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SoftBank targets broadband to justify T-Mobile buyout -- report

Fast mobile connection speeds, coupled with a strong third wireless carrier, could help improve US competition, not hurt it, SoftBank's CEO plans to argue in Washington this week.

SoftBank CEO and Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son will speak to policymakers on Tuesday and argue that if wireless carriers grow in size and invest in faster, more reliable data service, competition in the US home broadband market would intensify, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of Son's plans.

Son won't specifically lobby for a Sprint-T-Mobile merger, the report claimed, but the subtext of that … Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 could be stung by Korean carrier ban

Samsung's Galaxy S5 might have some trouble getting out of the gate when it hits store shelves next month.

Samsung plans to launch the Galaxy S5 in Korea on April 11. But on Friday, South Korea's communications watchdogs instituted a 45-day ban, starting this week and extending to May 19, that bars the country's carriers from accepting new customers or upgrading existing customers to new handsets, according to a report from Reuters. That essentially means the Galaxy S5 could be languishing on store shelves for some time.

The odd ban comes after Korea discovered that the country'… Read more

AT&T offers price cut for 2GB 'Mobile Share Value' plans

AT&T is cutting the price of its 2GB Mobile Share Value Plan.

The company announced Saturday that starting tomorrow -- Sunday -- customers with one smartphone can sign on to the 2GB plan for $65 a month, and customers with two smartphones can sign on for $90 a month. In both cases, that's a $15 drop from current Mobile Share Value Plan charges, the company said.

Customers can bring their own phone, buy one at full retail, or finance one through AT&T Next.

The plans come with unlimited talk and text, 50GB of cloud storage, … Read more

Verizon offers discount to wireless and Fios triple-play customers

Here's some good news for Verizon Fios and Verizon Wireless customers. If you have a smartphone on Verizon Wireless and you subscribe to the Verizon Fios triple play, you can save $20 on your monthly fees.

Verizon's offer starts today and runs until April 19. The so-called unified customer "thank you" offer allows customers to save $480 over two years just by using qualified services and registering for the savings.

The only "catch" to the deal is the level of service a user is subscribed to. In order to qualify, a Verizon Wireless subscriber … Read more

Why Sprint's push for a T-Mobile merger will likely be in vain

Once Softbank CEO and Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son gets a bee in his bonnet, he's apparently a hard man to discourage.

Despite the fact that regulators have already expressed their skepticism of a deal between Sprint and T-Mobile to Son and Dan Hesse, Sprint's CEO, Son is not giving up. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Son plans to take his arguments for why more wireless consolidation is needed to business and policy leaders gathering in Washington, DC, at a US Chamber of Commerce event on March 11.

While the article said that Son isn't … Read more

Spotify buys music data company Echo Nest

Streaming music service Spotify on Thursday announced it has purchased the Echo Nest, a music intelligence company that powers Web radio, recommendations, and playlists for a swath of media firms -- including some Spotify competitors.

Finanancial terms weren't disclosed.

It's Spotify's answer to Pandora's Music Genome Project. Pandora, the biggest radio service on the Internet, evolved out of a venture to separate and identify the DNA of the world's catalog of songs,and it has credited its growth to Music Genome Project's ability to coalesce related songs based on that data.

The Echo Nest … Read more

How to open iCloud tabs in Chrome, Firefox on a Mac

One of the issues with using Safari on an iOS device and using Chrome or Firefox on a Mac is the inability to sync open browser tabs. Safari uses iCloud to keep track of open tabs on all of your Apple devices, but those tabs aren't accessible in third-party browsers. And of course you can't access third-party tabs in Safari. So what's a person supposed to do?

Well, as MacStories points out, a person should download a free OS X app called CloudyTabs.

With CloudyTabs installed, you can now access your iCloud tabs on a Mac and … Read more

94% of BlackBerry users traded in for a different device -- report

T-Mobile's $200 trade-in deal reportedly snagged a lot of BlackBerry owners. But 94 percent of them opted to switch to a rival device, according to the folks at TmoNews.

Announced on February 19 and ending today, the T-Mobile promotion promised $200 to any BlackBerry owner who traded in their device for a new phone. As part of the deal, customers could opt for any phone -- another BlackBerry or a different device, such as an iPhone or Android phone.

To sweeten the deal in BlackBerry's favor, T-Mobile slashed $50 off the price of a new BlackBerry Q10 or … Read more

Spotify hires Beats Music former head of product

The rivalry between Spotify and Beats Music, two key streaming music services, is deepening.

Spotify has hired Fredric Vinna, Beats Music's former head of product, engineering and design, according to a person familiar with the matter. Vinna left Beats Music just recently -- his LinkedIn page still lists his job there as current -- and will be joining Spotify to work on product there as well, according to this person.

Vinna has been described by Beats Music Creative Director Rob Sheridan as one of the few central people in a "scrappy room of enthusiastic creators" when the … Read more