Wireless news and broadband updates

Ari Howard

Nov 13, 2020 — 7 min read

A brief rundown of some of the most important stories.

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T-Mobile launches TVision this month 

On November 1st, T-Mobile joined the live streaming market with its launch of TVision. It’s being marketed as a cheaper alternative to cable and satellite TV and includes no annual contracts and easy at-home setup. TVision is currently only available to T-Mobile wireless customers, with Sprint customers planned to have access soon as well. TVision will not be available to the rest of the public until 2021 and will likely be for higher prices. 

Although T-Mobile’s middle-tier and upper-tier TVision packages are in the same price range as other popular live streaming services, such as Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, its least expensive package, TVision Vibe, is the cheapest live streaming service on the market by a considerable amount.

TVision Vibe has received a lot of excitement as this package offers 34 channels, including AMC, BET, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, MTV and TLC for only $10/mo. The package, however, does not offer any sports, news or local channels. The next cheapest live streaming plan available is Philo’s $20/mo. package. TVisions’ remaining three packages have not received the same excitement as they are all in the typical price range of $40-$60/mo. 

DISH Wireless faces 5G delays

DISH Wireless initially hoped to have 5G running in a major market by the beginning of 2021. The company announced its plan to build the first standalone 5G network of its kind in the U.S. in 2019. Although DISH will have some small markets running by this deadline, it does not expect to reach its larger 5G goals until the third quarter of 2021. The delays have been caused from DISH having to wait longer than expected to receive more radios from the Japanese tech company, Fujitsu.

Although DISH has run into some delays, it does not expect these delays to interfere with their more long-term goals, such as extending its 5G network to cover 20% of the U.S. population by June 14th, 2021 and 70% by mid-2023.

“We’re on track to the 15,000 that we committed to as a minimum buildout requirement for June 2023,” says Stephen Bye, EVP and chief commercial officer at DISH.

The fourth GPS III satellite is now in space 

On November 5th, the U.S. Space Force, Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and SpaceX launched the fourth GPS III satellite into space. The satellite was launched into space on the Falcon 9 rocket, which was manufactured by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. The satellite was initially meant to be escorted into space in September but due to a number of delays that month and then a last-second aborted mission in October, the satellite was not launched until November. 

There are now 32 operational satellites currently orbiting the Earth and four GPS III satellites. According to Los Angeles Airforce Base, the GPS III satellite “brings new capabilities to users, including three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities.” 

Mark your calendar for this year’s best Black Friday deals

Black Friday is no longer a one-day event; it’s a season. Make sure you know when and where all of your favorite broadband and wireless tech products are on sale.

  • Amazon is holding its Holiday Dash event now until Nov. 19th.
  • Best Buy is offering major deals on three different days this November: Sunday, Nov. 22nd, Thursday, Nov. 26th (Thanksgiving Day) and Saturday, Nov. 28th.
  • Dell is having major sales now until Dec. 7th.
  • Lowe’s will be having sales pre-Black Friday sales starting now and going all the way through December.
  • Home Depot will be having sales from Nov. 8th all the way until Dec. 2nd.
  • Target is offering heavy discounts on high-tech products for the entire month of November. Each week, different products will be put on sale so make sure you keep up with the new deals each week.
  • Walmart is offering major sales for three weeks in November from Nov. 7th to Nov. 27th. Like Target, Walmart will put different items on sale each week.

Facebook is adding additional measures to slow the spread of misinformation after the election 

Facebook is cracking down even harder on misinformation as unsupported claims about the illegitimacy of the election spreads virally on its platform. Facebook plans to enact measures to slow the spread of misinformation by adding additional steps before users can share posts, making election-related misinformation on people’s News Feeds less visible and limiting the circulation of Facebook Live streams on the election. 

According to the New York Times, these new actions put in place to slow misinformation will most likely be temporary. They are in response to the uncertainty President Trump has cast over the results of the election and the heightened tension that currently exists between ideologically opposing Americans. 

