After sharing its latest study on how mobile networks compare around the globe earlier this week, Opensignal is out today with a US-specific report. The new data gives a look at 4G download and upload speeds, latency, and more for each state as well as a look at the top 50 US cities.
Report: US comes in 30th place for average 4G speeds with South Korea, Norway, and Canada leading the world
A new report from Opensignal today takes a look at mobile network experiences around the world and ranked 87 countries based on average download and upload speeds, 4G availability, video experience, and latency. While the US performed well for 4G availability, it fell short of many countries for the other metrics.
Verizon began lab-testing its 5G network last year, aiming to carry out the first real-world tests this year, and AT&T has now announced that it will be doing the same. The company seems even more optimistic than Verizon, which estimated 5G speeds some 30-50 times faster than LTE.
We expect 5G to deliver speeds 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections. Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds.
Don’t get too excited just yet, though, as there are a couple of small hurdles to be overcome first …
T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.
The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan, some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).
We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.
Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.
T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.
National carriers across the US have been adding features that make it easier to use their service in Mexico and Canada as a growing trend, and today AT&T has announced enhancements to its pre-paid GoPhone plans to include 4GB of high speed data use in Canada and Mexico as well as the United States. The new AT&T GoPhone feature goes into effect on August 21st and is supported on the carrier’s $60 pre-paid plan without making any changes.
In addition to 4GB of 4G LTE data for use across North America where available, the GoPhone plans include unlimited talk and text in the US, Canada, and Mexico as well. AT&T’s $60 GoPhone plan is reduced to $55/month for customers using the carrier’s Auto Refill automatic payment feature.
For post-paid subscribers, AT&T supports international calling and texting to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its 15GB and 20GB Mobile Share Value plans that it simplified over the weekend. More similarly, T-Mobile enhanced its own plans last month to support 4G LTE data use in addition to text and calls in Canada and Mexico without international roaming fees.
With the new plan, two customers can get 10GB per line for $100 per month. Each additional line is then $20 per person, each with 10GB data allowance. As a special offer, T-Mobile is also giving customers a fourth line for free. Between now and Labor day, customers will be able to sign up to four lines with 10GB data on each, for $120 per month.
One of the main upgrades to the next iPhone’s internals will be a redesigned wireless system featuring a new Qualcomm-made LTE chip, as revealed by images of a prototype iPhone 6S logic board shared by a source. As shown in the image below, the new device will include Qualcomm’s MDM9635M chip, also known as the ‘9X35’ Gobi modem platform. This new chip promises significant performance improvements over the “9X25” chip found inside of the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, capable of delivering up to twice the theoretical LTE download speeds…
T-Mobile has today unveiled what it hopes will be the next-generation of network maps, breathing new life into the carrier coverage maps of old. T-Mobile says that its new “Next-Gen Network Map” is the industry’s first crowd-sourced map, and reflects “near real-time customer experiences.”
Qualcomm, which makes baseband communications chips for Apple and licenses 3G and 4G patents to other smartphone manufacturers, has been fined almost a billion dollars by the Chinese government in an anti-trust case. The company was found to have abused its dominant position in wireless chip technology by charging “unfairly high” licensing fees to manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.
The 6B Yuan ($960M) fine is the largest fine ever imposed on a foreign company, reports the Guardian. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said that the fine was calculated as 8% of Qualcomm’s 2013 revenue in China. China is responsible for around half of Qualcomm’s total revenue.
Chinese regulators said that Qualcomm bundled together patent licenses, forcing Chinese companies to buy unwanted licenses in order to get the core 3G and 4G ones they needed. Qualcomm said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but has agreed to separate out its licenses to allow companies to purchase only the ones they need.
The ruling is unlikely to impact Apple this year, as the company orders its baseband chips from Qualcomm rather than licensing patents, but may have an impact next year. KGI predicted last month that Apple would be buying 30% of its baseband chips from Intel in 2016.
Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters
Un-carrier 8.0 is ready to roll, and you’re invited to join us for the unveiling of one of our biggest and boldest moves yet! This one is so big we had to keep it a surprise.
Join John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, as he unveils the news during a live fireside chat with David Pogue of Yahoo! News. David will be taking questions for John from Twitter through @JohnLegere and @Pogue and the #Uncarrier8 hashtag.
The company hasn’t hinted at any of the details, but we’ll of course let you know …
United States-based carrier AT&T today officially announced its rollout of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) calls. The VoLTE rollout comes in tandem with AT&T HD Voice launch, which provides better sounding phone calls. Starting on May 23rd, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin will be the initially supported markets for these features, but AT&T says to expect a more complete rollout as time goes on:
It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business […]
We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.
Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated …
AT&T cuts price of Mobile Share Value plan as T-Mobile offers more data, unlimited international texting
From tomorrow, AT&T will cut the price of its 2GB data plan tier ‘Mobile Share Value’ from $55 to $40. In total, this plan will cost you $65 per month in data charges for one device, comprised of the reduced $40 data plan and a $25 device charge. As usual, there is a $25 charge for each device that shares the data allowance. For one device, this represents an overall reduction of approximately 20% of AT&T’s current offerings. Otherwise, the plans remain the same with unlimited talk and text service, unlimited international messaging in addition to the shared data.
Verizon’s problems with LTE capacity in NY are almost at an end, claimed CEO Lowell McAdam during an investor conference on Monday. Describing the issues as “a short-term blip,” he said the company was “now back to where we want to be.”
Verizon identified 49 cell sites in the New York area where capacity was insufficient, and said that all but seven of them had been strengthened.
AT&T, meantime, said that it has become the first U.S. carrier to offer international LTE roaming thanks to an agreement with Rogers Communications to allow customers access to LTE data when visiting Canada. The Rogers LTE network covers approximately 70 percent of Canada.
Roaming is not, however, cheap. For occasional use, you’re charged $15.36/MB. Alternatively, you can sign up for a Data Global Add-on packages at $30/month for 120MB, $60/month for 300MB or $120/month for 800MB. The two more expensive packages also give you 1GB of wifi usage where available.
Full AT&T press release below …
Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:
There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …
There is, however, good news for those lucky enough to have upgraded their phones before the glitch was caught:
[Verizon] said it would honor the unlimited plans of those customers who managed to upgrade while Verizon was working to fix its software.
Supposed posters from China Mobile promoting the iPhone 5s and 5c have leaked out, touting “the strongest iPhone in China” (via UnwiredView). The ‘100’ visible on the poster indicates the network’s 100Mb/s maximum speed will be supported by the iPhone. Naturally, the iPhone will be China Mobile’s flagship 4G phone.
Apple has already received the necessary certification to put the iPhone on all Chinese spectrum, including the TD-LTE strand used by China Mobile, earlier this month. Now, the only holdup is getting permission from the MITT governing body to let China Mobile use the spectrum on a commercial basis.
AT&T, which claims to have the fastest and most reliable LTE service, is planning to expand its coverage to 50 more parts of the USA by the end of the year. This is expected to boost access from 225M people at present to 270M by the end of 2013.
The new areas are:
1. Fairbanks, AK
2. Dothan, AL
3. Selma, AL
4. Redding, CA
5. Durango, CO
6. Pueblo, CO
7. Tifton, GA
8. Waycross, GA
9. Kauai, HI
10. The Big Island, HI
11. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
12. Twin Falls, ID
13. Lewiston, ID-WA
14. Decatur, IL
15. Kankakee-Bradley, IL
16. Peoria, IL
17. Paducah, KY-IL
18. Alexandria, LA
19. Lake Charles, LA
20. Lewiston-Auburn, ME
21. Battle Creek, MI
22. Jackson, MI
23. Joplin, MO
24. Poplar Bluff, MO
25. Rolla, MO
26. Brookhaven, MS
27. McComb, MS
28. Natchez, MS-LA
29. Kalispell, MT
30. Greenville, NC
31. Jacksonville, NC
32. Fargo, ND-MN
33. Elmira, NY
34. Utica-Rome, NY
35. Portsmouth, OH
36. Sandusky, OH
37. East Stroudsburg, PA
38. Pottsville, PA
39. Abilene, TX
40. Amarillo, TX
41. Longview, TX
42. Marshall, TX
43. San Angelo, TX
44. Tyler, TX
45. Port Angeles, WA
46. Appleton, WI
47. Fond du Lac, WI
48. Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
49. Gillette, WY
50. Sheridan, WY
Over the past five years, AT&T invested nearly $98 billion into operations, and claims to have invested more into the U.S. economy than any other corporation, getting top-ranking in the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of U.S. Investment Heroes.
If the iPhone 5C is launched in China at $400, and Apple’s partnership with China Mobile for a TDD-LTE version of the handset proceeds as expected, Apple’s market share in China could jump by a massive 19.3 percent – enough to make Apple the number one seller.
Earlier this month we told you that Verizon-backed ItsOn, a company building software for carriers that provides users with dynamic pricing plans on mobile devices, was planning on introducing a new mobile service that takes advantage of its software. Today ItsOn has officially announced Zact, a mobile service that provides flexible, adjustable data plans that allows users to pay for only what they use, customize voice, text, and data plans in real-time at any time, and share data on an unlimited amount of devices:
FreedomPop announces network expansion for nationwide coverage alongside new 3G/4G ‘Overdrive Pro’ hotspot
Update: A 9to5Mac reader has chimed in clarifying that the new hotspot only offers the free 500MB plan on the new Sprint-enabled 4G service. For 3G coverage, users will have to pay an additional $3.99 per month:
Although their website and press release say the new Overdrive comes with free data every month, there’s apparently a string. Apparently only the 4G data is free, see my email thread with customer service below. This is wholly inconsistent with what their website or press release indicates… This tactic is as deceptive as when FreedomPop first went live. At that time, they said the devices were “free with deposit” but it now turns out that if you keep the device for 12 months or more, the deposit is forfeited. That forfeiture is buried deep within the TOS, and not likely understood by consumers until it’s time to return their hardware.
