att

There is no joy in Dallas tonight.

After thoroughly reviewing the matter, AT&T has decided to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile. Even though the Justice Department, Federal Communications Commission and other industry members may disagree, AT&T still holds the position that such a merger would have been a good thing citing the need for more spectrum.  Spectrum needed to handle the growing consumer demand.

AT&T pledges to continue to be aggressive in leading the mobile revolution but took the opportunity to challenge policy makers to do their part. Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson stated,

“To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest. However, adding capacity to meet these needs will require policymakers to do two things. First, in the near term, they should allow the free markets to work so that additional spectrum is available to meet the immediate needs of the U.S. wireless industry, including expeditiously approving our acquisition of unused Qualcomm spectrum currently pending before the FCC. Second, policymakers should enact legislation to meet our nation’s longer-term spectrum needs."

The penalty for withdrawing the acquisition proposal.. $4 Billion that will be charged against the 4th Quarter of 2011. On the plus side, AT&T will enter into a mutually beneficial roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom. So while the sale fell through, an AT&T and T-Mobile partnership may still be a possibility.

Source: AT&T

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According to a report published over at BGR, HTC is set to launch a 4G LTE Windows Phone in early 2012, on AT&T. According to 'trusted sources' (get the pinch of salt ready), HTC will be releasing fewer handsets next year, leaving the release schedule "shockingly quiet" (makes sense to focus on quality). Two new devices were revealed, a flagship Android handset and the manufacturer's first LTE Windows Phone. The latter is questionably going to be Titan-like, sporting a 4.7" screen.

The new 4G LTE Windows Phone is slated for an apparent release on February 5th. Should the rumours prove to be true, as well as the ones surrounding the upcoming Nokia LTE device, 2012 will be an exciting year for the platform to move on up. Of course if a 4G LTE Titan is right around the corner, how many of you will be a little annoyed that you just bought the HSPA+ version? Needless to say, CES in January should be interesting...we'll be there to cover it live.

Let us know your thoughts below.

Source: BGR, thanks TheWeeBear for the tip!

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AT&T has sold out the HTC Titan

We had a feeling the HTC Titan would take off with a storm simply because it sports a massive screen and is well built (see our review), so it's good to see the AT&T website displaying a "SOLD OUT" notice for the Windows Phone. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to wait some time to get one yourself, but Best Buy currently has the Titan stocked for free, all that's required is a new two year contract to be taken out.

Source: AT&T, thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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Should you have the HTC Titan jotted down on your Santa wish list (or simply desire one due to an ending contract), then perhaps you should check out this deal found at Best Buy. The HTC Titan 4G on AT&T is going for nothing at all, all that's required is a new two year contract to be taken out (or an upgrade), starting from just $39.99 for the cheapest plan. Taking the handset without a package will set you back $649.99.

Packing a massive 4.7" screen, the Titan (our review) truly is a beast of a Windows Phone. Powered by a 1.5GHz processor and shipping with 16GB worth of storage, this handset is a perfect choice for anyone who's searching for that extra oomph!

Source: Best Buy, thanks Figure 8 Dash for the tip!

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The Samsung Focus Flash has found itself being advertised in the Washington Post newspaper among a handful of other AT&T handsets. Looking good! If you're not completely aware of the second generation Focus Flash, check out our insightful review

Be sure to check out the discounts at Amazon Wireless should you be looking to purchase this Windows Phone.

Thanks David for the images!

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AT&T has announced the release date for the HTC Titan on their Facebook page - November 20th. It will be available for $199.99 on a 2-year contract with a minimum $15 per month data plan being required. The handset, boasting a massive 4.7 inch super LCD screen, was unveiled in the U.S. at the Microsoft event in New York. Be sure to check out our first impressions of the HTC Titan.

Source: AT&T Facebook, thanks Aaron for the tip!

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If you're considering whether or not you should upgrade to the Samsung Focus S or Focus Flash, then perhaps a further $75 being subtracted from the total cost (on AT&T) could sway your mind? Over at TechBargains, they have a $75 off coupon code, which can be used when checking out for the new Samsung Windows Phone handsets (or any other phone/accessory). One reader, Ahmed, has informed us that the coupon works for the new Focus S and Flash on top of the free overnight shipping and waived activation fee. His out-the-door total cost for the Focus S was $133.74. Not bad!

