Archive for category Verizon

The New iPad hits stores March 16

After months of speculation, Apple unveiled the “new iPad” at a press conference today featuring a 9.7-inch retina display. The device’s high-resolution display has a resolution of 2,048×1,536, or a whopping 3.1 million pixels. The new iPad also has an updated processor and is the first Apple device to connect to 4G LTE services offered by carriers, including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.


Weighing 1.4 pounds, the new iPad will be slightly heavier than the iPad 2 but will still have a generous 10 hour battery life. The new iPad includes similar features as other Apple devices like the iPhone 4. The iPad features a backside 5-megapixel camera that allows for 1,080-pixel video recording and image stabilization.

The new iPad will start at $499 for Wi-Fi only model which had been the same starting price as the previous model. Models capable of 4G speeds will start at $629, not including service plans.

While I am excited to the see the new iPad up close, today’s press conference also shows Apple isn’t immune from competition. Apple also stated it will continue to sell the iPad 2, at a reduced starting price of $399, making it more competitive with the lower-priced devices on the market such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

The new iPad will be available starting on March 16 in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Germany

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Updates from Wisconsin service providers

Several mobile carriers in Wisconsin recently made announcements regarding infrastructure updates, improved data plans and capital expenditures. Wisconsin mobile users should expect faster and better mobile service in the coming months. See below for specific announcements from Wisconsin providers.

AT&T

AT&T announced yesterday it has invested $450 million from 2008-2011 in the Milwaukee area to improve mobile broadband coverage and overall performance. Upgrades include more than 250 network enhancements to deploy 4G speed and increase cell site capacity. The Milwaukee-area upgrades are just a portion of the $1 billion AT&T invested in Wisconsin mobile infrastructure since 2008.

Verizon

Verizon announced earlier this week plans to launch its family data plan. As mobile consumers continue to purchase and use more than one device, the family data plan is an opportunity to combine data and save money in the long run. This could be a great option for families who already use ‘family plans’ to budget talking minutes and text messages or for someone looking to share data between a smartphone and tablet.  Verizon will begin its family data plan rollout midyear.

US Celluar

US Cellular recently announced a slew of Wisconsin cities that will be getting 4G LTE access in 2012 (see my post here). Also, the popular Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II (see my review here) will be available to US Cellular customers sometime in March.

Cellcom

Cellcom engineers recently completed testing on three 4G cell sites located in Sturgeon Bay. Sturgeon Bay is just part of Cellcom’s first phase of 4G LTE rollout that also includes Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Wausau, and parts of Oconto and Marinette Counties. An additional 69 cell sites will light up by the end of 2012 in the second phase of the company’s 4G launch.

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Peering into Wisconsin’s cellular crystal ball for 2012

AT&T

While I’ll be the first to admit the only reason I was initially an AT&T subscriber was because of the iPhone, I noticed some definite improvement in service quality during 2011. And apparently, that wasn’t just my imagination.  According to information just released by AT&T, the firm quietly spent nearly $20 billion on network enhancements around the country. In the first six months of 2011 AT&T previously announced they had invested over $100 million in their wireless and wireline networks here in Wisconsin. The level of dropped calls has gone down significantly and capacity has increased.

As someone who travels rather frequently around the state, I’ve noticed improvements in the Eau Claire area as well as the Fox Cities. Kudos to AT&T for taking solid, needed steps to improve its reputation – now bring 4G to Wisconsin and I might become an even bigger fan.

US Cellular

Customers of US Cellular are definitely looking forward to 2012, and with good reason.  This carrier has a planned rollout of its own 4G LTE service in select Wisconsin cities. Among those identified for the first wave of LTE rollout are Milwaukee, Madison and Racine, according to information from US Cellular.

However, US Cellular customers might want to take a wait-and-see approach to this news. It’s unclear whether US Cellular will meet this timeline – they’ve already delayed the project a few times.

Verizon

It was a rough year for Verizon, a carrier that racked up five service outages during 2011.  But at the same time, Verizon also has held its own in Wisconsin with the development of Verizon’s LTE, which has brought 4G to Wisconsin’s major metro areas.

It would be nice to see this coverage expand elsewhere in the state beyond the usual suspects – Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and the Fox Cities. Folks up in western Wisconsin have it, thanks to spillover from the Twin Cities. In late 2011, Verizon made an incredibly smart move by activating a 4G tower in the Dells, a great addition in a spot that isn’t know for strong cell service.

