Phone Unlocking is Now, Like, Super Legal Starting Today

Over a year ago, the FCC and the CTIA (organization who represents all of the big wireless carriers) reached an agreement on how each of the big wireless carriers in the US should approach phone unlocking and unlocking requests from their customers. We are bringing up the subject again today, because February 11 was the date set for all participating parties to be ready for every single one of you to flood your carrier with a wave of unlock requests, or something. OK, not really, but today is the day that carriers needed to to be in full compliance with that previously mentioned agreement, an agreement that included six bullet points for handling the unlocking of the phones (“Six Standards on Unlocking”). You will hear people toss around things like, “It’s now legal to unlock your phone starting today!” (Just like I did in that click-baity title.) But that’s not really the case. It has been legal for a long, long time, it’s just that today, carriers have to be more friendly about it all.

Let’s talk a bit about it.  (more…)

Verizon Once Again Dominates RootMetrics’ Latest Carrier Report, T-Mobile Falls to Sprint

RootMetrics, a company who takes network performance serious enough to “distill” thousands of “independent, consumer-focused” tests to measure and rank them, published their 2nd Half 2014 US carrier network report yesterday afternoon. The results, well, aren’t all that different from their first half results, other than the fact that T-Mobile dropped to fourth place behind Sprint for overall performance. On top, we still have Verizon, just like we did back in August.  (more…)

Sprint HTC One (M8) Gets Lollipop Update Today

According to Sprint, their variant of the HTC One (M8) is receiving its Android 5.0 “Lollipop” today. Yep, today, not in a week or whatever a handful of leaks suggested, yesterday. The update drops in as build 4.20.651.10, but also removes the Lumen Toolbar. And that’s it!

We mentioned in our tour of Lollipop on the unlocked One (M8) that this update won’t necessarily look unfamiliar to one (M8) owners, because it’s still Sense 6 and it acts and looks like Sense 6. You will find notifications on your the lock screen, though, along with better notification controls, a new quick toggles and notification pulldown, screen pinning, and the new app switcher.

That gives both Sprint One (M7 and M8) models Lollipop before almost any other carrier has had a chance to push it. Nice job, Sprint.  (more…)

Through Agreement, Sprint Will Open Mini-Stores Inside 1,750 RadioShacks

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy recently, in case you were out of the loop. Because of that move, Sprint has decided to take advantage of the situation and swoop in, making them an offer they can’t refuse, which happens to be taking over a third of the retail space inside 1,750 RadioShack stores and turning them into mini-Sprints. Actually, the entire agreement is between General Wireless Inc., a subsidiary of RadioShack’s largest shareholder, and Sprint, granting them an opportunity to expand their branded store distribution.

As of today, Sprint has 1,100 company-owned stores, so if this transaction is approved by a Delaware bankruptcy court, they would more than double their footprint.  (more…)

Cheat Sheet: US Wireless Carrier Bands for Unlocked Phones

“Does this unlocked phone work with my carrier?”

How many times have you asked that over the last couple of years? I know we ask it often. In a time where prepaid services are very attractive, and more and more phones are available as unlocked models that work on a variety of LTE and GSM/CDMA bands, this a question you should be able to easily find an answer to. So since there doesn’t seem to be a quick reference guide for figuring out if a particular unlocked phone will work on a specific carrier’s network (trust me, I’ve looked), we decided to throw one together.

Below, we have given you a quick chart that shows each of the five major US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular), along with 3G and 4G LTE bands and frequencies. By no means is this the most in-depth wireless carrier band and frequency chart, but it should help when you go to buy that next unlocked phone.  (more…)