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:
-Consumers are able to create their own unique mix of talk, text and data, and can even forgo buying a data plan altogether to instead buy an app-specific data plan for maximum savings.
-Customize your amount of voice, text and data right from your device, and adjust it any time
-‘Never Overpay Guarantee’ with automatic credit back to a plan that would have saved you money if a bigger plan was unnecessarily purchased
-True sharing that lets you allocate a custom plan of any size to as many devices as you wish
-Remote parental control on kids phones to set curfews, apps and contact restrictions
-Access to specialized plans including app-specific plans, one-time top-ups and international long distance
In the video above we get a good look at how ItsOn’s software makes it easy for users to manage their flexible data plans and share data with others.
The service will initially be available to preorder with the LG Viper 4G LTE and LG Optimus Elite starting today on Zact’s website. Surprisingly, the Zact service will be available only in the US on Sprint’s 4G network and not Verizon’s as originally expected.
Although the service and ItsOn software is currently being limited to select Android devices, we’ve noted before that plans for iOS are already believed to be underway.
Zact Debuts Industry’s First Smart Mobile Service
‘Never Overpay Guarantee’ on Voice, Text, and Data
Includes Adjustable Plans From Device, True Sharing, Data-by-the-App, and Built-In Parental Controls
May 13, 2013, Redwood City, CA – Zact, the industry’s first smart mobile service provider, made its debut today giving people a whole new level of freedom, control, and flexibility over their voice, text and data services. Zact started out with a simple premise: In today’s world of innovative smartphones, exciting apps, and fast data connection speeds – people want wireless service that is flexible, adjustable and gives them exactly what they need. People are often frustrated by expensive one-size-fits-all plans and mobile phone subsidies that lock them into two-year contracts. People don’t want to waste money on overage penalties or forfeiture of unused minutes or data. Also, people want to affordably share their minutes and data among more devices added to their account.
To solve this problem, Zact was created. With Zact, consumers get a smart mobile service powered by technology from Zact’s parent company, ItsOn, which has a cloud-based software platform for delivering unprecedented levels of freedom and flexibility. Consumers are able to create their own unique mix of talk, text and data, and can even forgo buying a data plan altogether to instead buy an app-specific data plan for maximum savings. Zact was created to give people what they want and solve pain points, especially as people add more devices or family members to their account. Zact delivers the following:
• Customize your amount of voice, text and data right from your device, and adjust it any time
• ‘Never Overpay Guarantee’ with automatic credit back to a plan that would have saved you money if a bigger plan was unnecessarily purchased
• True sharing that lets you allocate a custom plan of any size to as many devices as you wish
• Remote parental control on kids phones to set curfews, apps and contact restrictions
• Access to specialized plans including app-specific plans, one-time top-ups and international long distance
Easily and Quickly Adjust
With Zact, you can easily and quickly adjust your plan right from your device. If you need more talk, text, or data, Zact will let you know and with two taps you’ll be able to get more of what you need with no penalties. You will never be charged without your explicit consent so there are never overages or surprises.
Never Overpay Guarantee
And, you never have to worry about overpaying because with Zact you automatically get money credited back to your account on the plan increment that would have fit you best. This means no need to worry about paying for too much voice, text or data because you will always end up with the plan level that is exactly right based on your actual usage.
There is no need to buy a big expensive sharing plan. Any plan is sharable with Zact. There is no limit to the number of Zact-enabled devices you can add to your account. Once added, you have the option to easily allocate and customize the amount of voice, text and data you assign for each person or device on your account. Outside of a nominal $4.99 monthly maintenance charge per each device, there are no additional fees for sharing and no need for separate amounts of voice, text and data per device.
With Zact, parents can easily set parental controls. Control features include the ability to set curfew, block access to browsers, restrict apps and contacts. Now there’s no more worry about late night texting, too much video game playing, or having to confiscate a child’s device. The controls to limit a child’s access can be directly managed from the parent’s Zact device, which means it’s like having a remote control of your kids’ device.
