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Dear Carriers, If You are Going to Take Features From Phones to Make Money, Give Us Options to Get Them Back

lg g3 wireless charging

Last week, we featured a deal for an unlocked LG G3 that could be snagged on eBay for $500. We picked one up because international versions of phones not only seem to receive updates much quicker than their counterparts here in the States (a topic for another day), but this is the model of the G3 that features wireless charging out of the box, something US carriers (Verizon and AT&T in particular) removed so that they could make extra money off of customers like you and me with accessories that add features like this on.

Once the device arrived, I slapped it on the Qi wireless charger that never leaves my desk, just to test the functionality on a G3. Sure enough, it worked without hassle straight out of the box. I didn’t need to slap a new cover on or attach a case, it just charges as if the feature is built-in, which it is. While this should have brought immediate joy, it also brought on a substantial amount of anger even quicker. Why? Because carriers in the US have robbed us of features like this for years to help them make an extra buck or two. And while I’m fine with companies trying to get richer (I’m sure we all would do the same), the way they go about it frustrates the hell out of me. What I mean is that if you are going to dumb down my smart device, so that you can charge me for accessories to make it smarter, give me some damn choices. 

If you buy an LG G3 today from either Verizon or AT&T, you won’t be able to wirelessly charge it out of the box. Forget the fact that Verizon was one of the few carriers to include wireless charging in last year’s LG G2, they decided against it this year because LG created a $60 circle flip case that has wireless charging. So you are aware, the international G3 I picked up includes a standard back cover with built-in wireless charging. The size of the device is identical to those sold at Verizon and AT&T, yet it has this added functionality. In other words, when Verizon and AT&T told LG to make branded back covers for their G3 variants, they said, “Please take out the added wireless charging capabilities that you use on the international variant because we want to charge customers for this feature.”

lg g3 wireless charging1

And again, I get that they want to make money – they can certainly do that. But as of now, in order to add wireless charging functionality to either variant, you have to buy the $60 QuickCircle case (which is currently sold out at Verizon). You don’t have another option, outside of spending $40+ on a replacement back cover through overseas eBay stores that may or may not work properly with your phone. Neither Verizon nor AT&T sell a replacement back cover with wireless charging – they only sell the QuickCircle case. What if I don’t want a flip case? What if I just want a replacement back cover that adds in this functionality that should have been there from the beginning? I have zero options outside of going to eBay and praying for the best.

The problem is compounded by the fact that AT&T went with a completely different wireless charging standard than everyone else in the world uses. I already wrote about AT&T using PMA over Qi, but the basics are this – if you own an AT&T LG G3, good luck ever finding a wireless charging accessory outside of the $60 PMA-ready QuickCircle case sold through AT&T’s store. I doubt that LG has any plans to make a replacement PMA back cover, and the Qi covers you can find elsewhere won’t work. At least with the other variants, they are Qi-ready and should work with a replacement back, if you can find one.

I’m using the G3 as the example here, but in reality, this has been going on forever. We see it with Samsung phones all of the time. Even though Samsung has an accessory store that they often sell replacement wireless charging backs and cases through, carriers like Verizon pickup some of these accessories, but we see them sell out within seconds before most have even had a chance to buy them. So there we were with an option, yet are then optionless moments later. Clearly, people are interested in features like this. We are willing to spend the money. Why can’t carriers (and manufacturers) make this stuff available?

The point here is that the whole situation sucks for consumers. We have these brilliant smartphones, yet carriers in the US want to dumb them down in order to make an extra buck without really giving us enough solutions to make them smarter (or where the manufacturer intended). Companies like LG build-in features like wireless charging to their flagship phones. These phones are supposed to come with these features out of the box. Instead, US carriers take them away and then don’t provide us with a means to get them back. Do you want to make money or not, carriers?

  • Bonnie Fraser

    Although not happily I would pay extra if I could just get the wireless back. I don’t want a circle case because I need more protection than that. If you want to make money just sell the darn back to work with Qi.

  • KYRO

    so Sprint LG G3 comes with Qi Wireless Charging out of the box?

  • Jeroi

    I’m really disappointed with at$t. Finally the LG g3 has the same dimensions as all the other carriers and now at$t decided to make the wireless charging different!!! Wtf!!
    As soon as my contract is over I will be switching to t-mobile. At least I will not pay as much for bad reception.
    Ps. This G3 does not feel much faster than my LGOG. It’s kind of disappointing. The other thing that bugs me is the fact that Facebook is preloaded and non removable.
    Hhhmm maybe it’s time to switch to a different carrier and manufacturer. HTC? Nokia wm9?

  • JenniferV

    So the tmobile variant includes wireless charging?

  • tim

    I completely agree with you. I have the AT&T version on the G3 and my phone now looks and feels completly HACKED because I had to cut the front of my quick circle case off since I hate any kind of cases. AT&T Sucks for doing this as well as all the rest of the carriers. Really if you want to force me to spend money at least make a standard wireless charging back cover and THEN charge me the damn $60.00. SCUM BAGS

  • http://www.1kindphotography.com/ 1KIND

    Qi/NFC stickers can be preordered and shipped within the US – http://forum.xda-developers.com/lg-g3/accessories/feeler-buy-qi-nfc-sticker-t2827738

  • seancaldwell

    Anyone know if the t-mobile version comes with wireless charging ability or if they joined the others and removed it?

