It’s not only consumers that are being impacted by Verizon’s throttling tactics, emergency services are being affected as well. Ars Technica reports that Verizon Wireless throttled the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s data, and is now facing a lawsuit.
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.
Apple today has informed employees of significant changes to how iPhones are sold via AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to sources. As we reported last month, Apple has indicated that iPhones sold via AT&T at both physical Apple Retail Stores and on the Apple Online Store will move exclusively to Next financing plans this month, in June. This means that a customer who wants to buy a new iPhone on AT&T will no longer be able to do so on a subsidy…
Verizon Wireless has updated its customer agreement with new conditions related to early termination fees. Effective today, new customers that purchase a device on contract will be required to pay a full $350 early termination fee during the first seven months of the contract if it is broken. The fee is reduced by $10 per month between months 8-18, $20 per month between months 19-23 and $60 in the final month of the contract term…
There’s been some confusion about the new Apple SIM that is included in many of the new iPad Air 2 and Mini 3s. On Friday it was revealed that AT&T would lock the Apple SIM effectively making the Apple SIM an AT&T SIM and rendering the whole excercise pointless. T-Mobile and Sprint, on the other hand, will let you trade back and forth between their networks at will and we found out this morning that makes buying roaming data less expensive when travelling.
But there is a lot of confusion to the “why’s and how’s” of the Apple that T-Mobile’s CEO breaks down below. Note that Legere just pulled off a coup becoming the only US wireless carrier to allow Apple’s iPhone to use Wifi calling and clearly Apple and T-Mobile like what each other are doing.
The whole “tweetstorm” is below.
Verizon Wireless is officially joining in on this year’s major new cellular network technology: Voice over LTE, or “VoLTE.” VoLTE allows voice calls on compatible smartphones to be made over the previously-data only LTE network technology. This allows for higher-quality, better sounding (“HD Voice”) phone calls to be placed. The rollout will occur “later this year”, or “in the coming months” depending on which part of the press release you believe:
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:
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 …
Sprint has reported a move into profit, posting a Q3 profit of $383M, contrasting with a $767 loss in the same quarter last year. The carrier reported that it sold 1.4M iPhones, representing 28 percent of its total smartphone sales of 5M.
While its decision to start carrying the iPhone clearly helped it reduce defections to other carriers, it still reported a net loss of 313,000 customers in the quarter. CNET reports that the carrier appears to be finding itself squeezed in the middle, between Verizon and AT&T at the top end and T-Mobile at the bottom.
But as the nation’s third-largest carrier by subscriber, Sprint finds itself in a bind. The company can’t compete with the reach and resources of larger Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which are locking up the high-end, premium customers. But on the low end, T-Mobile has gotten more aggressive with one promotional offer after another and now boasts an LTE network that covers more areas than Sprint.
Full results below the fold …
Before iOS 7 it was rather inconvenient to block a phone number, and there was nothing built into iOS that would allow you do so. If you got phone calls from Telemarketers you can always register your number for free on the National Do Not Call Registry. If you wanted to block specific people, you had to contact your carrier to do so. For example, with AT&T, you can pay $4.99 per month per line to block up to 30 numbers with their Smart Limits. With Verizon Wireless, you are able to block up to five phone numbers per line with no charge. With Sprint you fill out a form on their website and it appears there is no additional fee.
Dealing with your carrier can be a rather tedious, and with the new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system, you no longer have to…
As Apple’s September 10th iPhone unveiling approaches, we’ve heard that Verizon Wireless is blocking its retail employees from requesting vacations between Wednesday, September 18th and Sunday, September 22nd. Based on Apple historically shipping new versions of the iPhone about a week and half following the unveiling, it would make sense for the new iPhones to arrive for customers on Friday, September 20th.
