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More details surface about ZTE Olympia headed to T-Mobile

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

ZTE_Unknown_Phablet_For_T-Mobile

ZTE has been creating some buzz over the last few days including a rumor that T-Mobile was testing a large smartphone from ZTE codenamed Olympia. Sources are now indicating the Olympia is the ZTE Z970, a smartphone sporting a 6-inch display. The previously leaked picture of the device revealed some larger bezels and one person has said the Samsung Galaxy S 5 will almost fit within just the screen real estate of the Olympia. Thus, the device has been described as feeling “huge”.

While sources say the screen will be 6 inches, there are no details about whether AMOLED or LCD technology is used nor is there any word on resolution. The guess is that being a ZTE device it will be more budget oriented so it may only be 720p capable.

The device appears to be plastic phone that feels like a plastic phone despite a brushed metal look applied to the plastic. Reports indicate it is a sealed phone so battery removal and replacement is not possible. One person testing the device did say the battery seems to be able to power the device through a whole day of typical use.

The rest of the hardware seems to be mid-tier. The rear camera comes in at 8MP while the front shooter is only 0.9MP. Sources are guessing it will come equipped with a Snapdragon 400 series processor. It does appear ZTE has the device loaded up with the Google Now Launcher for the UI on top of Android 4.4.2, although some T-Mobile specific apps have been added to the smartphone. Despite the need to drive a larger screen, reports indicate it performs well with snappy responses and app loading.

source: TmoNews

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Sprint may have competition in bidding for T-Mobile

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

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With rumors of Sprint and T-Mobile finalizing a deal that would merge the two companies, rumors are now being revealed which hint at Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim being interested in purchasing T-Mobile.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Slim recently received cash from his sale of shares of América Móvil and currently owns an interest TracFone, a US prepaid wireless service that is the country’s fifth largest carrier. TracFone currently leases capacity in large cellular networks operators like AT&T and Sprint.

Last week, America Movil announced that it was going to slash its market share in Mexico from 70% to 50% to avoid sanctions from the Mexican government.

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Money is not likely going to be a factor for Slim as he recently was named the richest person in the world with a fortune of $79.6 billion. As the Wall Street Journal mentions, Slim has been active in the U.S. with purchased stakes in Saks Inc., OfficeMax Inc. and the New York Times.

Unfortunately for Slim, if the talks between Sprint and T-Mobile are in fact close to being finished, it is unlikely that Slim could make a legitimate run at T-Mobile.

Samsung Galaxy Avant comes to T-Mobile on July 30, remote device unlocking in tow

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

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If you’re looking for a new budget phone, than you might want to check out the Samsung Galaxy Avant. We first heard about it back in June, and it’s expected to launch on T-Mobile on July 30 with a couple of new features.

It will feature a Remote Device Unlock, which will give you the ability to unlock the phone either permanently or temporarily. This would be done through a pre-installed app on the phone. All you will need to do it launch the app, and tap “Continue” which will then give you the opportunity to unlock the phone temporarily or permanently. You would then get confirmation that the unlock was successful and proceed to reboot the phone.

The Galaxy Avant could also be the first phone to be compatible with T-Mobile’s upcoming 700 MHz spectrum.

Now as far as the specs go, don’t expect to be wowed. It will feature a 4.5-inch qHD (960 x 540) display and a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor. I’m sure we will hear more about the device in the coming days.

sources: TmoNews (1) (2)

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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

T-Mobile is testing a phablet from ZTE

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

ZTE_Unknown_Phablet_For_T-Mobile

About a week ago, we heard that a new device from ZTE, called the Olympia, could be headed to T-Mobile soon. Now today we are hearing that T-Mobile is testing a ZTE phablet. Is it the same phone? We don’t know, but it seems likely.

Unfortunately we don’t know too much more. The picture above doesn’t reveal too much other than it looks like it’s running stock Android. ZTE announced over the weekend that they would be adopting the Google Now Launcher on future devices, and this one could be among the first ones.

We will keep you posted.

source: evleaks

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T-Mobile Q2 performance already getting attention from analysts

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

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T-Mobile is not expected to release Q2 results until the end of the month, but the wireless carrier is already generating some buzz on the part of analysts who are trying to predict what those results will be. Notably analysts want to see how T-Mobile’s performance compares with Q1 when the company had their best quarter ever. That included staking a claim to the title of fastest-growing carrier after adding 2.4 million subscribers.

