The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile has been approved by the Department of Justice, giving mobile another major carrier to compete against AT&T and Verizon. The talk is, that T-Mobile is going to work with DISH Network to create a huge new 4th carrier by Dish. Dish will also get Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and several other MVNOs. As a long-time T-Mobile user, Leo doesn't really have a problem with it, especially as we move into 5G speeds. But it's not in the clear yet, as 13 state attorney generals are suing to stop it.
Mason saw an A50 smartphone in T-Mobile which is free with a two-year commitment. But is it junky? Leo says that all mobile carriers offer cheaper phones that they can offer for free, and it's a mixed bag if they're decent or not. But you can bet that the cameras aren't very good. Leo recommends the Motorola Moto G6 or the Samsung Galaxy S10. What about buying a phone from overseas that are unlocked? Leo says that he can do that, but the radios in the phone may not support the frequencies here in the US. But that A50 should be fine.
Jose is looking to buy a Moto G7 unlocked and wants to know Rich's opinion on the phone. Rich thinks the Moto G7 is a great phone that works on all major carriers while sporting a decent processor, a big screen, and a fine camera (under bright light) for the price. Rich says a phone does not have to cost $1000 like the iPhone and Samsung S10+, and Jose should have a satisfactory time with the Moto G7 through T-Mobile.
Mark has a Samsung Note 5 and needs to upgrade. He's on MetroPCS, but he's looking to move to T-Mobile. Rich says that since Mark bought an unlocked Verizon phone, he was bound to run into problems using it from MetroPCS. Rich recommends buying a Samsung Note 9 directly from Samsung. Mark will get a purely unlocked phone from the factory, which will be updated by the carrier when he takes it to a new carrier. But Rich says that T-Mobile does a lot of deals on things, and Mark will likely get the best deal from them.
JT is heading to Australia for a week. What mobile service should he use? Leo says that Google Fi and T-Mobile both work all over the world. The services isn't as fast, but it's free Edge service, which is nice. He can then use local Wi-Fi at the hotel, coffee shops, etc. whenever he can. The Global plan on T-Mobile is $20 a month, but it's only slightly faster, and the speeds vary wildly. He could also buy a "day pass" of 4G access.
The internet used to be filled with jokes for April Fool's, but that trend has been on the decline lately. Even Google, the company that would always do very elaborate pranks on April Fool's Day has backed off from it. Google did do at least one thing, however. Google Maps has a "Where's Waldo" game you can play. Google also announced "Google Cloud Hummus."
Jacob was traveling to Austria with an unlocked iPhone X on T-Mobile, but the SIM card he bought there for it didn't work. Phones can be locked to a carrier, but Jacob is saying it's not carrier locked. At least it wasn't when he bought it. It turned out that T-Mobile locked it after the fact. Leo says the FCC used to enforce this, and the phone companies would have to unlock phones after a reasonable time period. This all started when the phones were subsidized by the companies. Since Jacob paid for the phone in full, the companies shouldn't be locking it. There's no justification for it.
Nick has an iPhone 6S that he uses as a backup phone. He wants to unlock it for a trip to Europe, but neither T-Mobile nor Apple can unlock it. What can he do? Leo says that T-Mobile should be able to unlock it. It's their carrier lock. Leo recommends tweeting John Legere of T-Mobile (@JohnLegere). He pays attention to his Twitter feed and Leo bets he'll get back to him with someone to talk to.
Leo says he could also go to an independent cell phone store. They have great talent to unlock phones and could solve it.
Mike got an iPhone X on T-Mobile from the Apple Store. He took it to T-Mobile to activate it, but found out that T-Mobile won't insure it. Leo says that's because Mike bought it from Apple, not T-Mobile. So Apple Care applies. Leo tends to self-insure because extended warranties are profit centers for the seller. But the iPhone X is very expensive to repair or replace. So he does make an exception with Apple Care, but he'll want to get Apple Care Plus. If he breaks it once, it's probably going to pay for itself.
Ernesto needs a new cell phone for his father. He doesn't do any smart things like apps or texting. He just talks. He wants one that will work between the US and Mexico. Leo says that a "feature phone" is an easy and inexpensive purchase. Alcatel is one brand that works in both places. He should go to T-Mobile and he can probably get one for free on a pay as you go plan. They also offer free international data and cheap international calls. It'll also work in 190 other countries as well. The chatroom says that AT&T is best in Mexico.