iPhone 12 prices leak; 5G iPhone to start at $649

The iPhone 12 series of phones may not be available until a bit later than anticipated (it was reported earlier this week that they would be about a month delayed, largely due to coronavirus-related issues), but it looks like Apple will be making their 5G-capable iPhones affordable enough to appeal to the masses.

GSM Arena received leaked reports indicating that the premium models – the iPhone 12 Pro with 6.1-inch display and Pro Max with 6.7-inch display – will have the same pricetag as their iPhone 11 counterparts, $999 and $1099 respectively.

There are also lower cost options rumored, a standard iPhone 12 with 6.1-inch display expected to come in at $749, and a 5.4-inch variant expected at just $649.

All of the rumored models will include 5G, with no premium price added for that luxury!

Apple reportedly delays production of 5G iPhones

Apple was expected to announce their new generation of iPhones, the 5G-capable iPhone 12 series, this fall, but new reports indicate they will be delaying production. Several analysts point to the coronavirus and the production involved with adding 5G connectivity as the cause for the delay. The latest report indicates that production is pushed back by about a month. The announcement may still occur in September as expected, but the phones may not be available to purchase right away.

The production of the 5G-capable iPhones seems to be the biggest issue causing the delay. As far back as January there were reports that Apple’s decision to create its own antenna package modules would delay its fastest 5G iPhone to December 2020 or January 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic is also impacting Apple, with reports about consumer demand and workforce issues being to blame.

Nextivity to roll out 5G upgrade to Cel-Fi Go and Quatra products

Nextivity, manufacturer of Cel-Fi cellular amplifier products, has announced that their Go and Quatra products will receive software updates to allow for 5G support as carriers upgrade their networks. The updates apply to the Cel-Fi Quatra, Go-X, and Go-M products in the US. Users of these amplifiers will not need to make any changes – the changes required to support 5G will be made over-the-air (OTA) via Cel-Fi WAVE, the software platform that manages Cel-Fi products.

“We launched our 4G products when the networks had around 30% coverage in our markets, which proved to be a good entry point for us. We were early enough to catch the 4G wave but not so early that our equipment had to wait for the networks to catch up,” says Werner Sievers, CEO of Nextivity. “The 5G ecosystem is still in its infancy. With few exceptions, most of the world is still trying to figure out how everything fits together – but when they do, we’ll be ready.”

AT&T 5G comes to 90 new markets

AT&T nearly doubled their 5G coverage this week, launching the service in 90 new markets around the country. AT&T 5G is now available in over 190 markets that cover 120 million people. Newly launched cities include Chicago, New Orleans, Sacramento, Seattle and Tampa. You can see the full list here.

These 190+ cities are covered with AT&T’s low-band 5G network, which launched late last year. AT&T’s faster mmWave network is available in much fewer areas, covering parts of just 35 cities.

AT&T continues to expand coverage, aiming for nationwide coverage this summer. “At a time when technology is proving to be even more essential for communication, AT&T customers can rest assured that our company is continuing to invest in our network and new technologies to make connection easier,” said Chris Sambar, EVP of Technology Operations.

Samsung achieves 5G speeds of 8.5Gbps in lab tests

Real-world 5G speeds have varied from a little faster than 4G LTE (T-Mobile) to 5-10x faster (Verizon), but in the future 5G networks utilizing mmWave technology should be able to provide speeds much, much faster than that. Samsung has achieved a new world record in recent lab testing, seeing speeds of 8.5Gbps – over 10 times the fastest speeds 5G users are experiencing right now.

Samsung performed their tests in a lab, using 800MHz of millimetre Wave (mmWave) spectrum combined with MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology. Hyunho Park, Samsung Senior Vice President, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, touted the importance of mmWave in 5G networks, saying “Samsung will continue to be at the forefront in advancing 5G mmWave technology. This successful demonstration proves mmWave’s potential to deliver new kinds of business use cases and open up opportunities for mobile operators. We look forward to building on this significant technical breakthrough to fuel our continuous journey towards an innovative and vibrant mmWave ecosystem.”

5G Coronavirus conspiracy theories prompt action from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Fringe groups around the world have voiced concerns about the impact of 5G and other wireless technologies since 5G started being deployed, but misinformed conspiracy theorists have jumped to a new level recently by attributing the Coronavirus spread to 5G. Experts worldwide have repeatedly confirmed that there is NO health risk associated with 5G, but the conspiracy theories abound. Incorrect claims about 5G have been spreading around the internet, even leading to cellphone towers being attacked in the UK.

Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have now updated policies and issued statements indicating they will take action to reduce the spread of the inflammatory conspiracy theories. In a statement to USA TODAY, Facebook said that they are “taking aggressive steps to stop misinformation and harmful content from spreading on our platforms and connect people to accurate information about Coronavirus.” Twitter echoed the sentiment, adding that they will take action on accounts that post “content in relation to unverifiable claims which incite social unrest, widespread panic or large-scale disorder.” YouTube did not promise to remove 5G conspiracy theory videos, but they confirmed their commitment to reducing their visibility, saying: “we’re committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation.”

T-Mobile announces completion of Sprint merger

T-Mobile announced today that it has completed its merger with Sprint. In a statement, T-Mobile said that the will result in a “transformative 5G network” for consumers and businesses.

The merger will allow the two companies to share their range of assets, combining T-Mobile’s wide but low-speed low band and short distance but higher-speed high band with Sprint’s mid-range, mid-speed mid band spectrum. This combination of network options will allow T-Mobile to offer 5G service that can be faster and/or provide better coverage based on the network assets available at any location.

In their statement today, T-Mobile said that it will give customers access to “average 5G speeds up to 8 times faster than current LTE in just a few years” and “15 times faster over the next six years.” They also aim to offer 5G to 99% of the U.S. population, with 90% seeing higher than 100Mbps speeds, within a few years. Rural coverage is also a priority for them, with a goal to provide 90% of rural Americans with average 5G speeds of 50Mbps.

Trump signs two new laws to boost 5G security and broadband availability

This week, President Trump signed two bills related to wireless and broadband into law: the Secure 5G and Beyond Act and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act.

The Secure 5G and Beyond Act requires the president to develop a strategy to secure and protect 5G technology. The president has 180 days to consult with Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and other agencies and submit to Congress a plan for rolling out secure 5G.

The Broadband DATA act is aimed at improving the accuracy of maps which show where broadband is and isn’t available in the US. It will change how and what information the FCC collects about broadband access to ensure that the federal government has more accurate information about where broadband is available and who has access. 

“The bills signed into law today by the president are critical to ensuring that all Americans can access broadband and that our networks are secure and trusted,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a statement. “The need for connectivity is even more critical now that millions of Americans are teleworking and learning from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Verizon gives extra 15GB to everyone to help users stay connected during COVID-19 crisis

With students and non-essential workers staying home to study and work, access to affordable internet is incredibly important. To help their users stay connected without incurring pricey overage fees, Verizon is giving all of its customers an extra 15GB of data through the end of April. Users on an unlimited plan will be able to use 15 additional GB before seeing their speeds slow, and users with metered data plans will simply have an extra 15GB per line added to their allowance.

Per Verizon, “all wireless plans available since 2015 are eligible for this data boost,” including consumer and small business plans as well as prepaid plans. To further help anyone struggling, Verizon has waived activation, overage and late fees and enabled unlimited calling for customers who are on older plans that had capped monthly phone minutes.

For non-wireless Verizon customers, Verizon also announced that they will be adding a cheaper Fios home broadband option for those who qualify for the low-income Lifeline assistance program. Beginning April 3, eligible new customers will be able to get Verizon’s 200Mbps Fios service for $20 per month – half off the usual rate.

T-Mobile working to increase 4G and 5G speeds during COVID-19 crisis

With the coronavirus keeping people home and more and more Americans transitioning to telecommuting and online schooling, the demand for fast and reliable internet access is soaring daily. T-Mobile is working to increase their network capacity by utilizing 600MHz spectrum from other companies and expanding their partnership with Sprint.

For the first part of their plan, T-Mobile is borrowing or renting 600MHz spectrum from several companies, including Dish Network, Comcast, and others. This additional spectrum will allow T-Mobile to keep up with demand and avoid traffic overload and slower data speeds. Additionally, to help customers in rural areas, T-Mobile has expanded its roaming deal with Sprint, allowing schools, families and rural Americans who are Sprint subscribers to access T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network for the next 60 days.

Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology, said, “In trying times like this, we understand how important it is for people to remain connected – to family and friends, to resources and information, to their jobs via teleworking or schools via virtual classrooms. And we take our responsibility to keep our customers connected incredibly seriously. We can’t thank these partners and the FCC enough for coming together to provide people across the country with the critical connectivity they’re relying on right now.”