Framily plan puts cost per person on sliding scale
Sprint has made several announcements, beginning with the introduction of its "Framily" plan. The offer -- which becomes available January 10th -- lets up to 10 people, not necessarily relatives, join a group in which each extra person joining lowers the cost for everyone else. For a single person the fee is $55 per month for 1GB of data and unlimited talk and text. Each additional subscriber lowers the cost by $5 a month, although that ceases after the seventh customer, at which stage each person is paying $25.
Sprint-based carrier offers cheaper plans than most, no contracts
As previously reported, the US branch of carrier Virgin Mobile has introduced sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c at its stores, and is selling the off-contract phones for $100 less than Apple's advertised prices. It's not clear how long the company will offer the discount, and stores only have the 16GB model (higher capacities can be ordered through the company's website) and the gold 5s and yellow 5c are both listed as out of stock -- but the pricing makes the company the low-price leader on the hot-selling new iPhones.
Joins regional carriers
The US branch of Virgin Mobile will start selling the iPhone 5s and 5c on October 1, according to a pair of Twitter posts by the carrier. Prices for the phones have yet to be announced, but will likely be in line with previous Virgin iPhone launches. Despite being a national carrier riding on the Sprint network, the Virgin launch will coincide with a host of regional carrier rollouts.
Google Play Music All Access expands to Australia, New Zealand
Google has launched its streaming music subscription service in Australia and New Zealand. The two countries are the first outside of the United States to gain access to Google Play Music All Access, with initial users getting a free trial and a $10 monthly fee if they sign up before the end of August, when it rises to a higher $12 per month.
Prepaid carrier catches up to rivals
The US branch of Virgin Mobile will finally carry the iPhone 5 beginning June 28th, according to an announcement. As with any smartphone on Virgin the iPhone will be sold contract-free, in this case costing $550 for 16GB, $650 for 32GB, and $750 for 64GB. The main advantage of the carrier will be its monthly plans, which start at $35 per month and include unlimited texts plus 2.5GB of 3G/4G data. After the 2.5GB mark, speeds are throttled.
Quad-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon, 5MP camera, 4GB storage
Samsung has released another smartphone in the US, this time a budget offering through Virgin Mobile. The Galaxy Ring has a four-inch screen, which is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.4GHz with 1GB of RAM, and despite being a low-cost device, it ships with Android 4.1 instead of the Android 4.0 that is usually provided.
Sale limited to online orders
The US branch of Virgin Mobile is now offering a 15 percent discount on the iPhone 4 and 4S. The promotion is applicable only to web orders, and will last only for a limited time, or until supplies run out. Virgin hasn't said when the sale is scheduled to end.
Competitors battle for prepaid accounts
Virgin Mobile has kicked off a marketing campaign that is aimed at current T-Mobile prepaid customers. As part of its "retrain your brain" promotion, Virgin is offering $100 in unlimited-plan credit for customers who switch their phone number from a T-Mobile account.
Security system allows for limited number of unique passwords
Twilio developer Kevin Burke appears to have found a serious security flaw in Virgin Mobile USA's online authentication system. Anyone who knows a customer's valid Virgin Mobile number may, with little effort, be able to see who a subscriber has been calling, change the handset associated with a phone number, change billing information, and even purchase a handset using a credit card if it is stored on the service.
iPhone pre-orders believed to be doing 'very well'
Virgin Mobile US is opening its first-ever retail stores in Chicago tomorrow in support of its iPhone launch, Bloomberg reports. The carrier is starting with just 10 locations, but says it plans to open more around the country should the initial venture prove successful. Typically Virgin has relied on third-party vendors like Best Buy to sell phones and service to people not ordering through its website.
Lack of filter makes for brighter e-paper displays
Fuji Xerox spent the opening day of the Society for Information Display's Display Week 2012 showing off its new color e-paper technology. The new e-paper is said to achieve a brighter, more vivid display due to its lack of a color filter. The technology generates a white screen by drawing all color particles to the back of the display board.
Entry-level phone likely to be offered off-contract
Images and details of an LG "Snapshot" have emerged online, with some suggesting that Sprint or one of its partners will be offering the phone. The phone is believed to be a budget-level handset, so it may appear on a no-contract basis, though details remain sketchy. The source that leaked the photos tells BriefMobile that the handset is due to arrive in the fourth quarter of this year.
Carrier hikes phone prices over Cricket levels
Sprint has confirmed that, as reported previously, Virgin Mobile will become the next US prepaid iPhone carrier. The company is planning to charge substantially more for devices than rival Cricket Wireless; whereas Cricket will sell an 8GB iPhone 4 for $400, and a 16GB iPhone 4S for $500, the same devices will cost $549 and $649 through Virgin. Virgin subscribers will however have access to cheaper monthly plans when the iPhone becomes available to them on June 29.
