• Carriers

    by Published on 12-14-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Apologies for the Toronto-centric news (how Canadian of me!) but a bunch of new subway stations are opening in the GTA this weekend, and for people who live here it's a pretty big deal.

    As Mobile Syrup reports, every one of these new stations will have free T-Connect WiFi available, but for Freedom Mobile subscribers there's even better news: the carrier's band 66 LTE will be available not only on the extension's subterranean platforms, but throughout the 9 kilometers of tunnel as well.

    BAI Canada, who won the contract to provide WiFi and cellular service to the TTC's underground in 2013, has now wired all 75 subway stations for service. They expect to have all tunnels in the downtown core connected by next summer.

    Yes, this means that you may have to endure one side of your fellow commuters' inane phone conversations, but if you're the more considerate type you'll also be able to message your friends and loved ones in silence.

    I don't use the TTC every day but when I do Freedom's underground connectivity has been fantastic, with a strong signal already following me halfway through the tunnel to the next station. And soon it will be even better!

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 12-12-2017 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers



    In this unfortunate era of fake news I've made it a daily habit to visit Snopes. In a more innocent time one might go there to fact-check an urban myth; these days the site's scope has expanded to include other types of misinformation, like misleading tweets from members of Congress.

    This past October 26th Representative Ro Khanna of California tweeted a screen grab of the Portuguese carrier MEO, presenting it as the dystopian future that awaits an America without net neutrality protections. His heart's in the right place, but according to Snopes that's not what's actually going on here.

    Hey, not everybody speaks Portuguese, right?

    So, first of all, as a member of the European Union, Portugal enjoys net neutrality protections set by the EU regulator BEREC. What we're actually looking at in this MEO screen shot is a selection of zero-rated data bundles—apps and services that, for an additional fee, won't be subject to the user's monthly data cap. The idea, if not the execution, is similar to T-Mobile's Binge On.

    In the EU, as in Canada, zero-rated data offerings come under scrutiny if they are suspected of disadvantaging similar services. For example, Bell Canada's mobile TV offering was disallowed by our CRTC because it was not subject to data caps, and was therefore anti-competitive against other video services, like Netflix and YouTube, that were.

    It's difficult to pitch zero-rated data as a net neutrality issue because everybody wants free stuff—or, in the case of MEO subscribers, unlimited access to the services they use most. But don't be fooled by tweets; Portugal does have a zero-rated data problem, but also strong net neutrality protections.

    Sources: @RoKhanna on Twitter, Snopes

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    by Published on 12-07-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Carriers



    If you were planning a visit to your local Verizon outlet today, there's something you should know: "Team Internet", a coalition of the activist groups Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press, is planning a national day of action at Verizon stores around the country. Participants will be protesting the FCC's planned repeal of net neutrality protections in the United States.

    On November 21st FCC Chief Ajit Pai formally revealed plans to reverse the commission's 2015 net neutrality order, more specifically the Title II protections for broadband and mobile Internet traffic. The worry is that without Title II there will be nothing to stop Internet service providers from prioritizing, for example, their own video streaming services over Netflix or YouTube. Pai, on the other hand, claims that Title II has stifled innovation and investment in network infrastructure.

    The FCC will vote on Pai's plan on December 14th; the repeal is expected to go through with commissioners voting 3 for and 2 against, along party lines. What today's protests are expected to accomplish beyond raising awareness is unclear. Depending on where you stand on this issue it could be either a minor annoyance or something you'll very much want to be a part of.

    Link: VerizonProtests.com

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    by Published on 11-24-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Carriers,
    5. Apps



    Too late for the midnight stampedes, but I'm hoping this will at least serve as a starting point for your mobile-centric Black Friday shopping. It's not exhaustive by any means; you'll notice that Android Police and Mobile Syrup are responsible for a few links each. Kudos to them for doing the grunt work so that I didn't have to.

    Canada

    Amazon Canada’s Black Friday tech deals are now live!

