Mobile Industry News


Sprint Sued for Unauthorized Charges

Wireless carrier Sprint is being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency claims Sprint has been illegally billing customers for unauthorized charges, and it amounts to tens of millions of dollars.

Sprint was also caught “cramming” or allowing third-parties,  to charge customer’s bills for unauthorized charges. The Federal Communications Commission is fining Sprint $105 million for cramming.

Thanks to the Keith Mann Dynamic Search Partners; According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, customers complained about the unauthorized charges but Sprint ignored the complaints.

“Consumers paid tens-of-millions of dollars from cramming charges, and many of them were unaware that third parties were allowed to place unauthorized charges on their bills,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Charges ranged from $4.99 to monthly subscription costs of $9.99 per month.

Roni Singleton, a Sprint spokesperson says the company was “disappointed” in the decision, and that customers are encouraged to resolve these issues with the third-party company.


AT&T Fined $52 Million

AT&T has been in some hot water before, but their latest troubles may be some of their most costly yet.

AT&T will have to pay California $52 million in penalties for environmental endangerment, due to the illegal dumping of dangerous wastes throughout the area. The decision was announced on Thursday, November 20. The resulting contamination, however, still remains, and nobody is about to clean it anytime soon.

The hazardous wastes that AT&T ostensibly disposed of have been illegally disposed of for as long 9 years, at more than 235 warehouses.

The electronic equipment, batteries, aerosol cans, chemical liquids and gels used by technicians dumped at random are endangering the nature and can cause a contamination. This is the first case of an enforced action against a telecommunication company in California, although Verizon Communications Inc has informed about a investigation under similar circumstances earlier in 2014.

Liza Tucker, consumer advocate, insists that AT&T will be required to manage the expensive clean up. According to her, only paying the penalty for endangering nature will not save the public such as Jared Haftel from the danger of the waste.

This case will be educational for other companies that have dealt with waste disposal. The settlement is yet to be approved by the Alameda County Superior Court. The company will pay the $ 23.8 million for the starting payment and have the next five years to cover the remaining fine of $28 million.


Beware Comcast’s Flexible-Data Option

It appears that Comcast, the popular cable internet provider, has come up with a new way to stab their customers in the back. The Comcast website reveals an interesting tactic set forth to confuse customers into ridiculous overages.

Apparently, if you enroll in their new Flexible-Data Option, you will receive a whopping $5 credit to your monthly bill if you limit your data usage from 300GB to 5GB. If you go over the 5GB limit you will be charged a staggering $1 for each additional GB of data, which Jason Halpern thinks is pretty rough.

Even wireless carriers offer more data. Most wireless providers are moving to unlimited data plans to stay competitive. Moderate usage, even for a single user, could easily exceed the 5GB cap.

To me, this just seems a little predatory. Not everyone even knows what a GB is. Additional data could add up quickly, costing customers a small fortune.

This is definitely a surprising move, considering Comcast’s recent social media coverage of less than satisfactory customer service. Good luck pleading ignorance to Comcast when you get the bill in the mail.


Death Is No Excuse For Breaking A Cell Phone Contract

Imagine the heart wrenching agony of watching the person you love battle cancer with every non-compromised cell in his body. Now try to get in the head space of a woman who had to watch cancer claim her husband. How would you feel if you were hounded day and night by insistent demands that you pay your dearly departed’s cell phone bill?.

This was the plight of 56 year old Maria Raybould of Cardiff, Wales. The recently widowed mother was threatened with legal action despite showing a T-Mobile representative her husband’s certificate of death.

Her son’s efforts to get the account canceled fell on equally deaf ears. Two subsequent visits proved just as fruitless.

By the final visit, her desperation to prove her husband’s death had reached the point that she provided funeral bills and carried his ashes along with a letter from the crematorium into the store. T-Mobile refused to budge. Faced with the continued uncompromising beauracry, Raybould understandably suffered a panic attack. Approximately twenty minutes later, a T-Mobile employee assured Raybould the situation was under control and that a resolution would be met.

