Verizon Offering Customers and Small Businesses 15GB Extra Hotspot Data for Free

Verizon today announced that it is adding an additional 15GB of LTE data to all consumer and small business plans automatically to support its customers who are currently working from home.


The 15GB of data will be available from March 25 to April 30, with Verizon adding 15GB of data to postpaid metered customers, prepaid customers, and Jetpack owners automatically. For those with an unlimited data plan, the extra data can be used as hotspot data.

Verizon is offering the extra data to all consumer wireless plans available since 2015, and for small business customers with 50 lines or less.

Verizon is also waiving overage charges and has pledged not to terminate service for customers who are unable to pay at this time.
"We understand the hardships that many of our customers are facing, and we're doing our part to ensure they have broadband internet connectivity during this unprecedented time," said Ronan Dunne, CEO Verizon Consumer Group. "With so many Americans working and learning remotely from home, having access to reliable and affordable internet is more important than ever before."

For new low-income who subscribe to Verizon's Lifeline discount program, Verizon is waiving fees for the next two months.
Tag: Verizon

This article, "Verizon Offering Customers and Small Businesses 15GB Extra Hotspot Data for Free" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Major U.S. Internet Providers Agree Not to Terminate Service for Non-Payment, Lift Some Data Caps

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the United States, people are relying heavily on home internet connections for work and school as many employers have asked employees to work from home and schools have canceled classes for the next few weeks.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today said [PDF] that major U.S. internet providers, including Comcast, AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Sonic, Cox, Verizon, and more, have all agreed not to terminate service for any residential or small business customers unable to pay their bills due to the coronavirus.

Non-payment will not result in cancelation for the next 60 days, with internet providers also agreeing to waive late fees for payments and open WiFi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Along with the major internet providers, many other smaller internet providers across the United States have also agreed to the terms, which the FCC has called the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that it is "imperative" that Americans stay connected.'
As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and--importantly--take part in the 'social distancing' that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus. That's why I'm asking all broadband and telephone service providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. I don't want any American consumers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic to lose connectivity.
Some internet providers have also agreed to suspend data caps in states that have them, such as AT&T. AT&T yesterday told Motherboard that it is waiving internet data overages for all customers who do not already have unlimited home internet access.

Comcast has not waived fees for data overages, but it is providing higher connection speeds on its Internet Essentials plan, which is a service for low-income Americans.
This article, "Major U.S. Internet Providers Agree Not to Terminate Service for Non-Payment, Lift Some Data Caps" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

U.S. Carriers Facing $200M in Fines for Selling Customer Location Data

As expected, the United States Federal Communications Commission today proposed fines against the four major wireless carriers in the United States for improperly sharing and selling real-time customer location information without taking "reasonable measures" to protect against unauthorized access to the data.


In a statement [PDF] released today, the FCC says that T-Mobile should pay the most, while Sprint should pay the least. T-Mobile faces a proposed fine of more than $91 million, while the FCC wants AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to pay over $51 million, $48 million, and $12 million in fines, respectively.

The fines vary based on the length of time that each carrier sold access to its customer location information without safeguards and the number of entities to which each carrier sold access.

Along with the proposed fines, the statement from the FCC admonishes the four carriers for disclosing customer location data without authorization to third-party entities.
"American consumers take their wireless phones with them wherever they go. And information about a wireless customer's location is highly personal and sensitive. The FCC has long had clear rules on the books requiring all phone companies to protect their customers' personal information. And since 2007, these companies have been on notice that they must take reasonable precautions to safeguard this data and that the FCC will take strong enforcement action if they don't. Today, we do just that," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "This FCC will not tolerate phone companies putting Americans' privacy at risk."
All four of the major U.S. carriers sold customer geolocation information to data aggregators like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies then reselling the data to third-party location-based service providers. The data was ultimately provided to law enforcement officials, bounty hunters, bail bondsman, and more.

The FCC says that though exact practices varied, each carrier relied heavily on contract-based assurances that the location-based services providers they worked with would get consent from the customer before accessing the customer's location information, which did not happen.

Carriers had "several commonsense options to impose reasonable safeguards," but ultimately "failed to take the reasonable steps needed to protect customers from unreasonable risk of unauthorized disclosure."

The fines proposed by the FCC today are not final and each carrier will be provided with an opportunity to respond and provide evidence and legal arguments before final fines are imposed.


This article, "U.S. Carriers Facing $200M in Fines for Selling Customer Location Data" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

FCC to Propose Fining AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile $200M for Sharing Customer Location Data

The United States Federal Communication Commission is expected to propose fining AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint $200 million in total for improperly disclosing real-time customer location data, reports Reuters.


