FCC Unsure Whether to Punish Carriers for Selling Location Data

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Two years ago we found out that US carriers were selling real-time location data of its customers. The FCC has wrapped up its investigation, and maybe it will punish the carriers…or maybe not. Who knows? Chairman Ajit Pai doesn’t.

Pai’s statement went on: “Accordingly, in the coming days, I intend to circulate to my fellow Commissioners for their consideration one or more Notice(s) of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in connection with the apparent violation(s). We are unable to provide additional information about any pending enforcement action(s) beyond what is stated in the letter.”

If that seems unusual vague: that “one or more” mobile operators “apparently violated” the law by selling location data, you’re not the only one.

Here’s What the ‘Race to 5G’ Really Means

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Karl Bode writes about corporations talking about the “race to 5G”, saying that it’s more like a race to bigger profits.

The “race” rhetoric is largely an illusion created by companies eager to do the bare minimum in exchange for as many subsidies, regulatory favors and tax breaks they can grab. This mindless regulatory capture has resulted in a US Telecom sector that routinely ranks in the middle of the pack in every metric that matters. While 5G will be a good thing when deployed at scale, it’s foolish to think the new wireless technical standard will address the deeper rot that plagues the sector.

Over 90% of Postpaid Phones Sold are Apple and Samsung

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Over 90% of the postpaid phones sold at the Big Four carrier stores in the U.S. are either iPhones or Samsung phones.

Apple and Samsung together sold 94 percent of phones at Verizon stores, 95 percent at AT&T stores, 94 percent at Sprint stores, and 91 percent at T-Mobile stores, according to the report. The most popular phone at all four carriers in December was the iPhone 11, the firm says. The top-selling Samsung Phone was the Galaxy S10.

I’d say it’s probably because the price of most iPhones and Samsungs are high enough to where the stores can make money off them.

Which Carrier Really Has 'America's Best Network"?

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Every carrier at one point seems to be crowned “America’s Best Network” but which one is actually the best? It turns out that the companies that perform these tests use different methodologies and so reach different conclusions.

In recent weeks, three key studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the top four nationwide carriers, which includes Sprint. But reports by RootMetrics, OpenSignal, and PCMag that, respectively, gave top honors to Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T aren’t wrong—not if you understand how they were put together.

Comparing Android Security Versus iOS Security

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Keiran Dennie tweeted an interesting chart that compares the security of various smartphone operating systems.

Wondering about Android and Apple phone security? Here’s an objective chart to help you decide.

It’s a well known fact of Android that people have to rely on their carrier to push out security updates. This can take weeks, months, and sometimes they don’t get released at all.

What Phone Tethering is, And How to Use It

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You might have heard of the term “phone tethering” before. In case you didn’t know what it meant, David Nield put together a guide explaining the term and how to use it.

We’re going to focus largely on wifi tethering here—creating a wifi hotspot from your phone or tablet—but you do have other options. If you’ve got a spare USB cable you can create a more stable connection between laptop and mobile device, or you can tether via Bluetooth, which is significantly slower but less taxing on battery life.

I’ll put an addendum here. Tethering depends on your carrier, and some carriers don’t allow it, like prepaid carriers. I used to use Net10 and I couldn’t use create a Wi-Fi hotspot.