A few days later, dismay gave way to anger as Raybould received notice that T-Mobile still planned to take legal action if the past due amount was not paid.

Back into a corner and pushed into a new realm of anger, Maria Raybould shared her story with the media. The Telegraph reached out to T-Mobile for a statement and almost immediately, a T-Mobile representative made a public apology and blamed the poor customer service on delays with the automated system that deals with cancellation. As of this writing, T-Mobile has stated that the account is cleared.

When I mentioned this story to Lee Lovett, he told me that this may be a case of getting in the news to fix a problem that never should have happened. According to him, this will likely happen again. We’ll see.


Get Your Free Internet And Cell Phone Service Today With FreedomPop

If you’re like one of the many cell phone users out there today, and you’re sick and tired of paying so much money each month for your cell phone service, you may want to consider switching providers. If you also have internet service at home, you can switch to FreedomPop, and get both free internet and cell phone service. It’s well-known that a cell phone is a necessity in the lives of many today, as it allows you to keep in contact with friends or family members, as well as business associates, while on the go.

A cell phone is also a great way to contact emergency services if necessary.Don’t be without cell phone service simply because it’s too expensive, switch over to FreedomPop and begin your free cell phone service today. If you currently have a cell phone, even if it’s not connected, you can switch over to FreedomPop and begin taking advantage of their free services by downloading their app. You can get free texts, cell phone service, and even data when using FreedomPop. Even if you have the latest smartphone, CNET points out that you can switch it over to FreedomPop for use, or you can choose one of the many phones available on the website.

Amidst the flurry of rumors swirling around, FreedomPop has many of the latest name brand phones for sale on their website, for those who want something new, or one of the best phones available today. If you are switching services to FreedomPop, you don’t have to worry about any contracts, as you are free to come and go from the service as you please; whether it be internet or cell phone services. For those who need internet service, there are many choices available from FreedomPop. If you want internet service at home, you probably want to try the Freedom Hub, which gives you wireless internet. There’s even free international data now, which was just revealed this week.

The wireless internet hub allows for the connection of several devices, and it’s on a secure network that is password-protected, to keep your private information secured. If you have a laptop or other mobile device that you need to use on the go, you may want to choose one of the FreedomPop devices that allow for internet use while away from your home. FreedomPop has several hotspot devices (pics here on Facebook) that will allow you to connect different mobile devices to it at one time. For those who have a laptop, you can get the Freedom Stick for internet connections.

The Freedom Stick is a USB stick that you can plug into the USB port in your laptop, and it supplies internet to your laptop while you’re on the go. If you instead prefer a wireless connection to your laptop or mobile device, choose one of the hotspots that FreedomPop has available. The several available hotspots displayed on their Twitter page are small and portable, and can be taken with you anywhere, to connect wirelessly to the internet. The Photon hotspot can connect several devices at once, and all of them are on a high-speed internet connection. With the many benefits available from FreedomPop services, why choose to go anywhere else?


Nokia Produces Android Tablet After Partnership With Microsoft Ends

To many, Nokia and Microsoft seem like two totally distinct brands. They might say that Nokia makes phones and Microsoft makes computers. However, my friend Jason Halpern tells me that just six months ago that was not the case. According to The Real Deal, Microsoft and Nokia had previously been partnered in the cell phone industry, producing phones, including the iconic Nokia Lumia series.

Microsoft’s effort to break into the mobile phone market has been unsteady at best. Rivaling successful devices such as the iPhone and Samsung’s lineup of phones is no easy task. Microsoft, however, partnered with Nokia to produce mobile phones on it’s new Window’s Phone platform. Though many have argued that the phones are high quality and innovative, they criticize Microsoft for the lack of popular apps available on the Window’s Phone platform.

Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia was ended at about the same time that Microsoft switched CEO’s. Microsoft then purchased the mobile division of the Nokia brand, including the Nokia Lumia line. Microsoft is now currently developing a new phone using the similar platform. It is expected to be released by a different name.

