Emily is thinking about buying a portable Wi-Fi hotspot so that they will have the ability to connect to the Internet with her iPad. Leo says that's a good idea. Are the independent carriers any good? Leo says that there aren't any independent carriers, really. They're just reselling coverage from the big guys (called MVNO) and she'll want to be sure she checks out the coverage maps for the carrier they're reselling. Is Karma good? Leo says that Karma is a Kickstarter campaign that would let her pay as she goes.
Richard bought a Clear internet box, but Sprint bought Clear and is shutting it down. Leo says that Clear was WiMax, which was a special Wi-Fi system that used microwave signals. Leo thought it would be a great option for rural areas, but Sprint's investment almost bankrupted them. It just didn't work unless you were really close to the tower. That's why Sprint dropped it and went with LTE. Leo suggests getting an LTE access point. He can get them with Ethernet.
Google announced its own wireless service on Wednesday called "Google Fi." It's very restricted, and only works by invitation and its exclusive to Google's Nexus 6 phone. It uses both Sprint and T-Mobile cellular service along with Wi-Fi, and it switches between those to whatever has the best coverage. It costs $20 a month for unlimited talk and text, including international text. It does not include data though, but it only costs $10 a month per gigabyte. If you don't use all of the data you're paying for, you'll get reimbursed. No contract and its very straightforward.
Multiple news reports are saying that Google has plans to enter the wireless business. The idea is that you'll be able to buy a phone with Google as the service provider. The interesting part, however, is that Google is negotiating with Sprint and T-Mobile. The phone you buy will work with both carriers, and it will connect to whichever network has the best signal. It will also utilize Wi-Fi whenever possible.
This is only a rumor as of now, but it's an interesting idea. The cell phone industry is ripe for disruption.
Jesus wanted to get the second generation Motorola Moto X and he's heard that Sprint has stopped carrying them. Leo says that's because everyone is moving away from GSM and CDMA towards VoLTE versions. There's talk that if he were to buy a Sprint MVNO SIM in an unlocked Moto X, it'll work. Eventually, all phones will be compatible with all services, which is how it should be. Check out MotoMaker.com. He should also make sure he gets a phone with the right radio frequencies.
Jason wants to get a new Galaxy Note 4, but he doesn't want to lose his unlimited data plan. Leo says that AT&T is always looking for a reason to take unlimited data away from those who are left using it. And frankly, most people who have it don't use that much data and they're really paying for what they don't use. Either Jason could get a plan that would cover the data he uses, or he could go to T-Mobile and get unlimited. Most of their plans are unlimited, but would throttle his speeds after he reaches a certain limit.
Rick says that he hears that with Sprint, if they upgrade to the new iPhone, they won't be able to talk and surf at the same time. Leo says that he can on AT&T and Verizon, though. Verizon moved over to Voice Over LTE and Leo thought Sprint was moving that way too, but apparently they haven't. T-Mobile will also work. Any GSM network will do it, and Leo suspects that Sprint will eventually go that way.
Brian is looking beyond the "big three" of cellphone carriers and wants to know which one of the smaller mobile carriers are best. Leo says that most of the smaller carriers, known as "mobile virtual network operators" (MVNOs), buy their network service at a discount rate from the big three, often times Sprint, and then resell it. And it's often a better value than the big three. Straight Talk Wireless from Walmart, for instance, is one such MVNO. Which one is best will depend on which of the big three's are best in Brian's area.
Will T-Mobile and Sprint be merging? Leo says no. The merger is dead since it looks like the FCC wouldn't approve the merger. Pity too. So now, a French company is trying to buy T-Mobile. Leo says that TMobile has great speeds, especially in areas where there isn't a lot of presence. So if the coverage is good in your area, then go for T-Mobile.