Why T-Mobile and Sprint customers should get a 2018 iPhone

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iPhone Xs
New technologies just for T-Mobile and Sprint didn't get as much attention as they deserve.
Photo: Apple

There is a lot for everyone to like in the 2018 iPhone models. But T-Mobile and Sprint customers have additional reasons to upgrade to the latest iOS devices: they’re the first to support some of these carriers’ wireless technologies.

This means the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR will perform better on both networks than any of their predecessors.

$13,000 iPhone bill nearly puts sad ending on family trip

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data charges
Mom, I swear I didn't use the internet.
Photo: KGO San Francisco

Correction: This story has been updated to accurately explain how Airplane Mode works.

A family from San Jose, California, returned from an overseas trip with several memories. But the strongest may be the one that greeted them at home — an iPhone bill with more than $13,000 in data charges.

The Chung family prepared for their trip to Vietnam with a firm rule that the iPhones would be on Airplane Mode to avoid roaming and internet fees. So it appeared son Nicholas Chung was in trouble when the T-Mobile bill showed the sky-high data charges coming from his number over a 30-minute period.

iPhone Upgrade Program welcomes T-Mobile customers online

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iPhone X on its box
iPhone X finally hits Apple's refurbished section.
Photo: Apple

T-Mobile customers can now sign up to the iPhone Upgrade Program online — just in time for Apple’s big 2018 upgrades.

Online enrollment was previously available to those on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, while T-Mobile subscribers were forced to visit their local Apple Store. The process will be a little easier for those looking to buy a new iPhone this fall.

T-Mobile’s cheap new unlimited data plan is always throttled

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t-mobiles-next-uncarrier-move-could-be-unlimited-streaming-video-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201510TMOUncarrier0517-jpg
T-Mobile calls itself the Un-carrier, and tries to undercut the prices of its competition. Its new Essentials plan is one example.
Photo: T-Mobile

T-Mobile just added a third unlimited data plan for your iPhone or Android. This one costs less than the others, but also offers less. And it comes wit a big caveat: it’s always subject to slowdowns.

No changes are being made to the earlier T-Mobile One and One Plus plans.

T-Mobile FamilyMode brings parental control over every device in the house

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T-Mobile FamilyMode Home Base
The T-Mobile FamilyMode app and Home Base promise control over every Internet-connected device in your house.
Photo: T-Mobile

Parental controls are a hot item. Apple is building them into iOS 12, kid-friendly apps have them, and T-Mobile just unveiled its solution: Family Mode.

This includes iOS and Android apps than can limit what children do online. And the Family Mode Home Base connects to the home Wi-Fi router and lets parents put restrictions on every device in the house.

T-Mobile isn’t America’s ‘Best Unlimited Network’

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T-Mobile isn't America's Best Unlimited Network.
A regulatory arm of the Better Business Bureau told T-Mobile to stop claiming it's the ‘Best Unlimited Network.’
Photo: T-Mobile

T-Mobile uses the self-bestowed accolade ‘Best Unlimited Network’ in its ads. But now an advertising regulatory body told the carrier to knock it off.

To be clear, this recommendation by the National Advertising Division (NAD) isn’t binding. But it’s significant enough that T-Mobile is appealing the decision.

Sprint and T-Mobile come together in controversial merger

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t-mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere will head the merged Sprint and T-Mobile. Assuming the Feds let the deal go through, of course
Photo: T-Mobile

Do you get your iPhone service from Sprint? Not for much longer. The third and fourth largest U.S. carriers just announced they’re merging. But the plan to join Sprint and T-Mobile is already drawing significant criticism.

The combined company will be called T-Mobile, and will be headed by John Legere, T-Mobile’s current CEO. That’s assuming the $59 billion deal gets approved by government regulators.

T-Mobile and Verizon boast fastest 4G speeds

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Best 4G
T-Mobile and Verizon are battling it out to see which will offer the best 4G.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A quick and reliable LTE connection is a necessity for any iPhone. Verizon and T-Mobile offer the best 4G performance, with AT&T and Sprint not able to keep up.

All four of the national carriers’ networks show improvement over 2017, but some haven’t yet recovered from the deluge of usage that came when they began offering unlimited data plans several years ago.

New LTE tech brings screaming speeds — but not to iPhones

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T-Mobile LTE speed test

Photo: T-Mobile

T-Mobile has increased LTE speeds to a staggering 500Mbps in New York City. It has become the first carrier to test commercial Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology, which sends 4G signals over unused 5GHz Wi-Fi channels to increase bandwidth, in the United States.

LAA will soon be expanding its reach across the U.S. — but you won’t be able to enjoy it on iPhone.

AT&T promises blazing-fast 5G in U.S. by end of 2018

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AT&T logo
The new technology promises to bring speeds that are 10 to 100x faster than current cellular data capabilities.
Photo: Luismt94/Wikipedia CC

AT&T has promised to begin rolling out a true next-generation 5G network in a dozen U.S. cities by the end of the year.

The pledge follows international 5G standards being agreed upon last month by 3GPP, the body responsible for developing and governing cellular standards.