Tag Archives | 4G

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

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.)


LightSquared: A New Player in 4G?

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

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

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

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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MetroPCS Sues the FCC Over Net Neutrality

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

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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iPhone: 3G Until 2012?

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…

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