carrier

Comcast may branch out from cable and landline internet, moving into the wireless service arena in the future. According to a report out of The Information, Comcast has been looking into the idea of creating a nationwide wireless phone network that relies primarily on Wifi with back-up service leased from already-established cellular carriers.

Instead of having to pursue purchasing large blocks of wireless spectrum and rights to traditional cellular towers, Comcast would leverage its currently-available network of Wifi hotspots to provide the majority of traffic for phones. Its Wifi network is growing with installations of public access points — over a million across various markets — in large cities and special residential routers that Comcast provides with a publicly-available signal in over eight million homes. But it naturally wouldn't be able to cover the entire country comprehensively — that's where other carriers come in.

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UK mobile operator EE has announced new entry-level 4G plans for the market. These new contracted plans start from £13.99 per month, enabling consumers to take advantage of faster Internet speeds at a more affordable price point. The operator has been criticized in the past for its pricing of LTE in the UK.

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UK mobile operator Three has been supporting Windows Phone since the beginning. The Samsung Omnia 7 was the first Windows Phone the operator stocked back in 2010 and both the platform and inventory have come a long way since then. However, the Three UK app available in the Nokia Collection on the Windows Phone hasn’t been updated since 2011. Finally, Three UK has released its own official Windows Phone app, available to all customers.

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It would appear that the UK mobile consumer is loving 4G, according to the latest statement from EE. The network, who was first to introduce LTE to the UK, had a target of signing up one million subscribers in 2013 and it only took ten months to get to that goal. During the following four months a further one million folk joined EE which goes to prove two things.

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EE, the only UK carrier to be rolling out LTE services, has announced plans to have a further 17 new towns and cities using its 4G network by March 2013. The next generation of mobile data connectivity will be switched on in Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

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EE, the only UK carrier to launch 4G LTE services thus far, has unleashed its SIM-only plans. Pricing starts at £21 a month with a 500MB data allowance, and tops at £36 for a 5GB upgrade to further increase the capabilities of the 4G speeds. So are these prices any better than what's already available at the carrier?

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It hasn't been the best of starts for the new UK carrier since it launched the first 4G network in the country. EE holds exclusivity on the Lumia 920, with available handsets at Phones4u locked to the network, forcing consumers with different providers to look online at unlocked prices - which went anywhere up to £550. So why has there been so much outrage at EE and the Lumia 920 launch?

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Rogers has published a blog post detailing what hardware the carrier will be sporting from Microsoft for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as well as any exclusivities Rogers will hold on said devices. We're already aware of which Windows Phones the carrier will be taking, but the blog post also touches on carrier apps that will be pre-loaded.

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Three UK's sensible pricing for the HTC 8X is revealed

Three UK has what it will charge customers for the HTC 8X Windows Phone leaked. According to images published by GSMArena, the carrier will be setting a price point of £349 should it be purchased on PAYG (Pay As You Go - locked to the network). If you're up for a new contract, the soon-to-be-released smartphone can be yours from £34/mo with an up-front fee of £29.

The carrier is stocking not only HTC's flagship Windows Phone at launch, but the HTC 8S will as well. While no pricing was revealed for the latter in GSMArena's report, it'll be interesting to see how Three prices the younger sibling with its slightly less advanced specifications. As the HTC 8X is relatively affordable for what's on offer, the 8S should appeal to many smartphone newcomers once pricing is officially announced.

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UK carrier EE (Everything Everywhere) has already begun to migrate existing customers with Orange and T-Mobile UK across to the new brand. Those who own Windows Phones and make use of said networks will see "EE" on the phone Live Tile once the switch has been carried out. The company is also in the process of launching the UK's first 4G LTE network on October 30th.

Taking on the mammoth task of moving both Orange and T-Mobile under the single brand (while forming three separate carriers), as well as firing up LTE, EE is certainly one of the major players in the mobile industry for consumers who reside within the UK. While customers will be seeing a change in branding on mobile devices, their contracts with both Orange and T-Mobile will remain. It's more aesthetics than anything that will affect service provided.

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HTC 8X and 8S both on their way to UK shores

Three UK has announced on their official blog plans to stock both HTC Windows Phones that were announced today at the manufacturer's event in New York. The HTC 8X and 8S are HTC's entries for Apollo to match Nokia's new Lumia line and the Samsung ATIV S.

Unfortunately no details have been supplied surrounding availability or pricing, but if we're to follow how AT&T will be setting bars, we wont be looking at a loan or possibility of a remortgage. EE (Everything Everywhere - Orange and T-Mobile) has taken up both the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 to launch on its new 4G LTE network.

We'll expect more information to be published by Three on what models will be stocked, as well as colours and pricing. Now Three UK and EE have both thrown their support behind Windows Phone 8, only the likes of Vodafone and O2 remain.

Source: Three UK

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Welcome to yet another From the Forums, where we bring you the latest and most popular threads from the Windows Phone Central forums. Should you find yourself lost with all the ongoing discussions that are taking place on our forum, be sure to check up on our quick selection in this roundup to get you started.

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US Cellular has informed PCMag that they are looking forward to Windows Phone 8, which will play a major part of the carrier's lineup. The carrier currently holds a single Windows Phone - the HTC 7 Pro. It's a positive sign to see the smaller US carriers positive announce their support for Microsoft's mobile platform.

"We believe in giving our customers the latest technology and device options and we are excited about the Windows 8 phone. It will be an important part of our device lineup going forward."

It's going to be exciting to see which Windows Phone 8 devices go where, and how the carriers play their part in the marketing and promotion of the platform. We're yet to hear anything from Sprint, which has the potential to disappoint loyal Sprint Windows Phone owners who are arguably amongst the most dedicated.

Source: PCMag, via: Engadget; thanks, Michael, for the tip!

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It was only a few hours when we looked at the UK retailer Carphone Warehouse busting Windows Phone myths that many moan and groan about, but now we can safely at Orange UK to the fan club. The carrier's business section of their website is recommending the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 in favour of a Blackberry (or iPhone) for business use.

Orange is also offering some neat benefits with purchasing the Nokia handsets with a Business Solo contract. The carrier will provide double flexible extras on plans worth £30/mo or higher, as well as free unlimited WiFi access with BT Openzone. It's good to see some real positive support from one of the major players here in the UK.

With Microsoft Office, Lync, Skype, and more, it makes sense to offer Windows Phone as a valid solution to business needs and requirements.

Source: Orange, thanks Jamil for the heads up!

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Three UK has announced plans to implement "4G" on their network, but instead of putting LTE on trial, for now the carrier is favouring DC-HSPA (the DC means dual-channel). In theory customers should be able to witness speeds up to 42Mbps, and with Three's "unlimited" data plans this will certainly excite smartphone owners.

Three currently operates a HSPA+ network that offers speeds of up to 21Mbps and is set to roll out DC-HSPA this coming summer. What's interesting to note is the timing of this announcement with the international Lumia 900 (supporting the "almost 4G" standard) being announced at MWC this week - coincidence?

Three still plans to introduce LTE through testing in the future so we'll happily take DC-HSPA for now.

Via: Slashgear; 4G image via Shutterstock

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Yves Maitre, senior vice president of devices and mobile multimedia at Orange, has told CNET in an interview this week that Windows Phone is the worst-selling platform in Orange's market (behind Android, iOS and Blackberry) in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"Honestly, it hasn't been as successful as we expected."

I'm not sure if every Windows Phone owner shares the same view as Maitre, since we've already covered problems with carriers not displaying working demo units in stores and promoting the platform in the media. Do you see Orange adverts for Windows Phone on TV, online, on billboards, in newspapers or in stores? If the overall response is "no", then how can Orange expect the platform to sell well against competitors that get more reach to their customer base?

"By Barcelona [the site of February's Mobile World Congress conference], we'll know for sure if Microsoft is in the game or not. If Nokia/Microsoft is not successful in Europe then it will be tough in other countries"

He does remain cautiously optimistic that the Nokia brand will push forward the platform and will force other OEMs to compete with one another through advertising. Maitre views Nokia as an expensive vehicle, "it's like you're driving a Mercedes Benz". With smartphones counting for 50% of sales for Orange, the carrier is going to have to work hard, as well as Microsoft, if they want the OS to compete with Android, Blackberry and the iPhone.

Nokia is set to unveil a "bunch" of handsets at Nokia World next week. Microsoft is banking big on this event and top names will be present as speakers. We'll be there too, so be sure to say hello should you be attending.

Source: CNET

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Remember our coverage on how carriers aren't positively promoting Windows Phone 7 anywhere near well enough? Well, PCMag has done some investigating into the matter with Sara Yin (reporter at PCMag) going under cover as a potential customer who's interested in Microsoft's platform. What she found out doesn't come at a surprise.

While a minute number of the salespeople acknowledged WP7 as an actual existing platform, they either had no demos at all or strongly advised to go with Android instead. The spokesperson at AT&T was the only one who was actively enthused about WP7, but was embarrassed about their display - this was the single demo of the LG Quantum with a damaged screen (see the image to the right). 

You can read up on her findings in part two of her article.

Source: PCMag, thanks Lex for the tip!

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