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AT&T adds more data, hotspot feature to GoPhone plans

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

AT&T has introduced more data for some GoPhone plans, following in the footsteps of rival T-Mobile. The updated data scheme doesn’t raise cost for consumers, either, as all plan pricing stays as-is. In addition to the new data plans, AT&T is rolling out a new basic phone plan at $45/month.

 

The update for their data plans brings an extra 500MB data to the $60/month option — up to 2.5GB from 2GB. That plan will also give users unlimited talk and the ability to use their phone as a hotspot. The $40/month plan is also being updated to provide double the monthly data previously offered — 500MB, up from 250MB. That plan gives users 500 minutes of talk monthly.

The other two smartphone plans for GoPhone have not been altered. The $25/month plan is basic, and requires a data add-on, while the $50/month plan is a bit different from the rest. You get unlimited everything, but all data must be done over WiFi. The $45/month basic phone plan provides 1GB data with unlimited talk, but is only available in Wal-Mart stores.

It may not be quite as good as T-Mobile’s prepaid plan lineup, but it’s better for those who happen to be with GoPhone currently. More data is always appreciated, and the ability to create a WiFi hotspot is definitely a plus.

AT&T G Flex Android 4.4 update rolls out to users

Posted by wicked April - 18 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Delivering as promised, AT&T has released the Android 4.4 firmware update to owners of LG’s curved G Flex smartphone under its care. Included in the announcement are some of the changes users should expect in this update, though most of them we have mostly heard of before.

AT&T details the most visible changes brought about by upgrading to Android 4.4, particularly the restyled navigation and status bars and the addition of fullscreen immersive mode. Of course, under the hood, we have the promise of smoother processes and smarter battery use. Android 4.4 introduced battery-saving location modes, or rather rearranged the options to make those choices clearer to users. And, of course, cloud printing also arrives, with initial compatibility with Google’s own Cloud Printer service.

The changelog does confirm our guess that LG‘s fancy Knock Code user experience (UX) feature will be arriving by way of this major firmware update. Most will probably be familiar with the feature by know, but for those still unaware, Knock Code is LG’s expansion of the “double tap to wake and unlock” gesture it put on the LG G2 last year. But instead of a rather simplistic “knocking” action, Knock Code has support for up to 8 taps in different combinations and positions on the screen, adding both personalization and security to the feature.

The carrier has not specified how large the update will be but as is the case with such major update, it will be quite big. Battery charge and WiFi connection should be double checked. And in case the update notification hasn’t arrived yet, users can always manually check and trigger the update via the device’s Settings menu.

SOURCE: AT&T

FCC Chairman confirms plan to limit buying power of AT&T, Verizon

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

Leading up to this article, there was a lot of speculation about the FCC’s position in their upcoming spectrum auction. A call to action from several smaller carriers asked that the regulatory body limit the purchasing power of the two largest domestic carriers, Verizon and AT&T. In a move that could limit the FCC’s income from the auction, Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed he wants to limit the power AT&T and Verizon have.

In a letter to 78 House members today, Wheeler said he was proceeding with the limitations in the spirit of “equity and openness”. He went on to say the FCC wants to “deliver to consumers, regardless of their zip code, greater wireless competition, improved services and lower costs.” Wheelers letter was in response to a note form those House members who urged him to allow free and open commerce in the next auction, which would help reach revenue goals set forth by Congress.

Wheelers plan is to “reserve a modest amount of this low-band spectrum in each market for providers that, as a result of the historical accident of previous spectrum assignments, lack such low-band capacity”. The upcoming auction is for the 600MHz spectrum band, which would improve the coverage area of those who purchased it. Wheeler wants to reserve about one-fourth of the overall spectrum for those who have less than 30% of the spectrum per market:

Today, most of this low-band spectrum is in the hands of just two providers. The Incentive Auction offers the opportunity, possibly the last for years to come, to make low-band spectrum available to any mobile wireless provider, in any market, that is willing and able to compete at auction.

As we’ve reported prior to this announcement, Wheeler’s actions may have an adverse effect on Sprint and T-Mobile merging. By allocating spectrum for those who aren’t AT&T or Verizon, the FCC is leveling the playing field a bit without carriers uniting to face the duopoly held by the nation’s two largest carriers. The FCC will vote on his proposal in May.

Source: The Hill

AT&T starts rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat update for LG G Flex

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

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AT&T has announced that they have started to push out the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the LG G Flex smartphone. The G Flex is LG’s entry into the “flexible” display market to compete with Samsung. You do remember when there was a race on to see who could get devices with curved or flexible displays  to market first?

When the LG G Flex was first released, it came with Android 4.2.2 loaded and we were worried about future updates given LG’s history. This update is a nice sign that LG is joining other manufacturers in recognizing that Android device owners do not want to be locked into an older version of the operating system.

AT&T indicates the update brings the enhancements of KitKat to the G Flex and better battery performance. AT&T is recommending users have at least 50% battery life and be on WiFi when they start the update process. If a user does not want to wait for the update to be pushed to their device, they can go into Settings -> General -> About phone -> Software Update -> Update Now to force a manual update.

source: AT&T

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If Verizon and AT&T get their way, what type of internet future do many have?

