sprint

Sprint has signed agreements with 12 carriers to expand the LTE footprint of everybody involved. The dozen carriers, all smaller regional and rural networks, cover 34 million Americans not touched by Sprint's fledgling LTE network. The roaming agreements will expand Sprint's LTE coverage into those areas, as well as giving those carriers access to Sprint's network.

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Normally the offer is off the table the instant you walk out the door with your new phone, but for the month of June any customer on Sprint will be able walk back in that door of no return and purchase insurance for their device. The offer doesn't change the price or service at all — it's still $11-a-month for the Ausurion-provided loss/theft/damage replacement, or $13/month for Total Equipment Protection Plus which adds in data protection as well. Prepaid customers on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile can get coverage for $8 each month.

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Softbank is making an end-run around concerns about a merger of Sprint and T-Mobile US by instead hitting up T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom. As reported by Japanese news agency Kyodo, Japan-based Softbank has entered into an agreement with Germany-based Deutsche Telekom to buy the latter's ownership stake in US carrier T-Mobile. The US Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice have expressed their concerns about the potential for such consolidation in the US cellular market, and the move by Softbank would likely end up still being heavily scrutinized.

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Sprint has a new protection plan for both your phone and the data on it. Dubbed "Sprint Total Equipment Protection Plus", the plan costs $13-a-month-per-device and adds data security, automatic media backups, and personalized tech support on top of the existing damage, loss, and theft insurance that is part of the standard $11-a-month Total Equipment Protection package.

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Despite what the "unlimited" plan might make you think, Sprint is exercising their right to throttle back on users they've deemed as using too much data. Heavy use contract customers on Sprint, as well as prepaid customers on Sprint-based MVNOs Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, have been hit with warnings that starting next month Sprint will be engaging in "prioritization management" in congested areas.

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Vector is Mobile Nations' cross-platform, cross-site analysis show where we take on the most important stories in tech with the smartest people in the industry, from the big picture to granular details, current events to future implications. On today's episode Rene Ritchie and Neal Gomba dive deep into the technology and policies that make net neutrality so complicated in North America, common carriers and local loop unbundling, the crippling of DSL, Sprint, the insanity that is 700 MHz and Band 12, Qualcomm's royalty rate, and more. Subscribe and listen along!

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Sprint's new International Connect: Call & Text $15 add-on plan lets Framily Plan subscribers use their voice and text allotments to call and text internationally at no additional charge. Except for that $15, that is. With it, Sprint Framily Plan subscribers can count international calls to 65 countries against the voice minutes they're already paying for, and texts to more than 180 countries (which is just about all of the countries there are).

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Sprint today as part of its announcement of the exclusive Harman/Kardon edition of the HTC One M8 also announced a new deal for Spotify subscriptions — if you're on Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1.

All new and existing postpaid (ie not pre-paid) Sprint customers will get six free months of Spotify Premium, if you're on a "Framily" plan. And Sprint's extended the deal to those on Android and iOS, of course.

And after the initial six months, you'll get a discount on your Spotify subscription, which varies depending on your level of Framliness.

Here's the deal.

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Sprint has released its financial report for Q1 2014, which boasts a record operating income of $420 million, the company's best in over seven years. That's where the good news comes to an end as the company's report also highlights a loss of $151 million in the quarter alone, but compared to Q1 2013 this is at least a substantial improvement. The carrier is still experiencing issues with 4G LTE upgrades, more affordable plans launched and customers switching providers.

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Sprint has today announced that its new 4G LTE network is available in 41 more cities, now covering more than 225 million people in total. Sprint Spark, the carrier's enhanced LTE service delivering peak wireless speeds of up to 60Mbps, has launched in 6 new cities and is expected to reach 100 million customers by the end of 2014. The exciting part about Sprint's enhanced LTE is the company boasts that speeds of up to three times as fast can be achieved in the future.

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American carriers are making progress in being more open and customer-friendly — particularly T-Mobile — but Sprint is preparing to take a significant step forward by ensuring that the devices they sell to customers are able to be SIM unlocked. Eventually. In 2015. In an FAQ on Sprint's unlocking policy, the company states that they are "working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically."

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Sprint is getting a little “uncarrier” themselves with a new promotion that offers to pay your early termination fees if you’re willing to switch to them. You can get up to $350 for every line terminated when making the switch; just snap a picture of your last bill, send it to Sprint, and they’ll send you a Visa card with the cash on it. There are a few terms and conditions here and there, but you can read all of that at Sprint’s site starting tomorrow. The promotion will run from April 4 until May 8.

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Believe it or not the Windows Phone Update 3 (also known as GDR3) is being pushed out to the Sprint HTC 8XT.

We were skeptical at first but in checking Sprint's Support Site for the 8XT, the update is listed as clear as day. Update version 2.12.651.02 is described as containing streaming audio improvements, accessibility improvements and Microsoft's GDR3 release.

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While it’s not uncommon to see new phones get price drops, especially through third party retailers like Amazon.com whose business is to undercut the carriers, it is a bit unusual to see a carrier lower the price too quickly. Such is the case with the HTC 8XT (review) and the Samsung ATIV S Neo.

The HTC 8XT, which was released on July 19th, initially sold for $99 on a two-year contract. Starting this past weekend, the price has dropped to free, though you still need to send in the $50 mail-in rebate. Likewise, the Samsung ATIV S Neo, which has only been available for 10 days (with a limited rollout), has also had a $100 haircut going from $149.99 to a more reasonable $49.99 (also after a mail-in rebate).

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