Hey, look here—turns out AT&T and following Verizon in the decision to raise early termination fees for smartphone customers. The new fee will be a whopping $352 if you opt to cancel your contract early, although for each month of active service, that will decrease by $10. Technically, AT&T says this change is for customers who select “advanced, higher-end devices, including netbooks and smartphones.” Hold up, so now netbooks are higher end devices? The most ridiculous part of all this is that today the current ETF is “just” $175, so this is a marked and significant increase. If you are instead opting for a basic feature phone, the ETF will actually be less, dropping to $150. Now, if you are a current customer, your contract won’t just flip over, but you can bet your bottom dollar than when you next upgrade your phone, or if you pick up that iPhone Pro next month, you’ll pick up the new terms. A conspiracy theorist might say that this is AT&Ts method of locking customers in, what with the iPhone heavily rumored to be hitting Verizon this fall. Interested in seeing how the company is spinning this one? Click on over to their “open letter to valued customers” that we have linked below.
Read More | AT&T
So check this out, we’ve been waiting for iPhone tethering since the original device, and when Apple built tethering into iPhone OS 3.0, we figured that was where our dreams would turn to reality—but of course, in the US, this is AT&T we’re dealing with, which means…we are still waiting a year later. However, in the just-released iPhone OS 4.0 beta 4, there’s finally an option to enable tethering, and when you tap it, you are instructed to contact AT&T at 611 or to visit the AT&T website to add tethering to your account.
Obviously, there’s been progress here. Still, no word from AT&T as to when they will give us tethering. Also interesting that this news comes well after the launch of the iPad 3G, as we’re sure that many iPhone owners that bought the 3G model of the iPad would have just gone with a Wi-Fi model if they knew tethering was around the corner, right?
Read More | MacRumors
A few days ago we were hearing whispers that AT&T might be bumping up the upgrade eligibility dates for current iPhone customers in anticipation of the next model (iPhone Pro? iPhone HD?) At the time, I logged in to my account, and saw that my upgrade date had not changed, and that it was still going to be sometime in July. Earlier this morning I logged in again, and as you can see, my upgrade eligibility date is now June 23, 2010. The only reason I could see AT&T making this change, which they’ve been doing on a massive scale for current iPhone owners, is so that they will be able to get upgrade pricing on the next model. The benefit there of course is they get to lock them in for another 2-year contract at a time where the iPhone may be coming to other networks. Either way, this is definitely a step in the right direction, compared to last year’s AT&T iPhone upgrade debacle, where the company caved to subscriber pressure for upgrade eligibility to the iPhone 3GS from the 3G.
Those of you hoping for a Verizon iPhone HD this summer, it looks like you are out of luck. Thanks to the extremely flexible and decently-priced iPad 3G data plans that AT&T is offering, Apple decided to throw them a bone and extend the AT&T iPhone exclusive agreement until the start of 2011. Many expected that the iPad would support Verizon, and according to Broadpoint AmTech tech analyst Brian Marshall, AT&T needed to do something drastic to hang on to the iPhone OS devices. Turns out, that drastic step was the iPad 3G data plan pricing structure.
So now, AT&T gets to keep the iPhone until 2011. Let’s hope they can do whatever they need to do over the next 7 months or so to prove they deserve it. We wouldn’t hold our breath.
Read More | Business Insider
So the 3G iPad is set to launch this Friday at 5:00 PM, and AT&T has finally got on the ball and given full details on how their 3G data plan for the iPad will work. First order of business, you get two data plans that work in the US - the charges are automatically billed on a monthly basis, but you can start and stop that at any time right from the iPad 3G, and both options are contract-free:
- $14.99 per month for 250 MB
- $29.99 per month for unlimited data
- Unlimited access – no added cost – to AT&T’s 20,000+ Wi-Fi Hot Spots
That third one is a nice bonus. Basically, if you have an active iPad 3G subscription, then you get access to any AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot at no additional cost. The plans renew every 30 days, which starts on the date and time of the purchase, and charges appear like normal on your credit card bill. You can make changes to your plan at any time, which starts a new 30 day window. To manage all this, you go to the Cellular Data area under Settings on the iPad.
