We’ve known that T-Mobile was doing away with two-year phone contracts for quite some time, but exact details haven’t been revealed until today. Unlike the other big U.S. carriers (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint), T-Mobile isn’t doing subsidized, two-year contracts for smartphones anymore. Instead, you pay as you go—and the monthly rates look very good.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson responded today to the recent rumor that the telecommunications company is planning to charge customers for data used in FaceTime calls over 3G. The feature was announced for iOS 6 in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.
Asked about the rumor at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Stephenson acknowledged the rumor, but then also said it’s “too early to talk about pricing,” which may in fact be executive-speak for, “we won’t tell you how much we’re gonna charge.”
It’s a pretty good bet that iPhones and iPads will be responsible for 3G/4G traffic spikes around the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week as Apple developers lucky enough to score a ticket attend WWDC. Beyond this week, however, it seems that iPhone users have a tendency to gobble up a large amount of data – more so than other platforms including Android.
On average, iPhone owners represent about 20% of smartphone customers for mobile carriers worldwide. You might expect that those customers would amount to around 20% of data usage. That isn’t the case as iPhone users account for an average 45% of carrier data traffic and data use by iPhone users is more consistent than data consumed by Android customers.
One of the challenges when traveling internationally with iPhone or iPad is handling data roaming. There are two reasons that it’s incredibly easy to end up with a large bill when traveling for work or vacation.
One reason is that iOS features and apps can use data without you realizing it (iCloud’s Photostream feature being a great example) – to avoid such issues, you can disable data roaming in the iOS Settings app. The second reason is that the costs associated with international data roaming are rarely spelled out well by carriers.
At least one carrier is hoping to change that. This week Verizon announced that it will be offering customers a new set of international data plans intended to make managing data roaming easier to understand and track.
Have you ever wished that there was an easier way to check your data usage on the iPhone? For those of us that aren’t lucky enough to have a grandfathered unlimited plan, bits are precious. It can be too easy to blow through a 1GB data plan in a month’s time.
If your iPhone is jailbroken, you have access to a great tweak called Data Usage Monitor. Once installed, your usage will be shown unobtrusively in your iPhone’s status bar. The beauty is that it will only appear whenever you are using data.
We’ve known about Verizon’s plan to introduce family shared data plans for quite some time now and have been patiently awaiting their release. It now appears we may see them soon as new images have popped up suggesting Verizon is in the end stages of development. PhoneArena managed to get their hands on a screenshot showing what appears to be Verizon’s future Family Data Usage Calculator. If it looks familiar to you it’s because it follows closely with Verizon’s current Data Usage Calculator which helps customers figure out which plan would best fit their data usage needs.
This shouldn’t take anyone by surprise, but with the new iPad going on sale on Friday at 8 a.m. at Apple Stores around the country, AT&T will also have units that they’ll be selling at their retail outlets on the same day. Don’t count on being able to easily get one, though.
The new iPad comes equipped with LTE 4G networking on AT&T and Verizon in the United States, and data plan prices for the nation’s largest carriers can now be compared. As you can see, AT&T offers the cheapest option with a $15/month for 250MB option.
Like always, these iPad data plans can be purchased month-to-month on either AT&T or Verizon with no long-term commitment. The new iPad offers Personal Hotspot for creating a WiFi network out of your 4G connection. LTE 4G will get you up to 72Mbps when available, but the iPad also supports HSPDA 3G for speeds up to 42MBps. Regular 3G will be used when nothing else is available.
Did you know Cult of Mac has a brand new podcast? No lies! We’re calling it The CultCast, and it’s the best 30 minute conversation you’ll hear about Apple all week long.
And wouldn’t you know it, we just released episode two into the wild! Join Leander Kahney, Buster Heine, and me, Erfon Elijah, as we yay and nay our way though all the iPad 3 rumors you’ve been hearing; ponder how Apple’s stock price could make it to $1000 per share; and argue about whether AT&T should be allowed to throttle those of us with unlimited iPhone data plans.