Proposed fines for the four major carriers in the United States could be announced as soon as tomorrow, and the carriers would have the chance to challenge the fines before they become final. The precise amount each company is fined could change, and could possibly increase.

The FCC in January confirmed that several wireless carriers in the U.S. violated federal law by failing to protect sensitive customer data that included real-time location information.

Carrier location selling practices were uncovered last year when Motherboard reported that Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile had been selling subscriber geolocation data to third-party companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo, with those companies passing the data along to bounty hunters, bail bondsmen, and more.

The FCC launched an investigation into the practices after the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce in November 2019 accused the FCC of "failing in its duty to to enforce the laws Congress passed to protect consumers' privacy."


This article, "FCC to Propose Fining AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile $200M for Sharing Customer Location Data" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon Rolls Out 5G Support to Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, DC

Verizon today announced that it is rolling out 5G service in select areas of four new cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Washington, DC.

As with the current cities where Verizon is working on 5G (Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Providence), the 5G service is limited in scope and has been made available in "dense, urban areas where people tend to congregate," such as public parks, monuments, college campuses, and stadiums.


Verizon's press release has specific listings of the areas where 5G connectivity is available in each city.

Verizon has said that it plans to bring its 5G service to more than 30 cities in 2019, including Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Houston, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.

Using Verizon's 5G network in 2019 requires a 5G-enabled device, and those are limited at this time. 5G works on the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, among other devices.

Apple's iPhones will not be able to connect to 5G networks until an iPhone that supports 5G is released. Apple is working on 5G devices and is expected to release the first 5G iPhone in fall 2020.

Tag: Verizon

This article, "Verizon Rolls Out 5G Support to Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, DC" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

AT&T Named 2019’s Fastest U.S. Mobile Network in Annual PCMag Carrier Showdown

AT&T is the fastest mobile network in the United States according to PCMag's latest annual mobile network comparison, which was released this morning.

For the test, PCMag employees drove through 30 cities and 25 states across the U.S. and ran more than 60,000 mobile speed tests to determine the speediest mobile network. The tests were conducted using Samsung Galaxy S10 devices on networks from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.


This year, AT&T edged out Verizon, the winner for the past five years, thanks to AT&T's focus on improving its LTE network in preparation for 5G technology. While all four networks improved overall on both speed and reliability compared to last year, AT&T improved a bit more than the others.


AT&T won or tied for first place in 15 of the 30 cities tested, and it tied or came out on top in all rural regions. AT&T was on top overall in the northwest, southwest, north central, and northeast, while Verizon won in the south central region and T-Mobile came out ahead in the southeast.


AT&T has been making improvements to its 4G network and has been labeling those 4G enhancements as "5GE," but really it's the same 4G LTE technology offered by other wireless companies as well. Still, these efforts to improve the 4G network ahead of 5G have led to overall speed boosts for AT&T customers.

The full results of PCMag's 2019 mobile carrier speed testing can be found over on the PCMag website.


This article, "AT&T Named 2019's Fastest U.S. Mobile Network in Annual PCMag Carrier Showdown" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

FCC Questions U.S. Carriers on Phone Location Data Sales Practices

The United States Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday sent out letters to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint questioning the carriers about their data selling practices, reports Motherboard.

The carriers have been found selling real-time location information from customer devices to data aggregators, leading the location data to end up in the hands of private investigators, bounty hunters, law enforcement, credit companies, and more.


Companies like LocationSmart and Zumigo obtained location information from U.S.-based cellular carriers and passed that data on to dozens of other companies, putting real-time customer location information in the hands of those who should not have it.

After coming under scrutiny for their location sharing practices, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, pledged to stop doing so, but many had not actually stopped entirely as of January.

The FCC is now demanding answers from the four carriers. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel asked the heads of each company to provide details on whether the data aggregators were allowed to save phone location data and what steps carriers are going to take to make sure shared data has been deleted. From the letter to AT&T:
Real-time location information is sensitive data deserving the highest level of privacy protection. But it is evident from press reports that this data may have been sold without the explicit consent of consumers and without appropriate safeguards in place.

Accordingly, I appreciate your decision to end these location aggregation services by March of this year. To that end, I kindly request that you provide an update on your efforts and confirm by what date AT&T ended its arrangements to sell the location data of its customers. Please also confirm whether and by what date the company ended arrangements to sell assisted or augmented GPS data.