AT&T is phasing out DSL 

As of October 1st, AT&T stopped selling DSL internet to new clients. AT&T primarily provided DSL for rural areas that didn’t have access to other types of internet service. Since AT&T will no longer provide DSL service to any new clients, there will be thousands of rural folks that will not have access to broadband. Many members of the communities that are being stranded by AT&T’s choice to phase out DSL are outraged that AT&T will not replace DSL in these rural areas with some other technology. However, AT&T does offer fixed wireless internet in select rural areas that do not have access to fiber internet. 

AT&T said in a statement, “We are focused on enhancing our network with more advanced, higher speed technologies like fiber and wireless, which consumers are demanding. We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1. Current DSL customers will be able to continue their existing service or where possible upgrade to our 100% fiber network.”

AT&T says that around half a million customers were using DSL service in Q2 2020, many because it was the only option in the area.

Verizon Communications is expanding its rural coverage 

Verizon has been focusing on expanding its rural coverage. More recently, Verizon Communications announced that it plans to acquire some of Bluegrass Cellular, the rural wireless operator in Kentucky. Bluegrass Cellular serves 210,000 customers in 34 counties in Kentucky. 

Verizon also recently launched its nationwide low-band 5G network, which will cover approximately 200 million people. While the speeds will not be as fast as Verizon’s high-speed 5G, this nationwide low-band 5G will offer much broader 5G coverage throughout the entire country.

The first cellular communications network on the moon 

Nokia, a Finnish telecommunications firm, recently announced that it will build the first 4G network on the moon for NASA. NASA will provide $14.1 million to build the network with the goal of launching it in 2022. With this 4G cell network, astronauts will be able to make calls and video calls, send important data, stream high-definition videos and more. The purpose of this project is to “[support] sustainable human presence on the lunar surface,” says Nokia’s chief technology officer, Marcus Weldon. NASA hopes to send astronauts to the moon in 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence by 2028. The more long-term vision is that this sustained human presence on the moon is a warm-up mission for Mars. 

The iPhone 12 will contain the toughest glass ever on a smartphone 

In the past, iPhone screens have been known for easily breaking. In an effort to improve the durability of the iPhone 12, Apple will be using a new type of glass, called “ceramic shield.” This material gets its name because it is a mix of glass and ceramic, making it significantly more resistant to cracking than just glass. In addition to stronger materials, Apple has also improved the design of the phone so that the screen of the iPhone does not stick out above the metal frame. 

Various media groups have tested the durability of the new iPhone 12, including CNET and CNN, and have reported that the iPhone 12 passes the 6 feet drop test and even higher. 

Low-income students will have to wait months before receiving laptops for school 

As schools throughout the country have moved to remote learning due to the pandemic, there has been an increased demand for laptops, particularly inexpensive laptops, such as Chromebooks. Due to this surge in laptop purchases, there is currently a shortage, resulting in a several month shipment delay for thousands of laptops. 

Low-income school districts are being disproportionately affected by these shipping delays as they waited longer than high-income schools to place their orders. While high-income school districts placed laptop orders as early as March, the low-income school districts did not place orders until the end of Spring or even the Summer because they had to wait for federal Coronavirus relief funding. 

The chief executive of Trox, a company that sells devices to school districts, said North American schools are likely to end this school year with a shortage of more than five million devices. This laptop shortage paired with a disparity in access to internet between high-income and low-income students has dramatically increased the digital divide since the start of the pandemic. The effect of this divide could have consequences for years to come.  

Facebook reports helping register over 4 million people to vote 

Facebook has reached its goal of helping register around 4.4 million people to vote this election season. Not only did Facebook focus on providing potential voters with the proper information to register to vote, but they also debunked and removed any post that provided misleading or false statements about the voting process. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said in a recent post, “This year we launched the largest voting information campaign in U.S. history.” 

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Ari Howard

Written by:

Ari Howard

Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and wireless news, as well as broadband and TV provider deals. She recently graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

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