T-Mobile

Of course, the big news for 2011 was the proposed merger of T-Mobile and AT&T, which has failed. I’m curious to see how T-Mobile will rebound in 2012.

Sprint

Now that this provider has given up WiMax for LTE, will they be able to keep the pace with other providers on build out? I think we’ll know the answer in 2012.

Cellcom

As a smaller regional provider, the biggest question for Cellcom in 2012 is whether it can keep going on its own … or will it get gobbled up by a larger provider?

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Verizon customers experiencing third data outage this month

Verizon customers experiencing another data outage

December is not shaping up to be a good month for Verizon. Beginning late yesterday morning, reports from Verizon customers of their third data blackout left many unable to access internet, email and applications from their mobiles. Nearly 24 hours later, some customers are reporting their data use has yet to be restored.

Although the outage seems to only affect 4G running phones in certain areas of the country such as Wisconsin, New York, Arkansas and Oregon, another blackout has to be pretty frustrating for Verizon customers. What leaves me puzzled about the situation is the lack of communication coming from the folks at Verizon on the cause of the outages and how they’re managing it.

It will be interesting to see how Verizon handles the PR side of the outages in the next couple days. Are three outages in month enough to spur a mass exodus of Verizon customers to other carriers?

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Packers and Verizon team up for toy drive

Bummed you missed your chance to meet Packers fullback John Kuhn earlier this week? Don’t fret. Packers stars Ryan Grant and Sam Shields will be at the Verizon store Monday in Appleton at the store located at 3420 E. Calumet St. .Aside from signing autographs and taking pictures, the NFL players will be helping out with a toy drive benefitting children affected by domestic violence.

Packer fans can stop by the Verizon store from 7 to 8pm for autographs and photos with the world champions. Fans are asked to bring one child’s toy such as a coloring book or craft project for the toy drive.

After AT&T’s events with John Kuhn, which brought in 2,000 pounds of food for the Milwaukee Hunger Task Force, it’s nice to see other mobile carriers and Packers team up for a good cause. We’re excited to hear about the turnout and number of toys collected.

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Tech blog review: Droid Bionic

The Droid Bionic is one of those phones that has almost an equal number of pros to cons. The phone, which is available to Verizon subscribers, is definitely a top-shelf option at a price of $300. But is it worth it?

Let’s start with the pros. The Droid Bionic has gone through a number of changes since it was first announced almost a year ago. The end result is the first LTE device with a dual-core processor.  We like the bigger screen, which is much more vibrant than an iPhone. That’s a plus in our book.

We found that overall, the Droid Bionic performed well. On the plus side, the phone also works at its own mobile hotspot, which is clearly a boon for business travelers. You can also tether up to five computers to the Internet through the phone, but it counts against your monthly data usage.

But there are individual issues that stop us from really liking this phone. Case in point: It’s camera, which has to be slowest camera we’ve ever experienced in a smartphone. That’s a big issue that Motorola needs to address. Enough people are now relying on their phones to take the place of digital cameras, and this could be a deal breaker for some customers.

We also think the price is a little steep, particularly when you compare the phone to others in its price range. Is it one to bypass if you’re on the Verizon network? No, not necessarily. But there are better options that should also be considered.

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Motorola Unveils Spyder

Color us intrigued. Motorola revealed its new Droid RAZR today. Next to the iPhone 4S released over the weekend, the Spyder is its sleek, sophisticated city cousin.

At a mere 7.1mm thick, the spider is incredibly high tech, boasting a Kevlar case and a sculpted face with a Gorilla glass screen and splashguard coating. Inside users will find a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 4G LTE.  The Spyder is powered by Android 2.3.5, Gingerbread.

The phone includes two cameras, an 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p HD video capture and image stabilization technology  and a front-facing HD camera for video chatting.

The Droid RAZR also comes with a perk that Packers fans will love: NFL Mobile, only from Verizon. NFL Mobile is included at no additional charge for 4G LTE customers for the remainder of the 2011 season.

We’re hoping to get a Spyder in house to review soon.

Wisconsin Verizon customers can get their hands on the Spyder in early November for $299.99 with a new two-year customer agreement at all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at: www.verizonwireless.com; as well as at authorized retailers. Customers can visit www.droiddoes.com/droidrazr to pre-order DROID RAZR beginning on October 27.

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