Apple making rapid expansion into US prepaid
The Sprint-owned US branch of Virgin Mobile will soon announce prepaid iPhone sales, with a launch taking place as soon as July 1, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. No other details are mentioned, but the move would make Virgin Mobile just the second US carrier to sell prepaid iPhones, following an announcement by Cricket Wireless last week. That carrier will start iPhone sales on June 22.
Sprint to speed up prepaid carriers with old 4G
Sprint confirmed during a call for its latest results that it was bringing 4G to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. CEO Dan Hesse expected both of the prepaid carriers to use the older WiMAX network before the end of 2012. More details would come as the launch got nearer, he said.
Rumors narrow possible date of launch
The coming months will see the arrival of at least one HTC smartphone on Virgin Mobile Canada, with the carrier's website now sporting a page advertising the coming of the HTC One S. Meanwhile, the HTC Evo 4G LTE may show up on Sprint's network in mid-May.
Boost, Virgin would adopt WiMAX as Sprint goes LTE
Just as Sprint is getting its first LTE phones, its sub-brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile may be getting their first forms of 4G, according to a rumor. The two contract-free carriers were purported by TechnoBuffalo's contact to be inheriting the WiMAX network as Sprint moves its main customer base to the newer LTE standard. Accordingly, the just phased-out Evo 3D and other phones would go to Virgin, possibly under different names.
LG Optimus Elite ships to Sprint on April 22
Sprint on Tuesday confirmed some rumors and unveiled the LG Optimus Elite. The carrier's version of the Optimus Net, which will also have a Virgin Mobile equivalent, will be the most affordable US smartphone ever to support Google Wallet, costing just $30 on Sprint after a contract and rebate. Its support for the needed NFC is an exception to entry level specs, such as a 3.5-inch, 320x480 display, an 800MHz processor, and a five-megapixel back camera with none at the front.
HTC One V gets early look in production
HTC's One V on Friday had its first official release in the company's home area of Taiwan. The more affordable of the Android 4.0 lineup is currently on sale through Chungwa Telecom for the equivalent of about $339 off-contract. To mark the occasion, Netbook News has conducted an unboxing as well as some early tests.
LG Optimus Elite seen early in press renders
One of LG's entry-level Android phones should reach Sprint and Virgin Mobile with a small twist based on leaks late Thursday. Photos of the Optimus Elite, Sprint's adaptation of the Optimus Net, showed PocketNow the 3.2-inch phone adopting a more conventional but very compact look. Both versions would stand out by being some of the least expensive Android phones yet to have NFC and, through Sprint's involvement, official Google Wallet support.
Virgin Mobile USA fixes near day-long outage
Virgin Mobile USA has restored service after suffering a near day-long outage across the US. A Twitter update on Wednesday morning stated the data and text service is back. If users aren't yet receiving service, a reboot should force a reconnection. Not all subscribers have indicated a loss of service, however, though Virgin promised over Facebook on Tuesday afternoon that work on restoring the service is being done.
HTC One V may up ante for budget phones
The HTC One V may be coming to Virgin Mobile's US branch. Tips to PocketNow early this week had the aluminum unibody Android 4.0 phone coming to the carrier in late spring. It would cost under $200 off-contract on Virgin, making it not just Virgin's most advanced smartphone but also one of its more affordable models.
Venture pre-orders immediately available
Virgin Mobile has announced that it is set to launch PCD's Venture handset. The budget-focused Android device brings a basic set of hardware features, centering around a 2.8-inch touchscreen that sits above a hardware QWERTY keyboard.
Will allow LTE iPads using Bell network
The Canadian branch of Virgin Mobile is getting LTE "just in time for new iPad," March 16th, according to a leaked document. Coverage will extend across "14 urban centers," with peak downloads up to 75Mbps, although Virgin says speeds should average between 12 and 25Mbps. An LTE microSIM will be included for free alongside any Flexi-Data Plan, which range from $5 a month for 10MB up to $35 a month for 5GB. People paying an extra $5 get a Mobile TV package which doesn't count against data caps.
Samsung Epic 2 slider may return after all
Samsung's seemingly abandoned Epic 2 for Sprint might still see the light of day after leaks saw it resurface. The Android QWERTY slider is now in Cellebrite's device tracking system, ACSyndicate found, usually a sign that it's getting close to release. The SPH prefix in front of its D705 model number suggests that it's intended for a Sprint-related carrier, which given Sprint's own absence could mean Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile instead.
