Technologizer posts about 4G

Motorola Xoom’s 4G Upgrade Shows Up Late With No Apologies

By  |  Posted at 3:06 pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Verizon Wireless’ 4G upgrade for the Motorola Xoom tablet was supposed to arrive during the second quarter of this year. It will finally be available Thursday, two days before the fourth quarter begins.

The upgrade process from 3G to 4G is inconvenient. Xoom owners must ship their tablets away for six business days, and are encouraged to back up any personal information on the device before shipping.

But buyers knew about the hassle going in. What they didn’t know was that Verizon Wireless and Motorola wouldn’t be good for their word. First, the upgrade date slipped to the late summer, and then September, with neither company saying it was sorry for the wait. And then Motorola and Verizon have the gall to put out a cheery press release that acts as if the delay never happened.

I agree with Computerworld’s JR Raphael, who wrote on Twitter that Xoom owners deserve some free credit, a free accessory, or at the very least, an apology. But I’m not surprised that Xoom owners are getting nothing. This is, as Harry put it, the era of beta hardware. Gadget makers have no qualms about selling unfinished products with vague promises of eventual fixes. If you get fooled into buying a half-baked Android tablet, well, shame on you.

(UPDATE: The Xoom 4G upgrade page says users who upgrade now can get a free dock–a $35 value–”while supplies last.” The offer wasn’t mentioned in the press release or on the upgrade page until it went live on Thursday, but it does take some of the sting out, provided there are enough docks to go around. Thanks to commenter Steve Landsberg for pointing it out.)



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LightSquared: A New Player in 4G?

By  |  Posted at 2:02 pm on Friday, April 15, 2011

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In a time where we seem to be increasingly concerned with the state of wireless competition, a new player may be emerging hoping to shake up the space. LightSquared hopes to make its mark by selling 4G broadband to companies looking to add wireless connectivity to their products and is poised to begin a nationwide rollout., PC World’s Paul Kapustka reports.

The company certainly has the backing necessary: investment from billionaire Philip Falcone and its own spectrum. However, it needs partners and is rumored to be in talks with Sprint Nextel over a tower sharing deal. Service could begin as soon as the end of 2011, and Best Buy will resell its service beginning sometime next year.

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Verizon’s First LTE Hotspot Goes on Sale

By  |  Posted at 10:06 am on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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Ready for some 4G hotspot goodness? Verizon has begun selling its Samsung LTE router on its website, available for $99.99 after a $50 online instant rebate and with a two-year service plan. The device is 3G backwards-compatible, so in areas where Verizon’s LTE network is not available yet you’ll still have data access.

Up to five devices can share a connection using the MiFi-like device, and it supports 802.11b,g, and n. It’s also VPN capable.

The unit is not the first to allow the sharing of Verizon LTE data connections via Wi-Fi–that honor goes to the HTC Thunderbolt. However, in order to use the data feature you’re going to need to have a plan that supports it, increasing the monthly cost of ownership.

Of course, the price of admission onto Verizon’s LTE towers isn’t cheap. The Samsung hotspot requires a data plan at $50/mo, which gives you 5GB of bandwidth each month. But if you’re truly using this as a hotspot, that cost spread out over several devices sounds more reasonable.



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Why Wireless Carriers Both Promote and Dread 4G

By  |  Posted at 9:00 am on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Here at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says that with the planned summer launch of HTC’s 3D EVO and 4G EVO tablet, Sprint will have 22 4G devices, more than any of its rivals. Verizon says it will bring its 4G LTE network to 147 markets by year’s end, while AT&T is simultaneously building out its HSPA network while preparing to launch its LTE network later this year.

No question, 4G is the next mobile battleground for what shapes up to be a smaller field of national carriers. But at a day of sessions on the subject (sponsored by Fierce Wireless, which among other things publishes a first-rate daily newsletter on the wireless industry), the dominant theme seemed to be that the carriers may not be ready to deal with the enormous bandwidth demands their fast devices and networks will inevitably produce.

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T-Mobile Launching 42Mbps Service in Three Markets

By  |  Posted at 10:52 pm on Monday, March 21, 2011

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What merger? T-Mobile is doing exactly what it promised — moving on regardless of Sunday’s merger news. Data junkies will salivate at this one: the carrier has announced the first cities to get its 42Mbps network upgrade.

Now do you understand why AT&T wanted the carrier so much?

New York City, Las Vegas, and Orlando would be the first cities to see the high-speed service. Chicago will follow soon after along with the Long Island, NY and northern New Jersey. These speed boosts would “theoretically” double maximum speeds in these areas, and it expects by mid year to have increased speeds in about 25 markets covering some 140 million people.

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Farhad Manjoo hates MetroPCS’s first 4G phone, the Samsung Craft.

Posted by Harry at 7:50 pm

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MetroPCS Sues the FCC Over Net Neutrality

By  |  Posted at 5:32 pm on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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Doesn’t it seem like those working against net neutrality are the companies who’d lose the most from it? MetroPCS has joined Verizon in fighting back the FCC over the issue, filing its own suit Tuesday in the DC Court of Appeals, the same place Verizon sued the agency in last week. Like its much bigger competitor, MetroPCS is questioning if the FCC has the authority to regulate ISPs’ network management.

The carrier recently launched its 4G services using LTE. It was criticized by many following the launch, as MetroPCS decided to selectively block some applications. Such activities would be in direct violation of the FCC’s planned regulation when it comes to net neutrality, and would require the company to change the way it does business.

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I subscribe to Verizon Wireless’s 3G data service, and never approach my 5GB limit. So I looked at the fact that the company’s new LTE plans are capped as no big deal. But PCMag.com’s Sascha Segan explains why capped LTE is not the same thing as capped 3G.