Verizon CFO talks iPhone: Free iPhone gains, incentivizing employees to sell lower subsidy devices & Share Everything plans
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at the Duetsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom conference this morning, where he was asked a few questions related to the iPhone. Verizon reported its fourth quarter 2012 earnings last month with 9.8 million smartphone activations—a record 6.2 million of which were iPhone. We knew about half, or 3.1 million, of those iPhone sales were driven by the first full quarter with the iPhone 5, but today Shammo talked about just how important getting the free iPhone 4 was during the quarter:
But this past fourth quarter you had a couple — you had really one thing happen that never happened before, especially with Verizon Wireless, and that was for the first time ever, because of the iPhone 5 launch, we had the 4 at free. So it was the first time ever you could get a free iPhone on the
Verizon Wireless network. So that produced a lot of volume for us. We had a lot of new customers come into Verizon who took that free phone, and that was great for us because again if you think about — we sold a lot of LTE product in the fourth quarter. We sold a lot of 3G product from the iPhone products in the fourth quarter.
But that is key for us, because if you think about our two networks it is important for me as I migrate people into the 4G network I still have this very large 3G network that operates very efficiently. We are not investing any more capital in that network other than to keep it up and running, so no more coverage capital, no more capacity capital. If I can keep that network up and running that just generates more contribution margins for us. So it is critical for us to balance that. But, again, I think you had one point in time where you had a free phone, a free Apple phone that never happened before with us and that generated a lot of volume.
While noting that 53 percent of the carrier’s smartphone activations were iPhones in 2012, Shammo was asked about the opportunity to incentivize employees to sell non-Apple devices that would also come with lower subsidies for Verizon:
The answer is, no, we don’t and it is critical that we don’t do that. The reason for that is because what is more important for us is when a customer walks into a store that customer walks out with a phone that they will be happy with and not return under our 30-day guarantee. Because the worst thing that can happen for us is for me to incentivise a salesperson to get you into a phone that you walk out the door with thinking you are going to like and in three days you come back because you don’t like it. Therefore, now I’ve just subsidized two smartphones because that phone you used I can’t resell as a new phone.
You can read more from Shammo’s presentation and where he discusses the growth of Share Everything plans, tablets, and more here.
Speaking at a conference with investors this morning, Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shammo revealed that Verizon would roll out its LTE network completely by mid-2013. FierceWireless reported today’s timeline is six months earlier than previous estimates released by Verizon. Verizon’s LTE network will match its 3G CDMA coverage area once the rollout is complete. Additionally, Shammo commented on the early problems the LTE network suffered. However, he said with over 80 percent of the country’s population now covered, it is now stable. According to Big Red’s latest numbers, 14.9 million LTE devices are currently on the network.
In retrospect, the nation’s largest carrier AT&T plans to have 250 million people covered by the end of 2013, with a completed roll out of 300 million people planned by the end of 2014.
Shammo also revealed today that the company’s new Share Everything data plans introduced in late June now makes up 13 percent of current Verizon customers. The shared data plan allows customers to share data with up to 10 devices through a single account. [FierceWireless]
Verizon has reported its Q3 2012 earnings this morning with “a third consecutive quarter of double-digit percentage growth.” The nation’s second-largest carrier claims it experienced $29 billion in total operating revenue (3.9-percent gain over last year) and sold 6.8 million smartphones in total for the third quarter. Of the 6.8 million, Verizon reported selling 3.1 million iPhones. Just over one-fifth (or roughly 651,000) of those were the iPhone 5 that saw supply constraints. To compare, during Q2, Verizon sold 2.7 million iPhones.
The carrier also shed more light on its aggressive LTE rollout across the country. Its LTE service is now available to 250 million people in 419 markets across the United States. Furthermore, on the company’s earnings call, CFO Fran Shammo reiterated that its new Share Everything data plan has been “successful and well-received.”
You can find the press release below for specifics:
For the eighth consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 849 and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and ease of operation. HTC (790) follows Apple in smartphone rankings.