The coupon will expire at the end of this month, November 30th, so there's plenty of time to decide. You can also check out our first impressions of the Focus S and Focus Flash.

Source: TechBargains, thanks Ahmed for the heads up!

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Today, AT&T has announced its Windows Phone 7.5 plans, including new phones and updates (see earlier AT&T roadmap leak). The three new devices, the HTC Titan, Samsung's Focus S and Focus Flash will all be available in Q4, though no specific date has been specified. Most impressive is the announcement of the first 4G Windows Phone, coming from Samsung.

We've all seen (and drooled over) the HTC Titan, with its gigantic 4.7-inch screen, 1.5GHz processor, 8MP camera with dual LED flash in addition it's front-facing 1.3MP camera. No doubt that the Titan will be highly anticipated and a weclome addition to AT&T's offerings.

As for the Focus S (SGH-i937 aka Kapua) it will "build on the success of the award-winning and highest selling Windows Phone in the U.S., the Samsung Focus." and will sport a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.4GHz processor, 8MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front-facing camera, all snuggly tucked into a svelte a 8.55 millimeter profile (the current Focus is 9.9mm thick, for reference)

Finally, the Samsung Focus Flash will be geared for the more price-conscious consumer.  While it, too, will have a 1.4GHz processor, the screen measures in a tad smaller than the Focus S, at 3.7 inches, and will only have a 5MP camera.  All three will have front-facing cameras, which seems to be a standard for any new, Mango-native devices.

Speaking of which, AT&T also took the opportunity to say that they will be among the first to roll out Mango to their existing lineup of phones.  The HTC HD7S, HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus will all see Mango updates "this fall,"  which could even come to mean this week.

Source: AT&T

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AT&T has filed lawsuits in eight different jurisdictions to defend itself against a wave of arbitration cases filed by Bursor & Fisher on behalf of over 1000 AT&T customers.  The New York law firm started a website called FightTheMerger.com to find a horde of AT&T users to file individual arbitration cases against Ma Bell, in order to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile.  The method of attack was chosen because AT&T's terms of service bar customers from filing lawsuits against them, instead offering the option of third-party arbitration.

AT&T issued a statement to each court claiming that Bursor & Fisher intend to proceed with each case individually, that they are actually launching a thinly-veiled class-action suit, which is prohibited by the terms of service as well.

“This merger will provide tremendous benefits for customers and unleash billions of dollars in badly needed investment, creating many thousands of well-paying jobs that are vitally needed given our weakened economy — a fact that’s been recognized by consumers, public officials, and groups of all types. However, the bottom line here is an arbitrator has no authority to block the merger or affect the merger process in any way. AT&T’s arbitration agreement with our customers — recently upheld by the Supreme Court — allows individual relief for individual claims. Bursor & Fisher is seeking class-wide relief wrapped in the guise of individual arbitration proceedings, which is specifically prohibited by AT&T;s arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the claims are completely without merit. We have filed suit in order to stop this abusive action.”

So it looks like a battle of semantics versus loopholes that will ultimately be decided in the courts.  But even if AT&T prevails in this matter, there is still a long road ahead.  A seemingly wary FCC still needs to approve the deal, and there is a long list of other challengers as well, including advocacy groups, politicians and other carriers. 

Source: AllThingsD; Via: TechCrunch

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FCC merger reviews are often seen as a formality, if not a complete joke.  But in an interesting turn in AT&T's purchease of T-Mobile, the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday that it will be combining its review of the proposed acquisition with AT&T's recent purchase of Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum.  This shows that the FCC is serious about making sure that the playing field is at least somewhat level, and that AT&T actually stands a chance of being denied.

Critics, which include other carriers, politicians and current customers, have argued that it will lead to high prices and degraded services for consumers, and will hinder industry innovation.  AT&T, as you might imagine, disagrees.  They recently hired consulting firm M+R to conduct its own study of the issue, which to no surprise came back favoring the deal.  M+R researcher Allen Rosenfeld says that the FCC has it all wrong; that they should not be looking at the outcome of a deal, but the outcome if no deal is reached:

At the core of the flawed apples-and-oranges comparison is an implicit assumption that, in the absence of the proposed merger, T-Mobile USA’s current pricing structure would continue to be available to consumers. In the most-general sense, that assumption implies a continuation of the status quo for T-Mobile USA for the foreseeable future. More specifically, it assumes that T-Mobile USA’s overall customer strategy, driven by plans priced lower than AT&T’s and Verizon’s, could be sustained for years to come. A close look at the industry and the competitive outlook for T-Mobile USA, however, casts serious doubt upon the validity of the assumption that T-Mobile USA, going it alone in the absence of the merger, would be able to sustain its pricing strategy and that consumers would be better off if the merger were not approved.