    Best Buy VIP Black Friday sale now live with discounts on smartphones, tablets, smart home devices

    Freedom Mobile offers up to $450 in MyTab savings for Black Friday

    Here are Canadian carriers' 2017 Black Friday deals

    Rogers and Fido launch Black Friday iPhone deals

    USA

    2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals roundup [Updated continuously]

    Deal: Get 3 months of unlimited data for $99 from Rok Mobile

    Fossil smartwatch Black Friday sale: 30% reduction on Android Wear

    Free iPhone 8: The Best Black Friday Deal Is From T-Mobile

    Here are Google Play's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals

    Feel free to add any deals not mentioned above, for the benefit of anyone else reading this. Happy bargain hunting, and stay safe out there!

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    by Published on 11-23-2017 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    This is what it's been like to be a Canadian on the Internet this week...

    In the United States Ajit Pai's FCC is moving forward on plans to remove Title II protections for home and mobile Internet users; meanwhile, in Canada, such protections have arguably never been stronger. When it comes to wireless, net neutrality inevitably ends up focusing on zero-rated data. Fellow Canadian forum readers may remember your very own Ben Klass who, in a 26-page complaint to our CRTC, convinced our regulator that Bell's zero-rated mobile television offering was in violation of this country's Telecommunications Act.

    Earlier this week Ars Technica posted a deep dive into exactly how the CRTC deals with zero-rated data offerings. Ben Klass already knows that the regulator has a complaints-based rather than blanket policy in such matters; there are, in fact, four criteria considered with every complaint:

    1. The degree to which the treatment of data is agnostic (i.e., data is treated equally regardless of its source or nature);
    2. Whether the offering is exclusive to certain customers or certain content providers;
    3. The impact on Internet openness and innovation;
    4. Whether there is financial compensation involved.

    For more insights into net neutrality in Canada vs. the USA, plus zero-rated data as treated by the CRTC vs. FCC, see the link immediately below.

    Link: Ars Technica

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    by Published on 11-22-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Mobile Syrup has a pretty big scoop this morning: they've been able to confirm that Freedom Mobile will start carrying the iPhone in-store as of December 8th. And not cast-off refurbished hardware, either—the carrier will offer new stock and the full complement of 2017's iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.

    In Western Canada there will be even more Apple product to choose from; because FM is already running their 2500MHz spectrum in that part of the country the iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus will be available on the same date. Those same devices will be available in Eastern Canada once that spectrum gets lit up in early 2018.

    Canadians who finance their smartphone purchases (ie. most of us) stand to reap some considerable savings over 24 months, as all iPhones will be $0 down. Check the link below for details on that.

    It will be interesting to see what Apple's iconic smartphone can do for Freedom's subscriber numbers and, if there ends up being a big influx of new users, whether or not FM's young LTE network can handle it.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 11-03-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Mobile Syrup has confirmed what I myself tested yesterday, that the upstart Android smartphone-maker OnePlus now has much better support for LTE Band 66 on Canada's upstart carrier, Freedom Mobile.

    Here's the changelog from the official announcement on the OnePlus Forums:

    Supported Airtel VoLTE in India
    Supported Band 66 of Freedom in Canada
    Fixed Wi-Fi WPA2 security issue
    Optimized battery usage in some cases
    Optimized GPS accuracy
    General bug fixes
    After flashing the update I went for an mid-afternoon stroll through several neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto: Baldwin Village, the U of T campus, The Annex, Kensington Market and Chinatown. Everywhere I checked I had a solid 4G signal, and every time I ran a speed test I got the same results that were so elusive to my device just a week before.

    Building penetration is still an issue, of course. In certain places, like the bathrooms at the back of restaurants, the best available data signal is still HSPA+ or worse. But the software update is enough of an improvement that I can now recommend the OnePlus 5 to anyone on the Freedom network—more than any other phone, in fact, since you can test a Freedom SIM in either of the phone's dual SIM slots while keeping your current SIM in the other one!

    Links: OnePlus Forums, Mobile Syrup, XDA

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    by Published on 10-31-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Thanks to the CRTC, come this December 1st your Canadian carrier will no longer be able to sell phones locked to its own network. It's great news for consumers in this country; even better, some carriers are getting ahead of the deadline and have begun unlocking their hardware for free!

    I've cobbled together a quick list of who is currently selling unlocked smartphones (and also LTE-connected tablets). It's by no means complete, so please feel free to add to it. And it doesn't include your local Apple Store or pop-up Samsung shop—because we already knew about those, right?

    Bell and Virgin Mobile

    Both Bell and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile have begun selling a considerable portion of their device portfolios without any carrier locks:

    Alcatel GoFlip and Pixi 5
    All Google devices
    All iPhones and iPads
    BlackBerry KEYOne (requires software update)
    LG Q6
    Motorola Z2 Play
    Samsung Note 8
    ZTE Grand X View 2 Tablet

    Best Buy Canada

    All iPhones for all carriers are now sold unlocked, even the ones with subsidies.

    Eastlink

    "Some" devices are now sold unlocked... That's super-helpful </s>.

    Freedom Mobile

    There are anecdotal reports of users getting unlocking fees waived. Your mileage may vary; I asked about unlocking a phone when activating a line on Freedom and was told I'd have to wait thirty days.

    Rogers and Fido

    Both are waiving unlocking fees, but only for devices bought outright.

    Staples Canada

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available unlocked for outright purchase, and also on an in-house 24-month payment plan.

    TELUS and Koodo

    Again, anecdotal evidence of unlocking fees being waived. YMMV.

    If you've anything to add to this list, please help your fellow readers out!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup (1), (2), (3)

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    by Published on 10-23-2017 03:30 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Here is Freedom Mobile's LTE network at its very best in downtown Toronto, observed by yours truly in the second SIM slot of his Band 66-compatible OnePlus 5. I've definitely recorded better download speeds on Bell/Koodo/TELUS in the same neighbourhood, but Freedom's speeds—and the low latency in particular—is perfectly acceptable for almost anything you'd ask a modern smartphone to do.

    But here's the thing: in my three days of informal testing across the GTA that LTE signal was pretty hard to come by. More often than not I was stuck on HSPA+, sometimes even on (gasp) 3G!

    Not only that, but I can recall two incidents in particular where Freedom let me down entirely: the first was in the parking lot at IKEA North York, where the latency was so bad that launching Google Maps yielded no traffic data; the second was in the basement of Hudson's Bay Company at Queen and Yonge, where I was surprised to suddenly find myself with no signal at all.

    The rest of the time data on Freedom was slow but serviceable. I did keep an eye on my phone's status bar, and when a rare 4G signal magically appeared I immediately did a speed test, with results similar to what you see above. This may, of course, be an issue unique to my unsupported hardware. But a chat with a rep at my local Freedom outlet gave me the impression that the phones sold by the carrier exhibit similar behaviour.

    I will never fault anyone for choosing Freedom Mobile to vote with their wallet; Canada's Big Three carriers have been ripping us off for far too long. But while I'd definitely recommend an LTE upgrade to an existing user, I also think that any Big Three customer looking to jump ship is in for a disappointing ride.

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    by Published on 10-17-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Well, this was unexpected...

    I was all set to activate a SIM and try out one of Freedom Mobile's impossibly good data plans today—that is until late last night, when I read news of even better plans on the way. iPhone in Canada reports that the new plans will make their début this Thursday, October 19th.

    Big Gig plans do not include calls from Canada to the USA, but for a limited time will offer free international SMS and MMS. Options are as follows:

    $50/month: 12GB data (8GB + 4GB bonus) within Home; 250MB within Away
    $70/month: 15GB data (8GB + 7GB bonus) within Home; 500MB within Away
    $90/month: 20GB data (12GB + 8GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away

    If you didn't know, the "Away" data allotments are for roaming within Canada outside of Freedom's limited Home network.

    Everywhere Canada plans add long distance to the USA (from within Freedom's Home zones) plus 2,400 minutes of in-Canada roaming. International SMS and MMS are also included:

    $50/month: 5GB (4GB + 1GB bonus) within Home; 250MB within Away
    $60/month: 10GB (6GB + 4GB bonus) within Home; 500MB within Away
    $75/month: 12GB (9GB + 3GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away
    $100/month: 20GB (15GB + 5GB bonus) within Home; 1GB within Away

    Note that neither of the new plans include any free data when in the United States. If that's important to you then you'll want to jump on the current $50/month plan, which includes 1 free gigabyte of data per month from within the USA.

    Freedom is definitely on a tear to get new customers, and I can't help but wonder if their current promotion isn't getting the activations they were hoping for. Their LTE network still seems plenty fast, even in downtown Toronto. And just last week there was a weird moment when the girlfriend and I walked by a Freedom outlet at Yorkdale Mall. Not only was the store empty, but the entire staff was assembled at the entrance, staring down passers-by as if trying to will them into entering.

    Has anyone here switched to Freedom from Koodo? I'm seriously considering it—once I do some further testing, of course...

    Source: iPhone in Canada

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    by Published on 10-12-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    This week Koodo finally joined the ranks of other Canadian carriers in offering its own "roam like home" service; for a daily charge of either $7 or $10 CAD you can access your data bucket in the USA or the rest of the world. And while its uninspired moniker, Easy Roam, isn't so impressive, the list of supported countries definitely is. Plus you can sign up for the service via SMS, like I did above.

    I know what you're thinking: I must really feel like an loser owning this dog of a dual SIM phone, right? I mean, what a waste of money that thing turned out to be! Yeah, not so much...

    Let's do some math on my upcoming winter vacation, to (big surprise) Hong Kong and Japan. We'll be going to Osaka first and spending 9 nights there. Using Easy Roam for those 9 nights would cost my girlfriend and I $90 each, or $180 for the both of us. With local taxes that comes to a total of $203.40 CAD. But if we rent a WiFi hotspot like we've done in the past, we would instead pay only $134 USD, or about $167 CAD, with no additional taxes (see option 3 here). More importantly, that hotspot rental comes with an extra 9 GB of LTE data to share between us.

    Granted, there is the hassle of carrying an extra gadget around and keeping it charged, and also staying within range of it—if we split up on separate shopping trips then only the person with the hotspot will be connected. However, the numbers don't lie: for two people in this scenario, renting a hotspot is definitely cheaper.

    When it comes to Hong Kong there's no contest. For $118 HKD—the equivalent of just $19 CAD—what I believe to be the world's best tourist SIM gives each of us 5 GB of LTE data over 8 days. Using Easy Roam for those same 8 days would cost more than 4 times as much!

    So why did I even bother activating Easy Roam at all? Convenience, mostly. I can think of at least two additional scenarios where it would come in very handy. The first is transiting through an airport or a layover where there's no free WiFi. It happens, sometimes. And Easy Roam would come in very handy at a destination where there's no good local SIM solution—like if we don't feel like buying a pair of BlackBerries just to use in Bermuda, for example.

    It's great that all six brands of Canada's Big Three carriers now offer a more affordable way of roaming internationally. Just know that they're not necessarily the best value when travelling abroad.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 10-02-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    Just a friendly reminder that Freedom Mobile's Fall Data Event ends today, with two promotional plans that you won't find on any other Canadian carrier:

    $40 per month LTE-Ready Plan
    Triple the data!
    6 GB of full-speed data (2 GB + 4 GB bonus)
    Unlimited Canada-wide talk
    Unlimited global text, picture and video messaging
    World Saver: International calling from 1¢/min to over 200 countries
    Call Control (caller ID, missed call alerts, conference calling, call forwarding, call waiting)
    Voicemail+

    $50 per month LTE-Ready Plan
    Save $9/mo (Reg. $59)
    8 GB of full-speed data (6 GB + 2 GB bonus)
    Unlimited talk to Canada and the U.S.
    Unlimited global text, picture and video messaging
    World Saver: International calling from 1¢/min to over 200 countries
    Away Network (in Canada and the U.S.)
    1 GB of full-speed data
    2400 minutes of talk to Canada and the U.S.
    Unlimited global text
    Call Control (caller ID, missed call alerts, conference calling, call forwarding, call waiting)
    Voicemail+

    Both plans are listed as available in-store for new activations only, but I have two friends who are existing Freedom customers and were able to get the $50 plan with upgrades to new Samsung phones (a Note 8 and S8+).

    I spent the afternoon doing speed tests with them and came away surprised and impressed with Freedom's LTE network. In an area of the GTA bounded by Woodbine Avenue, Highway 7, Kennedy and the 401 I saw ping times of less than 20 ms, download speeds of well over 60 Mbps and upload speeds in excess of 20 Mbps—numbers that bested Koodo's LTE network on a OnePlus 5. As for call quality we only managed to get one test in and results were less impressive; the call was made in a crowded supermarket, though, which may have had an adverse effect.

