The Tech News Blog

January 31, 2013

iPhone Users Rack Up Highest Wireless Bills

iPhone 5S rumor

iPhone owners tend to spend slightly more on cell phone service than their Android counterparts, according to new data from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

That has not deterred people from buying iPhones, however. Apple's smartphone leads in activations and users upgrade to new iPhones at a higher rate compared to rivals.

Fifty-nine percent of iPhone users spend over $100 per month on phone bills, with 10 percent spending over $200, compared to 53 percent and 7 percent of Android users, respectively. Apple, however, only produces smartphones, while other manufacturers also sell lower-cost feature phones.

Broken down by phone maker, 58 percent of iPhone users spend over $100 per month in comparison compared to 53 percent of Samsung owners, and 47 percent of LG owners.

CIRP co-founder Michael Levin explained to All Things D that the difference may have to do more with data plans and carriers rather than usage. "They are all on expensive data plans, unlike Android users, some of which are on prepaid or unsubsidized plans with regional carriers," he said.

January 24, 2013

Google Building Wireless Network, But Why?

Cell Tower

Google is setting up a wireless network at its Mountain View headquarters, but it's unclear at this point how the search giant might use it.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the effort could allow Google to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots to Google Fiber clients, much like larger telecom giants do today.

During a fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this week, Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, insisted that Google Fiber was "not a hobby" and that Google wanted to expand to other cities. But first, Google has "to nail Kansas City" - the only city in which Google Fiber is currently available. "It's the perfect place to de-bug" before expanding, he said.

News of the wireless network cropped up after Google submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission for a non-broadcast "experimental radio service."

Much of the application was labeled as confidential, but the two paragraphs that were not redacted said Google would deploy five to 10 base stations inside its Mountain View headquarters for use on up to 40 user devices. In the future, additional deployments would occur on building rooftops throughout the Google campus.

"Google plans to test up to 50 base stations and 200 user devices during the requested experimental license term, and requests authority to deploy in these quantities," Google told the FCC.

January 14, 2013

iPhone 5 Users Are ‘Hungriest’ Data Consumers

 The Best Phones Getting Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)

Are you hungry for some data? According to a new report from Arieso, iPhone 5 owners are the "hungriest" data consumers, though Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II owners aren't exactly conserving their bandwidth.

Overall, smartphone users are now consuming more data than tablet owners, which Arieso said is a first. Among the top 10 devices used by the biggest data hogs, six were smartphones, three were tablets, and one was a "phablet."

Overall, Arieso studied 125 devices, with the iPhone 5 landing at No. 1. Those with the iPhone 5 eat up four times as much data as their iPhone 3G-toting counterparts and 50 percent more than iPhone 4S users.

But Samsung Galaxy S III users also generate - upload vs. download - nearly four times the amount of data than iPhone 3G users. On uplink data, the iPhone 5 landed at No. 3 behind the Galaxy S III and Note II. Meanwhile, Samsung Tab 2 10.1 users consumed 20 percent more data than iPad users, Arieso found.

January 7, 2013

Linksys Goes 802.11ac Crazy


Not to be outdone by just about every other Wi-Fi router vendor eager to get 11ac product to the market—despite the fact that the 802.11ac standard is still to be drafted—Linksys announced several pre-draft 11ac products at this year's CES.

The new routers are part of Linksys' Smart Wi-Fi router line, routers designed to work with a cloud platform for centralized access and remote management.

The highest-end router of the new lineup is the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro EA6700, an update to Linksys's EA6500, its pre-draft router which debuted last year. The EA6700 is designed for home networks with more than 10 connected devices and ones that do lots of HD video streaming. This is a dual-band router supporting up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1600 Video Enthusiast EA6400 offers up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. This router is designed for home network with five to seven connected devices.

December 23, 2012

Was Verizon Wireless Hacked? Not Quite, Says Verizon

Verizon Logo

So, wait, was Verizon Wireless hacked… or wasn't it? And what happened to the information?

These are all the big questions surrounding yesterday's announcement by a hacker who goes by the name TibitXimer.

