markets, but there are times when the differences are just plain ridiculous. The LG G3 supports wireless charging, via a special back cover accessory, using the Qi wireless charging standard in all but one instance. AT&T has chosen, against all odds, to go with the competing standard, the Power Matters Alliance’s (PMA) standard.

Perhaps it cannot really be helped. After all, AT&T, unlike other US carriers, is a member of the PMA and not of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) which pushes the Qi standard. It would hardly send a good message to its colleagues if it started to offer the G3 with the same Qi support that LG and all other markets have.

While it might sound honorable for AT&T, it translates to a pain in the extremities for its subscribers. The problem is that, compared to Qi, there are relatively fewer PMA accessories, particularly charging mats, in the market. But more inconvenient is the fact that if you already actually own a Qi-compatible charging plate but then bought an LG G3 from AT&T, you’ll have to buy a different PMA-compatible charger if you still want to use wireless charging. It’s bad enough that the G3 doesn’t come with the wireless charging back cover out of the box in the US, unlike in other markets, but the fact that you’d have to buy yet another accessory if you got your smartphone from AT&T is really bordering on insane.

In the end, the situation all boils down to market dynamics and competing and completely incompatible “standards”, an oxymoron if you think about it, with rival companies taking opposite sides. Unfortunately, as always when titans clash, it is the little people, the end users and customers, that get caught in the crossfire.

VIA: Droid Life

AT&T wants a “level playing field” only when the rules benefit them

Posted by wicked July - 19 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

FrontierCommunicationsSucks PolarVortexTech

AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Comcast love to yell and scream about needing a “level playing field” whenever the whiff of competition comes into their areas.

  • When citizens in Georgia were tired of having JUST 3 Mbps connections through AT&T DSL with no alternative, AT&T tried to ban competition by claiming that the “rules of the road should be fair.”
  • When Cablevision was desperate to block Verizon FiOS from entering Glen Cove, NY, Cablevision tried to argue that because Verizon FiOS wasn’t offering free cable TV to a few parts of the city, that FiOS should not be allowed due to the “unfair advantage.”
  • When Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink got nervous about a number of competitors entering the state of North Carolina, they spent four years lobbying (and eventually getting passed) for a bill that all-but made it impossible for others to enter their markets in the name of “promoting fairness.”
  • When AT&T didn’t want to compete in Wisconsin, they lobbied politicians to try and pass legislation which banned such competition. AT&T whined about fairness and claimed that this bill was just “fiscal responsibility.”

Yet, as we see above, these same providers seem to love making it as difficult as possible for other companies to enter their markets.

Enter Mississippi. Here, AT&T signed a 10-year contract in 2005 with the state of Mississippi for a master contract which basically makes AT&T the broadband provider of a number of government buildings and schools that opt into the state broadband program (which helps the schools pay for broadband).

Many in the school districts within Mississippi were waiting for this contract to expire so that competitive bids could be put forth and the service could be improved.

GeorgiaFlyerMunicipal MuniNetworks

The technology coordinator for one school district wrote to the FCC telling them of how their service (and others around the state) was just “not competitive.” The coordinator also asked the FCC to allow for some sort of “multi-vendor” association with the schools for better service. In fact, 15 school districts have opted out of the state contract and instead pay for a private broadband provider who gives them BETTER service at a LOWER price.

So, what happened next?

AT&T somehow got an additional two years tacked onto their state contract before the current one even expired. No competitive bids were allowed. Additionally, there are questions about whether the state is paying too much for AT&T service, which few seem to be happy with.

On top of all of this, the contract between the state and AT&T is closed by a court order and can only be inspected by government customers of the Mississippi Information and Technology Services who hand out these contracts.

So, the contract is hidden from the public, was extended without public input and has questions about whether the contract is currently over-paying AT&T? Hardly a level playing field.

If you plan on picking up the LG G3 from any of the carriers in the US, you likely already know that the US carriers are forcing you to buy optional accessories in order to enable wireless charging. The G3 in the UK and other countries includes wireless charging backs out of the box, much like the Verizon G2 did last year, but things have changed this time around in our home country. Carriers are greedy, we get it. They want you to spend more on the phone you just locked into for two years or spent hundreds on to get the most out of it. 

The good news is that Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all support the Qi wireless charging standard, so should you decide you want to get into the wireless charging game, you have all sorts of options. Sellers on eBay will get you replacement backs that activate wireless charging for around $40, but also don’t have carrier branding. The wireless charger you likely already own, will more than likely work because it’s probably Qi-ready. Do a search on Amazon for Qi chargers and you will have more choices than you know what to do with at incredibly low prices. Qi is awesome. Even Google uses it in all of its Nexus products.

If you own the AT&T G3, things are unfortunately, different. The LG G3 on AT&T supports PMA wireless charging, not Qi. AT&T is deeply in bed with PMA (Power Matters Alliance), the other wireless charging standard that few have bought into. Well, Starbucks did, if that matters. Oh, and Duracell is in charge of making the handful of Powermat charging stations. Do the same Amazon search for PMA chargers and you will see what I’m talking about.

So what does this mean? Your wireless charging options are limited on the AT&T variant of the G3. You are, for the most part, forced to buy a Duracell Powermat charging station, since all of the Qi stations won’t work with PMA. You also have to hope that someone releases a PMA-ready back cover or other types of cases should you not want to go with the only option available at the moment, the $60 Quick Circle case with PMA charging that was made specifically for the G3 model on AT&T.

