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FCC, carriers, come to an agreement on phone unlocking

The Federal Communications Commission has made an agreement with five major national cellular carriers on principles that will allow customers to easily unlock their phones. The deal, with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, and US Cellular, stipulates when carries would need to allow for phones to be unlocked, among other things.

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FCC gives go-ahead for SoftBank purchase of Sprint, Sprint acquisition of Clearwire

The Federal Communications Commission has approved SoftBank's purchase of Sprint, along with Sprint's own acquisition of Clearwire. FCC approval was the last government review needed before the deal could go through. In a statement, CEO Dan Hesse praised the decision, calling the purchases "transformative transaction" that will rescue the wireless industry from a duopoly. From Sprint:

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White House weighs in on phone unlocking, supports making it legal

Following FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s statement that the commission would be looking into the ban on phone unlocking, the White House has released an official statement in support of cell phone unlocking. The statement was made in response to a popular petition on the White House’s We the People website after the petition had been signed by over 114,000 people.

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FCC looking into ban on unlocking on-contract iPhones and other phones

The FCC is going to look into the ban on unlocking phones. The ban, which came into effect on January 26 of this year, made it illegal to unlock an on-contract device for use on another carrier.

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New Apple TV revealed by the FCC is not smaller and only includes minor component changes

Yesterday, the FCC published details on a new Apple TV that appeared to be smaller than the current Apple TV third generation. This information led to widespread speculation that a new model of Apple TV was about to arrive with new features too. Unfortunately it appears that this is not the case, the dimensions will remain the same but the internal components will be subject to just minor changes.

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FCC chairman urges FAA to allow use of tablets during takeoff and landing

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski is urging the Federal Aviaition Administration (FAA) to "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices" during all phases of flight, according to a report by The Hill. The FAA has been studying the question of gadgets during these phases for some time, stating in March that they were reconsidering the policy and forming a committee in August to study their current policies, though no recommendations have yet been made.

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Shared database will allow AT&T and T-Mobile to curb smartphone theft

AT&T and T-Mobile are joining forces in order to try and curb the rising rate of stolen smartphones by way of a shared database project backed by both the CTIA and FCC. The system will allow either carrier to flag an IMEI number as stolen which will render the device useless on either network.

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AT&T's FaceTime over cellular restriction could put them at odds with the FCC

AT&T's restriction of iOS 6 FaceTime over cellular to shared data plans might cause them to run afoul of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AT&T won't be charging extra for FaceTime over cellular, but will be requiring what for many could be more expensive plans. Since AT&T doesn't do that with other video calling services, like Skype.

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FCC to investigate Verizon's $2 convenience fee

After yesterday's news that Verizon would be charging a $2 fee for paying bills online and over the phone, the FCC has chimed in.

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” the statement said.

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CDMA Verizon iPhone hits FCC

Coming as no surprise, the CDMA Verizon iPhone 4 has just hit the FCC. (Come on, you know Apple wasn't going to let the government announce it?)

Model A1349 (as opposed to the GSM version's A1332) has the expected test results for CDMA / EV-DO Rev. A on the 850 and 1900MHz bands along with Bluetooth and WiFi without a whiff of GSM support for global roaming


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