Cellular

Google ships LEGO bricks to Project Fi users [UPDATE]

Google ships LEGO bricks to Project Fi users [UPDATE]

Those relative few of you on Google's cellular network business Project Fi should be receiving an odd package in the mail this week. What's inside, you might ask? Why, LEGO bricks, of course. A set of LEGO* bricks that, when put together correctly, create a phone stand for your device. Encouragement for the next generation of Google-made smartphones is also included in the box in the form of a USB-C to USB Standard A Plug Cable. How handy!

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Android Wear now officially supports standalone connectivity

Android Wear now officially supports standalone connectivity

It's about time, right? Well, maybe, depending on which side of the fence you're on. If you're of the opinion that smartwatches shouldn't be anything more than an accessory to your smartphone or tablet, then this new Android Wear feature might not make much sense. But if you believe that a smartwatch should be an independent mobile device in its own right, then you might welcome this news with glee. Android Wear finally supports cellular connections, allowing smartwatches to connect to the Internet and networks even when the smarpthone isn't around.

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Los Angeles street lights will double as cell towers soon

Los Angeles street lights will double as cell towers soon

Los Angeles will be the first city to launch Philips’ SmartPole Street lighting, the company has announced. These LED light poles feature “small cell technology” developed by Ericsson — that is, they function as small 4G LTE cell towers. The city’s mayor says this effort will involve “taking advantage of previously untapped real estate” in Los Angeles, which has more light poles than an other American city. The benefits will be two-fold, with LED lights using less electricity and the cellular technology improving network coverage.

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North Korea’s 3G cellular network for visitors is down

North Korea’s 3G cellular network for visitors is down

In the relatively recent past, North Korea introduced a 3G cellular Internet service for foreigner visitors to the nation, granting them a level of Internet access that the nation's own residents do not have. The network has been available more or less consistently since it was launched, but now is no longer available. The service provider through which the network was provided, Koryolink, recently said in a statement that it was having a service outage, and that it was on “the local internet provider’s side” rather than its own. There’s no known time frame for when the service will be restored.

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Lousy mobile providers threatened with prison time in Africa

Lousy mobile providers threatened with prison time in Africa

Nigeria is following the lead of Tanzania and Zambia by enforcing jail time on substandard mobile operators. From now on, if a mobile company in Africa regularly delivers inferior service to its customers, the network operators could be sent to prison. These charges are handed down by Nigeria's Consumer Protection Council (CPC) which operates as a sort of government sponsored consumer watchdog group. It seems strict, but this heavy punishment is on the line because the Nigerian government feels consumers are being tricked into paying for shady, low quality services.

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AT&T comments may indicate a lull in deals for mobile plans

AT&T comments may indicate a lull in deals for mobile plans

It's March now, so the holiday shopping season is long past which also means that the sweet holiday deals by mobile carriers past us as well. According to AT&T's CFO John Stephens, the mobile network market, "seems to have stabilized." This appears to indicate that AT&T and other mobile carriers are back to increasing their fees and scaling back on their promotional offerings. AT&T claimed that right now they aren't particularly seeking out net additions, or more customers joining than leaving their services. This may signify a strategy change for all mobile networks.

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NSA AURORAGOLD ops aimed to weaken all cellphone networks

NSA AURORAGOLD ops aimed to weaken all cellphone networks

When your job involves spying on other people's conversations, it is in your best interest that such lines of communications remain open to your snooping. That is pretty much the principle used in one of NSA's operations, codenamed AURORAGOLD, that virtually aimed to weaken the world's networks so that it will always have a backdoor to use, no matter the country. This is just one of the latest revelations unearthed from the documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden regarding the NSA's almost godlike power and reach.

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Apple SIM on iPad Air 2 — Apple’s new carrier control

Apple SIM on iPad Air 2 — Apple’s new carrier control

With all the Apple news coming out today, it’s something they didn’t discuss that is making a big impact on us here at SlashGear. In what’s being called an “Apple SIM”, we’re being offered a new way to connect to carriers with an iPad Air 2 that’s equipped with cellular connectivity. It’s a curious notation on the day, but suggests Apple is taking control of the iPad Air 2, and carriers. Even more telling of that is that Verizon isn’t listed as a carrier partner for the Apple SIM.

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