Archive for the ‘verizon’ Category

Verizon refuses to admit that its “first to 5G” commercials are misleading

March 26th, 2019
A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

The advertising industry's self-regulatory division has urged Verizon to stop claiming that it has America's first 5G network, but Verizon claims that its "first to 5G" commercials are not misleading and is appealing the decision.

The National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit managed by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, announced its recommendation to Verizon last week. The NAD investigated after a challenge lodged by AT&T, which has been misleading customers itself by renaming large portions of its 4G network to "5G E." But AT&T's challenge of Verizon's 5G ads was "the first case involving advertising for 5G" to come before the self-regulatory body, the NAD said.

Specifically, AT&T challenged three Verizon commercials that included claims that Verizon is "first to 5G" and that it has launched America's "only 5G ultra wideband network." While "ultra wideband" does refer to real radio technology, it's more of a marketing term when Verizon uses it in the context of 5G. Verizon doesn't even always use that qualifier to describe its future 5G service—at one point, this commercial says Verizon is "building America's first 5G network" without the ultra wideband language.

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Posted in 5G, 5g e, AT&T, Biz & IT, verizon | Comments (0)

AT&T’s “5G E” is actually slower than Verizon and T-Mobile 4G, study finds

March 22nd, 2019
Screenshot from an AT&T commercial showing text that reads,

Enlarge / Screenshot from an AT&T commercial. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T's "5G E" service is slightly slower than Verizon's and T-Mobile's advanced 4G LTE networks, a study by OpenSignal has found.

As Ars readers know, AT&T renamed a large portion of its 4G network, calling it "5G E," for "5G Evolution." If you see a 5G E indicator on an AT&T phone, that means you're connected to a portion of AT&T's 4G LTE network that supports standard LTE-Advanced features such as 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and three-way carrier aggregation. All four major carriers have rolled out LTE-Advanced. But while Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile accurately call it 4G, AT&T calls it 5G E.

Sprint sued AT&T, alleging that AT&T is gaining an unfair advantage by making false and misleading claims to consumers.

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Posted in 4G, 5G, 5g e, AT&T, Biz & IT, LTE, lte-advanced, Policy, Sprint, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

Yes, 5G will cost you more—Verizon plans $10 add-on charge for 5G access

March 13th, 2019
A giant Verizon 5G logo in an expo hall.

Enlarge (credit: Verizon)

Verizon will launch its 5G mobile service in April, but it will only be available in two cities at first, and customers will have to pay an extra $10 a month to access it.

One bit of good news is that Verizon won't apply throttling (or "de-prioritization") to the 5G service, but that may change later on, and slowdowns will continue to apply to Verizon's existing 4G service.

Verizon today announced that its 5G network will go live on April 11 in "select areas of" Chicago and Minneapolis and eventually hit "more than 30" US cities in 2019. To use the 5G service at launch, you'll have to pay $50 for "the Verizon-exclusive 5G Moto Mod," which can be attached to a Motorola Moto Z3, a phone that Verizon sells for $480.

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Verizon says phone-sale fraud is up, wants to lock new phones to fight it

February 25th, 2019
A combination lock sitting on top of a smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Peter Dazeley)

Verizon—the only major US mobile carrier that routinely sells unlocked 4G LTE phones to consumers—last week asked for government permission to lock its phones for 60 days after purchase.

An unlocked phone can be used by a consumer on any carrier's network (as long as the phone and network are compatible), while a locked phone can only be used with the carrier that applied the lock. Verizon's phones are unlocked because of open-access rules the Federal Communications Commission applied to 700MHz spectrum that Verizon bought at auction in 2008.

That could change if the FCC grants Verizon's request to let the carrier lock phones for 60 days in order to deter fraud when people buy phones on payment plans that require little or no down payment.

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Posted in Biz & IT, phone unlocking, Policy, verizon | Comments (0)

Texas lawmaker wants to ban mobile throttling in disaster areas

February 11th, 2019
The Texas state flag.

Enlarge / Texas' state flag. (credit: Getty Images | CGinspiration)

A Texas lawmaker is proposing a state law that would prohibit wireless carriers from throttling mobile Internet service in disaster areas.

Bobby Guerra, a Democratic member of the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives, filed the bill last week. "A mobile Internet service provider may not impair or degrade lawful mobile Internet service access in an area subject to a declared state of disaster," the bill says. If passed, it would take effect on September 1, 2019.

