US Phones Will Report Vertical Location to 911 Dispatchers by 2021

The FCC has officially adopted new rules for the accuracy of location data reported to dispatchers when someone dials 911 on a cell phone in the US. For the first time, vertical position data will be required, so first responders can quickly locate people needing help in multi-story buildings. The rules will be phased in starting April 2021. Vertical position will need to be accurate to within 3 meters for at least 80% of indoor 911 calls. The rules also impose new requirements on standard location data sent to dispatchers by wireless carriers, such as a dispatch-able street address and apartment number.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Metro by T-Mobile Launching Nationwide 5G Dec. 6th

T-Mobile will launch the first 5G service for US prepaid customers on its Metro brand this Friday, Dec. 6th, the same day the company’s nationwide 5G service becomes available to T-Mobile customers. T-Mobile “launched” its nationwide 5G network today, but compatible 5G phones won’t be available with either T-Mobile or Metro until Dec. 6th. Metro will offer the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G. T-Mobile will offer that phone as well as the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren. T-Mobile’s new “nationwide” 5G network covers 5,000 cities and towns across the country, 200 million people, and more than 1 million square miles. It uses low frequency bands that have the same coverage as 4G service, unlike mmWave 5G that can only cover small areas.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

5 Great No-Strings Black Friday Deals

In the phone world, there’s no shortage of Black Friday deals in the US this year. But most of the phone discounts and free accessories require a new line of service and/or a phone trade-in. If you are looking to switch carriers, there’s never been a better time. But if you just want a good, straightforward deal on a gift — or something for yourself — here are a few notable discounts that truly have no strings.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Nevada Pulls Out of T-Mobile / Sprint Merger Suit

Nevada has reached a settlement with T-Mobile on the terms of its proposed merger with Sprint. This comes after Texas announced a similar settlement this morning. Colorado and Mississippi previously reached their own settlements. That leaves 14 attorneys general still suing to stop the merger on antitrust grounds. As part of its deal with Nevada, T-Mobile is bound to:

  • Keep certain promises it made at the start of the month, such as a $15/month data plan with 2 GB of data, and a $25/month plan with 5 GB of data, with additional data added each year. New in the Nevada settlement is a commitment to keep these low-price plans for at least six years.
  • Provide internet access for low-income families with small children. (Another promise made earlier this month, now made legally binding.)
  • Donate $30 million to charities in Nevada chosen by the Attorney General.
  • Keep an existing call center in the state with 450 employees for at least six years.
  • Offer all current employees of both companies comparable jobs when the merger closes.
  • Meet certain 5G coverage requirements.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Texas AG Settles on T-Mobile / Sprint Merger

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced a settlement with T-Mobile over its proposed merger with Sprint. This removes Texas from the list of states suing to stop the merger on antitrust grounds. Paxton was the only conservative attorney general participating on the suit. The settlement stipulates that Texans have access to rate plans as good or better than current plans for the next five years. The settlement also includes promises on 5G coverage, and guarantees current employees will be able to keep their jobs when the merger is executed. 15 attorneys general are still suing to stop the merger. The suit is led by New York AG Letitia James and California AG Xavier Becerra. Still signed on to the suit are the AGs for Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

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MediaTek Details its First 5G SoC for High-End Phones

MediaTek has revealed that its first SoC with integrated 5G modem and high-end processor will be called the Dimensity 1000. The company revealed the first set of details on the chip in May. Now that it has a name, MediaTek has revealed additional details of the SoC. It’s fabricated using the latest 7nm process and is designed for “premium and flagship” phones. The 5G modem component supports SA (stand-alone) and NSA (non-stand-alone) 5G networks, as well as DSS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing) that allows 4G and 5G to efficiently share the same frequency band. It also supports 5G carrier aggregation, which enables downlink speeds up to 4.7 Gbps and seamless handovers as users move around. It also supports dual 5G SIMs, which MediaTek claims is a first. The processor part of the chip includes a five-core image signal processor (ISP) to power cameras up to 80 megapixel at 24fps. Its AI processor assists with camera functions, offering features like multi-frame video HDR, which MediaTek claims is another first. The chip also supports Full HD+ displays with refresh rates up to 120Hz, and 2K+ up to 90Hz. The Dimensity 1000 only supports 5G in sub-6 GHz frequency bands, not mmWave. By the end of this year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all offer sub-6 GHz 5G networks with broad coverage. The first devices powered by the Dimensity 1000 will ship in the US by the end of this year, which is earlier than previously announced. The new Dimensity brand will include a whole line of chips with integrated 5G.