For those of you thinking about starting out with that $14.99 250MB plan, the iPad will actually alert you when you’ve got 20 percent of your data left, then again at 10, and finally once more at zero. As each alert pops up, you have the option to add more data, if you so choose.
Read More | At&T
BlackBerry is finally looking to bring something even better to their consumer handset line than the BlackBerry Pearl (which has been around for over three years now,) and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G looks to be a worthy follow-up. This will be the first BlackBerry, Pearl or otherwise, to sport 802.11n Wi-Fi, and it will also boast a 3.2 megapixel camera, 256MB storage (with microSD expansion up to 32GB,) GPS, and a 360 x 400 display. Even more interesting is that, aside from the multiple colors you can choose from, you also get to choose between two difference keyboard layouts. You get the numberic 14-key or the SurePress 20-key. You’ll be able to get a BlackBerry Pearl 3G sometimes in May, likely from both AT&T and T-Mobile.
Read More | BlackBerry Pearl 3G
AT&T is finally ready to do something about the horrible reception that so many of us have been experiencing, as they are finally set to make the 3G Microcell available nationwide starting next month. The 3G Microcell is a femtocell unit that connects to your home broadband network. It acts pretty much like a mini cell phone tower, located in your home, and gives you five bars of coverage within 5,000 feet. Since it connects to your broadband network, it uses that to send and receive voice and data. It works with any AT&T 3G phone, and supports up to four voice or data users at one time. Only phones that you specifically allow to use your Microcell can benefit from it, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors stealing your 3G signal. You can grant access to the device to up to a total of 10 lines.
The 3G Microcell will cost $149.99, but there will be a $100 mail-in rebate. So that is a $50 one-time cost to get a perfect AT&T 3G signal in your home. Yeah, it’s AT&T’s job to make sure all that happens anyway, but realistically, they don’t. That said, we think this is a nice value. No monthly fees to use the device, unless you want to subscribe to an Unlimited Microcell Calling plan, which basically lets you use the Microcell as much as you’d like, without affecting your calling minutes.
Read More | At&T 3G Microcell
I’ve been playing with the Sprint Overdrive 4G mobile hotspot device that the company sent me a few weeks ago, and I’ve gotta say, this thing has come in handy way more often than I thought it would. So much so, in fact, that I find it to be an essential tool and I carry it around in my left jacket pocket everywhere I go at this point, and charge it over USB when I am in the car driving somewhere. I’ll be giving a few examples of how the 4G Overdrive device has come in handy over the next few days, but I wanted to start with this one because I know so many iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS owners out there that cry to the heavens to be saved from the vile clutches of AT&T and their constant network FAIL.
Looks like Google is finally ready to be serious with the Nexus One. As of today, the device is fully compatible with AT&T 3G, as well as Canada’s Rogers Wireless 3G bands. Previously, you could use the Nexus One with those carriers, but you wouldn’t be able to get 3G speeds, so you were relegated to the much slower EDGE network. You can purchase the new model, which is the same as the upcoming Verizon and currently available T-Mobile Nexus One units in every other way, as an unlocked device without a service plan, directly from Google for $529.
Read More | Nexus One product page
Just a quick update as it pertains to downloading iTunes and App Store content on your iPhone. If you are connected via cell connection (meaning, you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi,) you can now download content that’s up to 20MB in size over the air. Previously, the downloads were capped to apps that were 10MB or less, and iTunes content 12MB or less. With the iPad looming on the horizon, it looks like Apple is pre-emptively preparing for apps that are larger in file size that users would want to download to their tablets while connected to 3G. The changes have taken effect so far in in the US, Germany, and Canada.
Read More | 9to5 Mac