Allowance set at 2.5GB before throttling
Virgin Mobile has announced that it is finally ready to begin its throttling plans, which were mentioned last year but never implemented in October as promised. The carrier suggests it will reduce connection speeds for users who surpass 2.5GB of monthly usage on a Beyond Talk plan.
We review the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4
The Galaxy Nexus is arguably the first official Google phone whose appeal isn't just confined to hardcore Android fans: even those who only know the iPhone by name are taking notice. With a massive 4.65-inch, 720p display, a near-instant camera, and most importantly Android 4.0, it promises not just to be a powerful phone but the most cohesive expression of what Android can be. But can it cross over into the mainstream in a way that previously only Apple could? Our Samsung Galaxy Nexus review settles that question.
Entry level phones receive Virgin Mobile rendering
Two new entry level phones may soon be joining Virgin Mobile's smartphone ranks. Pocketnow has
posted renderings of the Chaser and Venture, two ZTE phones bearing the prepaid carrier's brand. Both are likely to run Android 2.3.
Ting to use step-up, step-down plans
Best known for its file hosting, Tucows is planning a new virtual carrier based off of sprint that could lower the practical cost of a smartphone bill. Ting will drop overage fees in favor of automatic tier changes. Similar to an older Rogers plan in Canada, customers are bumped up to a new tier if they use more voice, messages, or data than included the plan, potentially saving hundreds of dollars over the course of service.
Galaxy Nexus priced and dated in Canada first
Canada beat the US to getting a commitment for a ship date and pricing for the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung's Android 4.0 flagship will ship both to Bell and to Virgin on December 8, supporting rumors. Both carriers will sell it for $160 on a three-year plan or $650 contract-free.
Virgin Mobile first Canadian Galaxy Nexus carrier
(Update: Bell too) Virgin Mobile jumped the gun Monday to become the first Canadian carrier to officially commit to the Galaxy Nexus. A pre-order page now lets Canadians sign up for the Android 4.0 flagship, which the carrier has narrowed down to a launch in early December. It didn't give pricing, but it expects the phone to get a discount through its SuperTab plans, including a promo plan for $70 per month with just 200 minutes but 6GB of data and unlimited weekends and evenings from 6PM.
C Spire confirms iPhone 4S deal
C Spire, once known as Cellular South, confirmed Wednesday that it would be getting the iPhone 4S. The American CDMA carrier plans to carry at least the flagship of Apple's line sometime in the "coming weeks." Prices are presumed to be the same $199 to $399 on contract for 16GB to 64GB.
iPhone 4S now on sale in first countries
Australia as is often case has had the distinction of being the first for an Apple launch in carrying the iPhone 4S. Apple's flagship Sydney store showed that demand hadn't tapered for the new model, with hundreds of buyers queued up in line. Both official and unofficial reports have pointed to "tens of thousands" of pre-orders at Optus and Telstra each, selling out of 64GB pre-orders.
Apple denies US unlocked iPhone 4S for a month
Americans visiting the online Apple Store to pre-order an iPhone 4S encountered multiple limitations on what they could buy. The unlocked GSM iPhone 4S won't be available until November in the country despite Canadians and some other regions having the option from the start. No reasons have been given, although it may be either supply or an agreement with AT&T.
T-Mobile tries to catch data crowd with 30 plan
T-Mobile started off the week by launching a new phone plan targeted at an audience much more focused on messaging than calls. A $30 prepaid plan will have just 100 minutes of voice but 'unlimited' data and unlimited text. It will support full HSPA+ speeds for the first 5GB and will cost 10 cents for every US minute over the included 100.
Virgin gets Optimus Slider and Wildfire S
Virgin Mobile's US branch committed itself to Android further with two new additions that each bring a first to the prepaid carrier. The LG Optimus Slider is considered a sequel to the almost unusually popular Optimus V and brings in its self-described QWERTY keyboard for frequent messaging. LG hasn't said what processor is inside, but it will come with Android 2.3, a 3.2-inch (likely 320x480) touchscreen, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
Verizon confirms prepaid all-in deal
Verizon on Tuesday confirmed intentions to take its $50 unlimited prepaid plan national this week. As of Thursday, prepaid customers will get unlimited voice, text, and data. New phone picks will be limited to basic phones like the LG Cosmos, Pantech Caper, and those from Samsung.
Piper estimates 6m Sprint iPhones in 2012
Recently leaked plans for an iPhone on Sprint could see Apple add six million more iPhones to its tally in 2012, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated Tuesday. Using Verizon's iPhone activations so far, where 11 percent of all cellphones sold are Apple's, he applied the same proportion to Sprint's own expected performance. Having the one extra carrier could accelerate Apple's iPhone sales expansion from 30 percent next year to 37 percent.