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Cricket Offers $40/Month Unlimited Plan with Faster 4G for BYOD Switchers

Cricket is offering a special unlimited plan with faster data and a cheaper price, just for new lines of service added during this holiday season. The plan is $40/month, $15/month cheaper than the standard unlimited plan. The offer is only for new customers (or new lines on a family account) that bring their own compatible unlocked device between now and January 30th. Unusually for Cricket, the plan has no hard limit on data speed. (The company’s standard unlimited plan tops out at 3 Gbps, and the fixed bucket plans are capped at 8 Gbps.) However, as with the standard unlimited plan, video is limited to SD quality and “Cricket may slow data speeds when the network is congested.” There is no upper limit on data usage at which speeds are reduced. The offer is not available customers switching from AT&T, Cricket’s parent company.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

AT&T Launching Low-Band 5G for Consumers in Coming Weeks

AT&T is launching 5G for consumers in the coming weeks, and has detailed its launch plans for both sub-6 GHz (low-band) and mmWave launches in the coming year. The company promises “nationwide” 5G in the first half of 2020. AT&T is branding low-band 5G (which offers coverage similar to 4G) as “5G”, and this is the service it is launching for consumers. Its mmWave service (with faster speeds but more limited coverage) will be branded “5G+”, and remains limited to business customers. Neither designation should be confused with “5Ge”, AT&T’s misleading designation for 4G. AT&T is launching its low-band 5G in band 5 (850 MHz), which is the lowest-frequency band in AT&T’s spectrum portfolio, offering the best long-range and in-building coverage. The launch cities for low-band 5G will be Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, RI, Rochester, NY, and San Diego. Those cities will be followed by Boston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, New York City, San Francisco, Birmingham, AL, Bridgeport, CT, Buffalo, NY, Louisville, KY, and San Jose, CA. AT&T has published coverage maps for all of the listed launch cities. AT&T’s first phone to support low-band 5G will be the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G, which will only support low-band 5G and not mmWave “5G+”. It will be available for pre-order on Nov. 25th. 5G service is included in AT&T’s Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite plans. AT&T’s mmWave “5G+” service for business customers is currently offered in parts of 21 cities, expanding to 30 in “early 2020”.

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Verizon Publishes Detailed 5G Coverage Maps

Verizon has added detailed maps of its mmWave 5G coverage to its web site. The maps show where 5G is available on a block-by-block basis in the cities where Verizon has launched the service. Verizon started offering 5G in April, but has not offered any coverage maps for the service until now. Because Verizon’s 5G network so far uses only mmWave frequency bands, coverage is limited to small areas near each base station, and can vary wildly from city block to city block. T-Mobile was running an ad campaign attacking Verizon’s unwillingness to share 5G coverage maps.

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Samsung Brings the Dark Side to Galaxy Note10+

Samsung will sell a Star Wars Special Edition of the Galaxy Note10+ this December, with Star Wars-inspired design elements and digital content. The phone will be bundled with a specially designed case, a metal badge as a collector’s item, a red S Pen, and Galaxy Buds. The design features a First Order logo on the back. The phone comes loaded with exclusive Star Wars-themed content including wallpapers, shutdown animations, icons, and sounds. Engadget reports that the (unlocked) phone will go on sale in the US on Dec. 13th for $1300. This special edition coincides with the release of The Rise of Skywalker film on December 20th.

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