Mobile Miscellany: week of March 4th, 2013

Zachary Lutz
Z. Lutz|03.10.13

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Mobile Miscellany: week of March 4th, 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, alongside smartphone leaks, admissions of data throttling and a power play at the NFC Forum, we're introducing a new, hand-picked selection of must-read mobile stories for the week. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of March 4th, 2013.

Huawei Prism II leaks for T-Mobile

Mobile Miscellany week of March 4th, 2013

It ain't much of a looker, but evleaks has put out some evidence to suggest that this entry-level Android phone will soon find its place at T-Mobile. The Prism II, manufactured by Huawei, is said to contain a QVGA display, a 1GHz processor (most likely single core), and Android 4.1.1 -- its one saving grace. While you might be wondering who'd purchase such a miserly specced phone at this point, the handset may find an important position within T-Mobile's lineup once the carrier begins asking that customers pay for their phones outright. [@evleaks (Twitter)]

Sprint opens its phones to MVNO providers

If you're an off-contract Sprint customer and have been considering jumping ship to a lower cost provider such as Boost, Ting or Virgin Mobile, the transition will now be all the easier, as Sprint is now allowing MVNO providers to activate its unused handsets without sweat. The move is designed to reduce the number of smartphones that'd otherwise be headed for recycling or the landfill, but it also has societal benefits. For example, if you know someone in need of a low-cost smartphone solution and you have a Sprint-branded device that's sitting in a drawer, your donation will save them the expense of purchasing a new handset from the MVNO. [Sprint]

Virgin Mobile UK admits to capping data speeds

Mobile Miscellany week of March 4th, 2013

Virgin Mobile's UK customers have received rude shocks as of late with data speeds that were perceived as slower than normal. Turns out, those impressions were spot on. This week, the carrier admitted to selectively throttling data speeds to 2Mbps in a trial that's been underway since mid-February. The new policy applies to both contract and prepaid customers, but not mobile broadband subscribers. Virgin Mobile UK hints that the 2Mbps cap was implemented in order to prevent network overloads and ensure that all subscribers receive a sufficient data connection. For the time being, it seems that customers can expect this to become the norm as implementation expands. That said, it's never fun to see the rules of the game change mid-play. [The Register, Hexus, Virgin Media forums]

Life Mobile reveals tariffs for UK customers

Mobile Miscellany week of March 4th, 2013

It wasn't long ago that we learned of Phones4U's plan to introduce its very own MVNO (based on EE's network) known as Life Mobile. It wasn't until this week, however, that we learned what the mobile service will cost. On the low end, subscribers can net the Life 11 plan, which includes 200 minutes, 3,000 messages and 100MB of data. Life 11 runs for £11.00/mo -- a reasonable correlation -- and like all plans, requires a 24 month commitment. By all appearances, the service is targeted at those with only moderate data needs. To this end, Life Mobile's most expensive plan includes 2,000 minutes, 3,000 messages, 2GB of data and costs £41 per month. Despite ties to EE, customers are currently limited to 3G connections, but Life Mobile has previously stated that it'll offer LTE access later this year. [Life Mobile]

Google joins Board of Directors at NFC Forum

Mobile Miscellany week of March 4th, 2013

The NFC Forum can now walk around with a bit more swagger, as its influence (and total membership) is now at an all-time high. This week, Google joined the Board of Directors at the NFC Forum, which will undoubtedly factor into implementation and development of the technology. The group also revealed this week that its membership roster now sits 180 members strong, with 10 new organizations having joined the forum since late November. For those who like a little inside baseball, Google became entitled to its spot on the Board by upgrading its membership level from principal to sponsor. Similarly, Huawei also increased its stake in the NFC Forum by upgrading its membership from principal to associate. [NFC Forum]

Other random tidbits

  • PhoneArena has published evidence to suggest that Sprint will begin selling a purple Galaxy S III on April 12th. [PhoneArena]
  • The Nokia Lumia 920 is now available in yellow from Rogers. Likewise, the carrier is currently running a promotion that provides a free wireless charger for all new activations of the handset. [MobileSyrup]
  • Sprint has completed implementation of its bill-shock alert system, which is ahead of the April 17th mandate. [Sprint]
  • Sprint has expanded its LTE network to include Altoona, Pa., Asheville, N.C., Columbus, Ind., Elkhart/Goshen, Ind., Hammond, La., La Crosse, Wis., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Statesville, N.C., and Temple, Texas. [Sprint]
  • Verizon Wireless has expanded its LTE network to include the village of Margaretville, N.Y. [Verizon Wireless]
  • AT&T has expanded its LTE network to include Brunswick and Savannah, Ga., Evansville, Ind., Henderson, Ky., Madison, Wis., and Juneau, Alaska. [AT&T 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Must-read mobile stories

[Crying child photo credit: storyvillegirl / Flickr]

[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]

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