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Wyoming Considers Prepaid 911 Tax

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The state of Wyoming has brought forth a bill that would create a 1.5% tax on all prepaid phones and prepaid phone cards in order to better fund 911 emergency services and operations. Currently, the 911 tax is only charged to postpaid wireless and landline consumers in the state, although the emergency services are available to all.

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UK MVNO Announces Plans to Launch in US

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You might recall a few months ago, The People’s Operator (TPO), a UK based phone company, was raising money to launch their services here in the United States. Well, as it turns out, the campaign was a success and yesterday TeleoGraphy announced that TPO will be launching MVNO services here ‘in the spring.’

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Microsoft Debuts More Low Cost Phones

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Despite Windows Phones fans clamoring for a new flagship from Microsoft, the tech giant has instead delivered two more mostly nondescript windows phone devices this week: the Lumia 532 and the Lumia 435. Neither device is really all that impressive, but they are definitely cheap–both phones ring in at under $100.

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UK Prime Minister to Ban Encrypted Chat Apps

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In the last few months, there have been a lot of articles, debate and general discussion involving the idea of smartphone privacy, what it means and how far the government can go.  Here at Prepaid Reviews, we even wrote a brief article explaining the debate for those of you who don’t really watch the news.

Well, as it turns out, the United States isn’t the only country questioning the idea of smartphone privacy versus public security. Earlier this week British Prime Minister David Cameron said that unless popular messaging apps with encryption abilities (such as Snapchat, iMessage, FaceTime, and WhatsApp) provide government backdoors for surveillance purposes, he wants to see them banned in the UK.

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Microsoft Introduces $29 phone

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I don’t think anyone can deny that phone prices are pretty ridiculous right now. I mean, the iPhone 6 Plus, if purchased without subsidy and a binding two-year contract can easily run you almost $1000! Prices like that are not only out of the range of many hardworking people in first world countries, but in other places as well.

Well, Microsoft has joined Google in developing lower priced phones designed for emerging smartphone markets, and surprisingly, the phone looks pretty nice. I want preface this with the notice that this phone isn’t available in the United States right now. But, it might be soon. 

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Do Children with Smartphones Get Less Sleep?

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A new study conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California Berkeley shows that having a smartphone in the bedroom can lessen the amount of sleep a child gets even more than a TV. These small screens can not only reduce sleep time but also decrease the value of the sleep that children do get.

“Despite the importance of sleep to child health, development and performance in school, many children are not sleeping enough,” lead researcher Jennifer Falbe told WebMD. According to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, pre-teens need at least ten hours of sleep a day, while teenagers need at least 9 hours.

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TCL to Resurrect Palm Brand

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Chinese company TCL, owner of the Alcatel OneTouch brand, has confirmed its purchase of Palm, Inc. from HP and has issued a promise to Palm fans that their beloved Palm products will soon be brought into the 21st century. And, even more important, it will be done with advice from the community.

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Mariposa Rumored to Launch MVNO

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Business News Americas has reported that Mariposa Holdings, Inc. has announced plans to launch a MVNO targeting the United State Hispanic market, although neither an expected date nor name of the proposed company was announced.

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New FCC Complaint Website

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I hesitated to even write an article about this, but with how frequently and easily new prepaid providers can go under, I thought it might be prudent. Today, the FCC has debuted a new online consumer help center to make finding resources and, should you need to, filing complaints much easier.

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Alcatel Announces Affordable Smartwatch

ALCATEL ONETOUCH WATCH

I fully believe that smartwatches are the future of the mobile market and while normally smartwatches aren’t something that I would cover on this blog (as they aren’t exactly prepaid), I can’t help but be excited about this one. Unlike its more expensive cousins, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch seems like the sort of thing that just about anyone–especially prepaid customers–would and could use.

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Apple Sued Over iPhone Storage

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When your average person runs out of storage space on your device–be it an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or laptop–the common sense thing to do is either delete something to make space, or to find alternative ways to store things (ie. cloud storage). But, now you have a new option: sue Apple.

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Apple Owned Holiday Smartphone Market

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Studies show that if Santa brought you a cell phone for Christmas this year, it was most likely an Apple product. Of course, with the recent release of the iPhone 6 and the first ever iPhone phablet, the 6 Plus, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that holiday shoppers flocked to Tim Cook’s doorstep to complete their shopping lists. Apple probably has one of the most dedicated followings of any tech company in the market today, and it certainly shows.

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2014 Prepaid News Highlights

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As 2014 comes to a close, I like to go back through the old stories and review the top prepaid news that we reported on this year. As it turns out, there were a lot of interesting things that happened including several companies closing, new companies starting and new issues, like smartphone privacy and kill switches became important.