HTC was its closest competitor. So, I guess that is news. [via the Loop]
2012 U.S. WIRELESS SMARTPHONE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION STUDY AND 2012 U.S. WIRELESS TRADITIONAL MOBILE PHONE SATISFACTION STUDY
- DATE PUBLISHED: 09/06/2012
Social Networking and Gaming Applications Driving Smartphone Usage and Revenue
Apple Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Smartphone Manufacturers, While LG Ranks Highest Among Traditional Mobile Phone Manufacturers
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 06 September 2012 — As wireless phones continue to be integrated in every aspect of consumers’ lives, smartphones are quickly gaining a foothold as the centerpiece of mobile social media. The seamless connectivity offered by mobile social networking applications, such as Twitter and Facebook, play a critical role in overall smartphone satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction StudySM–Volume 2 and the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction StudySM–Volume 2, both released today.The Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study finds that customers who regularly use mobile channels of social media and gaming applications are more satisfied with their device and spend more per month for wireless service than customers who do not. In 2012, 67 percent of smartphone customers indicate they have downloaded social networking applications on their device and report spending more than 100 minutes per week using those applications. Overall smartphone satisfaction among customers using social networking applications is 810 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 55 points higher than among smartphone customers who do not. Additionally, 69 percent of smartphone customers indicate they have downloaded gaming applications and spend an average of 81 minutes per week playing games. Satisfaction among customers using gaming applications is 61 points higher than among those who do not (813 vs. 752, respectively).
“As the capabilities of wireless phones and their applications continue to expand, allowing customers to more often use their device, handset manufacturers have an opportunity to shape the customer experience and impact satisfaction with better application integration and social networking options,” said Uma Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates.
The Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study also finds that customers who use gaming applications spend $13 more per month, on average, for their wireless service than those who do not use gaming applications. Likewise, mobile social media application users spend an average of $12 more per month on their service than do customers who do not use social media applications.
The two studies measure customer satisfaction with traditional wireless handsets andsmartphones among owners who have used their current mobile device for less than one year. Satisfaction is measured in several key factors. In order of importance, the key factors of overall satisfaction with traditional wireless handsets are: performance (29%); ease of operation (26%); physical design (24%); and features (21%). For smartphones, the key factors are: performance (33%); physical design (23%); features (22%); and ease of operation (22%).
For the eighth consecutive study, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction. Apple achieves a score of 849 and performs well in all factors, particularly in physical design and ease of operation. HTC (790) follows Apple in smartphone rankings.
LG ranks highest in the Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study with a score of 726. LG performs well in all four factors.
The studies also find the following key wireless handset usage patterns and purchase trends:
- The cost of a traditional wireless mobile phone averages $56, compared with an average of $66 in 2011. The decline is primarily due to discounts provided by handset providers and wireless service carriers to incentivize sales. Currently, 44 percent of customers report having received a free mobile phone when subscribing to a wireless service.
- Features have become less of a differentiator in the smartphone selection processes due to an influx of competitive offerings from newer manufacturers. Nearly one-half (47%) of customers this year indicate they chose their smartphone primarily because of particular features, such as a camera, the operating system, or social media integration or gaming capabilities, compared with 57 percent just one year ago.
- Nearly one-fifth (19%) of customers this year primarily chose their smartphone based on price, compared with 14 percent a year ago. This may be driven by offers of free or heavily discounted devices from wireless carriers, as 22 percent of customers indicate their smartphone was free, an increase from 18 percent a year ago.
- Nearly two in 10 current smartphone owners report experiencing a software or device malfunction. Malfunctions have a significant impact on overall satisfaction, a gap of 90 points between customers who experience software malfunctions and those who do not (799 vs. 709, respectively). Additionally, satisfaction among customers who indicate their device’s software crashes at least once a week averages 663.
The 2012 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study–Volume 2 and the 2012 U.S. Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study–Volume 2 are based on experiences reported by 8,736 smartphone owners and 6,272 traditional mobile phone owners. Both studies were fielded between January and June 2012.
For more information on customer satisfaction with wireless service, wireless retail sales, cell phone handsets, customer care, prepaid wireless service and business wireless service, please visit JDPower.com.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial’s leading brands include Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available athttp://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.www.jdpower.com/corporate
J.D. Power and Associates is out with the second half of its 2012 “U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study”, and Verizon once again come out on top for network performance in five of the six regions included in the report. Only second to U.S. Cellular in the North Central region, Verizon posted the best overall network performance among the other carriers in the remaining regions based on 10 key problem areas that could impact the customer experience.