  • Kevmeister

    Are you guys serious? Americans are complaining about this and that. This has gained to car enthusiast forums where they complain about their Volkswagen being watered down or the fact that their not bringing the nicer variants or trims. Well guess why? You’re not willing to pay for it. I’m saying this as a general population consensus. The entry level has to be low enough to get your approval.

    The G3 is selling for 599 in the states. It’s selling over $750 here in Hong Kong. Of course LG will have the premium to add Qi onto our products. I work for a factory here and when we meet with retail buyers from the states, they are always asking to lower or ex-factory price in order to meet their super low selling prices. Somethings gotta give so to speak.

  • Aaron C

    I refuse to spend any money on companies that limit my choice. That’s why when T-Mobile went with their first uncarrier announcement (no contracts), I voted with my dollars — paid my ETFs to Verizon, said seeya, and bought a bunch of Nexus phones. The only way these companies are going to offer more to the consumer is if they’re forced to. As long as people keep accepting being charged fees for upgrades, hidden subsidies, phone de-contenting, etc., these practices will continue.

  • Curt248

    Will the unlocked phone run on Verizon lte 4g?

  • Raymond Elliott

    Consider the difference in relationship between carriers on Android and carriers on iPhone. Carriers put their logo all over Android phones; Apple: “not on our phone.” Carriers add start-up screens and funny tones when they start on Android phones. Apple: “not on our phone.” I’m sure there are other examples but my point is with Android, carriers are allowed to goof around and try to make it “their” phone for better or worse.

    I like Android. But if Apple built iPhone with wireless charging capability, I’ll bet carriers couldn’t mess with it.

    • aggiefather

      It’s not just Android phones. AT&T had Nokia remove or disable the Qi-wireless charging ability from it Windows flagship, the Lumia 1520, before they would sell it.

    • Aaron C

      While that might be true, I’ll take an open ecosystem over a closed one any day.

  • tlingitsoldier

    I remember this happening when I had my Verizon Note 2. This is completely ridiculous, and something no one should stand for. Phone manufacturers need to put their foot down, and tell the carriers to go to hell. Carriers already gouge people enough with their services, fees, accessories, etc. I’m surprised they don’t ask manufacturers to remove the gyroscope, wifi, speakers, or more, so they can charge customers to buy “Made for___________” accessories. Basically Project Ara, in which you are forced to buy the base model, and can only buy modules from the carrier.

  • saimin

    Solution: don’t buy phones from greedy carriers. Unlocked phones cost a little more up front (eg Nexus 5 or OnePlus or Moto G), but you make that up in a few months of much lower pre-paid monthly rates.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/106360864062878150997/posts Garry

    So I am currently wondering what exactly AT&T changed on the G3 to cause it to not work with QI. Was there an actual hardware change by LG? If so, why would LG go through that trouble? If not, could some software changes fix it?

    • cornflahkes

      Someone mentioned the Lumia 1520 above, on that at least, the circuitry is slightly different with PMA vs Qi (they made it to only take PMA covers). Some people did get a regular Qi back cover working, but it involved plenty of soldering on a brand new several hundred dollar device. Not quite what you want to have to do.

  • Daistaar

    /rant

  • B Cole

    Somewhere along the process of registering a company with the US and becoming incorporated in america, they are actually legally obliged to make profits, and put profit above everything else (as long as it doesnt contradict other laws.). So yeah it sucks, and yeah it pisses off the consumer, even me, they are just trying to follow the law and bleed you for every dollar you have left to spend.

    In reality, it’s verging on illegally fixing the price of a product, and in regards to their need to compete fairly and legally, it might be breaking the law. ATT and Verizon had to consciously make the decision to not include Wireless charging capabilities, and the fact they made that decision and they are the 2 biggest carriers in the market it suggest price fixing. But since ATT went with a new standard, I’m sure a conspiracy to fix prices and not compete cant be proven… even thought we know they did, and they know there’s not a damn thing we the consumer can do about it.

    Aside from Obama creating a regulatory agency that protects the consumer at the expense of corporate profits/(extortion), there’s nothing we can really do about this… even if we raise enough of a stink, the problem wont be fixed until the next variant of the line of phone comes out.

    Also LG should be ashamed of allowing this, and they should realize they dont have much of a reputation left to afford to be slandered by these stupid actions… however I’m sure that’s the same reason they couldnt fight ATT and Verizon… LG would be smart to legally peruse damages against Verizon and ATT (by claiming Verizon and ATT Illegally forced LG by extortion to make these changes in order to keep doing business with the bullies.) to gain a better cooperate reputation with the consumer, and market their cooperate ethics and their ability to fight for the consumer. But I think it’ll snow in hell before LG grows balls to see Verizon and ATT in court…

  • sith77

    AGREED like whenever you see overseas variants of phones come with SECONDARY batteries & with dock chargers and here in the states we pay more and get ONE battery with no secondary battery charging docks. WTF ?!?!? this ALWAYS burns me up

  • RiceCake

    Everyone in the US, including me, should skip buying a new phone this year. We should boycott the carriers or something. Although I doubt our numbers would make any dent.