In other words, T-Mobile's strategy out out-pricing the bigger carriers cannot continue on its own.  If AT&T doesn't swoop in to the rescue, poor T-Mobile will no longer be sustainable as-is, and customer rates will have to increase.  How noble, AT&T, how noble.

Source: GigaOm

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A New York law firm, Bursor & Fisher, has filed arbitration against ATT in a bid to prevent the purchase of T-Mobile.  The eleven separate cases come on behalf of ATT custromers who claim that the acquisition violates the Clayton Antitrust Act and will negatively affect consumers.

The merger still needs to make it through the Department of Justice and FCC gauntlets, but attorney Steve Brusor sees this as one more measure that can be taken to prevent it:

“Government enforcement is an important part of the antitrust laws, but the Clayton Act also permits private parties who may be adversely affected to challenge a proposed merger. That means any AT&T cellphone, data or iPad customer who will suffer higher prices and diminished service because of this merger can sue to stop it from happening.”

His firm has created a website, in hopes of finding more ATT users who want to join the fight.  The strategy is simple, yet brilliant.  Ma Bell requires customers to agree to a contract that prohibits them from filing class-action lawsuits, instead forcing them into mediated arbitration, at ATT's expense nonetheless.  The plan is to bring as many arbitration cases against ATT as possible, in hopes of getting at least one mediator to rule in favor of the plaintiff.  If that happens, Bursor thinks there is a strong case to shoot down the deal. 

Despite this, as well as the joint efforts of consumer advocate groups and wireless carriers like Sprint, it's still an uphill battle.  ATT is a huge company and has gained the support of countless politicians, lobbyists and other corporations.  And although ATT was not available to comment on the arbitration cases directly, they seemed confident during an earnings call yesterday that the deal would go through as early as Q1 2012.

Source: AllThingsD

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AT&T has just announced that their customers who travel internationally will be able to enjoy more data packed tiers that are more affordable. I envy this from a stand where unfortunately Three UK don't cover a wide variety of countries within their international add-on (which doesn't even offer data) and AT&T seem to has good coverage (be sure to check before traveling).

This will surely aid anyone who has not gone with the plan previously and have attempted to hunt down WiFi throughout their traveling. The new (updated) international data package tiers are as follows:

  • 50MB package for $24.99/month compared to the current 20MB package for $24.99/month
  • 125MB package for $49.99/month compared to the current 50MB package for $59.99/month
  • 275MB package for $99.99/month compared to the current 100MB package for $119.99/month
  • 800MB package for $199.99/month compared to the current 200MB package for $199.99/month

Source: AT&T

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In the wake of the uproar over their lack of communication on their update strategy, Microsoft created a web page to communicate with users on the status of their updates. Up until now AT&T users were left wondering what "Testing" meant, and how long that would take. The bad news is that all three Windows Phone 7 devices on AT&T are still in the testing phase, but the good news is that there are target dates attached now.

According to Microsoft’s website, testing for both the NoDo and Pre-Nodo updates are estimated to be completed early next month. While this is obviously later than anyone wants, at least we have a time frame to mark on the calendar.

What do you think? Is this too late? Are you at least glad that there is some communication rolling at this point? Get your rant on in the comments.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks to Bryan for the tip!

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They’re not billing it as a 4G network (like T-Mobile for example), but AT&T says that their network is now 80% HSPA+. For the acronym challenged, HSPA+ (or Evolved HSPA) increases the theoretical peak data rate from HSPA’s 14 Mbit/s to 56 Mbit/s (per Wikipedia).

The caveat here is that AT&T doesn’t currently have any phones that support the speeds that would benefit from HSPA+, and the only phones on T-Mobile run Android. But still, network upgrades benefit everyone.

via: Boy Genius Report

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We've been peppering carriers with questions regarding the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 on Oct. 6, and most are pretty mum at this point. But AT&T did drop one little nugget in regards to WiFi, which we've been waiting to hear about for some time now. And it goes a long way toward answering a question we tackled in this week's podcast.