Posted by Harry at 8:48 am

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Sprint Plans a Bevy of 4G Devices, But Where’s the Galaxy Tab 4G?

By  |  Posted at 11:32 am on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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While boldly talking up intentions for more phones, PCs, and sundry other 4G devices in New York City this week, Sprint also issued a press release announcing that its edition of Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet will be available nationwide on November 14 for $400, with a choice of two 3G wireless plans.

“We will have a lot more 4G devices,” Sprint VP of Business Marketing Tom Roberts told me on Monday at a customer and press launch event for Sprint’s 4G services, now set to start November 1 in the New York City metro area.

With WiMax rollouts also slated for San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston some time in the near future, Sprint and its partner Clearwire will have penetrated more than half of the major US metro markets by the end of this year, said Roberts.

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I don’t know whether TechCrunch’s Steve Cheney has it right when he says there will be no 4G iPhone in 2011, but it sounds at least as plausible as a scenario that does involve a 4G iPhone shipping next year. (The original 2G iPhone, after all, appeared well after 3G models had become quite common, which is one reason why I didn’t buy one.)

Cheney’s other prediction–that Apple will release a dual-mode iPhone that works worldwide on both GSM and CDMA networks–is an utter wild card, but one that I like…

Posted by Harry at 1:43 pm

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Clear Joins Prepaid Wireless Broadband Fray

By  |  Posted at 9:44 pm on Thursday, September 16, 2010

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These days, every wireless provider seems to be doing prepaid wireless broadband, and Clear is no exception. The company has introduced Rover, an offering that it tells me is aimed at the “MTV Generation” through both its marketing and branding. While the company does offer a contract free product for postpaid customers, its still a monthly plan that is the same cost as its contracted offering.

Rover is a little different in how it measures out its various plans. Instead of using the megabyte, all prepaid plans are for unlimited use. The catch here is that its by the day, week, or month: once you run out of time, you have to buy a new block.

Pricing is fairly competitive. A day will set you back about $5, while a week costs $20, and a month $50. This may work better for some of us — instead of guessing how much data we need, instead we can plan out for a period of time that we’d need data access.

The Rover Puck (shown above) is the $149.99 piece of equipment you’ll need to make it all happen. The device will let up to eight users share the connection, but Clear is also offering the Stick, a $99 USB modem intended for a single user. A little more expensive than other offerings like Virgin Mobile’s Broadband2Go, however if you are in Clear’s coverage area and speed matters, it will be a much faster connection.



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Engadget’s Chris Ziegler has reviewed Sprint’s Epic 4G, the second 4G phone, and the first with a physical keyboard. It’s based on Samsung’s Galaxy S platform, also available in various forms–but not with a keyboard–from other carriers. He pretty much raves about the thing. Engadget got close four hours of life using the Epic as a 4G hotspot, which sounds impressive; it hasn’t done traditional battery testing yet, though. (Iffy battery life is the biggest gotcha with Sprint’s EVO 4G, so it’s an important point.)

Posted by Harry at 11:01 am

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Sprint’s Supply Issues May Erase 4G Advantage

By  |  Posted at 1:49 pm on Monday, July 12, 2010

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For a carrier that made so much of being the first to 4G, it’s own issues with keeping 4G handsets in stock may end up costing it the lead in the race towards faster wireless speeds. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was surprising candid about the company’s issues in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that appeared in Monday’s edition.

About 300,000 units of the EVO 4G have already sold since its early June release, and phone manufacturer HTC is having trouble keeping up with demand. Now Sprint cannot even promise a solid ship date to customers attempting to purchase it online, and good luck trying to find it in its retail stores.

Another 4G-compatible phone is on the way, dubbed “The Epic”, but is likely not going to be available for several months. That doesn’t help Sprint at all.

These issues likely mean that Sprint will only have a few months of lead time before competitors start turning on their own 4G networks. Verizon should start rolling out its LTE network in select cities by the end of the year, and AT&T plans to begin offering 4G services in 2011. T-Mobile, while far behind in 3G, has been rumored to move straight to its own 4G plans next year as well in a bid to stay competitive.

EVO 4G supply issues aren’t HTC’s only problem, as it has multiple phones in its portfolio that are doing well. Verizon’s Droid Incredible is another example. These shortages are not even the company’s fault: it lies in the parts necessary to build the phone which HTC doesn’t produce itself, such as the touch screen.

One thing is clear: the next several months will be critical for Sprint. If it cannot get its act together soon, it will once again find itself ceding ground to its rivals. A shame for a company who a year ago seemed so far ahead.



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Verizon Wireless’s New Plan: So Long Unlimited Data, Hello Buckets?

By  |  Posted at 5:28 pm on Thursday, May 27, 2010

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Remember the bad old days, before the advent of unlimited wireless data plans? Well unfortunately, with the vaunted arrival of 4G, it looks like those times might be returning if Verizon Wireless has its way. At the Barclays Capital conference in New York City this week, Verizon Wireless’s CEO Lowell McAdam said he hopes to ditch unlimited plans entirely on the company’s upcoming 4G LTE network, charging instead for “buckets” of megabytes.

McAdam also noted that, after the release of the first LTE-enabled device, Verizon anticipates using its 4G LTE network for voice starting in 2011. It remains unclear, however, whether Verizon’s LTE will also spell the end of unlimited voice calling plans.

Meanwhile, big carriers haven’t even been waiting for 4G to get here before doing whatever they can to increase people’s phone bills. A survey released this week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that one in six mobile phone users has been hit by “bill shock,” or an unanticipated hike in their monthly service fee not caused by a change in their calling plan. The majority–or 52 percent–of these “shocks” added $25 or more to the consumer’s monthly bill, with the hikes amounting to $100 or more 23 percent of the time.

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