New iPhone case adds NFC for payments

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Apple has, so far, been the only major manufacturer to not adopt NFC. NFC, or Near Field Communication, offers a low-power way to send information between two points. This has made it useful in payments, though it hasn’t yet become a standard in many countries. A new case from Incipio and AT&T hopes to change that, as it adds NFC to the iPhone. (more…)

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T-Mobile will pay your termination fee if you decide to switch

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T-Mobile’s latest “Uncarrier” move means that it may be cheaper than ever to try the carrier out. If you decide to switch from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint, they will pay your early termination fee, up to $350. This is in addition to the maximum of $300 that T-Mobile will offer you for trading in a Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T device.

Ultimately, this makes it easier than ever to try T-Mobile out. This is important, as T-Mobile’s network isn’t fantastic. In some areas, it’s more than acceptable. In others — rural areas, I mean you — the infrastructure is severely lacking, especially compared to Verizon and, to a slightly lesser extent, AT&T. Still, T-Mobile certainly offers some of the best prices on plans, and they’ve put an emphasis on providing excellent service. I’m a T-Mobile prepaid customer, and I love the company — now if only they’d add some more towers and really kick their LTE rollout into overdrive.

[T-Mobile]

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Apple increases OTA app download limit to 100 MB

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Apple released iOS 7 earlier today to much fanfare, but there’s at least one little feature which has seemed to have been quietly introduced on top of the software update itself. Apple now allows users to download App Store apps up to 100 MB over a cellular connection. This limit was 50 MB as of March 2012, and was a measly 20 MB before that.

This is definitely a sign of the times, but I would like to caution those without unlimited data plans–sadly the majority–that you should be careful about App Store downloads. You don’t want to hit your 2, 3, or 5 GB limits too quickly!

[MacRumors]

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T-Mobile Employee Blackout Dates Set for September 20

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According to a new report from TmoNews, T-Mobile is planning to set September 20th through 22nd as employee blackout dates, meaning said employees will be unable to take vacation time during this period. This would, of course, corroborate previous rumors suggesting that this is right around the same time that Apple intends to launch its latest iPhone.

MacRumors notes that it has indeed heard that this time period will likely consist of blackout dates for T-Mobile employees, but the publication has also heard conflicting reports about other carriers such as AT&T and Verizon. These employees are supposedly reporting a blackout period sometime in October.

Last year, Apple launched the iPhone 5 at a media event on September 12. The phone later was publicly released on September 21st. That makes this rumor seem just that much more likely, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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Save Some Money: T-Mobile Offering All Devices for $0 Down

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T-Mobile is quickly becoming the most prominent name in value in the wireless industry. The company has recently offered very cheap plans that are competitive with what other carriers in the US tout.

Today, T-Mobile announced that all of their devices are available for $0 down. This means that you don’t have to pay the typical $199 up front. Instead, the price of the device is paid over the lifetime of the contract — for an iPhone 5, you would be paying $27 a month, in addition to the (relative low) price for the contract.

For many, it’s the best way to get an iPhone 5. However, be sure to check T-Mobile’s coverage map before ordering.

[T-Mobile]

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Jump vs. Edge vs. Next: Smartphone Upgrade Showdown

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have each introduced new early smartphone upgrade programs in Next, Jump and Edge respectively, although all three of the plans involve a myriad of price tiers and other complicated stipulations. Fortunately, the team over at The Verge has put together a chart that shows which plan is the cheapest, based on how much it would cost to purchase the Galaxy S4 on each carrier.

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The results show that T-Mobile has the most affordable upgrade solution, although it really only benefits the end user if they are purchasing a new smartphone every six months. Otherwise, the savings are only in the $100 to $250 range per year. For customers that upgrade their smartphone on an annual basis, or even less than that, these new plans are hardly worth considering.

[The Verge]

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Verizon Activates 3.9 Million iPhones in Second Quarter

iPhone-Verizon

Verizon Wireless announced its financial results for the second quarter on Thursday, adding 971,000 subscribers and activating 3.9 million iPhones between March and June. The mobile carrier posted $5.2 billion in profit on $29.8 billion in revenue, which is split almost evenly with Vodafone.

Verizon activated 7.5 million smartphones and 6.4 million LTE devices this quarter, meaning that the 3.9 million iPhones accounted for 51 percent of the carrier’s smartphone units sold. In other words, the Apple smartphone still plays a very significant role for the mobile provider.  (more…)

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AT&T to Acquire Leap Wireless for $15 Per Share in Cash

AT&T Leap Wireless

AT&T has just announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire prepaid carrier Leap Wireless for $15 per share in cash. AT&T will acquire all Leap Wireless stock and wireless properties, including network assets, retail stores, 3,400 employees, close to 5 million subscribers and more.

Leap Wireless operated the Cricket brand, and its network reached approximately 96 million people across 35 U.S. states. The carrier operated both a 3G and 4G LTE network, with the latter accessible by 21 million people in the United States. Press release follows. (more…)

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T-Mobile Looking to Shake Up Wireless Industry With Fresh Approach

John Legere TMobile CEO

T-Mobile USA might lag behind AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint as the fourth-largest carrier in the United States, with an 11 percent share of the market, but that isn’t deterring the company from completely overhauling the way it does business. With new chief executive John Legere at the helm, alongside recently appointed marketing chief Michael Sievert, T-Mobile is looking to make a splash in the wireless industry with an entirely new approach.

A few days ago, the mobile provider announced the second phase of its “Uncarrier” initiative, highlighted by the introduction of the Jump smartphone upgrade program for new and existing subscribers. In a nutshell, the program allows for customers to upgrade their smartphones up to two times per year after an initial six month waiting period. If you signed up in January, for instance, you could upgrade your handset twice — and whenever you want — between July and December.  (more…)

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