    Bringing your current device to Freedom's LTE network is a bit tricky. You'll need a phone that supports Band 66, but there's a bit more to it than that. While the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus seem to work great, OnePlus 5 users are reporting issues with LTE/3G hand-offs. Your safest bet might be to buy your phone direct from Freedom. For the value and quality of data service it seems to be well worth it!

    Links: Freedom Mobile Fall Data Event (1) (2)

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    by Published on 09-21-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Tips,
    3. Carriers



    Yup, Samsung is everywhere...

    For anyone who will ever visit Sri Lanka (and you totally should) here's a quick guide to getting mobile service there. Although carriers in both Canada and USA offer "roam like home" packages—where you access your plan's data bucket anywhere in the world for an additional daily fee—it's often cheaper to get a local SIM when you arrive. Case in point: for the equivalent of about $9 USD each my girlfriend and I were able to get 4GB of data (plus an extra 5 GB of "overnight" data) that lasted through the entirety of our 10 days on the island.



    This special tourist package is available through Sri Lanka's number one mobile carrier, Dialog. Getting set up was easy but not an experience that I would call pleasant. There's a Dialog shop right in the Arrivals Hall of Bandaranaike International Airport that's open 24 hours—perfect for us as our inbound flight from Hong Kong didn't land until close to midnight. They only accept cash but fortunately for us there was a currency exchange in the same Arrivals Hall that was also open.

    After taking our money the Dialog rep robotically set up the SIM on one of our phones and then left it there on the counter without telling me it was ready; he didn't even bother with the second phone. I eventually got the hint and set up the second SIM myself, using the settings from the first one. In so doing I noticed that the home SIM on my first phone—a dual-SIM OnePlus 3—was disabled for absolutely no reason. Thanks, jerk...



    I did speed tests all over the island (when I remembered to) and not once did I ever see a 4G signal while I was there. That in itself wasn't a problem, but the sometimes spotty coverage took a huge hit on our phone batteries, as they desperately hunted for a signal to lock on to. To keep my phone juiced up for the next photo opp I got into the habit of keeping it in airplane mode until I actually needed data for something.

    In other words, Sri Lanka might not be the best holiday destination for the obsessed Instagrammer or YouTube Livestreamer but it's definitely worth visiting for its Cultural triangle, friendly people and amazing food!

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    by Published on 08-30-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers



    AT&T

    AT&T is donating $350,000 to aid communities following Hurricane Harvey, which includes $100,000 to the Greater Houston Community Fund, $100,000 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Fund and $50,000 to the Coastal Bend Community Foundation in South Texas.

    AT&T Waived Fees for Customers Impacted by Hurricane Harvey - Beginning Aug. 26, 2017, and running through at least Sept. 1, 2017 we will issue credits to AT&T wireless customers in impacted areas for additional data, voice and text charges, and AT&T PREPAID for additional voice and text charges.

    Additionally, the AT&T Foundation will match employee donations up to $50,000 each to the AT&T Employee Disaster Relief Fund, which supports the thousands of AT&T employees who live in the areas affected by the storms and Team Rubicon, a disaster response veterans service organization.
    Source: AT&T Newsroom

    Sprint

    In addition to waiving casual call and text fees, effective August 26 through September 8, 2017, for Sprint, Boost and Virgin Mobile customers, Sprint will waive data overage fees for customers in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Fees will be proactively waived during the specified timeframe.
    Source: Sprint Newsroom

    T-Mobile

    To help our customers connect with loved ones in the path of Hurricane Harvey, T-Mobile is making it free for customers, including prepaid customers, to call or text from impacted areas of Texas and Louisiana.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of this powerful storm,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile.

    From Aug. 25-Sept. 1, T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers in the following area codes can call anywhere in the US for free:

    Texas - 830, 512, 210, 936, 956, 361, 979, 281, 832, 713, 936, 409, 346
    Louisiana - 337, 985
    Source: T-Mobile Newsroom

    Verizon

    Verizon today announced support of South Texas through a $10 million pledge to fund Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

    Verizon is also offering support for the relief efforts in the following ways:

    Relieving postpaid customers of data, talk and text charges and giving prepaid customers an extra 3 GB to be used for data, talk and text from August 26 through September 15.

    Deploying mobile equipment including Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS) to supplement service in areas of South Texas that need extra network capacity.

    Working closely with several federal and local government agencies to help support first responders on the ground with much needed communications services.