Zact will also allow customers to buy one-off specialized plans. Need a international long distance plan? Or rather skip a data plan, and have individual data just for specific apps at a low price? Zact gives you specialized plans right on your device, so you can be selective and buy only what you need.
Today, the average spend per person in the U.S. on wireless services is $93 per month, according to Nielsen Research – which also states the average person uses 644 voice minutes per month, sends and receives 764 texts per month. In addition the average person in the U.S. utilizes approximately 500 MB of data per month. With Zact, the cost of service that would suit the average person would be approximately $31 per month, with is 3X less than what people typically pay. Even after purchasing an unsubsidized device from Zact, the average smartphone user can still expect to save as much as $1,275 over a two-year period. Families sharing a plan can expect to save even more.
“Our goal is to give mobile consumers freedom, flexibility and control of their wireless service right from their device. With Zact, no contract is just the beginning – you can create your own unique plan and share it with anyone,” said Greg Raleigh, founder and CEO of ItsOn, parent company of Zact. “You get exactly what you want, and you never have to pay more than you need due to our Never Overpay Guarantee. It’s the ultimate unplan.”
Zact is initially available for pre-order on the LG Viper 4g LTE and LG Optimus Elite Android based smartphones. The phones are unsubsidized and priced at $399 and $199 respectively. The Zact service is available in the U.S. and runs on the Sprint Nationwide Network with 4G/LTE coverage where available and free domestic roaming. Go to Zact.com web site for more information or to place a pre-order beginning May 13, 2013. Devices with Zact service are expected to ship in June 2013.
EE has today announced that its 4G network is now available in another 12 towns across the United Kingdom, bringing the total number of 4G connected towns and cities to 62 in just six months following its launch. That’s 50% of the U.K. now covered by 4G, and EE is aiming to increase that to 70% by the end of the year.
EE is still the only 4G provider in the U.K., but its rivals are expected to rollout their own 4G networks in the coming months. Until then, those who want super fast data speeds only have the one option. Fortunately, EE has been quick to make its network available to as much of the U.K. as possible.
From today, 4G will be available in Aylesbury, Berkhamsted, Billericay, Blackpool, Brentwood, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Lytham St Annes, Marlow, Pontefract, Thame, and Windsor. This will bring EE’s coverage of the U.K. to 50%, and another 18 towns and cities are to be added by the end of June.
By the end of 2013, the company hopes to cover 70% of the U.K. population.
“Our rollout of the country’s first 4G mobile network is continuing at a great pace to ensure that we are connecting people right across the UK to one of the fastest mobile networks in the world, as quickly as possible,” said Olaf Swantee, EE CEO.
“Consumers and businesses in the UK use mobile internet more than any other market, and rely on it for long commutes; there is a demand for the best mobile services, and we’re working to meet that demand. We’re committed to rolling out 4G to 98% of the population by the end of 2014, and that includes the double-speed 4G that will launch this summer.”
EE currently offers a range of 4G devices, including the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini, the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note II, and the BlackBerry Z10.
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.
Rogers is the latest Canadian company to broaden its horizons with the introduction of LTE. This week the carrier introduced LTE to 7 new markets, keeping the promise it made a fortnight ago.
By upgrading to Rogers LTE package, you will have access to their 2600MHz band, which secures you incredibly fast internet speeds on compatible devices — including the new Samsung Galaxy S4.
The new locations to receive the 4G LTE service include:
- Ottawa, including Kanata, Nepean, Gloucester, Stittsville and Cumberland
- Airdrie, Alberta
- Langley, B.C
- Keswick; Ontario
- Hamilton, including Grimsby in Ontario
- Orillia, Ontario
- Stratford, Ontario
The LTE service went global in May 2012 and has been a huge success since; sources expect over 2 million of Rogers current 9.2 million subscribers to upgrade to the new LTE service.
Rogers new LTE service promises users a snappier web browsing experience, in addition to providing users with a faster response time, resulting in a faster processing time — this is the time it takes to move data through a network.
