We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.
AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.
In what has to be seen as one of the biggest tech stories of the year, it's finally been announced that Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will be available on China Mobile, the largest cell phone carrier in the world, beginning on January 17, 2014. Both devices will support the China Mobile TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA cellular networks. Interested customers can pre-register for a device beginning December 25th.
“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the release.
It'll definitely be interesting to see what this does for iPhone worldwide marketshare, as China Mobile has 760 million customers.
Despite being the last major carrier to pick up the iPhone, T-Mobile is still seeing massive success thanks to the Apple smartphone. In fact, the company revealed that it has sold over 500,000 iPhone 5 units since the device went on sale on April 12th, less than a month ago. On that day, T-Mobile locations had lines out the door, which is almost unheard of for the carrier. Technically, the iPhone 5 went on sale after the end of the first quarter, so those 500,000 sales weren't accounted for. We will have to wait until next quarter to see how the iPhone is affecting T-Mobile revenue.
Read More | T-Mobile
While Sprint still has a way to go to catch up to the LTE footprint of Verizon and AT&T, the company continues to chug ahead, and today has announced 21 new cities where they've lit up the faster 4G service. If you're in places like Charlotte, North Carolina, Memphis, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California, you should be able to pick up on the LTE network that Sprint has just turned on in your area. With today's additions, that brings Sprint LTE to 88 cities across the USA. Hit the source link for a list of all 21 cities where Sprint just got a whole lot faster.
Read More | Sprint
This morning, T-Mobile finally started selling the iPhone 5, the first iPhone available from the company since the Apple smartphone debuted almost six years ago. Reports of modest lines at various T-Mobile locations across the country have been coming in, which is a good sign for T-Mobile, which rarely sees lines for new devices. Coupled with the its new Uncarrier plans, customers are able to pick up a new T-Mobile iPhone 5 for $99 up front. Switchers are able to trade in a used iPhone 4 or 4S to get the iPhone 5 for free up front, with a $120 credit being applied to the monthly bill as well.
Are you going to go with T-Mobile as your iPhone carrier of choice?
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T-Mobile USA is set to launch the iPhone 5 this Friday, and in anticipation of the long-awaited event, it's offering current iPhone owners a free iPhone 5 if they switch from another carrier. Here's how it works: you bring in your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S between April 12 and June 16, and you get a T-Mobile iPhone 5 at no cost up front, and a $120 credit that you can choose to apply towards your bill, extra accessories, or even an outstanding bill. The iPhone 5 would typically cost $100 up front, and an additional $20 per month over 2 years, so you are basically getting it with no up-front cost, and then a six month break on the monthly fee.
Of course, if you are mid-contract elsewhere, you have your early termination fee to worry about, which might put the kibosh on this one for you. However, if you have a spare iPhone 4 laying around, this could be an easy way to try T-Mobile's new smartphone plans out.
Read More | T-Mobile
I have a bridge to sell you if you think AT&T's announcement had nothing to do with T-Mobile's hard push of its new HD Voice to its upcoming iPhone customers. AT&T Senior VP of Network Technology, Kris Rinne, was chatting it up at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, California. She stated that the telecommunications company will support the HD Voice technology later this year in 2013. Nevermind that smartphones like the iPhone 5 have had HD Voice capabilities since October 2012.
@jason_diaz AT&T never implemented full rate AMR, much less AMR-WB, which is required for HD Voice.— Neal Gompa (ニール・ゴンパ) (@Det_Conan_Kudo) March 27, 2013
Rollout of newer technology has historically been AT&T's Achilles Heel; it took them over a year to include Internet tethering for the iPhone 3GS, despite carriers across the globe supporting it at launch. AT&T finally included the internet tethering, only after the iPhone 4 launched, with several deal breaking caveats such as forfeiting "unlimited" data plans and exorbitant pricing for data that customers are already paying for. On the brighter side, dropped calls will soon be in HD.
Read More | AllThingsD
During this morning's iPhone 5 event, Apple announced that the iPhone 5 would support LTE, and the list of carriers is huge, spanning the globe. In the US, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will all support the new iPhone LTE capabilities. Over in Canada, Bell, Rogers, Fido, Virgin Mobile, Telus, and Koodo are all ready for iPhone 5 LTE action. Where Europe is concerned, T-Mobile and the new EE network in the UK are on board. Asia will see Softbank, SKT, KDDI, KT, SmarTone, and SingTei all offering iPhone 5 LTE connectivity. All that said, get ready for much, much faster LTE data if you happen to live in an LTE-supported area, and watch your data caps!
Check out our iPhone 5 event live coverage!
If you though that the Galaxy Note II was the only giant Android phone we'd be seeing this year, LG has other plans. The LG Intuition will be coming to Verizon Wireless for $200 with two-year contract, and it'll sport 4G LTE compatibility. It's got a huge 5-inch display, dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Verizon will start taking orders online starting tomorrow, while in-store shoppers should see the Intuition in stores on September 10.
The other day we talked about how AT&T charging for FaceTime over Cellular is consumer robbery, and today we've gotten word from Sprint that it agrees, and therefore will not be charging customers extra to use the new iOS 6 feature. When iOS 6 goes public this fall, owners of the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the next-generation iPhone, iPad 2, and the new iPad will all have access to FaceTime when on 3G and LTE connections. According to Sprint, it's "committed to our unlimited data, and that means not charging for data consumption based on the application." Good on them for that. Now we're just waiting on Verizon to make the same move.