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Republic Wireless opening up reservation system next week in advance of summer beta program

Friday, April 13th, 2012
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We’ve already known that Republic Wireless was planning to reopen the beta program for its hybrid WiFi / cellular service this summer, and the company has now finally detailed exactly how that beta will take place. For starters, it’ll only be open to those who have already signed up to the company’s email list or tried to place an order when that option was available last November, but that’s still not a guarantee to get in. Starting next week, those folks will receive an email with details on how to take part in the company’s online reservation system, after which you’ll then have a week to claim a spot in one of the beta waves that will be rolling out over the course of the summer. Still no word on that new handset that was also promised for April, but you can find all the details on the beta program at the link below.

[Thanks, Andy]

Republic Wireless opening up reservation system next week in advance of summer beta program originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 13 Apr 2012 23:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google testing MVNO waters, preparing to battle carriers

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Google may be preparing to take its mobile efforts to the next level as it tests a Google-branded MVNO in Spain. Unconfirmed reports accompanied by photos of a Google SIM card and a Nexus S running on a “Google_Es” network suggest that Google is toying with the idea of becoming a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or a company that provides cellular service by leasing capacity from existing wireless carriers and piggybacking on their networks. The photos suggest that testing is in the late stages as Google has already printed branded SIM cards, which have reportedly been delivered to Google Spain employees for testing. Additional details are scarce for the time being, but a Google-branded MVNO with deep Google Voice integration and a portfolio of Android devices from its potential Motorola acquisition could give the tech giant unprecedented control over the user experience. There is currently no firm indication that Google is testing similar services in other markets. Additional images follow below.


[Via cellular-news]

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AT&T reportedly offering top customers with poor coverage free MicroCells

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

According to a purported internal communication, AT&T will soon offer free MicroCells to certain customers experiencing poor service due to coverage issues. Pre-selected eligible customers “identified as likely to experience poor in-building coverage at home or in small offices” will receive the offer, which will entitle them each to a free 3G MicroCell with no monthly fees attached. The MicroCell and service will remain free unless its recipient chooses to cancel his or her cellular service within a year, in which case an equipment fee of $199.99 will apply — less $16.67 for each month since taking receipt of the MicroCell. According to the document, only AT&T’s “top 7.5% of 3G wireless customers” with ongoing service issues will receive the offer. AT&T’s 3G MicroCell is a femtocell that essentially acts as a local cell tower. Customers in poor coverage areas can connect their cell phones to the MicroCell via 3G and use it to funnel voice and data service over the land-based Internet connection in their homes or offices.

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MetroPCS lowers price of unlimited LTE talk and data plan to $40

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Say what you will about U.S. prepaid wireless provider MetroPCS, but they are leading the way in value-based 4G cellular service plans. Today, via a press release, the company announced that it is lowering the price of its unlimited talk, text, and web LTE plans to just $40 per month.

  • The $40 service plan offers unlimited talk, text, 4G Web browsing with unlimited YouTube access.
  • The $50 service plan includes the same unlimited talk, text, 4G Web services and unlimited YouTube access as the$40 plan. Additional features include international and premium text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation with MetroNAVIGATOR(TM), ScreenIT, mobile instant messaging, corporate e-mail and 1 GB of additional data access, with premium features available through MetroSTUDIO(TM) when connected via Wi-Fi, including audio capabilities to listen and download music and access to preview and trial video content.
  • The $60 service plan provides the same premium features as the $50 plan, plus unlimited data access and MetroSTUDIO premium content such as 18 video-on-demand channels and audio downloads.

“Our customers told us they wanted more video, more sharing of their content and more Web browsing capabilities – they want to have it all with the value and no annual contract that only MetroPCS can deliver,” said the company’s president and CEO, Roger D. Linquist. “Our 4G LTE network can deliver unlimited voice and mobile broadband data services and, with these new service plans, consumers are in the driver’s seat on how much additional data access and real-time entertainment content they want to pay for on a monthly basis.”

MetroPCS currently offers LTE service in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and San Francisco with plans to expand to Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa in the near future.

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Clearwire to launch pay-as-you-go service?

Friday, August 27th, 2010

A recent SEC filing seems to indicate that WiMax provider Clearwire is planning a new, pay-as-you-go cellular data service. The filing reads, Clearwire “plans to serve a new pay-as-you-go customer segment.” It’s unclear exactly what Clearwire has planned — if anything — but analysts speculate the move was prompted by MetroPCS’ impending entry into the pre-paid 4G market place. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has said that his company has considered offering pre-paid 4G data services, but has yet to make a move; Sprint is the majority owner of Clearwire. Clearwire’s network is resold by Best Buy, Comcast, Sprint, and Time Warner; it is unclear how this move will affect the services offered by those companies.

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Apple confirms it signed a 5-year iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T

Monday, May 10th, 2010

iPhone_3GS

Three years. That’s how long it took for the world to get confirmation that the iPhone exclusivity deal Apple signed with AT&T back in 2007 was good for 5-years. Here’s how the info came about. Back in 2008, Apple’s legal team was in a courtroom in San Jose fending off a lawsuit which alleged that it was benefiting from an illegal monopoly over the iPhone, saying that AT&T’s 5-year exclusivity would really require iPhone owners to re-sign with AT&T for an additional 3-years after their initial 2-year contract had expired. This, in part, was Apple’s response:

[...] there was widespread disclosure of [AT&T's] five-year exclusivity and no suggestion by Apple or anyone else that iPhones would become unlocked after two years. In fact, the iPhone box itself disclosed to the prospective purchaser that a “[s]ervice plan with AT&T [would be] required for cellular network capabilities on expiration of initial new two-year agreement.” This at-purchase information was more than enough disclosure to put consumers on notice that they might never have a choice of cellular service for their iPhone, and to thus preclude a Kodak-type aftermarket.

Moreover, it is sheer speculation –- and illogical -– that failing to disclose the five-year exclusivity term would produce monopoly power, i.e., would allow Apple, a brand new entrant in cell phones, to “exert raw power in the aftermarket without regard for commercial consequences in the foremarket.”

The only question now is whether or not the contract is still valid. As Engadget’s Nilay Patel points out, “Contracts can be canceled, amended, and breached in many ways, and AT&T’s spotty recent service history plus the explosion of the iPhone and the mobile market in general have given Apple any number of reasons to revisit the deal. In addition, the two companies obviously hit the negotiating table again to hammer out the iPad’s pricing plans, and there’s no way of knowing whether that deal involves the iPhone as well. But it’s nice to finally know for certain that AT&T’s initial iPhone exclusivity period was booked until 2012 — now we just have to see if all this recent chatter means something’s changed.”

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