Carrier must pay $40M in refunds to customers for restricting unlimited data plans
A carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints it offered mobile phone contracts that claim to have "unlimited" data, but turn out do not. TracFone was accused by the FTC of capping and throttling customers on the "unlimited" plans, with the carrier agreeing to pay out $40 million in refunds to consumers as part of its settlement.
Smaller Buddy accessory for Pop Mega offers phone functions in smaller device
Alcatel is attempting to make the large-screen phablet useful to those wanting a smaller device, by bundling it with a secondary phone device. One of two new devices, the Pop Mega is a phablet with a six-inch display which Alcatel has paired with a small "Buddy" candybar-style accessory, capable of making and receiving calls without needing physical access to the main device.
Availability expected December 13
TracFone has announced that it will be offering prepaid iPhone 5s and 5c handsets, sold through the company's Net10 and Straight Talk brands. The iPhone 5c will sell for $549 with 16GB of storage and the standard range of color choices, while the 16GB iPhone 5s fetches $649 in gray, silver or gold.
T-Mobile brand Simple Mobile gets bought out by América Móvil's TracFone
Regional wireless provider América Móvil and its TracFone subsidiary and prepaid provider have purchased T-Mobile brand Simple Mobile on Thursday. While the financial details of the sale weren't revealed, TracFone is the largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the US, with about 20 million subscribers. Simple Mobile, which sells only SIM cards and service to those with their won smartphones, has about one million subscribers and 2.5 million device activations.
LVL tries carpet bomb lawsuit to make profit
Largely unknown patent holder LVL Patent Group late last week quietly sued much of the US cellphone business and beyond for alleged patent violations (below). It claims that the iPhone, many Android devices, Symbian, and basic feature phones as well as their carriers violate one or more of a group of four generic patents, including data transaction servers and devices for entering transactions. Most of the patents were issued in or before 2000, but one of the device patents was only live on September 13, two days before the lawsuit was filed.
Smartphone sold for $45 monthly prepaid plan
Walmart will be adding the Samsung Galaxy Precedent to its cellphone line up. Straight Talk, the retailer's prepaid wireless service, has begun pre-marketing the smartphone as a web exclusive on a special website. The company offers no details on the phone itself, but encourages viewers to sign up to receive emails with more information in the future.
Sprint, Motorola top customer satisfaction scores
The latest quarterly report on customer satisfaction from the American Customer Satisfaction Index found that AT&T and T-Mobile's scores have dropped while Sprint is now at the top. The overall customer satisfaction score with wireless telephone services has dropped by 1.4 percent to a score of 71 but is stronger than it was before 2010. Sprint showed the best increase over the course of three years, from trailing the second worst provider by 15 points to the top of the pack.