Finally, the public still has very little detail about how much geolocation data is being saved and stored-including in ways that may be far too accessible to others. Even de-anonymized location data may be combined with other information in ways that could make it personally identifiable again. Accordingly, please explain whether AT&T's agreements permitted aggregators or others to save and store location data they received from your company. If so, please confirm what steps your company is taking to ensure that these companies delete or destroy previously shared data and any derivative data. Alternatively, please explain what steps AT&T is taking to safeguard such data from use or onward sale that is inconsistent with consumers' original content.
Similar letters were also sent to Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and all four carriers have been asked to provide responses to the FCC by May 15, 2019.


This article, "FCC Questions U.S. Carriers on Phone Location Data Sales Practices" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon Takes on T-Mobile With Revamped Loyalty Program

Verizon today announced a revamped version of its Verizon Up loyalty program with new and more frequent rewards for customers.


Verizon customers will now receive a reward credit every month after paying their bill, instead of after every $300 spent, which they can use towards things like a future smartphone purchase, Starbucks coffee, Uber rides, and "Super Tickets" for exclusive experiences like concerts and sports events.

One of the "Super Ticket" experiences is a private concert with musician Shawn Mendes for 2,000 customers in New York City on May 14.

These enhancements will make Verizon Up more competitive with T-Mobile Tuesdays, which offers a variety of free rewards and offers on a weekly basis, ranging from free tacos at Taco Bell to trips to the MLB All-Star Game.

Rewards and localized offers are available through the updated My Verizon app.

Tag: Verizon

This article, "Verizon Takes on T-Mobile With Revamped Loyalty Program" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon’s 5G Network Launches Starting in Chicago and Minneapolis

Verizon today announced it has turned on its commercial 5G network, starting in select areas of Minneapolis and Chicago. Verizon had originally targeted an April 11 launch, so the rollout is a week ahead of schedule.


Verizon customers can access the 5G network with the Moto Z3 smartphone paired with the 5G-enabled Moto Mod accessory, providing the "world's first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone." The carrier plans to expand the network to more than 30 cities across the U.S. by the end of 2019.

Verizon says customers in Chicago and Minneapolis should expect typical download speeds of 450 Mbps, with peak speeds of nearly 1 Gbps and latency less than 30 milliseconds. Of course, speeds should improve with future upgrades.

In Chicago, 5G coverage is concentrated in areas of the West Loop and the South Loop, around landmarks like Union Station, Willis Tower, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and The Chicago Theatre, according to Verizon. 5G service is also available at select Verizon stores in the city.

In Minneapolis, service is concentrated in the downtown area, as well as inside and around U.S. Bank Stadium. 5G service is also available around landmarks like the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Mill City Museum, Target Center, The Commons, and areas of Elliot Park.

The Moto Z3 retails for $240, or 24 monthly payments of $10, while the 5G Moto Mod is available for $199.99 for a limited time. Verizon postpaid customers with any unlimited plan, including Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, or Above Unlimited, can get unlimited 5G data for an additional $10 per month.

As for the first 5G-enabled iPhone, UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri recently said there is "increasing potential that Apple may not be able to ship a 5G iPhone for 2020" due to the company's legal battle with chipmaker Qualcomm and the growing possibility that Intel may not have a 5G modem ready to ship by next year.

Tags: Verizon, 5G

This article, "Verizon's 5G Network Launches Starting in Chicago and Minneapolis" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

Verizon Launches ‘Just Kids’ Plan With Smart Family Parental Control Subscription Included

Verizon today announced a new cellular plan that's designed for kids, with parental controls built in that will help parents keep track of their kids' activity.


Just Kids includes Verizon's Smart Family Premium parental controls (a $9.99/month value), which lets parents keep track of where their kids are, limit screen time and time spent online, and set content filters through one app. The plan also includes 5GB of 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text to 20 parent-approved contacts, and an automatically enabled "Safety Mode" to prevent surprise overages.
“At Verizon, we take pride in being a true partner to parents by providing them with products and services designed to meet their needs in an ever-evolving and often confusing technology landscape,” said Angie Klein, vice president of marketing at Verizon.

“With Just Kids, we’re leading the way on growing up with tech, providing parents with plan options and features that give them the peace of mind they need for safe and responsible phone usage.”
The new plan is also part of Verizon's mix-and-match system, allowing users to choose a different plan for each family member, including Above Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, Go Unlimited, and Just Kids. To get Just Kids, at least one line on the account needs to be on one of the Unlimited plans, and then you can add Just Kids at $55/month with two lines, $45/month with three lines, or $35/month with four lines.


Verizon updated its Smart Family app in the spring of 2018 as a rebranding of its previous "FamilyBase" parental controls product. Besides location tracking and content filters, parents using the app can also check the battery status of their kids' phones, look at a summary of their text and call activity, and more.

Tag: Verizon

This article, "Verizon Launches 'Just Kids' Plan With Smart Family Parental Control Subscription Included" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums