Items tagged with wireless

Sprint chief Marcelo Claure promised to roll up his sleeves and come out swinging this week with "very disruptive" pricing plans that would shock and awe the wireless industry, and we now know what those are. Following the introduction of newly priced shared family plans earlier this week, Sprint today announced the Sprint $60 Unlimited Plan with no contract required. Short and simple, this gives Sprint subscribers unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 per month, which is $20 less than T-Mobile's $80 per month unlimited plan. That works out to a savings of $480 over two years against T-Mobile, the wireless carrier points out. Compared to T-Mobile's promotional pricing, Sprint customers still... Read more...
As the owner of two cats that have been indoor pets their entire lives, I couldn't imagine letting them wander outdoors. If that wasn't the case, though, I know exactly what I'd do: I'd make their adventure, my adventure. That's just what security researcher Gene Bransfield did with the help of his wife's grandmother's cat. With a collar loaded with a Spark chip, a Wi-Fi module, a GPS module, and a battery, Coco the cat helped Gene identify Wi-Fi networks around the neighborhood and then reported back. I'm sure the goal here is obvious: Discover all of the unsecured, or at least poorly-secured, wireless access points around the neighborhood. During his journey, Coco identified dozens of... Read more...
T-Mobile has no problem calling out other wireless carriers and pointing out their flaws in candid language, but if you're going to do that, you make yourself a target for criticism. There will be none of that at the moment. Just the opposite, T-Mobile said it added 1.5 million customers during its fiscal second quarter, which is the fifth consecutive quarter with over 1 million total net customer additions. T-Mobile is now serving more than 50 million customers and leads the industry in branded postpaid phone net customer additions. "We have completely reversed T-Mobile’s trajectory and started a revolution that is changing the rules in wireless," said John Legere, President and CEO of... Read more...
Verizon Communications said it added 1.4 million net retail connections in the second quarter of 2014 to bring its total wireless subscriber base to 104.6 million. Equally impressive is the company's low churn rate of just 1.2 percent, meaning that the vast majority of wireless customers are content with their service, or at least content enough not to jump ship. This helped Verizon record its highest quarterly revenue growth of the past six quarters, which totaled $31.5 billion, up 5.7 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago. Wireless revenue contributed $21.5 billion to that tally, which itself represents a 7.5 percent year-over-year jump. Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart) "Verizon’s... Read more...
Wireless communications is clearly an area of growth, but the thought of being able to transmit absolutely everything sans wires remains something of a pipe dream. Wilocity is a company that's been powering away in an effort to bring some of this to fruition, but it'll soon be doing so with a far more sizable budget. Qualcomm, a giant in the silicon and comms industry, has just acquired the aforementioned company, which just so happens to be a leader in the WiGig industry. Qualcomm's after the company's 60GHz transmission technology, as it desires to bring multi-gigabit wireless to mobile and networking devices. In other words, Qualcomm chips with integrated 802.11ad (WiGig) should now be on... Read more...
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is accusing T-Mobile, otherwise known as the "Un-carrier" (a name T-Mobile gave itself), of being un-cool by charging its wireless subscribers hundreds of millions of dollars for third-party services they never signed up for. These services include things like ringtones, wallpapers, horoscopes, and other such add-ons. According to the FCC's complaint, T-Mobile allegedly charged consumers a monthly fee that was typically $9.99 for the above mentioned features. The FTC says that in many cases, the consumers never signed up to receive any of the services, thus T-Mobile is engaging in a practice referred to as "cramming," according to a report in The Wall Street... Read more...
In this day and age of creature comforts and ubiquitous access to the Internet, the simple act of riding on a high-speed train is not enough to keep passengers content, nor is slow Wi-Fi while traveling the tracks across the country. Ah, but rest assured that Amtrak has a plan to improve its crummy Wi-Fi service, so if you'd rather scroll through your Facebook feed than take in the sights of the land, you'll be able to do so. Hey, we're not downing Internet connectivity, and there are legitimate reasons outside of social media why high-speed wireless access on an Amtrak train is desirable, especially if you're on the job and need to download an important batch of files. The problem is that Amtrak's... Read more...
The promise of wireless charging isn't without its limitations. Two of the big ones are that it usually requires a pad of some sort, and it's limited to smaller devices. Not so with Rezence, the first standard to wirelessly charge higher power devices with spatial freedom. It's backed by the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which is comprised of companies like Dell, Fujitsu, Intel, Lenovo, Logitech, Panasonic, and many more. A4WP announced today the expansion of its Rezence-based wireless charging capabilities, making it the first to deliver a specification for multi-device wireless charging up to 50 watts. That also expands the type of products that can use Rezence technology to include bigger... Read more...
For years now, "wireless charging" has close to taking off. There have been major efforts to make it a household item, even reaching back to the original Palm Pre and its Touchstone charger. Lately, a few Nokia Lumia devices have supported wireless charging via accessory backs, and some of the larger players have converged into alliances in order to send a stronger, unified message. But all in all, wireless charging still hasn't taken off in a major way. It's still far slower than a cable, and it usually requires too many costly accessories for the layperson to truly consider. Broadcom's hoping to change that with the introduction of a new multi-standard wireless charging SoC for smartphones.... Read more...
It's official -- AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV, the largest satellite TV provider in the U.S. with 20 million customers, for approximately $48.5 billion. It's a stock-and-cash transaction deal worth $95 per share based on AT&T 's Friday closing price, which represents a 10 percent premium. DirecTV shareholders will receive $28.50 per share in cash and $66.50 per share in AT&T stock. That equates to an equity value of $48.5 billion, and a total transaction value of $67.1 billion, including DirecTV's net debt. AT&T plans to finance the cash portion of the deal through a combination of cash on hand, sale of non-core assets, committed financing facilities, and opportunistic debt... Read more...
Sprint prides itself on offering "data without limits" and "truly unlimited data," which are a pair of taglines you may have seen the company use when advertising its $79.99/month unlimited plan. Go ahead and put on your umpire cap because you may want to call foul once you learn that Sprint intends to throttle data speeds for subscribers who take advantage of the service the most. In an FAQ on Sprint's website, the carrier explains that if you fall within the top 5 percent of data users, you'll be subject to throttling, or "network prioritization," as the company calls it. "The heaviest data users consume a disproportionate share of network resources and cause a negative user experience for... Read more...
Another day, another batch of mobile hard drives to store your ever-growing library of memories and documents. Seagate has today announced that its Wireless Plus mobile storage family has added a 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB version. Plus, there's now integration with popular cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox. In essence, these drives enable media that's stored to be easily streamed on nearby mobile devices -- everything from a Galaxy Tab to an iPhone to a Kindle Fire or a Surface 2. If you just don't have enough internal storage on your mobile device, or you have multiple kids looking to stream multiple things at once, this makes for a nifty solution. The Seagate Media app’s... Read more...
To misquote a famous grammatically incorrect phrase, "All your Internet is belong to Google." Eventually, anyway. Word on the web is that Google is thinking about deploying Wi-Fi networks in cities where its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service already exists, which would be a double-win for such areas. According to Computerworld, Google made the disclosure in a document making the round to 34 cities that could be next to receive its Google Fiber network in 2015. However, details are pretty sparse, with Google only saying it will discuss its Wi-Fi plans and requirements during the planning phase. Image Source: Flickr (UCFFool) "We'd love to be able to bring Wi-Fi access to all of our Fiber... Read more...
Wireless network speeds have improved substantially over the past decade or so, but those who can't risk a drop-out or need to get things accomplished in the fastest manner possible still revert to tried-and-true hardline connections. Quantenna is hoping to change that mindset somewhat, by announcing this week plans to offer a Wi-Fi chipset that can push 10Gbps by 2015. According to a company release, development is already underway on an 8x8 MIMO configuration that would include universal support for MU-MIMO clients and 10Gbps speeds, not to mention boosts in performance, range, and stability. Quantenna already delivered 4x4 chipsets for 802.11n and 802.11ac standards, so it makes sense to hear... Read more...
Ever since terrestrial broadcasters shut down their stations and went off the air, the FCC has been mulling what to do with sections of spectrum and how that wireless space should be allocated between wireless broadcasters and other types of use. It's a complicated issue, in that much of the frequency in question is in the valuable 1GHz band. Verizon and AT&T have both expressed a great deal of interest in sucking that bandwidth down -- but given the strength and reach of the two carriers, the FCC is evaluating rules that would limit their spectrum purchases in order to encourage competition. In response, AT&T has said that it might prefer to sit out the auction altogether rather than... Read more...
In-flight wireless is a godsend if you’re stuck on a plane for three hours and have a lot of work you need to get done, and provider GoGo is upping its speeds even as it pushes forward with new technology to provide its service. GoGo is developing a worldwide 70Mbps solution, which blows past what it could offer before. "When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of 3.1 Mbps through our ATG network. About a year ago, we began deployment of our next generation ATG-4 service, which took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps,” said GoGo CEO Michael Small. Using its Ground-to-Orbit (GTO) technology, GoGo could offer 70Mbps speeds... Read more...
There’s a rumor that Google may jump into the wireless provider game, which would be huge news except for the fact that Google wouldn’t be launching a fifth competing wireless network; it would simply function as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), reselling one of the big four’s services. The rumor comes from The Information (behind a paywall), and according to the site’s sources, Google may partner with Verizon to be an MVNO and launch wireless services in areas that have Google Fiber. Verizon Coverage Map MVNOs are terrific for the industry, and services like Republic Wireless and FreedomPop are doing a great job disrupting pricing and service structures. But... Read more...
Today, Qualcomm is announcing full support for a new wireless transmission method that could significantly boost performance on crowded networks. The new standard, MU-MIMO (Multiple User - Multiple Input and Multiple Output) has a clunky name -- but could make a significant difference to home network speeds and make gigabit WiFi a practical reality. MU-MIMO is part of the 802.11ac Release 2 standard, so this isn't just a custom, Qualcomm-only feature -- though we don't know exactly what other implementations will look like, or the degree of cross-compatibility we'll see in market. In order to explain what makes MIMO special, let's first talk about the current system, dubbed SU (Single User)... Read more...
Wireless carriers seem to be feeling the squeeze from T-Mobile and it's "Un-carrier" strategy. That includes AT&T, which for the second time this year has lowered wireless pricing. This time around Ma Bell said it is slashing wireless data charges for individual customers who aren't signed up to an annual contract. Such customers will now pay $65 per month, a savings of $15 over the previous $80 per month charge for 2GB of 4G LTE wireless data. The plan also includes unlimited talk and texting (including international text messaging) and 50GB of cloud storage. Those who own two smartphones will now pay $90 per month. Image Source: Flickr (zombieite) "We’re continuing the trend of offering... Read more...
Verizon Wireless has long since ditched its unlimited data plan (save for those who are grandfathered in), but in the absence of bringing that back, the wireless carrier just rolled out its "More Everything" plan starting at $45 per month. Straight to the point, Verizon Wireless is giving subscribers more of everything for less money in some cases. "More Everything changes the game by adding even more of what customers want from their wireless provider in a single, simple monthly plan," Verizon's chief marketing officer Ken Dixon said in a statement. The plan is open to both new and existing subscribers. There's a per-device charge that runs $40 per month for smartphones, $30 for basic phone,... Read more...
A new wireless survey conducted by J.D. Power suggests that AT&T customers are the happiest with their carrier's customer support. AT&T scored 793 out of a 1,000 point scale, taking the top spot among full-service wireless carriers. Verizon came in a close second with a score of 788, enough to top the industry average score of 782. T-Mobile and Sprint fell below the industry average with scores of 778 and 757, respectively. Though T-Mobile scored under the industry average, it made some big gains compared to a year ago. T-Mobile was dead last in 2012 with a score of 715 on the same 1,000 point scale, but managed to skip ahead of Sprint for third place in 2013. Perhaps T-Mobile's "un-carrier"... Read more...
Verizon Communications reported an 8 percent year-over-year increase in wireless service revenues in the fourth quarter of 2013, which was helped in part by adding 1.7 million mobile subscribers. The wireless carrier is now home to 102.8 million total cellular subscribers, bolstering its position as the leading carrier in the U.S. ahead of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Big Red can also continue boasting the most expansive 4G LTE network, which is now available to nearly 305 million people in more than 500 markets across the U.S. That's equivalent to 97 percent of the U.S. population and it includes areas served by the company's LTE in Rural America partners, Verizon said. To take full advantage... Read more...
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