In performing what what the FCC called illegal "sneak charges" for ring tones and other items without consent, AT&T violated FCC regulations and must now pay customers back over $88 million in charges. Leo says it amounts to about $30 per customer.
AT&T is buying Time Warner for $85 billion. Time Warner includes HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Warner Bros, and more. The reason these carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc are buying media companies is because they don't want to be in the business of being a 'dumb pipe' for internet access. They want to be in the content business. It's expected that the deal will get regulatory approval without issue.
Gary is a bird photographer and he wants to know if there is a phone that can switch between Verizon and AT&T. If Gary has an unlocked phone, he can swap out SIM cards as necessary and the iPhone will switch from carrier to carrier. If he's in good standing with his carrier he can request that they unlock it. Or he can just buy one unlocked.
Google has Project Fi, which can switch to whatever the strongest carrier is, but the iPhone can't do that.
John has discovered that he can use his mobile phone number through his Samsung Gear Watch through NumberSync. He can also sync it with his tablet. But people that have called him have been getting a voicemail message saying he's not accepting calls. AT&T swapped out his phone and his watch, and while AT&T says they never had this issue before, there's forum posts filled with people complaining about the problem. Leo says that AT&T is chasing a dollar.
Terri has an old Razor flip phone and it's about to be disabled by AT&T. Leo says that if AT&T is doing that for network reasons, then they should give her a free phone to replace it. She should be able to get another flip phone if she wants. If Terri wants a smart phone, then she'll have to remember it will cost a lot more with the data plan. If she's ready for that, she'll be able to do a lot more with it. Leo recommends having her son take her to the AT&T store and see what the options are. She could go pay as she goes, or get a 2 year data plan.
Leo says while DSL does come over the copper lines, there's no technical reason that he would need to have phone service to have DSL. Having DSL without phone service is called "Dry Loop DSL." Rob will need to talk the provider into offering it.
Peter's parents have AT&T DSL and it's terrible. Leo says that's because DSL is reliant on the phone lines, and the farther it is from the central hub, the more problematic it can be. If the phone lines are antiquated, that's even worse. He can demand that AT&T upgrade its wires, but then he's really dependent on their good measure. One thing he can do is turn off the Wi-Fi capabilities of the router they gave him and connect his own router. That's likely going to speed up the wireless speed tremendously. Leo like Asus routers.
Dan's friend broke his phone, and he wanted to let him use his old Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. But Dan has Sprint and his friend has AT&T. Leo says he can try it by just slipping his old SIM into it. If it doesn't work, he'll know. If not, then it's time to get a new phone. But all new mobile devices are LTE now, so they can be used on other networks.
Leo says this is difficult because it's all very geographical. If William said Kansas City, he'd say Sprint because they're really good there. If he said New York, his advice would be Verizon. Both of those companies originated in those places. William was thinking of going with Cricket Wireless, but Leo said he'd go with one of the big national carriers.
Elliot's aunt is visiting and wants to know who would be the best carrier to get her smartphone from in St. Louis? Leo says that his experience in the Midwest is that Sprint is really good. That's because Sprint was spun off the Southern Pacific railroad. But they can't go wrong with AT&T and Verizon. The best way to find out is to go to OpenSignal.com, enter the zip code, and they'll see who's got the best coverage in the area.