Now that Microsoft and Nokia are no longer partnered in providing mobile devices, Nokia has revealed a new tablet that will run on the Android ecosystem. This is a big change from the typical Nokia devices that ran on the Window’s Phone environment. The new tablet is set to be released in China.


Beam Messenger App Allows Users To See What Someone is Texting in Real Time

Texting just got a little more transparent, thanks to a new app called Beam Messenger. Beam Messenger, which launched on November 10th, 2014, allows users to have “real-time” conversations. That means, each user can see what the other person is typing, while they are typing it.

The app, which is available on the App Store for iPhone and the Google Play Store, utilizes technology that links two parties together so everything can be viewed as it is being typed out. For those who have ever used remote access to an off-site computer screen, the technology is rather familiar. According to Terra, Fersen Lambranho stated that the app appears new, different and fresh.

While Beam Messenger is attempting to change the text game as we know it, there are a few issues with the concept. First, texts are often used as a “safe haven” for communication. Most heavy texters edit, delete and reword what they are saying, especially during a heated exchange. Beam Messenger removes the ability to do that for most users.

The good news is, however, that Beam Messenger is unlikely to become the defacto texting application on the market. While the technology may be eyed by big companies in the future, right now, your texts remain safe and you can reword and “delete” whatever words don’t seem fitting for the conversation at hand, without the other party being any the wiser.


What’s Behind All The Font?

Technology has enabled humans to produce a variety of fonts which are unique and creative. Now artist Christian Boer in a partnership with Terry Richardson have gone step further in using our standard 26 character Roman alphabet to create a dyslexic friendly font, DYSLEXIE.

The artist has slanted and thickened the typical lines and angles to aide the visual processing system in proper identification of characters. The thought behind creating a more individualized alphabet is making the characters more unique thus more difficult for the brain to rotate, reverse or mirror characters. As described here, the font’s artistic manipulation may be the tool many people with dyslexia are needing to assist in further education.

Now to put his creation into action! Research of the DYSLEXIE’s effectiveness on children and adults show 84.3 % of the readers read faster and 77.8% had fewer mistakes. Many are aware people with dyslexia tend to be more artistic. This dyslexic artist may have contributed one of the most effective tools in learning for other people affected by dyslexia.


Microsoft Wants You To Have a “Universal Phone Number” For All Your Phones

A patent filed by Microsoft might change the way we all receive phone calls. Called “Universal phone number for contacting group members,” the patent application details a cloud-based phone number that would ring all your phones. Patent applications don’t always turn into real products, they’re just a company trying to get the rights to a product they might make in the future.

If executed, the universal number would be what you passed out to important people like family members and close colleagues that you want to always be able to contact you. Calls to the number are routed automatically to all of your phones. So, according to Citadel, calling the number might ring your home phone, cell phone, or even a phone in your office. For now the tech is just a patent, no word on when or if we might see it come to market.


Google Releases Demo For Modular Ara Phone

Google’s Project Ara is an attempt to bring the same versatility and customization in desktop computers to mobile devices.

The phone is made of modular blocks which can be swapped out, and each piece can be developed by third party manufacturers to produce a wide variety of different effects. An older demo had a lot of crashes as the system debuted itself, but this week gave a better glimpse.

The Phonebloks team has released a video of the Ara prototype in working form. Although the performance is a bit slow and clunky, it’s a much bigger boost in productivity that its I/O conference debut.

In the video, there is a more detailed display of the modular components on the phone. With a glimpse at how the different components come together, there is also a detailed block on the first prototype, called Spiral 1.

The Spiral 1 block seems to be a dedicated block for keeping up the device’s modular abilities. The second prototype, Spiral 2, has a lot more space available for customization.

There’s a lot of excitement about what this can mean for mobile devices. Developers want a development machine in their hands, while gamers might get rid of a few useless items in order to add more graphics processing for mobile games.

Can it be made bigger for those who want power and don’t care about small sizes? More answers should come from the Project Ara developer conference on January 14th, 2015, my associate Mr. Haftel tells me there’s more on CNN.