AT&T just announced that it had come to an agreement with Leap Wireless, operator of the Cricket pre-paid mobile brand, to acquire the company for $15 per share in a cash deal. The purchase includes all Leap Wireless assets, which brings all 5 million Leap subscribers into the fold at AT&T. Aside from giving AT&T more spectrum and more customers, it also increases its retail store footprint. Full release after the break.
As many of you know, the iPhone 5 was only released to eight countries on September 21st: US, Canada, Australia, Japan, UK, Hong Kong, Germany and Singapore. Well, here's a bit of good news for those who live outside those areas. Apple, as promised, is about to set loose the iPhone 5 in your native shores on September 28th. Here's the list:
"iPhone 5 will roll out worldwide to 22 more countries on September 28, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland." - Apple
Also included in the 28th iPhone 5 launch rollout, some local regional markets like, Cricket Communication, GCI, Cellcom, Appalachian Wireless, Bluegrass Cellular and C Spire Wireless.
Be sure to check out Gear Live's iPhone 5 review.
Read More | Apple
Ever since AT&T killed its prepaid plans for the iPhone, we've been waiting for another US carrier to step up, and now Cricket is ready to bring the prepaid love back to Apple's smartphone. Beginning on June 22nd, Cricket will sell the iPhone alongside a $55 month-to-month plan that brings unlimited voice, text, and data with it. No need for a contract. You can choose from a 16 GB iPhone 4S for $500 or an 8 GB iPhone 4 for $400, and that unlimited data actually tops out at 2.3 GB (which is actually a limit.) Still, this frees you from having to be stuck in a two-year contract.
Read More | Cricket Pre-Paid iPhone Plan
Yes, you can get a free cell phone with government assistance. If you make very little money, or you're part of other federal programs such as public housing, food stamps, SSI, or Medicaid, you can get a free mobile phone paid for by a fee on everyone else's phone bills.
This program has been around for years. According to the FCC, the government has been subsidizing landlines since 1984; the program, now called LifeLine, added mobile phones in 1997. LifeLine was enhanced in 2005 during the Bush administration, and TracFone's SafeLink, the first purely free LifeLine phone brand, started disbursing free phones in 2008.
"The telecoms haven't done a very good job promoting LifeLine, and the penetration rates have been dismal," said Jose Fuentes, Tracfone's director of government relations. TracFone operates SafeLink.
LifeLine is funded by the Universal Service Fund, which you see as a surcharge on your phone bill. Established by a 1996 law, the USF makes sure that people who live in rural and low-income areas, as well as schools and libraries can get phone service. It doesn't make a distinction between wired and wireless phones; you can get a subsidy for either, but you have to choose one.
I believe that there is an entire generation that uses their mobile phone for text messages only, and it would appear that Cricket is prepared for it with the TXTM8.
The TXTM8, or text-mate, is a messaging phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. Don’t ask me where that keyboard is in this picture (we’re guessing slider,) but I’m told that it also comes with a customizable homescreen that allows users access to web content such as news and weather. Other features include a 1.3 Megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, a music player, and microSD slot.
Interested? The Cricket TXTM8 is available now for a price of $140.
Read More | Cricket TXTM8
Cricket subscribers can finally get the Motorola Evoke QA4, the company’s first touchscreen. It features a 2.8-inch WQVGA 240 x 480 display, a full HTML browser, SMS and email access, a widget-based customizable screen, GPS, Bluetooth compatibility and 256MB internal storage with microSD expansion. At a size of 108 x 50.5 x 17.5mm, it also has a 2 megapixel cam with 5x zoom, a full QWERTY keyboard and a price of $279.99 after Web discount and a $15.00 monthly charge for 3G HTML.
Read More | Cricket