The bill, reported by NPR affiliate KUT, appears to be a response to Verizon's throttling of an "unlimited" data plan used by Santa Clara County firefighters during a wildfire response in California last year. But Guerra's bill would prohibit throttling in disaster areas of any customer, not just public safety officials.

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Posted in Biz & IT, Policy, santa clara firefighters, Texas, throttling, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon caves, won’t charge “spam” fee for texts from teachers to students

January 25th, 2019
A smartphone with a Verizon logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images )

Verizon has decided not to charge a new fee that would have forced the shutdown of a free texting service used by teachers, students, youth sports coaches, and other community groups.

Remind, a company that offers both free and paid communication services for teachers and other users, declared victory today. That's a big change from two weeks ago, when Remind said it would have to stop supporting text message notifications on the Verizon network for users of the free Remind service.

At the time, Verizon said the fee was necessary to fund spam-blocking services. But Verizon relented after getting complaints directly from Remind's users, who said their texts are not spam.

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Posted in Biz & IT, remind, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon offers free robocall blocking, two years after AT&T and T-Mobile

January 18th, 2019
A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Verizon yesterday said it will make spam and robocall blocking features free for all wireless customers starting in March, about two years after AT&T and T-Mobile began offering free robocall blocking.

"In March, we will be rolling out our free spam alerting and call blocking tools to all of our wireless customers whose smartphones support these features, including iPhone and Android devices," Verizon's announcement said. "There will be more information on how to sign up for the free service as we get closer to launch."

Verizon added call and spam screening features more than a year ago to its $2.99-per-month Call Filter product, which also lets customers see contact details for unknown callers. Verizon pointed to research showing that its system "correctly identified potential problem phone numbers approximately 93.6 percent of the time."

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, Policy, robocall blocking, stir/shaken, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

The Motorola Razr is coming back as a smartphone

January 17th, 2019
The Motorola Razr V3.

Enlarge / The Motorola Razr V3. (credit: Remy Overkempe / Flickr)

Lenovo, the current owner of Motorola Mobility, will release a new version of the iconic Razr cell phone, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal citing sources familiar with the matter.

Like a similar phone announced at Samsung's 2018 developers' conference, the new Razr will feature a foldable screen. A patent filed in May of 2017 describes a clamshell form factor with a flexible screen that folds inward. Also like Samsung's phone, it is expected to cost at least $1,500. Two hundred thousand units will be manufactured, according to The Wall Street Journal's sources.

The new Razr is just the latest in a series of very expensive specialty-phone announcements aimed at consumers who do not intend to upgrade frequently, reflecting the current reality of the smartphone business.

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Posted in Lenovo, motorola, razr, smartphones, Tech, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon blames school text provider in dispute over “spam” fee

January 17th, 2019
A Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone with a Verizon logo on the screen, displayed for sale at a Verizon store.

Enlarge / A Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone is displayed for sale at a Verizon store in Brea, California, on Monday, January 22, 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

After being criticized for charging a new fee that could kill a free texting service for teachers and students, Verizon is trying to deflect blame over the possible shutdown.

However, Verizon has backed down from its original position slightly, and ongoing negotiations could allow the free texting service to continue.

As we reported Monday, the dispute involves Verizon and Remind, which makes a communication service used by teachers and youth sports coaches. Verizon is charging an additional fee, saying the money will be used to fund spam-blocking services.

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Posted in Biz & IT, remind, twilio, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon charges new “spam” fee for texts sent from teachers to students

January 14th, 2019
A smartphone with a Verizon logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images )

A free texting service used by teachers, students, and parents may stop working on the Verizon Wireless network because of a dispute over texting fees that Verizon demanded from the company that operates the service. As a result, teachers that use the service have been expressing their displeasure with Verizon.

Remind—the company that offers the classroom communication service—criticized Verizon for charging the new fee. Remind said its service's text message notifications will stop working on the Verizon network on January 28 unless Verizon changes course. (Notifications sent via email or via Remind's mobile apps will continue to work.)

The controversy cropped up shortly after a Federal Communications Commission decision that allowed US carriers' text-messaging services to remain largely unregulated.

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Posted in Policy, remind, texting fees, verizon | Comments (0)