New iPhones imminent
Canadian carriers Bell and Virgin Mobile have joined Telus in lowering the price of the iPhone 4. In both cases a 16GB model is just $100, although with Bell this requires a three-year contract, and on Virgin either the contract or coverage under a SuperTab. 32GB models remain as expensive as before, costing $270.
BlackBerry Bold 9900 now at Canadian providers
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is now shipping at Canadian providers including Bell and Virgin Mobile, with Rogers and Telus expected to update their product pages later on today as well. At the former two, the smartphone costs $600 CAD ($607) without an agreement and $170 CAD ($172) on a three-year/SuperTab contract. Rogers has already said it would charge a steep $250 for the same device.
Triumph owners reporting screen, camera issues
Owners of the Motorola Triumph are reporting several issues with their devices. For one, the touchscreen is suffering from a flickering issue and the five-megapixel camera doesn't autofocus. Exchanging the device with Virgin Mobile for a new one doesn't fix the issue either, prompting the theory that the problem lies in the software rather than the hardware.
Phone makes official N. Am. in Canada
Late last month, Samsung confirmed that it was bringing the Galaxy S II smartphone to North America by way of Canada. None of the three Canadian providers, Bell, SaskTel and Virgin, offered any date, beyond generically this summer, as to when it would be available. Bell has now quietly revealed that it will arrive July 21.
Motorola Triumph, Apple iPhone could be causes
The US branch of Virgin Mobile is hiking the prices on two of its three Beyond Talk plans, according to an announcement. Although in all cases data will be unlimited, the option with 300 voice minutes is being pushed from $25 to $35 a month. The 1200-minute option is likewise going up $5 to $45, but the fully unlimited plan is being reduced $5 to $55. A $10 fee for BlackBerries is being dropped.
LG Optimus Black coming to most US CDMA carriers
LG's Optimus Black is now known to be coming to virtually every US CDMA carrier after FCC listings gave its plans away. A core LS855 model is headed to Sprint, while AS855, US855, and VM855 should reach Alltel, US Cellular, and Virgin. In every case, the chief updates are the expected switchovers to CDMA and EVDO for phone calls and 3G.
Galaxy S II confirmed for Bell, SaskTel, Virgin
Samsung brought the Galaxy S II to North America for the first time with word it was coming to three wireless providers in Canada. This includes Bell, where the handset will be known as the Galaxy S II 4G, along with SaskTel and Virgin Mobile. The dual-core, Android 2.3-powered handset sports a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen and supports 3G HSPA+ data networks for up to 21Mbps download speeds.
Motorola Android hits Sprint by Photon 4G, Triumph
Motorola brought two Android phones to Sprint at a special event Tuesday by unveiling two flagship phones for both Sprint itself and Virgin. The Photon 4G is Sprint's first international 4G hardware and will talk to GSM networks along with Sprint's CDMA, 3G, and 4G networks. The phone stands as Sprint's first dual-core Tegra 2 hardware and packs a 4.3-inch 540x960 screen along with both a rear eight-megapixel camera and a front VGA camera.
Virgin Mobile adds $20, 500MB data plan
Virgin Mobile USA has added a new service tier to its no-contract Broadband2Go mobile broadband offerings. The $20 plan gives users 500MB of data for use anytime that expires after one month even if not used. This tier splits the $10, 100MB offering and the $50, 'unlimited' access offering that provides 3G speeds up to 2.5GB in a month before throttling speeds.
Rogers and Virgin Mobile slip white iPhone 4 too
Canadian carriers joined in revealing plans for the white iPhone 4 this week as a pair of discoveries have pointed to the new color coming in. At least one Virgin Mobile store was already getting a "box load," while Rogers was sending an internal memo that was letting stores make orders but couldn't yet sell them, MobileSyrup said.
Samsung Replenish hits Sprint with cheaper data
Sprint at a Friday event confirmed the existence of the Samsung Replenish. The phone is its first eco-friendly smartphone and is built out of 82 percent recyclable material with a minimum of toxic materials as well as 34.6 percent recycled plastic on the outside. The carrier goes so far as to make an optional solar rear charging panel and to offer a special green Sprint ID pack to theme the OS for its mission.
Sprint to absorb Common Cents brand into payLo
Sprint on Friday said it would put an end to its Common Cents Mobile prepaid service and merge it into the Virgin Mobile payLo sevice instead beginning this May. Common Cents was launched less than a year ago, and current users are being informed that service will be unaffected as long as their accounts remain active and they stick to their existing plans. Additional minutes can be purchased from Virgin Mobile.