    Staffing shelters with Verizon employees in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to assist first responders and displaced residents with mobile charging, internet access and other communications needs.

    Along with its subsidiary Oath, the company is providing financial support to residents of Houston and South Texas with dollar-for-dollar matches of employees' contributions to select relief-focused organizations.

    Offering emergency financial assistance to employees who have been affected by this tragedy through both its employee assistance program and its VtoV program where employees can donate funds to help fellow employees affected by a natural or personal disaster.

    In addition, to reinforce our long-term commitment to the communities we serve, Verizon will be offering its more than 10,000 employees who work in the states of Texas and Louisiana the opportunity to volunteer for the Harvey recovery effort over the coming months and receive up to a week of paid volunteer time.
    Source: Android Police

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    by Published on 08-10-2017 07:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    OpenSignal has been very, er... "open" about sharing their data on network speeds around the world; they even have their own speed-testing app, called Meteor. But what about the app that people actually use?

    I've been using Ookla's Speedtest.net for years to test my broadband connection through my desktop browser; ditto for for the Android app. Perhaps because of OpenSignal, Ookla has just published a Global Speed Index of their own.

    The results have been gathered from more than 6,000 servers in 190 countries. The good news? Canada ranked highest in North America, with an average download speed of 35.19 Mbps. The bad news? We're 13th worldwide. The really bad news? High prices, no unlimited data plans, lack of compelling MVNOs... Shall I go on?

    The United States ranked 43rd overall, with an average download speed of 23.05 Mbps. Here are the countries in the top ten worldwide:

    1. Norway - 52.59 Mbps
    2. Netherlands - 46.94 Mbps
    3. Hungary - 46.24 Mbps
    4. Singapore - 45.99 Mbps
    5. Malta - 44.84 Mbps
    6. Australia - 44.64 Mbps
    7. United Arab Emirates - 43.98 Mbps
    8. South Korea - 42.09 Mbps
    9. Belgium - 37.81 Mbps
    10. Iceland - 36.84 Mbps

    Source: Speedtest via Mobile Syrup

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    by Published on 08-03-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Carriers



    OpenSignal has just published their findings on the current state of mobile networks in the USA, using over five million measurements from over a hundred and fifty thousand phones between April and June of this year. T-Mobile in particular saw some impressive results, scoring the highest of all carriers nationwide in each of OpenSignal's six critical metrics:

    4G Availability
    T-Mobile - 90.91%
    Verizon - 89.79%
    AT&T - 83.08%
    Sprint - 81.63%

    4G Download Speed
    T-Mobile - 17.45 Mbps
    Verizon - 14.91 Mbps
    AT&T - 12.92 Mbps
    Sprint - 9.76 Mbps

    3G Download Speed
    T-Mobile - 3.57 Mbps
    AT&T - 2.71 Mbps
    Sprint - 1 Mbps
    Verizon - 0.83 Mbps

    Overall Download Speed
    T-Mobile - 16.07 Mbps
    Verizon - 13.34 Mbps
    AT&T - 11.05 Mbps
    Sprint - 8.17 Mbps

    4G Latency
    T-Mobile - 62.84 ms
    AT&T - 63.81 ms
    Verizon - 67.38 ms
    Sprint - 70.1 ms

    3G Latency
    T-Mobile - 119.23 ms
    AT&T - 136.02 ms
    Sprint - 166.2 ms
    Verizon - 178.15 ms

    To see how carriers performed regionally read the report in full at the link below. And remember, if you disagree with any of these results you can make the next test more accurate by installing the OpenSignal app for Android or iOS.

    Source: OpenSignal

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    by Published on 07-19-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    Yesterday brought news of some OnePlus 5 phones rebooting when their owners attempted to dial 911. Today it seems that the issue is not limited to OnePlus. A redditor on r/Android is compiling a list of devices experiencing the same problem, with links to their respective comments and/or threads:

    Asus ZenFone 3 (all variants)
    OnePlus 5
    Samsung Galaxy S5
    Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
    Sony Xperia Z3

    So far users in both the US and UK have reported the problem; there have been no reports from Canada as of yet, but apparently Best Buy recalled a large number of ASUS phones here. The source of the issue has yet to be confirmed, but it's suspected to be something to do with the AOSP dialer; all background processes are supposed to be halted when a 911 call is initiated, but some faulty code might be interfering with this.