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

As discussed previously at Android Authority, Verizon and AT&T want to rid themselves of DSL users so they can focus on wireless packages which are easier to install, cheaper to maintain, and the companies make more money by charging users upwards of $15 per gigabyte. So, what would the future look like if we allowed Verizon and AT&T to ditch the copper-lines that they received billions to maintain over the years? What would those people in rural areas use to get Internet or phone calls?

The FCC says 99.9% of the public can get broadband via satellite (at speeds of 12 Mbps or better). Sadly, even in the year 2014, satellite broadband services are still struggling to provide basic internet services that limit customers ability to even play video games (latency issues) or watch multiple movies a month. While many of us enjoy downloads speeds of 50 or even 100 Mbps, 119 million Americans lack broadband access (defined as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up). Out of those 119 million, 19 million live in areas where there is no option to buy a wired broadband connection.

Just last week, a newspaper in Thunder Bay, Canada, wrote a story about a woman who couldn’t get any internet service provider to wire her place of business:

Ree uses Xplornet, a rural broadband provider, but the service is slow, so she often relies on the data network on her smartphone. “Our bill is insane. This month it’s $180. I have two children that will be going to school and will be needing it when they go” 

On the whole, satellite broadband continues to be extremely expensive per gigabyte. Satellite provider Wildblue’s has a 25GB plan at 12Mbps, which costs $129.99 per month. If you are a HughesNet subscriber, guess who much you would have to pay if you wanted to watch a single film on Netflix in 4K? Only $850. Between 2012 and 2013, HughesNet promised that their new “Gen4″ satellite broadband service would revolutionize broadband.

Yet, customers have continued to complain about slow speeds and capacity issues. HughesNet’s Gen4’s 10-15 Mbps plans are failing to deliver even 2 Mbps for many users, with some seeing speeds as low as 200kbps or so. HughesNet is one of the most poorly ranked broadband providers on DSLReports customer performance rankings, even though most of their customer base has few if any other options. That’s good news for wireless broadband companies, who are now offering faster and more consistent LTE wireless service (albeit also with significant usage caps) in many of these markets.

Just two years ago at CES, ViaSat was promoting their new 12 Mbps satellite broadband service. Much like today, ViaSat did not tell those in attendance that the customers would be subject to throttling, small usage caps and generally poor consistency. Then again, during 2012, Wildblue was competing with ViaSat by offering customers speeds of 1.5 Mbps for $80 per month. What competition!

Verizon attempted to hang up their copper networks in Hurricane Sandy-impacted areas and put in Verizon’s Voice Link wireless service. It was an unmitigated disaster. People complained that the service was quirky, lacked features like caller ID, and didn’t include data, therefore requiring another costly data plan with low data caps. Then there is this:

“Not only will Voice Link not work if the power fails — a backup battery provides two hours of talking time, hardly reassuring to people battered by Sandy — but Verizon warns Voice Link users that calls to 911 under normal conditions might not go through because of network congestion. Medical devices that require periodic tests over phone lines, like many pacemakers, cannot transmit over Voice Link. Fax machines do not work over most wireless phone networks, including Voice Link. Neither do many home security systems, which depend on a copper phone line to connect to a response center.

“They told us this was the greatest thing in the world,” Mr. Flihan said. But he estimates that roughly 25 percent of the calls he makes through the Verizon Voice Link service do not go through the first time he dials, or sometimes the second or third.”








AT&T G Flex to get Android 4.4 tomorrow

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

LG’s eccentric curved smartphone may have lately taken a backseat in the news, but AT&T isn’t forgetting the G Flex just yet. The carrier reported to be ready to launch Android 4.4 KitKat for the smartphone, probably as early as tomorrow.

The LG G Flex is no doubt an odd contraption but it is definitely no pushover. While the curved design is definitely the selling point of the smartphone, it is by no means left handicapped in other aspects, with the display possibly being the only exception. You do have a previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with a sufficient 2 GB of RAM, a 13 megapixel rear shooter, and the latest LG custom user experience. Of course, one can’t forget about the rear-side buttons.

In short, this is one device that definitely deserves another round of updates and thankfully AT&T aims to please. The Android 4.4 that will be rolling out to users tomorrow will bring, among other things, “Project Svelte” performance improvements, immersive mode, redesigned notification and navigation panels, cloud printing and NFC-based payments. LG has also implied that the Knock Code UX feature that debuted in the G Pro 2 will be coming via a firmware update this month, which might be included in this OTA as well.

The update is quite large at 686 MB so a good Internet connection is needed. In fact, the OTA requires a WiFi connection. As always, the update won’t arrive at the same time for all AT&T subscribers but users can manually check for and download the update through the device’s Settings.

VIA: Droid Life

LG G Flex on AT&T Receiving Kit Kat Update Tomorrow

Posted by Kellex April - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off
LG G Flex on AT&T Receiving Kit Kat Update Tomorrow


According to AT&T, its version of the LG G Flex will receive an update to Android 4.4.2 “Kit Kat” tomorrow.

