Archive for the ‘verizon’ Category

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)

After broken promise, AT&T says it’ll stop selling phone location data

January 11th, 2019
A smartphone displaying a map while propped up on a car dashboard.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Witthaya Prasongsin)

Mobile carriers are again promising to stop selling your phone location data to other companies—this time for real.

The four major carriers pledged to stop selling customer location data to third-party data brokers in June 2018, but a Motherboard investigation published this week found that T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T were still doing so.

Earlier this week, AT&T said it "only permit[s] sharing of location when a customer gives permission for cases like fraud prevention or emergency roadside assistance or when required by law." But the Motherboard investigation showed that the data was being re-sold on the black market, allowing pretty much anyone to get the location of other people's phones.

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Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, location data, Policy, Sprint, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

Verizon’s 5G promise: It won’t falsely claim 4G phones are really 5G

January 8th, 2019
A Verizon logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Scott Olson)

While AT&T pretends to kick off the 5G mobile era early by slapping a 5G network indicator on 4G phones, Verizon Wireless says it won't be doing the same.

"[W]e're calling on the broad wireless industry to commit to labeling something 5G only if new device hardware is connecting to the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities," Verizon CTO Kyle Malady wrote in a blog post yesterday [emphasis theirs]. "Verizon is making this commitment today: We won't take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5. We will not call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don't experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver."

One would hope such a promise wouldn't be necessary, but what Verizon described is exactly what AT&T has already done. This past weekend, AT&T started rolling out software updates to Android phones that change the network indicator from "4G" to "5G E."

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Posted in 4G, 5G, AT&T, Biz & IT, verizon | Comments (0)

Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch gets LTE (but no music streaming—yet)

January 7th, 2019
Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch gets LTE (but no music streaming—yet)

Enlarge (credit: Garmin)

Another first is coming to Garmin smartwatches: LTE connectivity. Garmin announced at CES today that it has partnered with Verizon to bring cellular connectivity to its Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch. The already powerful wearable will get the ability to download music anywhere and share the wearer's location to contacts without a smartphone present.

Unlike on the Apple Watch, Wear OS, or Samsung devices, the LTE connectivity in the new Vivoactive 3 Music isn't primarily used to stream music. Garmin says that constant connectivity will let users download tracks from services like Spotify and Deezer for offline listening from anywhere. That's news in itself, as Garmin recently announced that Spotify would be available on its Fenix 5 Plus smartwatches. Its CES announcement shows that the Spotify Connect IQ app will soon make its way onto the Vivoactive 3 Music as well.

Garmin's announcement highlights the location-sharing conveniences of cellular connectivity. Those wearing a new Vivoactive 3 Music will be able to press and hold one of the watch's buttons to send a text to emergency contacts with their real-time location at any time. The new "incident detection" feature adds another level of protection, sensing when the wearer experiences an impact while walking, running, or cycling and sending a location-sharing text to emergency contacts automatically.

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Posted in CES 2019, Garmin, LTE, smartwatch, Tech, verizon, vivoactive 3, vivoactive 3 music | Comments (0)

Verizon cuts 10,000 jobs and admits its Yahoo/AOL division is a failure

December 13th, 2018
A Verizon logo on a red background.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Spencer Platt)

Verizon is parting ways with 10,400 employees in "a voluntary separation program," despite the Trump administration providing a tax cut and various deregulatory changes that were supposed to increase investment in jobs and broadband networks. The cuts represent nearly seven percent of Verizon's workforce and were announced along with a $4.6 billion charge related to struggles in Verizon's Yahoo/AOL business division.

Verizon described the voluntary buyouts as well as ongoing Yahoo/AOL failures in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday. The buyouts affect "US-based management employees" in multiple business segments, not just Yahoo and AOL.

Here's what Verizon says about its Yahoo/AOL problem:

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Posted in AOL, Biz & IT, oath, Policy, verizon, yahoo | Comments (0)

T-Mobile lied to the FCC about its 4G coverage, small carriers say

December 13th, 2018
A person's hand holding a smartphone with a

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

T-Mobile lied to the Federal Communications Commission about the extent of its 4G LTE coverage, according to a trade group that represents rural wireless providers.

T-Mobile claimed—under penalty of perjury—to have coverage in areas where it hadn't yet installed 4G equipment, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) said in an FCC filing Monday. The same group previously reported to the FCC that Verizon lied about its 4G coverage, leading to the FCC starting an investigation and announcing that at least one carrier exaggerated its 4G coverage.

Inaccurate coverage maps could make it difficult for rural carriers to get money from the Mobility Fund, a government fund intended to build networks in unserved areas. The FCC last year required Verizon and other carriers to file maps and data indicating their current 4G LTE coverage with speeds of at least 5Mbps. Carriers must provide "a certification, under penalty of perjury, by a qualified engineer that the propagation maps and model details reflect the filer's coverage as of the generation date of the map in accordance with all other parameters," the FCC order said.

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Posted in 4G, Biz & IT, FCC, Policy, rural wireless association, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

At least one major carrier lied about its 4G coverage, FCC review finds

December 10th, 2018
A person holding a cell phone that says,

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Four months after receiving a complaint claiming that Verizon "grossly overstated" its 4G LTE coverage in government filings, the Federal Communications Commission says that at least one carrier is apparently guilty of significant rules violations.

The FCC did not name any specific carrier in its announcement, and did not respond to our question about whether Verizon is among the carriers being investigated. But the investigation was apparently triggered by a complaint about Verizon filed in August by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA).

The RWA, which represents rural carriers, made its case to the FCC by submitting speed test data. The speed tests showed the Verizon network wasn't providing 4G LTE service in areas that Verizon claimed to cover, according to the RWA.

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Posted in FCC, Policy, verizon | Comments (0)