    Installing the Google Dialer from the Play Store may or may not address the problem. Concerned users can try contacting their local police force and see if they'll arrange a test call to their 911 service.

    Sources: reddit (1) (2)

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    by Published on 07-12-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. News,
    3. Carriers



    Today marks an Internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality in the United States. The current FCC under Ajit Pai has voted to roll back net neutrality by removing Title II protections. Title II is about the idea of common carriage—that is, a network provider must treat everything on their network equally. Removing Title II protections would give broadband and wireless providers the power to turn the Internet into something more akin to cable TV.

    Organizations participating in this day of action include Amazon, the American Civil Liberties Union, Automattic (WordPress), Creative Commons, Dropbox, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Facebook, the Free Software Foundation, Github, Google, Imgur, the Mozilla Foundation, Netflix, Opera, Pinterest, reddit, Slashdot, Spotify, Ting, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and Yelp.

    All of the sites listed above (and others) will, in their own ways, call their users to action over the course of the day. The FCC's controversial proposal is currently open for public comment, but only until July 17th. Until then you can make your voice heard at one or both of the links directly below; Battle for the Net is a joint effort by three separate activist groups—Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund—while Dear FCC is an initiative from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Links: Battle for the Net, Dear FCC

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    by Published on 06-16-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    For mobile users in Canada the biggest news story of the week, perhaps the year, is a new decision by Canada's Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to free users from carrier locks on their devices starting December 1st, 2017. Even better, effective this date new users who are unhappy with their carrier will be able to return their hardware and walk away at no cost, so long as they've used less than half of the data bucket on their monthly plan.

    It's not hard to see what the CRTC is trying to do here, to force Canada's Big Three carriers to compete more honestly on the strength of their networks, and hopefully price. I don't actually think that the price thing is going to play out like the CRTC wants it to; if recent history has taught us anything we know that carriers will always find a way to make up for lost revenue at the expense of their customers. In other words, come December 1st plan prices will almost certainly go up.

    And while it's probably out of the question for the CRTC to regulate plan prices, they could perhaps regulate data overages.

    Currently our Wireless Code mandates that carriers notify a customers when their data overages reach $100, and the customer must give their express consent to go over that limit. The unfortunate fact about that is data overages have gotten so expensive in this country that it's way too easy to reach the $100 threshold. I'll use two currently desirable Big Three plans as examples.

    If you hadn't heard, Public Mobile is once again offering a promotion on their 90 day prepaid plan that effectively gives you 4 GB of data per month for $40. Since it's a prepaid plan you won't be dinged for extra data; you have to purchase it yourself in increments of 200 MB or 1 GB. But that extra 1 GB will cost you a whopping $30. On a $40 / 4 GB plan that just doesn't make sense.

    Or take Koodo's Québec-only limited time offer of 6 GB for $49, available to anyone anywhere in Canada who's willing to jump through a few extra hoops. If you go over that 6 GB data allotment Koodo will charge you $5 per additional 100 MB, or an even more egregious $50 per GB!

    Three years ago the standard data overage charge was a mere $10 per GB; what else but a Big Three cash grab can explain the skyrocketing rates? We need an intervention to stop this madness, and I'm hoping that the CRTC is up for the task...

    Links: CRTC (1) (2)

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    by Published on 06-08-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Commentary and Analysis,
    3. Carriers



    OpenSignal has published their semi-annual "state of LTE" report, with data from more than half a million devices across some 75 countries. The graph above is likely the one that you'll be most interested in, ranking average 4G download speeds by country. The top 10 are as follows:

    Singapore: 45.62 Mbps
    South Korea: 43.46 Mbps
    Hungary: 42.61 Mbps
    Norway: 41.36 Mbps
    Netherlands: 38.36 Mbps
    Luxembourg: 35.44 Mbps
    Croatia: 35.19 Mbps
    New Zealand: 34.91 Mbps
    Bulgaria: 34.07 Mbps
    Australia: 33.76 Mbps

    And if you were wondering what speeds were like closer to home:

    Canada (13th): 30.58 Mbps
    USA (59th): 14.99 Mbps

    For further insights see the link directly below. And if you disagree with the data you can make it more accurate for their next report by downloading the OpenSignal app for Android or iOS.

    Source: OpenSignal

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