For a 16th consecutive reporting period, Verizon Wireless ranks highest in the Northeast region. Verizon Wireless achieves fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, initial connections, transmission failures and late text messages, compared with the regional average. Verizon Wireless also ranks highest in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions… U.S. Cellular ranks highest in the North Central region for a 14th consecutive reporting period. Compared with the regional average, U.S. Cellular has fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, failed initial connections, audio problems, failed voice mails and lost calls.
The study also covered the customer experience specifically for data-related problems. Not surprisingly, LTE device users experienced significantly less issues than older 3G devices like the iPhone:
The study finds that the number of data-related problems, especially those related to slow connection speeds, is significantly lower among customers using 4G LTE-enabled devices than among those using devices with older 3G/4G technology standards, such as WiMAX and HSPA+… For example, among customers with 4G LTE-enabled devices, the problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is 15 PP100, compared with the industry average of 20 PP100. Furthermore, the overall problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is even higher among customers with WiMAX and HSPA+ technology
Based on responses from over 26,000 U.S. wireless customers, the report explained how network performance was calculated:
Verizon Wireless plans to expand its 4G LTE coverage tomorrow to 33 new U.S. markets. The carrier will then boast 337 LTE markets, which places it ahead of competitors by a wide margin, and it hopes to reach 400 total by the end of 2012. Verizon also announced it is broadening coverage in 32 existing markets.
Check out the list below (via Verizon Wireless):
- The 33 new markets: El Dorado/Magnolia and Russellville, Ark.; New London County, Conn.; Fort Pierce/Vero Beach and Melbourne/Titusville, Fla.; Columbus and Rome, Ga.; Burley, Idaho; Mattoon, Ill.; Anderson and Muncie, Ind.; Manhattan/Junction City and McPherson, Kan.; Lafayette/New Iberia, La.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Bozeman/Livingston, Kalispell and Missoula, Mont.; Goldsboro/Kinston, Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount/Wilson, N.C.; Zanesville, Ohio; Meadville and Punxsutawney/DuBois/Clearfield, Pa.; Orangeburg, S.C.; Sherman/Denison, Texas; Cedar City and Logan, Utah; Rutland/Bennington, Vt.; Lynchburg and Winchester, Va.; Bellingham, Wash.; and Beckley, W.Va.
- The 32 expanded markets: Mobile, Ala.; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Sarasota/Bradenton, Fla.; Hilo, Honolulu and Kahului/Wailuku/Maui County, Hawaii; Blackfoot/Idaho Falls/Rexburg, Idaho; Peoria, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Wichita, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Baltimore, Md.; Kansas City and Springfield, Mo.; Akron, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, Ohio; Allentown/Bethlehem, Harrisburg and Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Pa.; Columbia and Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; Provo/Orem and Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Seattle, Wash.
“With more markets than all other U.S. wireless providers combined, our customers are the first to learn of the great advantages of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network for streaming video, downloading files, uploading pictures and so much more, at consistently reliable fast data speeds,” said Verizon Wireless’ Chief Technical Officer Nicola Palmer.
Apple’s new iPad supports 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada. The upcoming new iPhone is expected to feature LTE capability too.
This article is cross-posted on 9to5Google.
The Apple online store went down last night for a short while. It appears Apple made some minor tweaks, including the ability to receive text message notifications on orders. Apple is now displaying the following text in several sections of the online store in at least Canada and the United States: “Now get order status updates by text message.”
Apple explained on its website that the new feature is an option during the checkout process, and it is available to the following supported carriers: Alltel, AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA.
Apple Notifications is a text-message-based alerts service designed to keep you up-to-date on your shipment and/or pickup notification status. In addition to standard email notifications, you can also request text message updates when you’re in Checkout. The number of messages you’ll receive will vary depending on the orders you placed.
What to Expect
Once your order ships, or is available for pickup, we’ll send you a text message. The text message will include your order number and a link to online Order Status. Texts are sent between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in your time zone.
How to turn off text notifications:
To stop receiving text notifications, simply reply STOP to the text message. Texting HELP to 83372 will give you additional information.