The update includes a new full-screen mode (Immersive), restyled notification and navigation areas, battery performance improvements, and “enhanced” processing speed. You should also find some of the other goodies that came with Kit Kat, like cloud printing, Tap & Pay for making secure NFC payments, the ability to choose a default SMS app, emoji, and prettier music controls from the lock screen.

The update is 686MB in size, and can be grabbed by going into Settings>General>About phone>Software update>Update now. 

Via:  AT&T

LG G Flex on AT&T Receiving Kit Kat Update Tomorrow is a post from: Droid Life

Aio Wireless to Take on Sprint’s Framily Plans, Intros New Group Plan Discounts

Posted by Tim-o-tato April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off
Aio Wireless to Take on Sprint’s Framily Plans, Intros New Group Plan Discounts


Sprint’s Framily plans give groups of people the opportunity to save money per month on their wireless bills – when more people join a group, the less their bills will be. You have probably seen the silly commercials on TV that Sprint has released, so let’s go ahead and cut to the chase. AT&T’s subsidiary, Aio Wireless has introduced their own form of group rates, but sadly, they don’t have an awesome name like Sprint does with Framily.

Group Save Discounts allow up to five additional lines on an account, with each additional line on top of the primary account bringing in a monthly discount. The first eligible line has no monthly discount, but the second brings $10 a month in savings. The third line will nab you a $20 month discount, with the fourth and fifth eligible lines each bringing $30 in monthly savings. 

The maximum monthly discount is $90 for the entire plan, as long as you have five lines attached to the account. The only way this differs from Framily is the pricing of the plans themselves, and the amount of additional lines you can have on the plan.

At the end of the day, the only real noticeable difference is the actual service you get with your phone on AT&T’s Aio Wireless network versus Sprint’s.

Via: Aio Wireless

Aio Wireless to Take on Sprint’s Framily Plans, Intros New Group Plan Discounts is a post from: Droid Life

AT&T Galaxy S4 Active users getting Kit Kat

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

There is a bit of good news for AT&T users carrying a Galaxy S4 Active — an update is on the way and it is bringing Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat. The update is already in the process of rolling out, and according to details coming from AT&T, it will measure in at anywhere from 447MB to 877MB.

The file size will depend on which version you happen to be updating from. For reference, our Galaxy S4 Active review unit had been running Android 4.3 and the update is coming as a 426.84MB file (below what was expected). Regardless though, you will need to be connected to WiFi in order to get the update from AT&T.

There are some other perks coming along with Kit Kat. The changelog for the update includes the following;

  • Copy and paste improvements
  • Easier to insert pictures and videos in email or messages
  • Camera app accessibility from the lock screen 
  • Call reliability improvements

Once the update has been downloaded and installed — the handset will be left sitting with Android 4.4.2, baseband I537UCUCNC2 and build number KOT49H.I537UCUCNC2. Otherwise, as with any device updates you now have two options to consider. You can sit back, wait for the notification to arrive and then simply follow the prompts. Or you can follow this path to try and get the process started now; Settings -> More -> About device -> Software update.

The update is still being downloaded (rather slowly) on our review unit. But we’ll be sure to update this post if we notice any issues after we start playing with Kit Kat.

SOURCE: AT&T

[Update] The download has finished, and the update has been completed. We have only been using the handset for a short while, but no issues immediately stand out. If you are an AT&T Galaxy S4 Active user — make sure to let us know about your experience.

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Major smartphone OEMs and wireless carriers agree to support anti-theft measures

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

smartphone theft

Like with any other valuable object, smartphones are often the target of thieves. Many lawmakers and even carriers and device manufacturers have questioned how to implement features on devices that would cut down on theft, but until now there hasn’t been much of a united stance in making that happen.

On Tuesday, a group of wireless carriers and smartphone manufacturers voluntarily agreed to start including anti-theft measures on smartphones next year. The list of companies that have pledged support include major US carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, as well as big smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, but also including OEMs like HTC, Motorola, and Nokia. It’s not an all-inclusive list, but it’s a ton of names, regardless.

This voluntary agreement means that all companies on the list will start shipping devices with security and anti-theft measures preloaded beginning July in 2015. Since the major US carriers are on board, that likely means that even if the manufacturer of a certain phone isn’t in compliance, the carrier is going to enforce it to be allowed on their network. These new features will allow users to remotely wipe and deactivate a phone, and keep it deactivated until they regain possession of the device.

Some lawmakers still have a bit of criticism over this agree, however. As it stands, the security measures will be forced onto the devices, but nothing forces the consumers from turning the feature on. If those features aren’t turned on, the devices will still be just as easy to steal as they have been in the past. Many lawmakers want these features to be mandatory and automatically turned on to ensure that they can be more effective.

However you look at the situation, this is still a step in the right direction towards cutting down on stolen devices.

source: Recode

Come comment on this article: Major smartphone OEMs and wireless carriers agree to support anti-theft measures