Analysts like John Hodulik of UBS expects T-Mobile to retain that title for another quarter despite slower growth and a 7% increase in service revenue. Besides the challenge of stringing together consecutive record-breaking quarters, T-Mobile did not have a major “Uncarrier” move during the second quarter. Late in the period T-Mobile announced the free test drive and unlimited streaming music for Simple Choice plans. Those changes are unlikely to drive new subscriptions like the early termination fee strategy it announced in January.

One point that has some analysts concerned about is the impact of this performance on a potential merger with Sprint. If T-Mobile is able to outperform both AT&T and Verizon in some measures and demonstrates solid financial performance, it may make it difficult to argue the merger is needed to maintain competition in the market.

source: TmoNews

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T-Mobile offers installment plans for smartphone accessories

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

If you’ve been wanting to get that SOL Republic headphones or that shiny new Samsung Gear Fit for some time now, but feel like it’s out of your budget, if you’re a T-Mobile subscriber, then your wish might soon come true. Starting July 20, accessories can now be bought under their equipment instalment plan (EIP), just like you would pay for a new smartphone or tablet.

So basically, anything over $69 from among the list of T-Mobile’s accessories can now be paid for in a 24-month instalment plan. However they’re not saying that you also need to purchase a smartphone or tablet (which kind of defeats the purpose of saving, don’t you think?) when you do your accessories purchase, although they would probably strongly suggest that you do. The emphasis though is that not all accessories are available for the EIP, just the ones that are over $69, so forget about getting that $9.99 card reader you’ve been eyeing for a 24-month plan.

But if the one you want is above $69 and below $250, then for as little as $2.91 per month, it can be yours. However, don’t expect that you’ll also get the same deal as for when you use the EIP to pay for your phone or tablet. The phone/tablet deal says that you pay the full cost if ever you decide to terminate your contract or if you want to trade-up for a higher model. However, with the accessories, you probably will not be able to trade-up for higher models.

So if you don’t mind being tied down to a carrier for 2 years to be able to get that dream accessory, then this seems like a good deal. Just like with other devices, the “un-carrier” promises no annual service contracts or hidden fees.

VIA: SlashGear

T-Mobile’s equipment installment plan for accessories starts July 20

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

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Earlier this month, we learned that T-Mobile would be altering its equipment installment plan to include accessories. Today, the carrier announced that EIP for accessories would officially launch on July 20 at participating T-Mobile stores.

The minimum price to get started is $69 and EIP can be applied for purchases can go all the way up to $250 for some high-end products. Customers pay $0 down and then the product is split into twenty-four monthly payments. Again, there is zero interest on anything. Picking up something like the LG Tone Pro will cost $0 and then $2.91 per month for twenty-four months. Not bad, right? This is especially good for things like headphones that typically run at a high price.

Source: T-Mobile

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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.

Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm plot spectrum-sharing test

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

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Verizon, Qualcomm and Ericsson are planning to conduct field trials where they will all share spectrum currently owned by the US government so that the companies can expand their wireless network capacity.

Verizon, Qualcomm and Ericsson plan to test a large section of 3.5 GHz spectrum which is usually assigned to military radar applications. All three companies have filed applications with the FCC to conduct the field trials. In the long term, Verizon says, this spectrum could be used for high-demand areas such as “stadiums, college campuses, or airports.”

As FierceWireless notes, the FCC plans to authorize new spectrum-sharing techniques to open up the 3.5 GHz band for wireless broadband services.

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In an entry on Verizon’s public policy blog, Patrick Welsh, director of Verizon federal government affairs, said that the companies will work with Ericsson on lab tests at Ericsson’s facilities in Plano, Texas. These tests will prove whether spectrum sharing using ASA/LSA technologies “can complement Verizon’s LTE network while protecting government operations from harmful interference.”

It should be noted that Welsh also mentioned that Verizon continues support for auctioning spectrum for exclusive use when feasible. In the past, Verizon has been accused by a number of other carriers that they were acquiring spectrum to simply stop smaller carriers from acquiring a small amount of spectrum themselves.

Or as T-Mobile put it:

“To foreclose the possibility that this spectrum could be acquired by smaller competitors who would use it more quickly, more intensively, and more efficiently than Verizon Wireless.” - ExtremeTech