T-Mobile is doing its Uncarrier thing again. As the carrier works on bringing its LTE network to US forces and older cars, it’s also bringing the latest technology to its existing customers. The company’s new Digits program lets you add multiple numbers to your phone, and then use them across all your devices. Starting today, postpaid customers can sign up to try out a beta version of the service, which the company says will launch commercially next year. Those who join the trial will need to have at least Android 5.0 or iOS 9 installed on their phones, and/or Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome on their Macs or PCs.
After you register for the beta, T-Mobile’s support team will help you get started. When you sign in with your phone number, you’ll find your call history, messages and voicemail waiting for you on whichever device you logged on with. The company says the service will work on “virtually any Internet-connected device,” including feature phones, tablets, computers and wearables.
Since you’ll be using the same number across your various gadgets, you won’t have to tell all your friends to add your new number to their address books. T-Mobile also says you can put multiple numbers on one device and easily switch back and forth between them. What’s interesting here is that you can also use this service on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint devices. You’ll just have to download the Digits app, and your calls will be made through your own carrier’s network.
When you get a call on Digits on a non-cellular device, the connection will be made over the Internet, and your conversation will be prioritized over other data transmissions. This ensures that calls “are more reliable with crystal clear HD voice quality and full mobility,” said the company. It’s not yet clear if there’s a way to prevent all your devices from ringing together at once when you get an incoming call, which would be annoying.
Digits appears to be a pretty sweet way to enable more convenient communication with your phone number. Although other services, such as Apple’s iMessage and Google’s Hangouts, already let you use your phone number to send text messages from desktops, T-Mobile’s solution seems to encompass even more platforms. It could let me send SMS messages to my friends from the comfort of my laptop, regardless of their operating systems. The ability to add multiple numbers to my account also makes sense for those who have a separate line for work, removing the need to carry several phones around.
The beta trial will be free, but official pricing for the service is still unknown, although T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert said that you can “expect us to be really disruptive here.” He clarified that it won’t be treated the same as adding a line to your account, and that the company is “going to take a completely different approach that will really delight people.”
Chris Velazco contributed reporting to this article.
T-Mobile has announced a limited time promotion offering four lines of unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data for $120 per month. The deal offers new and existing customers with at least two lines an additional two more lines free, including families or individuals adding a smartphone and/or tablet to their plans.
T-Mobile ONE regularly costs $70 per month for the first line, $50 per month for the second line, and $20 per month for each additional line, totaling $160 per month for a family of four. However, an existing promotion already offers the third line for free, so the new deal offers an additional $20 per month in savings.
The promotion will be offered between Friday, November 18 and Sunday, November 20. A 24-month finance agreement is required.
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Despite President Obama’s first-term pledge to close it, the “Gitmo” Guantanamo Bay Naval Base remains open. It’s hard to believe, but the 5,500 military families and staff living there have never had cellular data coverage — until now. T-Mobile has expanded its 4G LTE coverage to the base by installing 11 new cell sites with LTE coverage. CEO John Legere says he’s “honored” to offer the service as part of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.
Folks there have never been able to text or surf using cell data. “The new 4G LTE coverage is a huge boon to everyone at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay,” Captain David Culpepper told T-Mobile. John Legere and Co. reportedly took over from a small private company with “not very good” service, according to a Reddit commenter. “Lots of families on NAS Guantanamo here [and] connectivity is a pain … the facility is way more than just that [prison and camps], with lots of similar activities and things we get in the rest of the US,” says user “nps-ca.”
Gitmo residents get the same level of service as folks on the mainland, and a screenshot (above) shows healthy 38 Mbps upload and 26 Mbps download speeds. As of August, residents could buy postpaid and prepaid T-Mobile plans, along with smartphones and accessories, from a retail kiosk in the Navy Exchange store.
In a separate arrangement, T-Mobile recently started offering cellular roaming service in Cuba. That gives vacationing magenta customers access to text, mobile and data, thanks to a deal with the government-run Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Cuba company.
Anti-drone defense systems are about to become big business. T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom has confirmed to Welt am Sonntag that it’s developing an anti-drone defense system that should launch this year. It’s not discussing details, but it would be offered as a security feature for airports, stadiums and other venues where robotic flyers are unwelcome or outright dangerous. Reportedly, car manufacturers are particularly eager for Deutsche Telekom’s help — they’re annoyed by journalists (and no doubt competitors) using drones to snap photos of pre-production cars.
Welt sources understand that the system (which was tested in July) involves technology from multiple companies, including US-based Dedrone. Its system can spot drones from over half a mile away using a mix of audio sensors (including ultrasound), frequency scanners and cameras. The tricky part is fending off those drones that enter forbidden airspace. You don’t have the legal authority to take down trespassing drones in Germany, so clients may have to resort to more peaceful methods like signal jamming, which forces aircraft to return home. Don’t expect to see firearms, nets or birds of prey plucking drones from the sky.
If the Deutsche Telekom effort takes off, it might spur wider adoption of anti-drone systems both in Germany and abroad. A ready-made, big-name defense option could be just what companies and governments want when they’re not sure how to protect themselves against aerial invaders. It could also spur competition from security firms that see anti-drone tech as a fresh source of revenue.
Source: Welt am Sonntag (translated)
For the road warriors and frequent drivers who want a connected vehicle without shelling out for a new car with built-in WiFi, T-Mobile’s just announced SyncUP Drive should fill the coverage gap between your cell phone and your home internet. The new device brings the big pink carrier up to speed with competition at AT&T and Verizon (both of which already have similar devices) and adds smart vehicle diagnostic features as well as a phone-free connection to T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.
With the ability to connect up to five different devices to its WiFi network, the SyncUP Drive should help families keep a full carload entertained and saves carpool drivers the trouble of fiddling with phone tethering while they’re on the road. Plus, as the little ones graduate to driving age, the on-board diagnostics will be able to track their driving behavior, monitor the vehicle’s location via GPS and provide instant notifications through a new companion app if there’s any sign of car trouble.
Like other aftermarket hotspots and vehicle tracking devices, the SyncUP plugs into your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, so it should be compatible with any internal combustion engine vehicle built after 1996. (T-Mobile says the device isn’t compatible with electric, hybrid or diesel engines yet, but you can check compatibility here.) The device goes on sale November 18th, 2016 for a full retail price of $149.99, or free after bill credits when you tie it to a 24-month plan with 2GB or more of data.
T-Mobile has launched the SyncUP DRIVE, an all-in-one solution for in-vehicle 4G LTE connectivity, driving analysis, vehicle tracking, and maintenance monitoring.
The accessory plugs into the on-board diagnostic port, standard on most vehicles manufactured in 1996 or later. The OBD-II port is typically located underneath the driver’s side dashboard, often within close proximity of the steering wheel. It is the same port used by mechanics to diagnose vehicle and engine problems.
The plug-in device can create a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows up to five devices to use 4G LTE cellular data. Meanwhile, the companion app uses GPS to track the vehicle’s location, and it can provide maintenance reminders, recall info, speed limit warnings, and car trouble notifications with Diagnostic Trouble Codes.
SyncUP DRIVE is similar to the Automatic Pro, which also plugs into the OBD-II port and provides trip logging, business expensing, engine light diagnostics, fill-up logging, crash alerts, parking tracking, and more through a companion iPhone app. Automatic Pro costs $129.95 and includes unlimited 3G syncing for five years.
SyncUP DRIVE will be available on November 18 for $149.99. For a limited time, customers purchasing the device on a 24-month installment plan with at least 2GB of data per month will get the accessory for free after 24 monthly bill credits. The device is not compatible with electric, hybrid, or diesel vehicles.
The companion SyncUp DRIVE app for iPhone, developed by Mojio, will be available for free on the App Store.
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While Verizon is the only carrier to offer Google’s Pixel phones directly, T-Mobile has its own plan to tempt over Pixel owners: $325 credited towards their bill. That’s half of the cost of the $650 32GB Pixel, and a significant chunk off of the price of the $769 Pixel XL. To get the deal, you’ll need to sign up for T-Mobile’s new unlimited One plan and show a proof of purchase. Don’t expect to get the credit in one lump sum, though. The carrier says it’ll distribute it in $13.55 increments across your bill for 24 months.
That’s still a good deal for anyone who plans to stick with T-Mobile, but it’s certainly not as impressive as a single bill credit. And of course, there are still some red flags with the carrier’s new One plan. It starts at $70 a month with “unlimited” data, text and talk, but you’ll have to shell out extra if you want to tether at LTE speeds or watch HD videos.
T-Mobile accidentally leaked the newest Windows 10 phone, the Alcatel Idol 4S, ahead of the handset’s official announcement during Microsoft’s Surface event in New York City today. The handset was originally released in July as a low-cost competitor to the Galaxy VR, though, back then, the Idol was still running Android. T-Mobile is now offering the Idol 4S bundled with a VR headset as well as a 45-day trial subscription of Hulu, a 60-day trial subscription to Groove Music and a free copy of Halo Spartan. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability.
Microsoft announced a major push into VR at the event today. The company is partnering with Dell, Acer, HP, ASUS and Lenovo to bring a line of $300 headsets to market. It is also revamping the venerable MS Paint program to generate 3D doodles which can be viewed in both AR and VR.
Via: The Verge
T-Mobile to Pay $48 Million For Lack of Transparency About Throttling Data-Heavy Users on Unlimited Plans
The FCC today announced it has reached a $48 million settlement with T-Mobile, including a $7.5 million fine and $35.5 million in consumer benefits, following an investigation into whether the carrier adequately disclosed speed and data restrictions for its so-called “unlimited” data plan subscribers.
FCC investigators determined that ads and other disclosures from T-Mobile, and its prepaid brand MetroPCS, failed to adequately inform customers about its policy that de-prioritizes the top 3% of its heaviest data users during times of network contention or congestion, resulting in slower network speeds.
“Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “When broadband providers are accurate, honest and upfront in their ads and disclosures, consumers aren’t surprised and they get what they’ve paid for. With today’s settlement, T-Mobile has stepped up to the plate to ensure that its customers have the full information they need to decide whether ‘unlimited’ data plans are right for them.”
As part of the settlement, eligible T-Mobile and MetroPCS subscribers will automatically receive an additional 4GB of 4G LTE data for one month in December and be offered 20% off any single accessory at participating T-Mobile stores with a promo code to be sent via text message in December.
Good settlement with FCC today. @TMobile believes more info is best for customers. #themoreyouknow https://t.co/XFY6dHPfN6
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 19, 2016
T-Mobile has agreed to update its fine print disclosures to clearly explain its “Top 3 Percent Policy,” what triggers it, who may be affected by it, and its impacts on data speeds. T-Mobile will also be required to notify individual customers when their data usage approaches the threshold for de-prioritization.
Tags: T-Mobile, FCC
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T-Mobile has championed itself as a provider of “unlimited” wireless data — but its plans have historically also come with a wide variety of caveats, be they throttling video data or slowing you down when you hit a data cap. The FCC has decided that T-Mobile isn’t playing straight with customers, and today the agency announced a settlement: The Wireless provider will pay $48 million to address “inadequate disclosures” of its unlimited data plans.
“The FCC’s investigation found that company policy allows it to slow down data speeds when T-Mobile or MetroPCS customers on so-called ‘unlimited’ plans exceed a monthly data threshold,” the FCC writes in its news release on the settlement. “Company advertisements and other disclosures may have led unlimited data plan customers to expect that they were buying better and faster service than what they received.”
The main bone of contention centered around T-Mobile’s “top three percent” condition, where those who were on unlimited plans and in the top three percent of data usage would get throttled at times of high congestion. That throttling would take place even if they were on a plan that said they could use as much data as they wish.
Of that $48 million fine, only $7.5m million is in actual cash. T-Mobile will additionally pay out $35.5 million in a “consumer benefit” program that consists of a 20 percent off discount for any accessory as well as 4GB of additional data if they have a “mobile internet line” — presumably that’s what you have for tablets or hotspots, although T-Mobile isn’t super clear on that point.
The FCC is also requiring T-Mobile to spend at least $5 million on technology for low-income school districts. Specifically, the carrier will provide tablets and mobile internet connections that students can take home and use for homework. The technology will come at a reduced cost to schools and at no cost to students and their families. The program should start by October of next year, and ultimately it’ll cover about 80,000 students.
This is the second such settlement the FCC has reached with a wireless provider over misleading unlimited data practices. In June of 2015, AT&T and the FCC reached a $100 million settlement in a similar investigation — the FCC said AT&T was “severely” slowing down customer’s mobile internet without informing them of the change. The message now seems clear: if you’re going to slow down your customer’s connection, you had better be clear and up front about it.
Source: FCC (PDF)