Wireless provider FreedomPop, the company providing access to free monthly data plans through a number of hotspot devices and iOS device accessories, today announced it is expanding its 3G coverage through Sprint’s network to provide nationwide coverage to its customers.
“The biggest criticism with our service to date has been the coverage gaps in certain parts of the country,” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO. “Starting today, FreedomPop users can connect to the Internet across the entire nation leaving no reason to continue paying high monthly Internet bills for Internet from large, expensive carriers.”
In addition to the network expansion, it is also now accepting preorders for its latest hotspot device dubbed “Overdrive Pro” (pictured above):
The FreedomPop Overdrive Pro becomes the company’s first device to run on Sprint’s network. The Overdrive Pro will allow up to five devices to connect to it and get speeds up to 8 mbps down. In addition to FreedomPop’s free 500 MB plan, users can also purchase a 2 GB or 4 GB 4G/3G plan with no contract or annual commitment at rates up to 50 percent less than major carriers.
FreedomPop offers users free data (with the option to purchase more) ranging from 500MB to 2GB per month through devices such as its $99 WiMAX sleeve for iPod touch or the recently announced $89 Burst 4G home wireless router. It also has an iPhone 4/4S case that is awaiting Federal Communication Commission approval and told us in February it plans to roll out LTE service and a new LTE iPad clip later this year.
Ahead of the company’s plans to roll out LTE service and a new iPad clip through Sprint’s network later this year, wireless provider FreedomPop announced today a new rollover data feature that allows users to keep their unused data from one month to the next. As to be expected from FreedomPop, the service will also let users share data with friends as part of its social broadband feature that it enhanced last month.
FreedomPop told us the new rollover data feature is now available to all users. It also said “30 percent of FreedomPop’s users have opted into this value-added service within the first 24 hours it’s been live.”
FreedomPop is a wireless provider offering customers free 500MB to 1GB per month data plans through devices such as its $99 WiMAX sleeve for iPod touch or the recently announced $89 Burst 4G home wireless router. It also has an iPhone 4/4S case that is awaiting Federal Communication Commission approval. Last month, the company announced an extra $4.3 million in Series A1 funding, increased additional data rewarded for referrals from 10MB to 50MB, and it expanded its social broadband sharing platform.
T-Mobile/Solavei roll out iPhone-compatible HSPA+ to 14 new metro areas, as Verizon LTE arrives in 29 markets
T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog today that 14 new metro areas are getting access to its iPhone-compatible HSPA+ 4G network. The updates are hitting areas such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Texas, Florida, and San Antonio, following rollouts to Chicago, California, and elsewhere earlier this month.
The carrier also said enhancements to its network in additional areas like Los Angeles and San Diego have already started. This means that customers on Solavei, the new, no-contract T-Mobile MVNO offering of $49 per month unlimited, will also get coverage for unlocked iPhones in the new areas. A full list is below:
Sprint just announced the expansion of its 4G LTE data network to 11 new cities in eight states, but the term “cities” is a little stretched in this instance as each population is either near or well below the 50,000 mark.
Sprint offers the iPhone but does not carry the 4G LTE iPad partly due to its thin LTE spread, although it has steadily tried to thicken 4G LTE data coverage in recent months. The carrier even rolled out 4G LTE data to 100 additional U.S. cities this past fall.
According to Sprint’s the press release:
We continue to make progress with the rollout of our all-new, high-speed data network. Today, Sprint is delivering 4G LTE to 11 new cities and counties. Sprint introduced its all-new 4G LTE network in July 2012 and now offers service in 43 markets. The 4G LTE network build is under way in more than 115 cities within the existing Sprint nationwide 3G footprint, including Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.
The full list of new areas:
- Anderson, Ind.
- Clarke County, Va./Jefferson County, W.Va.
- Harrisburg/Carlisle/Hershey, Pa.
- Hagerstown, Md./Martinsburg, W.Va.
- Harrisonburg, Va.
- Muncie, Ind.
- Peabody, Mass.
- Salina, Kan.
- Shenandoah County, Va.
- South Bend/Mishawaka, Ind.
- Winchester, Va.
Sprint was the first national wireless carrier to introduce 4G (WiMAX) service in 2008, and it expects to light up the above areas in “the coming weeks and months.” The carrier further revealed upcoming improvements for its 3G customers, including: wireless signal strength, in-building coverage, and fewer dropped/blocked calls.
Sprint previously said it planned to complete the nationwide build out of its 4G network by the end of 2013.
Get the full press release below.