So, here's the deal. We're leaving it in AT&T-speak. Starting Sept. 14:

  • AT&T will provide most users access to nearly 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots across the US, including Starbucks.
  • Beginning this month, customers with Wi-Fi-enabled Windows Mobile smartphones and unlimited and other qualifying data plans will receive unlimited access to thousands of U.S. AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots nationwide.
  • Eligible Windows Mobile customers can access AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at over 20,000 nationwide locations – the majority of customers will be eligible as most have a qualifying data plan.
  • At no additional cost, AT&T customers with unlimited personal and enterprise rate plans on Wi-Fi enabled Windows Mobile smartphones can enjoy automatic, fast and secure access to the Internet at AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots.
  • AT&T Wi-Fi will be easy to use on Windows Phones because of auto-authentication – if you have Wi-Fi on, you’ll automatically connect
  • The service will launch on 9/14 with Samsung smartphones with other devices to follow in the coming weeks, and all 6.5 devices will be supported.

So, while we still don't know what AT&T has up its sleeve in terms of Windows Mobile 6.5 and current or future devices, we now know it's opening up WiFi to the masses. Hit up this link for a map of AT&T's free WiFi locations.

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Update: Engadget notes that, in fact, these are just the same old terms we've been living under for a while now. So, nothing new to see here. In other news, the sky is falling.

It's baaaack. Nearly a month after updating and then un-updating its terms of service, AT&T again has put in a clause that could make apps like Slingbox a big no-no.

Here's the section we're interested in, emphasis ours:

... downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited. Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to computer accessories, Bluetooth® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose.

We're trying to get clarification on the "viewing on Personal Computers" clause. Smartphones certainly could be argued into that category, though the TOS use the word "phone" in a number of other instances. We'll let you know what we find out. In the meantime, you can read the whole TOS for yourself.

DSL Reports via Electronista

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Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease, and that appears to be the case for some Samsung Epix owners. AT&T recently made available a hotfix (you have to call to get it, and then it's pushed to your phone) that fixes the "Slog Dump" problem, which looks like this. That's all fine and good, but apparently people are having major issues with the radio after applying the hotfix.

What about you folks out there in TV Land? Having the same problems?

Via the Boy Genius Report

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Everyone's favorite smartphone fiend and CrackBerry.com contributor Bla1ze has found a juicy little nugget that points to BlackBerry getting over-the-air OS upgrades from AT&T. And that makes us wonder:

Where the heck are ours?!?!?

Flash back to last September, when Dieter got his hands on the silver Motorola Q9h. We first thought it was merely a new paint scheme, but it turns out the silver Q would be the first to support Firmware Over the Air updates, with the actual push coming from AT&T. But, as we all know, support is far from actual implementation, and we've never actually seen a FOTA update released. (And we can't write this post without mentioning that the Windows Update feature on WinMo phones still does nothing but take up space and fool the noobs.)

What's good for an operating system ultimately is good for a carrier. You wanna see Windows Mobile get a real leg up on everyone else when Windows Mobile 7 is eventually released? Make this happen. And then use it. (Please!)

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AT&T planning LTE for 2011

During all the excitement of the 2009 Mobile World Congress, AT&T has quietly acknowledged that it should have a fully ready Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2011. AT&T has pledged in the past to introduce the 4G Network in 2010 but, according to Senior Architecture VP Kris Rinne, will see the first phase limited to trials in 2010, with commercial services available the following year. This will put AT&T's 4G Network about a year behind Verizon's 4G network, which is for trials later this year with commercial services planned for 2010.

AT&T doesn't seem too worried about Verizon's time line, maintaining that it can rely on HSPA+ and have the advanced 3G networks reach 20Mbps sometime later this year through software upgrades. The LTE network theoretically is at least five times as fast in downloads, about 100Mbps and has a lower latency that should make multi-layer games, VoIP, and two way calling more practical than on 3G networks.

Speaking of time lines, it's probably safe to say that Apple's future plans for the iPhone could well be a factor here. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that AT&T has no idea what Apple's plans are.

[Read: Electonista.com]

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