Mobile Miscellany week of February 25th, 2013

If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought news of a new direction for Muve Music, the arrival of a budget smartphone at Sprint and a whole lotta LTE expansion. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore the "best of the rest" for this week of February 25th, 2013.

Muve Music to spin-off from Leap Wireless

Cricket's exclusive subscription service known as Muve Music is about to find out what life's like away from home. Parent company Leap Wireless has revealed its intention to spin-off Muve into a separate company, which will license its service to other mobile providers. Leap revealed that Muve has already netted one international partner, which may establish its own branding and pricing for the white label service. [GigaOM]

Sprint debuts $50 Force 4G LTE

Mobile Miscellany week of February 25th, 2013

The rumors were true. Just yesterday, Sprint welcomed the Force 4G LTE into its budget smartphone lineup, which sells for $50 on-contract after rebate. The ZTE-manufactured device includes a 4-inch WVGA display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor (Snapdragon MSM8960), a 5-megapixel rear / 1-megapixel front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of expandable storage and a 1,730mAh battery. The phone ships with Ice Cream Sandwich and includes support for both Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. [Sprint Newsroom]

T-Mobile hails LTE in Las Vegas and Kansas City

As part of T-Mobile's quarterly financial report, the company also casually let it slip that its work to get LTE on its feet in Las Vegas and Kansas City is now complete. It's unclear whether the network is active, however, and the announcement is largely academic, given that T-Mobile has yet to release any LTE phones (or in the case of the Galaxy Note II and Lumia 810, release the necessary update). That said, owners of the unlocked iPhone 5 (A1428) and Nexus 4 (pre-Android 4.2.2) should test the waters for signs of life. We'd love to hear from you. [T-Mobile]

Huawei Ascend Plus outed for Tracfone

Mobile Miscellany week of February 25th, 2013

What's Carlos Slim have up his sleeve? Well, if evleaks has anything to say in the matter, it's the Huawei Ascend Plus, which has been tipped for arrival at Tracfone. Details on this one are slim -- pardon the pun -- but it's been suggested the device will include a 4-inch display, a 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, 4GB of expandable storage and Ice Cream Sandwich. [@evleaks (Twitter)]

Other random tidbits

  • AT&T has activated its LTE network in Tallahassee, Fla.; Salinas and Monterey, Calif; Lawrence, Kan.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Lubbock, Marble Falls, Burnet, Bertram and Round Mountain, Texas. The carrier has also expanded its service in Tunica, Miss; Athens and LaFollette, Tenn; Phoenix, Ariz.; Hartford, Conn.; and Corpus Christi, Texas. [Android Central, SlashGear]
  • LTE service from UK provider EE is now live in Barnsley, Chorley, Coventry, Newport, Preston, Rotherham, Telford, Walsall and Watford. [The Next Web]
  • The LG Optimus G is now available in India for ₹34,500. [Fone Arena]
  • An entry-level smartphone known as the Samsung Galaxy Ace IIx has been leaked for arrival at Rogers. The phone carries a 4-inch display and a single-core 1GHz CPU. Previously tipped for Fido, rumors suggest the Galaxy Ace IIx will include a WVGA screen resolution, a 5-megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and Ice Cream Sandwich. [Mobile Syrup]
  • Bell Mobility has expanded its LTE coverage to Saint-Georges, Rimouski, Baie-Comeau and Saint-Tite-des-Caps, Quebec; Chase and Gleneden, British Columbia; and Vegreville, Alberta. The network is now said to reach 22 million Canadians. [Mobile Syrup]
  • Vodafone has announced the arrival of its LTE network in Auckland, New Zealand. [Thanks, Sean] [Vodafone]

[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]