Verizon’s 4G LTE Network Expanding to 46 New Markets
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.
Upgrading Your Verizon Device? Say Goodbye to Unlimited Data
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.
Sprint Tops List of Most-Satisfied Wireless Customers
Which major wireless carrier has the most-satisfied customers? According to a new survey, Sprint narrowly beats out rivals like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, though only by one or two percentage points.
Apple, meanwhile, topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) as the most-popular cell phone maker, while Research in Motion continued its downward spiral.
On a scale of zero to 100, Sprint received a score of 71, which was down 1 percent from last year, but a bump from its abysmal score of 56 back in 2008.
"Not only to come from last place to first place in our industry, but to be the most improved U.S. company, period, over the last four years in the ACSI survey is a testament to the relentless focus the people of Sprint have placed on serving our customers," Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, said in a statement.
AT&T and T-Mobile recovered slightly from the public scorn that followed their failed merger attempt. AT&T jumped 5 percent from last year to tie T-Mobile at 69. Verizon dropped 3 percent to settle in the middle at 70.
Smaller carriers like Tracfone and U.S. Cellular maintained strong leads at 76, the study found.
Researchers Develop Wallpaper That Blocks Wi-Fi Signals
Next to the practice of securing your smartphone and email address with a strong password, nothing has educated mainstream consumers about the importance of technology security like the now-common practice of looking for an open Wi-Fi signal.
Nevertheless, failing to secure one's home Wi-Fi signal with a good password remains a common misstep and can lead to a number of privacy and security issues. Enter ... Wi-Fi wallpaper?
With the help of researchers at France's Grenoble Institut Polytechnique and the Centre Technique du Papier, a Finnish materials company called Ahlstrom plans to introduce an affordable, consumer version of wallpaper that blocks Wi-Fi signals. According to French news services The Connexion and Le Point, the product, which will be commercially known as Metapaper (in French Métapapier), will hit the market sometime next year.
The wallpaper can block Wi-Fi signals in the 2.45 - 5.5 GHz range, while simultaneously allowing television, FM radio, and mobile phone signals to pass through its surface. Metapaper can be applied to a variety of surfaces including concrete, brick and plaster, and won't be affected by decorative additions such as a layer of common house paint. No announcement has been made as to when this product might reach the U.S. market.
Verizon Adds 1-GB Prepaid Plan, Mobile Broadband Offer
Verizon Wireless said Monday that it will offer a new $80 prepaid plan, offering unlimited talk, texting, and 1GB of data.
In addition, Verizon added a new prepaid data plan, centered around the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi, which earned a PCMag Editors' Choice award. Verizon recently launched an international roaming plan, to boot.
The new prepaid plan will be exclusively available on the Samsung Illusion (left), which will cost $169.99. Verizon will begin the plan on May 1, at Best Buy, Target, RadioShack, and Walmart, the company said.
Unfortunately, the Illusion is a mid-range phone. Normally $79.99 with a two-year contract, the phone doesn't offer Verizon's LTE service; it's 3G only. Furthermore, the 3.5-inch, 320-by-480-pixel capacitive touch screen and single-core, 1-GHz Cortex A8-based Hummingbird CPU may seem a little underwhelming compared the other top-of-the-line phones being offered by Samsung via other carriers.
Verizon Firing Up LTE Network in 27 More Cities on Thursday
Verizon Wireless is rolling full steam ahead on 4G LTE deployments, with plans on Thursday to activate its super-fast network in 27 new markets and expand coverage in 44 existing markets.
With Thursday's expansion, Verizon's LTE network will cover 230 markets, or more than two-thirds of the U.S. population, the carrier said. By the end of the year, Verizon aims to ramp up its total number of LTE markets to more than 400, reaching more than 260 million people. For more details about Verizon's LTE expansion this Thursday, see below.
"We will continue to introduce new markets and expand covered markets to ensure even more wireless users across the United States can take advantage of the benefits that 4G LTE brings," David Small, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless, said in a statement. "This year represents a year of growth and investment in our 4G LTE network, which stands out by virtue of its superb combination of coverage, speed and the variety of devices that we offer customers."
