Text Spamming Lands Yahoo in Class Action Lawsuit

In an unexpected declaration from a Chicago federal judge on Monday, web giant Yahoo have found themselves faced with a class action lawsuit against them on the grounds of the sending of a large volume of unsolicited text messages to users of the Sprint Corp telephone company. Yahoo was found to have been sending ‘welcome’ messages to the users whenever another user sent them a ‘ping’ on Yahoo messenger.

Yahoo is yet to comment on the lawsuit but has unsurprisingly chosen to fight the legal claims against them. Their argument is based on the idea that the penalties and costs associated with such cases would be disproportionate to the harm caused. These costs? If the messaging was chosen to be wilful, violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, resulting in damages of up to $1500 per case. With as many as 500,000 users affected by the messaging, the costs would start to add up, not to mention the legal costs of each claim. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah did not believe that Yahoo’s objections to the lawsuits were reasonable and informed the affected users that they could sue as a group due to the similarity of their claims. Should the case against Yahoo be successful, the costs could easily have them writing a bill for millions of dollars.

Nothing is more annoying than unsolicited spam, even more so on your personal telephone. Hopefully, this case should deter other companies from sending unwanted messages to users in future should it be successful.

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

Google Launches Fi, a New Way to Say Hello

Google have launched another massive project today; the American based company have announced that they are now releasing a new wireless service.

The service, called Project Fi will be will be the first wireless network to seamlessly change between wi-fi and LTE, constantly working out which is strongest and selecting that one to transfer calls and data; two of the networks that currently support this feature are T-Mobile and Sprint. To use the new service you will need a Nexus 6 device as it requires a special sim card. Don’t be worried about this though, Google have hinted that the nexus will be first of many devices.

Google posted this on their blog earlier today:

“Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you’re using. Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi—whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wifi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat”

Thats pretty neat eh? The company has also said that they are changing the way phone numbers work on their service. Phone numbers will be hosted in the cloud so you can talk and text with your phone number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop providing it can run Google Hangouts.

Googles new service is going to be well priced too, for $20 per month you can get all of the basics (talk, text, wifi tethering and international coverage in 120+ countries) and an additional $10 per GB of cellular data used while in the US or internationally. 1GB is $10 per month, 2GB is $20 a month and so on. The clever part of this is that you only pay for what you use. For example if you pay for 3GB with $30 and only use $1.4GB you’ll get $16 back.

Google have also released a short video about the project.

Google are currently running an early access program to invite people to sign up to the service. If you have coverage and live in the US you can request an invite at fi.google.com; to check your fi coverage you can visit here.

Thank you to The Google Blog for this information.

Images courtesy of The Google Blog.

CNN Name T-Mobile Tech Company of the Year

News network CNN has declared T-Mobile as its Tech Company of the Year for 2014. Faced with stiff competition from Apple and Microsoft, CNN posits that “no other tech company shook up its entire industry the way that T-Mobile (TMUS) did this year.”

In 2013, mobile telecom provider T-Mobile shifted its business model, scrapping phone contracts, allowing customers to switch network easily, and introducing free international roaming. This year it went one better, offering to pay early termination fees for customers wanting to move to T-Mobile from another network, introducing free music streaming, independent of existing data plans, offering seven-day smartphone loans, free in-flight internet, and monthly rollover data allowances.

The move kicked off a major price war amongst its rivals, with Sprint offering half-price bills and Verizon and AT&T lowering rates while upping data allowances, with all three now offering free smartphones on contract. But still, T-Mobile has gained 3.5 million customers this year, more than any other mobile network, taking its market share from 11% at the start of the year to 18% now.

To CNN, this remarkable growth and brilliant business strategy has earned T-Mobile the title of Tech Company of the Year, and could point towards the company becoming a long-term success story.

Source: CNN

Battle of the Bottom End – Sprint Offers 1GB Data for $20

Mobile data is becoming a necessity in this day and age, most phones require data for simple things such as Facebook messaging, checking emails or even utilizing the GPS function of your device – it only makes sense that providers should go to war over offering the best options to their ‘beloved’ consumers.

However, we were quite surprised to see many carriers these days offering such low data quantity plans – how far will Verizon’s 500MB or AT&T’s 300MB really get you? About five medium length YouTube video’s is the answer.

In comes Sprint, the hero we deserve. They’ve just announced their new low-end family data plan which includes 1GB of data for $20 per month, doubling the offerings of Verizon’s measly 500MB and AT&T’s 300MB plan. I understand we’ve been fairly negative here and maybe 300MB of data is plenty enough for your 50 year old step dad, but no-one likes over use charges and it makes sense in this day and age that a ‘sufficient’ amount of data shouldn’t be too hard to come by. Even Australia’s Amaysim offers 4GB data plans with included calls and text messaging for $40.

This announcement is said to be part of Sprint’s “double-the-data” promotion that targets irregular phone users and families just looking for a cheap and easy connection. In recent times, AT&T and Sprint have been in a war over the high rated plans, with AT&T doubling their data allowance and Sprint doubling theirs again in return – but the battle has now switched to the bottom end.

There has been no word of a fight back by AT&T and Verizon, but we’re interested to see how things progress.

Do you utilize one of these plans for yourself or a family member? For those who use higher quantities of data it’s not always easy to understand why a person would only want 300mb-1gb, but is your grandpa really expected to be scrolling through Instagram pictures all day? But on the other hand, how hard is it really to offer a simple 1- 2 GB plan without sending yourself bankrupt?