If you’re in one of the locations where you have the ability to upgrade to the LTE network, phone up Rogers today to upgrade to one of their 4G plans — I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
Verizon Wireless kicked off the U.S. carriers’ earnings season on Wednesday, reporting 720,000 net new subscribers in the normally tepid first quarter. As in recent quarters, much of its growth was driven by contract smartphones – it activated 7.2 million of the devices, including 4 million iPhones – and it continued the gradual migration of its customer base and traffic to its now not-so-new 4G LTE network.
Overall, Verizon brought in $29.4 billion in revenues for the quarter, and posted a 15 percent year-over-year increase in profits.
Verizon’s LTE network now covers 491 markets and 287 million people, which is roughly 95 percent of its current 3G footprint. CFO Fran Shammo said it plans to match 4G coverage to its 3G coverage by the end of this quarter, and he reiterated Verizon’s plans to start building its second 4G network this year over recently acquired Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) airwaves. Shammo said Verizon would start offering its first LTE-only devices – with no CDMA fallback – next year, which should coincide with the launch of its voice-over-LTE service.
Verizon saw 5.9 million LTE device activations in the first quarter, bringing its total 4G retail connections to 26.3 million, about 28 percent of its total contract subscribers. Shammo said roughly half of Verizon’s 4 million iPhone activations were for the LTE-capable iPhone 5.
As more customers upgrade to LTE devices, more of Verizon’s data load moves over to its high-capacity networks: 54 percent of its data traffic is now on LTE, compared to 50 percent in the fourth quarter.
The mix of Verizon’s mobile subscribers is also getting interesting. It’s been moving a big chunk of its customer base over to its new shared data plans since it implemented the tiers last year. About 30 percent of Verizon’s accounts are on a Share Everything plan, and the carrier is averaging 2.67 devices per account. But Verizon also acquired 43,000 net new prepaid subscribers. That’s not a huge number in the world of prepaid, but Verizon has been focusing a lot more attention on the budget segment lately, particularly as its 3G network starts to empty.
Shammo said that while Verizon isn’t getting overly aggressive in prepaid, it’s by no means ignoring it. “We will look for niches in which we can make an impact,” he said.
On the wireline side, Verizon continued to recalibrate its business toward FiOS. Its fiber service now accounts for 69 percent of all consumer revenue. Verizon added 188,000 FiOS internet subscribers and 169,000 TV subscribers. Meanwhile, Verizon shed another 89,000 DSL subscribers.
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Apple’s newly retooled iPhone 5 makes it easier not just for T-Mobile to deliver 3G service to the Apple aficionados among its customers, but also for its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners.
T-Mobile MVNO Solavei said on Wednesday it will fully support all of the HSPA+ radios in the new version of the iPhone 5. That means anywhere T-Mobile offers 3G service, Solavei will too. Previously all iPhones’ 3G capabilities were restricted to areas where T-Mobile had completed its ongoing network overhaul, which to date is about 50 cities. Solavei – which has adopted a multi-level marketing approach (think Amway) to distributing its service – is selling the unlocked iPhone 5 directly to customers for the steep price of $700 through its retail partner GSMNation. But unlocked versions of the device will work just fine with Solavei’s SIM cards.
Solavei, however, won’t get access to T-Mo’s latest and greatest 4G network though. The MVNO confirmed that none of its customers will be able to tap T-Mobile’s LTE network, no matter what phone they own. T-Mobile has only launched LTE in seven cities, and it appears to be keeping its new 4G service for itself for the time being. I would expect that change eventually though. Sprint, for instance, is already opening its new LTE network to its numerous MVNO partners.
T-Mobile’s 3G network, though, is nothing to scoff at. T-Mo the only U.S. carrier to offer dual-carrier HSPA+, which is now accessible by the iPhone 5 and many other devices supporting its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) band. T-Mobile also has several other MVNO partners, such as Tracfone’s Straight Talk Wireless, that can theoretically support the iPhone 5. Solavei is the only one we know of that is selling a nano-SIM card that fits into to device, but many consumers are getting around that problem by cutting larger SIM cards down to size.