So, if you’re feeling a little nostalgic, or somehow missed out on updates this year, here are some of the top stories in the prepaid market for 2014:

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Vodafone to Launch MVNO

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Vodaphone, the United Kingdom based telecommunications company, announced on Monday that they intend to launch a MVNO venture using T-Mobile’s network. Vodafone America, the subsidiary of the companies that services the United States, Canada and Latin America, announced that the new MVNO will cater to Vodafone’s muntinational corprate (MNC) customer base–specifically those either based in the U.S. or who have a ‘strong presence’ in the country. A solid date for launch has not been announced, but the company stated it is aiming for a fall 2015 launch.

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Burner Offers PayGo Disposable Numbers

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In this increasingly digital world, everyone has multiple identities spread across dozens of platforms. Most people have more than one email account but, strangely enough, having more than one phone number is uncommon. At least, for now.

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LTE Coverage Progression Animation

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In 2010, when LTE was first launched, only 7.5% of the total US population had access to the now-standard 4G speeds. Now, in 2014, roughly 99.3% of the US can enjoy faster speeds. But have you ever wondered how it happened? Well, now you can watch the virus-like spread of the LTE network across the US with this cool animation.

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Best Cyber Week Deals for Prepaid Phones

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When most people think online holiday shopping, getting up at midnight on Cyber Monday probably comes to mind. And, while you can get some excellent deals with that tactic, many of the savings will extend all through cyber week. Here are a few of the best deals this cyber week for prepaid phones from various carriers.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE – $294.99 (reg. $599.99) from Cricket Wireless
  • Motorola Moto G – $39.99 (reg. $79.99) 12/1 only, from Boost Mobile

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Cyber Monday Sales on Prepaid Phones

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Well, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are both over, but the deals certainly aren’t! If you’re looking for some fabulous deals on prepaid smartphones, but didn’t make it out during the holiday rush, then check out these awesome Cyber Monday deals–many of which will go all through the week!

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Top Ten Black Friday Deals for Smartphones

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Electronics are easily one  of the most popular items for Black Friday shoppers with deep discounts available on just about every kind of electronic you could want. One of the hottest items this year will likely be the new iPhone 6, but for those of you looking for a slightly more affordable alternative, there are some pretty excellent deals today.

Here are my personal top ten Black Friday Deals on smartphones:

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Black Friday Prepaid Phone Sales Roundup

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It’s finally here! That time of the of the year when half of the country cooks the exact same meal on the exact same day, and then eats way too much of it. Then parades and football and giving thanks…

And then…

BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING!

Just in case you missed all of the articles we’ve sprinkled over the last couple of days, here is a list for all of the Black Friday deals we’ve rounded up–many of which start this evening. So grab your shopping shoes and go get some savings! 

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Black Friday Deals for Prepaid Phones at Cricket

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As Black Friday draws near, more and more companies are beginning to advertise the incredible deals that customers can expect this holiday shopping season. Cricket Wireless released both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping promotions for this year, and while there are only a couple, they are definitely worth checking out.

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Get Free Stuff Today from Verizon

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You might recall a couple of weeks ago, Verizon announced that they were going to make today “Connection Day” by giving out some free goodies to anyone and everyone, regardless of network. So, today (and today only) here’s the list of free stuff you can download and other offers:

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Black Friday Deals for Smartphone Accessories

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Buying your loved one a new prepaid smartphone is all well and good, but what if you’re looking to get some sweet accessories like a case or a bluetooth headset to go along with it? Well, turns out that Black Friday has plenty of those sales as well. Here are some of the better deals I found from Amazon, Best Buy and Radioshack:

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RadioShack Black Friday Sales on Prepaid Phones

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Radioshack has released previews of their Black Friday sales in ad form earlier this week, and some of the sales are not half bad. I admit I was a little surprised to see the sales with all of the recent bankruptcy troubles that Radioshack was having earlier this year.

While there are only a few deals available for prepaid phones, Radioshack has announced that they will be doing price matching for holiday shopping along with offering credit cards for making payments on items and free shipping if your item isn’t in store. Here are the advertised offers:

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Black Friday Prepaid Phone Deals on Amazon.com

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When you think Black Friday deals, you probably think brick and mortar stores. However, Amazon.com has decided to break the mold and is starting their online deals this week a little early. In fact, right now, Amazon.com is offering a whopping 50% off all no-contract phones as well as 35% off unlocked phones. Some of the deals are already available, while others will be available tomorrow, Thanksgiving or actually on Black Friday. In fact, they’re doing sales on various things this entire week, so if you’re looking for some good deals, then you might not even have to brave the crowd.

Here are some of the no contract phones that caught my attention:

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Black Friday Deals at Walmart, Kmart and Target

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If you’re on the lookout for Black Friday deals on prepaid phones and don’t want to have to fight the crowd and traffic to get to an electronics store, then you should probably check out the deals going on at Kmart, Walmart and Target. All three have some pretty nice prepaid phone deals, although there are not as many choices as shopping Black Friday at Best Buy.