Current Verizon customers can upgrade, but new customers must choose a Share Everything plan. Verizon is scrapping the family plans and individual tiered plans for incoming subscribers, because the new options provide unlimited talk, unlimited text, and shareable data with pricing based on how much data is consumed.
Unlimited plans are not profitable for Verizon, which stopped offering unlimited data last year, due to growing smartphone usage clogging the carrier’s pipelines. The new standard is quickly becoming 4G LTE, so Verizon is likely trying to capitalize on every bit of data funneled through its network.
Verizon’s new strategy is the first of its kind in the U.S. It notably allows users to share data with up to 10 devices through a single account, but users can also fly solo with plans starting at $30 for 2 GB of data.
Cross-posted on 9to5Google.
T-Mobile just announced plans to exchange and purchase spectrum from Verizon Wireless in a deal the carrier claimed would improve its “spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets” that covers 60 million people. T-Mobile said the spectrum would help enhance its 4G network and advance the rollout of its LTE service. The agreement includes spectrum that Verizon planned to acquire from several cable companies, so T-Mobile will first have to wait for the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Justice to approve the deal:
“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband,” T-Mobile CEO and President Philipp Humm said. “This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.”
We recently updated you on the rollout of T-Mobile’s $4 billion 4G-network plan, including its plan to rollout 4G HSPA+ in the 1900 MHz spectrum to iPhone users “in a large number of markets later this year.” T-Mobile mentioned a few of the cities that would benefit if the agreement goes through:
T-Mobile will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y
According to a report from AllThingsD, Verizon Wireless will soon change the way it charges customers for cellular/data plans in a major way. Rather than charging customers for phones calls or messages sent, the report claimed Verizon would charge “almost exclusively based on how much data” is consumed. The new “Share Everything” plans will also be the first in the United States that allows users to share their data with up to 10 devices through a single account:
The plans, known as “Share Everything,” allow users an unlimited number of calls and texts and also allow data usage to be pooled among up to 10 devices on one account. With the move, Verizon becomes the first U.S. carrier to offer the ability for customers to share a bucket of data across multiple devices.
AllThingsD noted that AT&T also has plans for shared data options, but it did not provide more details. As for Verizon’s new plans, which will apparently kick-in June 28, the report explained the cost of the data plan and pricing metrics based on a per-device fee. In other words, you will have to pay roughly $40 per smartphone ($10 per tablet), and then opt for either a $50 1GB data plan or a $100 10GB plan. While the report claimed the new pricing should not impact the cost of plans for users who continue consuming the same amount of data, it is clear that those signing a new plan for a single smartphone are getting a bit less for their money:
AT&T’s variant of the family data plan is on the horizon.
The company’s CEO of Mobile Business Ralph de la Vega told CNET on the sidelines of the CTIA Wireless trade show that the upcoming shared plan would allow consumers to buy one package of data to split among multiple devices, which is a forward-thinking step that could encourage tablet sales.
“I’m very comfortable with the plan that will be offered to our customers,” revealed de la Vega.
Just a few months ago, the executive seemed to doubt family plans due to IT, billing, and device subsidization issues. He even remarked his goal to “get it right”— instead of unveiling the strategy prematurely.
Despite reports that Verizon’s fourth quarter earnings were hurt mainly by high subsidies for iPhone, Verizon announced on Tuesday it sold 4.3 million iPhones– over 50 percent of the 7.7 million total smartphones sold during the quarter. This statistic follows reports earlier this month that Verizon sold approximately 4.2 million iPhones during the holiday quarter. Compare that figure to the 1.6 million 4G LTE smartphones sold during the same quarter, of which the carrier offers more than 18 (mostly Android) devices versus a few iPhone models. These numbers show consumers are still choosing 3G iOS devices over the latest generation of 4G LTE smartphones from other vendors.
According to Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe, even with the high subsidy, Verizon will see a positive cash flow of approximately $1,600 per iPhone. His estimate is based on the nearly $2,000 spent over a two-year contract and a $400 subsidy for the same period. Ratcliffe explained to Bloomberg: