Thinking of unlocking a Verizon Wireless LTE phone for use on AT&T's network, or vice versa? Think again. Verizon Wireless confirmed today that its LTE phones will not "be compatible on other LTE networks in the U.S." because "the phones will be on different frequencies," according to Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney.
The new 4G LTE system used by Verizon, MetroPCS, and soon AT&T runs on SIM cards much like the ones for GSM networks, and GSM phone owners are used to being able to switch phones from network to network, as long as they're unlocked.
But Verizon may be designing its phones to only run on Verizon's very specific wireless frequency, locking out all other possible carriers. Verizon and AT&T both run their LTE networks in the 700-MHz band. But Verizon's network is mostly in 746-787MHz, while AT&T's will be primarily in 704-746MHz. Some Verizon and AT&T spectrum overlaps in an area called the "lower B block," but not much. Verizon could build its phones to exclude AT&T's frequencies, and vice versa.
Whenever there's a major release of Android, Google likes to partner with a manufacturer on the release of a reference device for the platform, and it looks like the Nexus 4G may be that device for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich when it ships later this year. We aren't totally sure that Nexus 4G will be the name of the device, but it will be the fourth-generation Nexus phone that Google fills to the brim with all sorts of goodness. What can we expect from this one? Well, how about a 720p display for starters, with a dual-core 1.2 GHz or 1.5 GHz Snapdragon processor? 4G LTE support point to this one being a Verizon Wireless device (althought it may also launch as the first AT&T 4G LTE device,) and things are rounded out by 1 GB RAM, 1080p video recording, 5 megapixel rear camera, 1 megapixel front camera, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich goodness, all in an ultra-thin package.
Yeah, we know how good this sounds. Just remember, it's a rumor for now, and if it comes to fruition, don't expect to see it until around the September timeframe, right in line with the iPhone 5.
Read More | BGR
What does a wireless carrier do when it expects to cancel its unlimited data plan? Offer a data management service.
Verizon, which said in March that it plans to do away with its unlimited data plans by this summer, launched a Verizon Wireless Usage Controls service on Monday, with the ability to set usage allowances, place restrictions on when kids and other members can use their phones, and even block numbers.
Usage Controls is available for $4.99 per month per line, which is added to a customer's monthly service plan, Verizon said.
"Summer vacation means more time for the youngest customers who use Verizon Wireless phones to send and receive messages, download and use apps and games, surf the Web, and make calls on their cell phones," Verizon said. "But, with a few tools from Verizon Wireless, summertime doesn't have to mean unexpected high wireless bills."
In this episode we review the Samsung SCH-LC11 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. The SCH-LC11 is available from Verizon Wireless, and runs on their 4G LTE network, and also provides a fallback to 3G as well. You can connect up to 5 different devices (laptops, smartphones, and anything else that supports Wi-Fi) to it, all sharing the super-fast 4G connection. ; We also perform a speed test, showing the difference between 3G speeds on an iPhone, versus the iPhone connected to the 4G hotspot over Wi-Fi.
More Apple rumors for you to chew on today! A new research note from Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek suggests that Apple isn't going to be performing a significant upgrade to the connection capabilities of its new, to-be-released iPhone 5—namely, no 4G LTE support.
Whenever the next version of Apple's smartphone hits the market—we're already nearing the one-year anniversary of the iPhone 4's launch with no hint of a new product in sight—Misek suggests that the device will only have incremental upgrades compared to the iPhone 4's specifications. Heck, it's practically keeping the same name.
"We believe the likelihood of the iPhone 5 launch in September including LTE is now remote," wrote Misek in a research note on May 13. "According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support."
The bigger news on Apple's side is Misek's suggestion that the company will be pursuing an expanded carrier lineup for its iPhones. His "industry checks" indicate that Apple will be launching the iPhone on both Sprint and T-Mobile in time for the holidays—remember, although the latter is in the process of being purchased by AT&T, T-Mobile currently remains a separate company from the larger carrier. In other words, no iPhone yet.
Verizon customers now have two 4G Android smartphones to choose from: the HTC Thunderbolt, and the $299.99 Samsung Droid Charge, which is Samsung's first LTE device, and first officially designated Droid device for Verizon. The two cell phones are pretty similar, but not identical. While the HTC Thunderbolt retains a slight edge, you'll be thrilled with either device.
For a limited time, Amazon has slashed the price on the HTC Thunderbolt 4G for new Verizon Wireless customers. The phone, the first on Verizon's LTE network, has been reduced to $129.99 from the usual price of $249.99.
The offer is only good for those new to Verizon, and they must sign a two-year contract. Existing customers looking to upgrade will have to cough up $199.99 for the smartphone.
Verizon sold has sold 260,000 of the Thunderbolt since it launched on March 17, president and CEO of Verizon Telecom and Business Fran Shammo said in a Thursday earnings call. The company has also sold another 250,000 4G LTE Internet devices, Shammo also said.
Amazon's offer is good until midnight pacific time on Monday.
Read More | HTC Thunderbolt sale
This will be the second LTE phone on Verizon's network, following the HTC Thunderbolt. The Droid Charge will be running Android 2.2 and powered by a 1-GHz processor. It will feature a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, as well as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for photos and video chatting.
The Droid Charge's Web browser will support Adobe Flash, and the phone will come loaded with Samsung Media Hub, which features movies and televisions shows to rent or buy.
Verizon claims that users can expect download speeds of 5 – 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 – 5 Mbps when connected to the 4G LTE network. The Droid Charge will also feature a mobile hotspot mode that allows up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to tap into those 4G speeds, or up to five devices to connect when on the 3G network. Even better, Verizon is including the mobile hotspot feature at no additional cost for a limited time.
The Droid Charge will be available in Verizon stores and online for $299.99 with a new two-year contract. Verizon is also offering a $25 credit to the Samsung Media Hub for users purchasing the phone.
Gear Live has tested a number of devices on Verizon's 4G LTE network, and it is indeed fast. We will soon be testing the Droid Charge and will post a full review.
The HTC Thunderbolt is the world's first 4G LTE smartphone. It's available on Verizon Wireless in the US, and also acts as a 4G mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to the 4G signal. It ships with Android 2.2, sports a 4.3-inch display, and even has a kickstand around back. In this video we give you a look at the Thunderbolt, perform a speed test, and also do a speed test comparison with an iPhone 4 on AT&T.
As you'll see, the device is ridiculously fast, especially when compared against an AT&T 3G smartphone like the iPhone 4. The screen looks great, and the phone feels good in your hand. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, this is definitely one to consider, as long as you have a charger in the car and/or at the office, as this thing will eat through a battery like it's nothing. Check the video for the full scoop.
The image above is the result of a speed test using the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon's 4G LTE network in Seattle. Techinically, Gear Live HQ is about a 20 minute drive north of Seattle, so even well outside the border of the metropolitan area, you still see speeds like this. Now, obviously Verizon isn't able to deliver this kind of speed everywhere that LTE is deployed, and as more devices are sold and the network gets more saturated, things will even out...but it shows the obvious potential that LTE has over other 4G technologies like WiMax. Now you can see why AT&T made the decision to buy T-Mobile. They have no way of competing with what Verizon is rolling out currently.