Here are some deals you can expect to find:

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Carriers Commit to 911 Call Location Accuracy

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Imagine that you are looking for a lost koala bear in an area the size of an Olympic stadium. Now imagine the cuddly little guy is injured or unconscious and needs immediate medical care. That’s about the kind of challenge that faces your average EMT when you make an indoor call to 911 using your cell phone.

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Prepaid MVNOs Outrank Carriers in Consumer Reports

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Image by Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports has published their annual review of cell phone service and, surprisingly, three MVNOs ranked at the top of the charts. Ting, Consumer Cellular and Republic Wireless all received top marks while the more traditional postpaid carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon were rated a little worse. Here are some highlights from the report:

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Best Buy Prepaid Phone Deals for Black Friday

 

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Best Buy is one of my go-to stores for most electronics. And, while they aren’t usually the first place you might think of to check out some prepaid phones, they actually have some excellent deals going on this year for several different carriers. Here are the deals they’ve announced:

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Reasons Not to Rent a Cell Phone

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One of the downsides to prepaid phone plans is the lack of phone subsidies. While there are plenty of good sub $100 phones and even several phones in the $150- $200 range that have some cool features, if you really want all the bells and whistles then you should expect to pay upwards of $600 for a phone which is not only very breakable but likely to be outdated in a year or two.

Let’s be honest, how many people have that much money just sitting around?

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Net Neutrality Debate Explained

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news (or Facebook) at all, then you’ve probably seen plenty of articles talking about net neutrality in the last couple of days. I’ve seen it praised by some, referred to as the “Obamacare of the Internet” by others and read notices from big telecom companies threatening legal action if certain measures are passed. It all sounds pretty scary and extremely polarized.

So, what exactly is net neutrality? Well, I admit that there are way more facets to the issue than I could cover in a simple blog post, but the issue is important enough that everyone should at least have an idea of what’s going on. So for those of you who haven’t been following the debate, or just want an abbreviated explanation, you’ve come to the right place!

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Wyoming Proposes Prepaid Tax

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One of the nice things about using prepaid services is that many states don’t have a separate tax like postpaid accounts do. In fact, around 24 states have absolutely no tax on prepaid services, while the remaining 26 states have minimal taxes. However, Wyoming legislature is currently contemplating adding a 1.5% tax for prepaid cell phones and phone cards. The bill will be voted in next year and if passed will start in 2016.

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Microsoft to Announce First Lumia Device

You might have heard quite a bit of hullabaloo in October when Microsoft announced that they intend to drop the “Nokia” title from their Windows phones. The new phones are now being referred to as Lumia devices. The first ever Lumia device without the Nokia title is expected to be announced tomorrow, November 11. A teaser announcement was broadcasted by Microsoft late last week. The invite featured the tagline, “Microsoft is delivering the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone.”

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First Dual-network Roaming Announced

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One of the most important parts of the prepaid world is understanding that there are two completely different networks–GSM and CDMA–and they are not really compatible. If you use T-Mobile or AT&T, then you’re on a GSM network. If you use Sprint or Verizon, then you’re CDMA and no matter which side you are on, the other half of the spectrum isn’t really going to be available to you.

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Will Apple SIM Kill SIM Cards?

At their most recent conference, Apple announced that their new iPads would come with something called an Apple SIM. It wasn’t talked about a lot other than to say it would allow users to switch between carriers for services. However, that one sentence seems to have generated not only a little confusion, but also a lot of speculation about whether or not Apple’s new card will kill the SIM card as we all know it.

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Verizon Gains Millenicom Customers

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Mobile internet customers using the popular Millenicom service got a nasty shock late last week, as the company announced suddenly that Verizon was taking control of their entire customer base and they would take no further part in customer accounts or internet service. A couple days later, most of Millenicom’s employees were laid off and the company is no longer responding to chat, email or phone calls.

To add to the confusion about the sudden announcement, Verizon is also staying mum about exactly what sorts of offers they will have for former Millenicom customers or exactly what happened. Consumers report that Verizon customer service reps don’t have any information yet and were unable to help alleviate the confusion.

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TPO Raising Funds to Expand to US

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The U.S. prepaid market might soon get a new competitor, according to Reuters. The People’s Operator (TPO), a prepaid and postpaid mobile phone service company, has announced plans to list its shares in London in order to raise enough funds to expand across the pond. TPO offers both pay-as-you-go and contract plans at competitive rates and is expected to utilize Sprint’s network here in the U.S.

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State Wireless Taxes Compared

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Taxes on wireless transactions are a pain for prepaid and postpaid customers alike. But have you ever wondered how your state compares to others as far as tax goes?