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EE has announced plans to double its 4G LTE network speeds in ten U.K. cities by the summer. The move will boost headline speeds to 80Mbps, and increase the average speed to 20Mbps for both new and existing subscribers. The carrier says this is part of its ambition to “stay one step ahead” as rival carriers prepare to launch their own 4G networks in the coming months.
EE is currently the only 4G provider in the U.K., but rivals Vodafone, Three, and O2 will also be joining the 4G party throughout 2013. In an effort to remain one step ahead, EE is looking to improve its service by boosting 4G speeds.
“We are ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of the digital revolution,” said EE CEO Olaf Swantee. “Having already pioneered 4G here, we’re now advancing the country’s infrastructure again with an even faster, even higher-capacity network, and at no extra cost to our customers.”
Ten U.K. cities will see the changes first, including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Sheffield. The improvements will be made automatically — you won’t need to do anything to upgrade your speeds — and they’ll be available to new and existing customers.
EE hopes the upgrade will “future-proof” its network to meet the needs of data-hungry consumers and businesses. The company expects network traffic to increase 750% during the next three years alone.
“Since we launched 4G, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way people are using mobile,” Swantee added. “Video already accounts for 24% of all traffic on our 4G network – that’s significantly more than on 3G. Maps, mobile commerce, sat-nav tools and cloud services are all seeing a similar rise. Mobile users in the UK have a huge appetite for data-rich applications, and this will only grow as people become more familiar with and reliant upon next generation technologies and services.”
EE hopes to rollout its improved speeds to one million 4G customers by the end of 2013, and the carrier promises updates on its progress throughout the year.
There have been a lot of conflicting and confusing – and several plain wrong – reports on whether the current version of the iPhone 5 will work on T-Mobile’s new LTE network. I’m sorry to say I even helped spread some of that misinformation by talking about those reports on GigaOM’s mobile call-in podcast on Wednesday. But I’ve since had a chance to talk Apple, and got the details about what exactly the iPhone 5 can do and what it can’t.
Bottom line: if you have a North American GSM version of the iPhone 5 — whether you bought it from AT&T or Apple or got it in from Canada – it can connect to T-Mobile’s new LTE network. It just has to be unlocked. So for AT&T customers looking to switch sides, that means you have to finish your contract, and ask your carrier to unlock the device.
The device will also work on T-Mobile’s 3G HSPA+ network (which T-Mobile calls 4G), just not in every city today. T-Mobile is in the process of a big network overhaul that will align all of its networks with the radios in the iPhone and most other AT&T devices. It’s completed the upgrade in about 50 cities covering 142 million people, but other cities are getting converted quickly.
The source of the confusion is over frequencies, which is why we’ve been seeing all of these references to the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) band. T-Mobile runs two technologies in the AWS band, it’s LTE network and a portion of its HSPA+ network. The iPhone 5 will support LTE in the AWS band, but it won’t support HSPA+ over AWS. The iPhone 5, and all previous versions of the iPhone, will work on its new upgraded HSPA+ systems in the PCS band.
Apple will release a new version of the iPhone 5 next month that will make all of the band differences completely moot. The updated version will support HSPA+ on both AWS and PCS band. It will even be able to access T-Mobile’s dual-carrier 42 Mbps HSPA+ network, which current and older versions of the iPhone cannot.
All of this is probably still extremely confusing so I’ve broken it down into a Q&A, which hopefully will answer any lingering questions.
How do I know if my iPhone will work on T-Mobile’s networks?
For the iPhone 5, check your model number. It must be the A1428, sold by AT&T, the Canadian operators or Apple. Older iPhone models will also work on T-Mobile’s 2G and 3G networks. All of these devices must be unlocked, though, or they’ll be blocked.
How can I be sure I’ll have access to T-Mobile’s LTE and HSPA+ networks?
For LTE, it’s simple. T-Mobile launched LTE in seven markets this week: Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. New York City is scheduled to come online this summer along with a bunch of other yet unnamed cities.