On Twitter, said user proclaimed that he (or she) had managed to hack into Verizon and gain access to a database of customers' names, addresses, account passwords, mobile serial numbers, and other data. TibitXimer allegedly downloaded three million of these records, split by the various regions customers live in, and reported the security hole to Verizon.

One important bit: This entire process allegedly happened months ago. The timing's important, because TibitXimer claims that Verizon ignored the report and continued to leave the means by which said hacker accessed the users' information wide open. As a result, TibitXimer leaked approximately 300,000 of these customer records by uploading them to Pastebin yesterday.

At least, that's his (or her) side of the story. The Pastebin file – as well as TibitXimer's Twitter account – have been taken offline, and Verizon claims that its Verizon Wireless systems are completely secure at the moment. TibitXimer has allegedly gone on to modify the story to say that the data acquired actually comes from Verizon FIOS customers, not Verizon Wireless customers.

December 3, 2012

AT&T Launches LTE in Salt Lake City, Puerto Rico Markets

AT&T LTE coverage

AT&T today fired up its ultra-fast 4G LTE network in six new markets, including three in Puerto Rico.

The carrier introduced its 4G LTE service in Salt Lake City, Utah; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Reading, Penn. In Puerto Rico, the rollout includes Guayama, San German-Cabo Rojo, and Yauco. At this point, AT&T 4G LTE is now available in 109 markets, covering more than 150 million people.

AT&T has been making progress with its 4G LTE rollout. The carrier last month launched service in Milwaukee, Wis., Denver, Colo., Louisville, Ky., Daytona Beach, Fla. and several smaller markets, including York, Pa., Annapolis, Md., Tacoma, Wash., and Provo, Utah.

Also last month, AT&T announced a three-year upgrade to its wireless and wired networks dubbed Project Velocity IP (VIP). As part of the plan, the service provider will spend $8 billion over the next three years beefing up its wireless network.

November 1, 2012

Post-Sandy, Verizon Erects Temporary Antenna in N.J.

Verizon Logo

Verizon on Wednesday continued to report its progress in restoring service to customers of Verizon Enterprise Solutions affected by Hurricane Sandy’s devastation in New York City and elsewhere, with the carrier’s latest update at 5 p.m ET notifying users of the successful erection of a temporary wireless antenna in Jersey City.

The temporary installation is located across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan and will help to return service to financial firms in Northern New Jersey, Verizon said. The carrier said it has also been able to help in “powering [the] recovery” of Wall Street financial companies and highlighted the resumption of trading on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq exchange on Wednesday.

Verizon is also working to bring network sites online in Lower Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island, the company said.

“In these locations, Verizon has been able to reroute and restore critical services at several key facilities that were affected by the historic flooding and subsequent power outages on Monday night. Company engineers and technicians have returned several of these facilities to normal operations, and efforts continue to restore the remaining facilities,” the company said.

August 15, 2012

Verizon 4G LTE Hits 34 New Markets Thursday

Verizon 4G LTE 371 Cities

By tomorrow, Verizon Wireless's 4G LTE network will blanket 75 percent of the U.S. with high-speed cell phone service, or 371 markets across the country.

On Thursday, Verizon will introduce 4G LTE in 34 new markets, as well as expand its reach in 38 current markets. Check out the full list below.

The 4G network allows uploads, downloads, and connection speeds up to 10 times faster than before, according to Verizon, which also provides the largest selection of 4G LTE-capable devices, with tablets, mobile hotspots, and smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III and the HTC's Droid Incredible.

"Our 4G LTE network is currently in more markets than all the other U.S. wireless providers combined," Verizon Wireless CTO Nicola Palmer boasted. "We are ahead of schedule with our 4G LTE market roll out and will provide 4G LTE network coverage to more than 400 markets in the near future."

For those looking to speed up their in-home network, Verizon's HomeFusion Broadband product leverages the power and speed of its 4G network to provide Internet access, especially in areas lacking in connectivity options.

In June, Verizon took its 4G LTE network to 46 new markets, and expanded its service in another 22 locations. A week later, the wireless company began rolling out shared data plans that offered customers the option to add up to 10 devices onto one "Share Everything" plan, with unlimited voice and messages.

June 20, 2012

Verizon’s 4G LTE Network Expanding to 46 New Markets

Verizon LTE

Verizon Wireless is extending the already-lengthy reach of its 4G LTE network this week with the addition of 46 new markets.

The carrier will also expand its footprint in 22 markets where it already has a presence; check out the full list below. Verizon's chief technical officer, Nicola Palmer, said the new additions will bring its offerings to a total of 304 markets, including various summer vacation hotspots.

"Time and time again, third-party surveys affirm that the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network keeps its promise to provide customers with consistently reliable responsiveness, download and upload speeds, and greater availability in more places throughout the country than any competing network," Palmer said.

Verizon has already said that it is committed to covering more than 400 markets by the end of the year, as well as enhancing its nationwide 3G coverage by the end of 2013. When 4G LTE customers travel outside of coverage areas, devices automatically connect to Verizon's 3G network, where available.

4G LTE devices headed to Verizon Wireless include the Samsung Galaxy S III and Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

On June 28, Verizon Wireless will begin rolling out its shared data plans, allowing customers to add up to 10 devices on one "Share Everything" plan, which will include unlimited voice and messages and several tiered data options.

For more, see PCMag's test of the Fastest Mobile Networks in the country, including Verizon's 4G coverage, which was named fastest in the nation.

New Markets: Florence, Ala.; Harrison, Ark.; Yuba City/Marysville, Calif.; Panama City, Fla.; Carrolton, Gainesville and Newnan, Ga.; Blackfoot, Idaho; Decatur/Effingham, Kankakee/Bradley-Bourbonnais and La Salle/Peru/Ottawa, Ill.; Columbus and Michigan City/La Porte, Ind.; Greater Portland, Maine; Greenville/Greenwood, Jackson and Tunica, Miss.; Houghton and Traverse City, Mich.; Jefferson City, Lake of the Ozarks and West Plains, Mo.; Binghamton, Elmira/Corning/Hornell and Oneonta, N.Y.; Burlington, Hickory/Lenoir, Jacksonville and New Bern, N.C.; Bedford and Sharon/Farrell/Hermitage, Pa.; Anderson, Florence and Greenwood, S.C.; Lufkin/Nacogdoches, Midland, San Angelo and Waco, Texas; Danville, Va.; Ashland, Ky./Huntington, W.Va. and Logan, W.Va.; Fond du Lac, Janesville/Beloit and Sheboygan, Wis.; and Gillette, Wyo. The Lihue, Hawaii market launched June 11.

Market Expansions: Denver and Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo.; Philadelphia., Pa./Wilmington, Del.; Daytona Beach, Gainesville and West Palm Beach, Fla.; Hilo, Hawaii; Boise/Nampa, Idaho; Chicagoland, Ill.; Lafayette, Ind.; Hammond, La.; Springfield, Mo.; Glens Falls and New York, N.Y.; Charlotte/Gastonia and Greenville/Washington, N.C.; Indiana, Pa. and Hagerstown, Md./Chambersburg, Pa.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Va.; Seattle, Wash.; Appleton/Oshkosh, Wis.

May 16, 2012

Upgrading Your Verizon Device? Say Goodbye to Unlimited Data

Verizon 4G LTE map

Verizon Wireless said today that users grandfathered into unlimited data plans will soon have to switch to tiered pricing if they upgrade their devices.

"As you come through an upgrade cycle and you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data-share plan and mov[e] away from, if you will, the unlimited world," Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo said during an appearance at a J.P. Morgan technology conference.

Over the summer, Verizon plans to introduce data share plans, which will allow for multiple devices to be connected to the same account - whether that be families or small businesses. Pricing details have not been released, but when that happens, those upgrading to a newer gadget will have to bid adieu to unlimited data consumption.

"A lot of our [90 million] 3G base is unlimited," Shammo said. "As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to come off unlimited and go onto the data share plan. And that's beneficial for us for many reasons."

The news was first reported by Fierce Wireless.

Verizon dropped unlimited smartphone data plans for new customers in July 2011 in favor of several tiered options. Existing unlimited data customers could keep their plans, but earlier that year, Verizon had already started throttling those who consumed an "extraordinary" amount of data. Other carriers, with the exception of Sprint, have also moved to a tiered pricing/throttling combination to offset the influx of data customers.