Yeah, me neither. It’s not something I ever really thought about until I saw this report. The Tax Foundation did as study comparing this year’s wireless state and local taxes, and some of the figures were a little surprising. While these tax rates are mostly relevant for postpaid, prepaid customers still pay a percentage of these taxes so I thought I might take a sec and share.

To start, these are the top five states with the highest state-local wireless tax:

  1. Washington State (18.6%)
  2. Nebraska (18.48%)

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Prepaid Plans Gain Popularity in the U.S.

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If you read this blog, then I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you probably have a prepaid phone or at the very least, you’re interested in prepaid phones. Now, it might be because you don’t use your phone very much or because you want a smaller bill. But whatever the reason, you most certainly aren’t alone. A recent report released by NPD Group shows that prepaid phones are gaining ground over the postpaid market.

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Smartphone Privacy Debate

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If you’ve been watching smartphone/telecommunication news at all, then you are probably aware of the huge debate going on right now over smartphone privacy and encryption policies. And if you weren’t aware, well, now you are.

On Prepaid Reviews we mostly focus on new and emerging companies, phones and policies in the prepaid market as well as giving reviews (duh), tips and guides for prepaid users. However, occasionally something like this comes along that really has the potential to change the mobile phone industry, and it’s something worth keeping tabs on.

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Call Germany For Free Today Only

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Today and today only DeutschlandAnrufen.com is running a deal where all landline calls to Germany are free. This deal is in honor of Germany National Day and has been extended to all Germans living abroad and anyone who has friends in Germany. Call times are not limited in any way in honor of this holiday, but free calls can only be made to German landlines, not mobile phones.

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5th Largest Smartphone Vendor Headed to US

The Xiaomi RedMi, one of the most popular phones in the world, according to Strategy Analytics’ Country Share Tracker in Q2 2014
The Xiaomi RedMi, one of the most popular phones in the world, according to Strategy Analytics’ Country Share Tracker in Q2 2014

With all the excitement over Apple and Samsung devices, it is easy to remember that they aren’t the only ones who make fantastic phones. The popular Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi is rumored to have plans to extend their products to the U.S. and it might just give pause to the other smartphone vendor giants.

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RingPlus Changes Free Service, Plans

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Sprint MVNO RingPlus has made some pretty big changes in the last couple of weeks. Known for their ad-supported free voice service, RingPlus announced yesterday that they will be discontinuing the free service for some–but not all–customers. They have also tweaked nearly all of their plans, added two new plans and WiFi calling to their service profile. RingPlus also debuted a new “Matching Magic” plan that adds minutes for every minute you use. Like we said, a lot of changes. We’ll take things one at a time and try and get you caught up on your RingPlus news for the week.

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Moto X Pre-Ordering Starts Today

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Motorola’s new flagship phone, the second generation Moto X goes on pre-order today, Sept. 16. The phone is available on-contract through AT&T or unlocked (called the Pure Edition) which is meant for any carrier and comes with no contract. The Pure Edition version will cost $499 and on contract, it will be around $100.

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Global MVNO to Carry iPhone 6, 6 Plus

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The MVNO Truphone has announced that it will offer the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 26. While I am certain that all of the major MVNOs will carry the iPhone 6 eventually, Truphone’s announcement today is the first MVNO to confirm that they willl carry the new Apple product.

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Solavei Gearing Up For Phase 2

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Solavei, the T-Mobile MVNO that declared chapter 11 bankruptcy this summer, has been undergoing changes behind the curtain and announced yesterday that they plan to launch their ‘phase 2′ services for growth and restructuring on Oct. 1.

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Cross-Network VoLTE in the Works

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Only a few months after several of the main carriers launched their own VoLTE service for making and receiving calls using 4G networks, AT&T is reportedly working towards VoLTE cross-network compatibility. Currently, users with 4G ready phones can only make VoLTE calls to others on the same network. If they can get the kinks worked out, then you might soon be able to make VoLTE calls to anyone on any network.

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North America Dominates Global LTE

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A new report has been released looking at the global LTE market. The report examines each continent and determines how many LTE connections are available on that continent compared to the world. They also checked smartphone penetration and other factors. And, it turns out that if you want 4G speeds, then you should definitely live in North America.

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Motorola Offers Money For Your Old Phone

On the heels of the release of the Moto G and the information on the new Moto X, Motorola has announced that they are doing a trade-in deal. When you purchase a new Moto G or Moto X phone, you can send Motorola your old phone and they will give you money for it.

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MetroPCS Expanding Market, Making Changes

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T-Mobile’s MVNO brand, MetroPCS is shaking things up again this week with a slew of changes including introducing service to 10 new markets, a solid date to close their CDMA network and double the data for some customers–no doubt in response to Boost Mobile’s new data options announced earlier this week.

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