Verizon today announced that it is expanding XLTE to 22 new markets. After substantially completing its nationwide LTE buildout on 700 MHz, Verizon began supplementing that with an AWS LTE deployment. The carrier is promising XLTE will deliver double the LTE bandwidth and faster peak speeds.
Sprint introduced new Business Share Plans and the carrier is offering customers up to $300 to switch over from other carriers. Under Sprint’s new plans, businesses can share 20GB of data across 10 lines for $90 a month. The buckets top out at $675 a month for 200GB and 60 lines. Smartphone device charges run $35 for subsidized phones and $15 for unsubsidized.
Softcard today announced that Subway will start accepting Softcard NFC-based mobile payments. Beginning Oct. 1, more than 26,000 Subway locations nationwide will allow customers to pay with their mobile devices. In a few months after the initial launch, the Subway Cards Rewards Program will be integrated with Softcard.
The AWS-3 spectrum is probably less suited to pair with Sprint's existing portfolio, which includes airwaves in the 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands. The FCC has said it expects the AWS-3 auction, which will take place in November, to raise about $10 billion.
With all the options that exist for financing, carriers need to look at some core areas to help them determine which route they want to go. At a high level, it’s all about weighing the chosen economic model with the risk involved to determine whether or not the carrier has the resources to handle the new approach.
Verizon today announced that Verizon Auto Share, the carrier’s secure car share program, will be available by the end of 2014. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet. The program will allow users to download a mobile application that can locate a vehicle and then scan a QR code to gain access and pay for rental. The carrier is planning on working with car rental companies, auto dealers and other companies.
AT&T today announced its LTE network now covers more than 300 million POPs. Hitting that milestone puts the carrier ahead of the timetable it announced in 2012 along with its Project Velocity IP (VIP) initiative. At that point, AT&T promised 300 million people covered with LTE by the end of 2014.
Isis Wallet today announced it’s changing its name to Softcard. In July, Isis—a mobile payment joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—announced its intent to ditch its old name to avoid any confusion with the radical Islamic militant group ISIS.
nTelos today launched a promotional single-line plan that pairs unlimited talk and text with 10GB of data for $45 a month. For an extra $10, customers can upgrade to unlimited data. The promotional plans are available to new and existing customers eligible for upgrade. Subscribers have to opt for nTelos’ Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). Device charges for EIP run $35 a month.
In a short promotional video, the companies confirm the credit can be used to buy BlackBerry technical support services, sign up for BBM Protected, or anything else enterprises have in mind. It appears the credit can be applied on a fairly large scale—the video points out that 1,000 upgraded devices means $150,000 in credit.
When T-Mobile Simple Choice customers add a tablet to their plan for $10 a month, the carrier says it will now match their smartphone data plan up to 5GB and set it aside for use on the tablet. Beginning Sept. 3, any tablet added gets the LTE data plan match for a limited time as well as the 200MB free per month T-Mobile has previously offered for tablets.
In a post on the carrier's website, Verizon said that "in the coming weeks, Verizon Wireless customers can begin to see what Advanced Calling 1.0 -- HD Voice and Video Calling -- can mean to their wireless experience when tightly integrated with their 4G LTE smartphones."
T-Mobile will begin offering Simple Starter customers an additional 1.5GB of data for an extra $5 a month. Beginning Sept. 3, subscribers opting for T-Mobile’s $40 Simple Starter plan can bump their 500MB cap to 2GB. The limited-time offer is available to new and existing Simple Starter customers and once customers sign up, they get the 2GB cap indefinitely.
Verizon today announced it will invest nearly $40 million to expand the on-site green energy program that it launched in 2013. This year, Verizon will install 10.2 megawatts of new solar power systems at eight Verizon network facilities in five states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
The new Sprint plans are available starting Friday and reward families that need a lot of data. But the company is also keeping an unlimited-data plan that's beneficial for individuals — and competes with a similar T-Mobile offering. Now that most Americans have cellphones, wireless companies have been trying to lure consumers with lower prices.
T-Mobile today announced that customers who “rescue” subscribers from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon will earn one year of free unlimited data from themselves and their friend. Beginning next week, subscribers who port over their number to T-Mobile and an existing T-Mobile subscriber will earn unlimited LTE or, if they already have unlimited data, a $10 monthly credit for 12 months.
Sprint announced the Sprint Family Share Pack, a new set of shared data plans that start at 600MB and reach all the way up to 60GB. Under Sprint’s new offer, four lines with unlimited talk and text plus 20GB costs $160, doubling the data allowance packages with similarly priced plans from AT&T and Verizon.
The new plan, which includes unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data for $60, or $50 if the customer signs up for Verizon’s Edge device financing program. Verizon's 'More Everything' plans include data packages that range from 250MB to 100GB of data that can be shared with up to 10 lines.
Although the discounts are typically less than the subsidies you're forgoing, it's the reverse for plans with at least 10 gigabytes of data. So big families sharing lots of data are probably better off with a full-price plan. That's also the case if you don't need a high-end phone, as the monthly fees for voice, text and data services factor in the costs of subsidizing the most expensive phones.
In a talk at the annual Oppenheimer Investor Conference that was broadcast online, Shammo said Verizon is looking to new technologies like LTE Multicast and Voice over LTE as potential growth areas. He also said tablets pose an opportunity.
T-Mobile is acquiring 700 MHz licenses from Actel, a subsidiary of CenturyLink. The 12 MHz licenses (698-704 MHz and 728-734 MHz) cover markets in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana and New Mexico. As TmoNews points out, the licenses cover about 6.1 million POPs.
In a press release touting his company’s new dominance in the prepaid space, T-Mobile CEO John Legere voiced the fairly safe assumption that T-Mobile would surpass Sprint in total customers by the end of 2014. “As a matter of fact, I’m going on record—I predict we’ll overtake Sprint in total customers by the end of this year. Not someday. Not next year. This year,” Legere said in a statement.
Lower cellphone bills seem like a good thing for consumers. But T-Mobile and Sprint are already losing money and AT&T's profits are down. (Verizon, as the market leader, is doing fine.) This matters because U.S. wireless carriers invest more in their networks than European companies, and higher profits in the U.S. are a big part of the reason.
Verizon has officially responded to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler after the Commissioner criticized the carrier’s decision to start slowing data speeds for some unlimited plan customers on its LTE network. The United States’ largest carrier called the practice “widely accepted,” according to Reuters. Verizon CEO Dan Mead, to whom the FCC’s letter was addressed, said the policy was in line with FCC principles.
“We must make sure that the biggest providers are not able to limit broad participation in the spectrum auction,” FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger C. Sherman wrote in a blog post. “Therefore, the item tentatively concludes that joint bidding arrangements between nationwide providers should not be allowed.”