Verizon Wireless announced its long-awaited ZTE AD3700 USB modem on Friday. This modem plugs right in to the USB port of your laptop, and gives you EVDO in the United States and HSPA around the world with 3G service. It launched over the weekend with a price of $79.99, after $50 rebate.
Verizon Wireless announced this morning that their President and CEO, Lowell McAdam, has sent a letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill announcing that “Effective immediately for small wireless carriers…any new exclusivity arrangement we enter with handset makers will last no longer than six months - for all manufacturers and all devices.” At first glance, that’s kind of a big deal. After all, handset exclusivity is something that can be very financially beneficial to a carrier (see AT&T and iPhone as one such example.) So here’s the thing, when you re-read that statement, you discover that this exclusivity thing will still be in effect as it pertains to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. It’s only the small wireless carriers, those with 500,000 customers or less, that will be able to pick up handsets that are exclusive to Verizon Wireless after a six-month period. Still, it’s better than nothing, but the cast majority of non-Verizon Wireless mobile customers won’t benefit from this news.
In other words, this is a blatant attempt by Verizon Wireless to look like the nice guy while the FCC and congressional inquiries into exclusive handset deals proceed. This isn’t much progress at all. It’s just a political play that we can guarantee wouldn’t have happened if lawmakers weren’t taking a peek behind the curtain. What’s more, Verizon is hoping that other carriers will follow their lead with this move, specifically AT&T with the iPhone.
You can see the entire letter after the break.
Read More | Verizon Policy Blog
You know that Slacker streaming radio service that we’re so fond of in these parts? Well, BlackBerry Storm owners will be able to start enjoying Slacker directly on their phones, starting today. Verizon Wireless is pushing the Slacker Radio app to BlackBerry Storm phones, and the app will connect to V CAST as well. If you are listening to a track that is also available on V CAST, you’ll see an icon come up that will let you purchase and download it instantly, without interrupting your flow. If you’re on a BlackBerry Storm, check it out.
No shocker here. Wired.com did their own independent tests to determine the fastest and slowest average 3G network speeds in the US, and Verizon came out on top. The survey included 15,000 participants, with 12,000 of them reporting back with data that was valid and usable for the tests. Verizon clocked in with an average download speed of 1,940 kbps, T-Mobile dropped in at second at 1,793 kbps, Sprint took third at 1,598 kbps, and AT&T was way behind at just 901 kbps. That’s just sad, and very telling when you consider the complaints from many an iPhone user as it pertains to 3G speeds.
Granted, this wasn’t the most scientific of studies, as the test included 8153 AT&T users, compared to just 856 from Verizon, but hey, the info is still useful, right?
Read More | Wired
It looks like Verizon has decided to start offering the BlackBerry Tour to existing customers. Originally, Verizon planned to only offer the Blackberry Tour to new and qualified customers. However, due to all the negative press, it appears that they’ve changed their tune, as their BlackBerry Tour page now states that “existing customers will be able to upgrade or purchase the Blackberry Tour.” They haven’t given any further info on how existing customer upgrades will work, however they say interested customers should come back to the website tomorrow for more information. We are definitely liking the fact that mobile providers seem to finally started to be listening to their customers. As you recall, AT&T changed their iPhone 3GS upgrade policy due to heavy backlash from current iPhone 3G customers who wanted to upgrade immediately.
Writer David Weinberger payed attention to a pamphlet he received from Verizon that informed him that he has only 45 days to opt out of allowing the company to share his personal information. That would include “information created by virtue of your relationship with Verizon Wireless,” including “services purchased including specific calls you make and receive, billing info, technical info and location info.” They promise to only share this with “affiliates, agents and parent companies.”
You might want to check your latest accompanying paperwork from the company and call 1-800-333-9956 or check your status online. After being put on hold for doing just that, David was told to go to the My Profile tab in My Verizon, click Phone controls, and he would find the link.
Read More | JOHO
LG’s Versa will be available on Verizon Wireless as of March 1. It features an animated 3-inch touchscreen interface, an HTML browser with Flash and RSS feed support, a built-in accelerometer and the ability to keep open 3 windows at once. Best of all, the phone features a removable QWERTY keyboard. The Versa comes with V CAST Music with Rhapsody and V CAST Video and a USB cable to download content. You can pick one up for $199.99 after a $50.00 rebate and 2-year agreement.
Read More | MobileCrunch
We know a lot of you guys have been waiting for this one, so it brings us joy to share with you that Slacker Internet Radio has finally come to the BlackBerry Storm. We’ve proclaimed our love for Slacker in the past, and we’ve been enjoying it ourselves on the iPhone. This is good news to lovers of Internet radio, who also just happen to rock the Storm. You can grab it by firing up your web browser on the phone, and heading over to slacker.com. We’ve got the full release after the break for you. Also, be on the lookout, we are going to be giving away 10 Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions later today - stay tuned.
Barack Obama continues to reach the hearts of minds of the nation’s younger citizens, and you just have to look at the way technology is being used as proof. My pal John Czwartacki from Verizon just shared an interesting piece of info - Verizon Wireless DC customers sent and received 2.9 million SMS messages between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm yesterday, during the inauguration. That’s a lot of tap-typing. To give an idea of reference, that is more than three times the number os texts sent last week during the same four hour timeframe.
Read More | CZ
The rumor mill has been buzzing today with whispers that Apple may be readying a CDMA version of the iPhone, which would have EVDO support. So, when would this one be announced? Apparently, at MacWorld 2009 in January. Unfortunately, we are gonna have to call shenanigans on this one. After all, Verizon Wireless was supposed to get the iPhone originally, but were too wrapped up in a traditional cell carrier mindset to see that it would be a boon to their business. Then, AT&T came in and signed a multi-year exclusivity contract in the USA. Plus, it’s not like Apple needs more distribution for the iPhone to make it a success, it’s doing just fine. We think they’d rather focus their iPhone staff on the next iteration of the phone, rather than going sideways to make one that will work on Verizon’s network. Sure, we could be wrong, but…nah…we don’t think so.
Read More | 9to5Mac
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