Image courtesy of Phandroid

Wi-Fi Calling Software Makes Its Way Into Two Sprint Handsets, More To Come

When smartphones and Wi-Fi found themselves packed in the same handset, Wi-Fi calling has been the most impressive thing which made T-Mobile stand out of the crowd in the US. That was back in 2007, however it looks like Sprint has its eyes on the same thing and started offering convenient perks to subscribers around the US.

Wi-Fi calling and text messaging is completely free of charge and can be used on any Wi-Fi network the handset connects to. This could be very useful when you are indoors, where your phone’s reception is not adequate for making any calls. However, the downside is the range of devices, having only two options at the moment.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Mega are said to be the first two handsets to support the feature at first, followed by other handsets in the future. It’s not that great compared to T-Mobile which has a wide array of handsets, however T-Mobile also has 7 years of experience in this domain. It is interesting to see the outcome in the future though.

For owners of the latter Sprint handsets, a software update needs to be downloaded before using the Wi-Fi service. Once downloaded, owners need to go to the handset’s Apps folder and select ‘Wi-Fi Calling’ to switch to the service from cellular network. Sprint has also mentioned to look forward to new handsets being added to the list by the end of this year.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

Tizen Delayed Again, Carrier Support Found To Be Scarce For Its Handset

Word about the Tizen operating system and supporting handsets have been moving back and forth since last year, being delayed more than once. It was said that the operating system along with the first ever device of its king would release back in 2013. Well, that did not happen, of course. Other news pointed to a release after the WMC happening later this month. THen, recent rumors circulating have pointed to a release date somewhere in or after the second half of this year.

While Samsung is still struggling to bring a prototype to the WMC, which is less likely to happen now, other news reveal the actual problem behind Tizen. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the company has been delaying Tizen due to a ‘carrier’ problem. It is said that most of the mobile carriers that previously joined the Tizen project, have slowly departed and left Tizen ‘out in the cold’.

Orange carrier from France was one of the companies expected to launch the Tizen-powered smartphone, along with Japan’s NNT DoCoMo, one of Tizen’s biggest carrier partners. Both carriers have dropped support, stating that the platform is not “mature” enough and are more likely to focus on more immediate products, the ones that sell faster that is. This is quite understandable, since nobody knows exactly what will in fact happen with Tizen once it hits the market.

Even US-based Sprint renounced the Tizen smarthpone, having claimed the same reasons and fears as the previously mentioned carriers, leaving Samsung’s Tizen with scarce support for its smartphone. Becuase in the end, a smartphone is not a ”smartphone’ without carrier signal and/or a sim (why not call it a ‘smartpad’ and launch it like that? never mind…). When and if the Tizen smartphone will launch this year, it is hard to say. Maybe Samsung will pull an ace out of its sleeve and make a big impression at WMC with it, that is bound to attract carriers again. That is, if it shows up with its Tizen smartphone.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

American Network Carrier AT&T Considering European Expansion

The Wall Street Journal reports that the American network carrier AT&T is seeking to expand into Europe in the near future. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said his company will consider making an acquisition of a European network carrier in the future stating that their are a lot more opportunities for expansion in Europe than in the USA. AT&T’s CEO said that Verizon’s deal to purchase Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless opened his eyes to a European expansion. It is also believed that AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile 2 years ago, which was halted by the U.S government based on competition concerns, is part of the reason AT&T are looking to expand into new markets. Currently the USA has four major network carriers – AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile – so the U.S government is unlikely to let that slide to three any time soon.

“We have pretty much written off that any kind of large-scale deal in our sector is going to get done … going from four players to three is kind of a threshold issue.”

AT&T’s plans to expand and invest into the European market certainly will not be plain sailing. Issues of differences in public policy (such as concerns over data protection) as well as the way spectrum licenses are handled could both pose obstacles to AT&T’s expansion.

Image courtesy of AT&T

Sprint And Softbank Won’t Use Huawei After Their Upcoming Merger

Huawei maybe getting another blow from their United States market (or what’s left of it) as both the mobile carrier companies, Spring Nextel Corp. and Softbank Corp. told to U.S. lawmakers that they will not use equipments made by the Chinese based tech company Huawei Technologies after they merge.

Both the companies have been concerned about the potential electronic spy issue and decided not to use the Chinese manufacturer’s hardware. The U.S. agency is currently reviewing a merger worth $20Billion for national security, but Representative Mike Roger told Bloomberg via email that he expects the companies to make the same assurances before the deal is approved.

Rogers added,”I have met with Softbank and Sprint regarding this merger and was assured they would not integrate Huawei in to the Sprint network and would take mitigation efforts to replace Huawei equipment in the Clearwire network.”

Clearwire uses certain equipments from Huawei whereas the internal core network is powered by vendors such as Cisco. The company’s chief technical office John Saw assured that the Clearwire will be reducing Huawei’s presence in its high-speed wireless service network.

Huawei doesn’t have any knowledge about the national security report, but a U.S. spokesman said,”“If government approval of the transaction is somehow contingent on an agreement to restrict purchase of equipment from any vendor based on the flag of heritage, then it is a sad day for free and open global trade and it does nothing to secure the network. Everyone is global and every company faces the same cyber challenges.”

Even though Huawei’s name is only mentioned by the companies, ZTE would be facing the same scenario. Softbank is a Japanese based telecom company which happen to buy base band units and wireless systems from Huawei and ZTE.

It has been reported here that the U.S. government has introduced provisions to stop government agencies to use electronic equipment made by Chinese companies.

Source: Bloomberg