Folks at XDA have already tried to use Qi back plates and chargers with the AT&T variant, but have found zero success. Some have even tried taking pieces from a PMA Quick Circle case and putting them on a regular back plate, but also have had no luck. The wireless charging road is not a pretty one for the AT&T G3.

So should you buy a G3 from AT&T, understand that your wireless charging options are limited. You are forced into PMA, the wireless charging standard that isn’t much of a standard.

FYI: AT&T’s LG G3 Doesn’t Support Qi Charging, They Went With the Charging Standard No One Uses is a post from: Droid Life

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0,HTC Desire 610 to be available on AT&T

Posted by wicked July - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

AT&T announced that two of the newest budget gadget offerings will be available for their customers starting this week and the next. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is already being offered this week while the HTC Desire 610 smartphone will be available for consumers starting next week. This is part of their offerings for those who would like to go for devices that are decent but are on a budget.

The HTC Desire 610 is the latest smartphone offering from the Taiwanese OEM and can be an option for those looking for a mid-range gadget. It has a 4.7-inch screen with a 480×854 resolution, which is a bit low for a gadget that is billing itself as a multi-media entertainment hub. It runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core chip and also has BoomSound audio, so maybe it makes up for the poor video quality with stellar audio. It also has several other features found in the more expensive flagship phones, like BlinkFeed and Zoe.

Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 is part of Samsung’s new family of budget tablets. It’s in between the 7-inch baby and the bigger 10.1-inch one, with its 8-inch 1280×800 HD screen. The entire line of new tablets shares almost the same specs, they just differ on the display size. So the Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 also comes with 16 GB of internal storage, 1.5 GB of RAM, a 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU and a 4,450 mAh battery.

galaxytab4-8-820x420

AT&T consumers can already buy the Galaxy Tab on their online store this week for $18.50 a month if you want it without a contract or $269.99 for a two-year agreement. You can also get both the tablet and a Samsung Galaxy phone and they’ll give you $50 off the tablet. It will be available at AT&T retail stores by July 25. Meanwhile, the HTC Desire 610 is available for $199.99 without a contract starting July 25. The NEXT 18 program can also give you the phone at $8.34/month and under the NEXT 12, you can get it at $10/month.

VIA: SlashGear

LG G Pad 7.0 with LTE headed for AT&T

Posted by wicked July - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

lg_g_pad_7_8_10_press_release

Earlier this month, LG made the G Pad 7.0 and 10.1 official in the US, opening more consumers up to their flagship tablets. Now, the LG G Pad 7.0 is headed to AT&T with LTE connectivity.

This is certainly no surprise as last month we got word that Verizon was slated to receive the tablet on their network as well, meaning the LTE version of the device will be widely available.

The G Pad 7.0 is certainly a great option for those enjoying the 7-inch size, but looking for an alternative to the widely popular Nexus 7. Sporting a 7-inch display with an 800 x 1280 resolution, the device features a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor. It also contains 1GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable storage, and a 4000mAh battery. With a 3MP rear-facing and a 1.3MP front-facing camera, the tablet certainly isn’t anything special spec-wise.

LG G Pad AT&T

However, due to the low specs, the Wifi only version is priced at a mere $149.99. It is unclear how much the LTE variants will cost, but expect them to be significantly cheaper than other offerings. There is no official release date yet, but you can count on an announcement soon.

source: evleaks.at

Come comment on this article: LG G Pad 7.0 with LTE headed for AT&T

Toll-free data plans are growing worldwide

Posted by wicked July - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

atts-sponsored-data-plan-may-change-the-balance-of-the-mobile-economy BusinessInsider

While AT&T has been trying to expand the list of companies involved in their “Sponsored Data” program, interest in the program has been basically non-existent with just a few smaller companies having signed on. AT&T’s program only works if a number of big-named companies agree to be part of the program and so far it appears that few if anyone want to join it.

Other companies have also been trying to slowly implement their own toll-free plans in the US. T-Mobile has launched their Music Freedom which exempts data on a customers plan from streaming music services.

Yet, GigaOM wrote a very interesting piece showing that nearly half of the world’s mobile carriers are exempting at least one app from data charges according to bandwidth manager Allot Communications.

att-sponsored-data iDownloadBlog

According to Allot, 49 percent of worldwide mobile carriers offer a plan that exempts certain apps or traffic from customers’ data plan. Facebook was the most included application being found in 65 percent of these plans.

As GigaOM notes:

“For instance, in Brazil, Claro offers a social media package that includes unlimited and unrestricted use of Facebook and Twitter. In Cameroon, MTN is bundling WhatsApp usage into prepaid plans.” - GigaOM

As has been discussed previously, Sponsored Data plans will unfairly gives bigger companies a significant advantage over smaller companies who will not be able to afford the fee required to highlight their own content.

As Karl Bode notes at DSLReports, what AT&T wants is a troll toll imposed that allows AT&T to bring in new cash and impose their power on a content ecosystem that operates better with AT&T out of the way. AT&T’s layering their network with completely arbitrary usage caps and overages untied for network or financial realities, and now wants to charge content companies a completely unnecessary toll to bypass them. The result is content development costs that get passed on to consumers, with AT&T picking application winners and losers based on who ponies up the most cash.