T-Mobile to shut off MetroPCS network in three cities in 2014

T-Mobile said it has made good progress in shifting customers from the older MetroPCS network to T-Mobile. And the company will start shutting down the older network later this year.

T-Mobile made the announcement on a conference call with analysts and press following its fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday. The company also provided an update on its 4G LTE network build-out, which is so far ahead of schedule. The company claims it has the fastest 4G LTE network in the US.

T-Mobile completed its merger with the prepaid regional operator MetroPCS in May of last year. The company had previously … Read more

Huawei makes a Valiant effort with this $80 off-contract Android phone

For $80 off-contract, MetroPCS' Huawei Valiant is an affordable Android 4.1 handset. However, set your expectations accordingly. This phone has strong call quality and consistent 3G speeds over T-Mobile's GSM network (since T-Mobile purchased Metro). However, 4G LTE connectivity is absent, and the camera's lack of autofocus could be a deal breaker for some, even though image quality is high for a 3-megapixel shooter. My device also showed signs of software instability that made apps like the camera, gallery, and Google Maps flicker.

If you can look past the stunted camera and moments of instability, the Valiant … Read more

LG Optimus F6 offers 4G LTE on a budget

The LG Optimus F6 may not be a powerhouse of a device compared with some other top-tier handsets, but it's still a reliable phone that will satisfy users looking for a simple device on a budget.

Reasonably priced at $288 on T-Mobile, or $199 on MetroPCS, the F6 is equipped with a swift dual-core processor, a bright 4.5-inch screen, and a 5-megapixel camera that's sure to make casual shutterbugs happy. It also comes with a handful of software UI features from LG that are useful and easy to use.

If you're looking for a midrange Android … Read more

Dive into the waterproof, shock-resistant Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Rest assured, it's no fun dropping your smartphone in water. Whether you have an active lifestyle and go swimming often, or you're just milling around the kitchen, once your device hits water, it's often the beginning of the end.

Fortunately, the Kyocera Hydro XTRM (pronounced "extreme") isn't only dustproof and shock-resistant, it's waterproof as well -- meaning it doesn't have to spend a night in a bowl full of uncooked rice in case it accidentally takes a dive in the ocean.

But even with its splashproof features and low price, the Hydro … Read more

T-Mobile's John Legere: The most dangerous man in wireless

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, had the room with his first F-bomb.

The event was last January's Consumer Electronics Show, and scores of reporters, bloggers, and photographers had come to hear what Legere had to say in one of his first public appearances since his appointment as CEO in September. Expectations weren't high. The audience, gathered in the typical Las Vegas convention center room showered in pink lights, had expected to hear the same "challenger" strategy that his predecessor had put forth the year before.

Instead, Legere (pronounced like "ledger") delivered a profanity-laden talk … Read more

AT&T ranks highest among carriers for customer support

AT&T has outscored rival carriers to earn a top grade for customer support for the first time in a J.D. Power study.

Released Thursday, the study asked wireless users to rate their carriers for customer care. AT&T took home a score of 795 out of 1,000, ranking well in the area of both walk-in and online support. Verizon Wireless came in second with a score of 790.

Among non-contract carriers, MetroPCS was ranked No. 1 with a score of 770, followed by Cricket with 750.

Overall, the wireless industry is providing solid support in … Read more

MetroPCS doubles reach, outs its own Lumia 521, Optimus F3

T-Mobile said on Thursday that it has doubled the presence of its low-end prepaid arm MetroPCS as it looks to continue sticking it to AT&T.

MetroPCS service is available in 15 additional markets, including Washington, D.C., Houston, Seattle, and San Diego. The service also gets two new prepaid phones starting tomorrow: Nokia's Lumia 521 and the LG Optimus F3.

More specifically, a vast majority of the new markets overlap with prepaid rival Leap Wireless, which AT&T agreed to acquire in a $1.2 billion deal announced earlier this month. T-Mobile and MetroPCS hope to … Read more

How third-party retailers can complicate your smartphone purchase

Wireless operators, such as T-Mobile, talk a good game about making their device sales and service plans easier to understand. But often figuring out which devices can be used on which networks and how much you have to pay for those devices is anything but simple.

The situation seems to get even more complicated when you factor in third-party retailers that are also reselling devices for wireless operators. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I help two readers figure out how to navigate buying and activating devices from a third-party reseller. And I explain and rant a little bit about … Read more

Will AT&T finally get serious about prepaid with Leap deal?

AT&T's $1.2 billion acquisition of regional prepaid carrier Leap Wireless suggests it may be moving into the no-contract business in a big way.

But the deal may ultimately end up being a spectrum land grab by AT&T, which has shown an eagerness to shore up its war chest of wireless licenses.

"It's mostly about spectrum," said Craig Moffett, an analyst at Moffett Research. "They keep Leap's spectrum out of T-Mobile's hands. Most people thought T-Mobile would be the eventual buyer."

AT&T's acquisition of Leap … Read more

T-Mobile's 'Boldest' event: Join us at 11 a.m. PT Wednesday (live blog)

What does T-Mobile have in store at its press conference on Wednesday? CNET will be there to provide you with all the details.

The wireless carrier is holding an event in Manhattan, which kicks off at 11 a.m PT/2 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Brian Bennett, Sarah Tew, and I will be bringing you all the live news, photos, and commentary starting about 15 minutes before the actual event.

You can tune in to the live blog here:

T-Mobile's "Boldest" press conference yet

T-Mobile has been making waves, first with its "Uncarrier" push … Read more