In December, Verizon celebrated the one-year anniversary of its 4G LTE network. PCMag gave the network high praise during our 2011 Fastest Mobile Networks test: "We found that Verizon's new 4G LTE network is much faster than other mobile Web options, with speeds that often exceed home Internet connections," PCMag analysts concluded.
Verizon Wireless Announces $30 Upgrade Fee
Verizon Wireless announced today that it will starting charging a $30 upgrade fee for those who want to trade in their old phone for a newer model.
The fee applies to those who opt for subsidized devices with a two-year Verizon contract. Most smartphones, from the iPhone to popular Android handsets, are offered at discounted prices for those who agree to a contract. Unlocked devices can cost upwards of $500.
"This fee will help us continue to provide customers with the level of service and support they have come to expect which includes Wireless Workshops, online educational tools, and consultations with experts who provide advice and guidance on devices that are more sophisticated than ever," Verizon said in a statement.
T-Mobile to Roll Out 4G LTE in 2013
T-Mobile on Thursday announced plans to roll out its 4G LTE network in 2013, thanks in part to the AWS spectrum it is expected to gain from the failed AT&T merger deal as well as a $4 billion investment.
The effort, which T-Mobile has dubbed its "Challenger Strategy," is expected to reach the "vast majority" of the top 50 markets.
In a call with reporters, Philipp Humm, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA, said the company had a "tough year" in 2011 thanks to the drama surrounding AT&T's effort to acquire the carrier. But now that the "cloud" of that deal has been lifted, T-Mobile's 4G effort "needs a refresh," Humm said.
That includes the installation of new equipment at 37,000 cell sites and refarming spectrum in preparation for the LTE launch. Refarming will be made possible thanks to the AWS spectrum T-Mobile will acquire as part of the "breakup free" from AT&T.
Of that $4 billion investment from parent company Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, $1.4 billion will go towards incremental network advances. T-Mobile also plans to invest in B2B and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners.
Analyst: 802.11ac Wi-Fi Poised to Take Off, but Not in Phones
A number of 802.11ac announcements of chips and routers have prompted one analyst firm to issue an aggressive forecast for 802.11ac's success.
That's the conclusion of the U.K.'s IMS Research, which said in a report Tuesday that an estimated over 3 million 802.11ac devices will ship this year. That number will then grow steadily to over 400 million devices in 2016, the firm predicted.
IEEE 802.11ac, as the standard is formally known, is expected to be the next generation of Wi-Fi, replacing the current generation of 802.11n devices. The standard's nomenclature has broken from tradition somewhat, however, in that it doesn't progress further down the alphabet. (802.11b was followed by 802.11a, however, then 802.11g and 802.11n.) That's led Broadcom, and possibly others, to market the 802.11ac silicon as "5G Wi-Fi".
The benefits of 802.11ac over 802.11n include channel bandwidths of 80 MHz and 160 MHz versus 40 MHz in 802.11n; support for up to 8 spatial streams, versus 4 in 802.11n; and a data rate of about 1.3 Gbits/s, which is three times faster than 802.11n. The devices also use the "cleaner" 5-GHz frequency, which isn't obstructed from electrical interference from devices like microwaves.
Viewsonic Announces Touch, Wireless, 3D Displays
LAS VEGAS – Viewsonic has announced at CES three new displays for work and play that offer a wide array of features and display options.
The first in Viewsonic's 2012 line is the TD2220, a 22-inch LED (250-nit brightness) monitor that displays in full 1,920-by-1,080 HD resolution. It features a two-point multi-touch user interface, allowing you to interact with your work without the use of a mouse. The TD2220's stand offers 360 degree swivel and full tilt to adjust your viewing accordingly. There are several input methods available: two USB ports and a VGA/DVI video input.
The TDI2340 is a 23-inch e-IPS LED monitor. Its biggest feature is its ability to connect wirelessly mirror or extend your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or other device's display. The TDI2340 has an ARM 11 processor inside, and it comes with Viewsonic's own customize user interface for navigating the menu to share photos or stream YouTube or Netflix videos (via the 802.11b/g/n built-in Wi-Fi). It also has a 10-point capacitive touch interface.