For HSPA+, it’s a bit more difficult to tell since T-Mobile doesn’t have any kind of map that tracks which markets have HSPA+ running on the PCS band. They make regular updates on their blog and to the media. PCMag has the most the recent list of T-Mo’s 49 iPhone-optimized cities.
As a general rule of thumb, though, if T-Mobile has LTE in your city, then HSPA+ will be in all the right places, too. And if you get a new version of the iPhone 5 next month, it will work on all of T-Mobile’s network.
When will I be able to bring my old iPhone over to T-Mobile?
You can do it right now if you like. T-Mobile already has millions of iPhones on its network, running over its 2G and 3G services. In order to access LTE though, you’ll have to wait until Apple updates iOS, authorizing the iPhone 5 to use T-Mobile’s network. Apple hasn’t given a date for when this will happen, saying it will come as an over-the-air update.
Will I be able to access dual-carrier HSPA+?
On a current iPhone, the fastest 3G network you’ll have access to is its 21 Mbps single-carrier system, since all of T-Mo’s dual-carriers are in the AWS band. T-Mobile will eventually launch dual-carrier in the PCS band, but that will take some time. It has to close its acquisition of MetroPCS and convert a lot of old GSM networks to 3G first. If you’re set on accessing the dual-carrier network in the near future, then you’ll need to get one of new versions of the iPhone 5.
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Earlier this week, T-Mobile announced that it will finally begin selling Apple’s iPhone next month, almost six years after the device first made its debut in the U.S. When you buy an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, it will come with support for AWS bands, so that it can be used on the carrier’s LTE network.
Existing iPhone 5 handsets already in circulation don’t have this, but it can be enabled on the AT&T and unlocked models. And if your iPhone 5 is jailbroken, you can enable it yourself. Here’s how.
The process is as easy as adding a repository to Cydia, installing a patch, and editing a bit of text. Just remember, it doesn’t work on Verizon handsets because they don’t have the hardware to support T-Mobile’s bands.
Here are the step-by-step instructions you’ll need, courtesy of LEI Mobile.
1. Open Cydia
2. Tap “Manage” and then tap “Sources”
3. Tap “Edit” then tap “Add” and put the following URL into the text box: http://v.backspace.jp/repo
4. Once the URL is entered in tap “Add Source” and allow for it to download all of the repo’s info and packages.
5. After your iPhone has refreshed, tap the v.backspace.jp/repo field or go to the search bar and find the package CommCenter* patch…
6. Once you have found it, install it and then reboot your iPhone once completed.
7. After the iPhone has restarted, open Cydia once again.
8. Search for iFile. The free version includes basic features. You will want to purchase it to take advantage of all of the features.
9. Once you have found it, install it. No reboot is required, though you can do it just to be on the safe side.
10. Once iFile has been installed, close Cydia and click on this file from your iPhone and click “Open in iFile”
11. Once you’re in iFile tap “Unarchiver” and 3 files will show up above T-Mobile LTE.zip
12. At the top, tap “edit”and tap the dots with a check mark next to carrier.plist, overrides_N41_N42.plist, and overrides_N41_N42.pri
13. Tap the clipboard icon at the bottom and tap “cut”
14. Now tap “done” at the top and tap the house icon at the bottom then tap Library, then tap Carrier Bundle.bundle (the one in blue), and then tap edit at the top again and tap the clipboard icon. Tap “paste” and it will auto inject the carrier files into the carrier folder overwriting the other files. (you may want to make a backup of these files incase anything goes wrong: overrides_N41_N42.plist, overrides_N41_N42.pri, and carrier.plist)
15. After the files have been placed, exit iFile and restart iPhone. After the iPhone restarts, allow it to acquire signal and display the T-Mobile logo then go to where you edit the APN settings (Settings –>General–>Cellular) Once that is done, enable the LTE toggle and you’re good to go.
That wasn’t too difficult, was it? You should now be up and running on T-Mobile’s LTE network, and you didn’t need to spend a penny on a new device.
Source: LEI Mobile
Via: Today’s iPhone