Tag Archives: Verizon

Sprint lets you choose a nickname for your phone number

English: Sprint Nextel logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do your friends have a hard time remembering your phone number? Sprint is offering a service called StarStar Me, allowing you to replace your phone number with your name, nickname, or unique word. While this sounds great, there is a fee and limitations on your phone number length.

I’d want my number to be **JENN or **5366. However, that doesn’t work. It needs to be five to nine letters. I guess it could be **JENNIFER, but I never go by that.  Plus, it’s already in use. Of course! You have to be creative in your name combination as most common names will likely be taken quickly.

The price is $2.99/month. The service comes with more options than just your customized phone number. The number works when a call is placed in the United States from any Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T phone number.

I wonder if this will be easier to understand on a voicemail message. Most people think I say Jan instead of Jenn. Nobody would ever be able to reach me if my phone number was a nickname.

I don’t see much of a use for this in my life. It might be popular with the younger generation looking to have the latest and greatest technology to increase their cool status.  For me, that’s about the only use.

Consumer Reports finds problems with 4G LTE on some iPhone 5 phones

Courtesy Apple

Consumer Reports is finishing up its testing of the iPhone 5, and engineers said they found problems with the phone on the Verizon and Sprint network. The testing organization said the Verizon and Sprint phone can’t support a phone call and an Internet based connection over the network.

Consumer Reports said the iPhone 5 appears to be the only Verizon or Sprint phone running on the newer 4G LTE network with limitations.  The agency said the other phones it tested from the carriers on the 4G LTE network allow you to talk and surf at the same time.

Not sure what 4G LTE is? It’s the new system marketed as a way to boost data speeds. See the difference for yourself. I put it to the test for NewsChannel 5.

You need a Wi-Fi connection to make it possible to talk and surf at the same time on the Sprint and Verizon iPhone 5. Consumer Reports said otherwise you receive a message that reads “Cellular data connections are not available during this call” when you try to get on the Internet.

It works the other way as well. If you get an incoming call, your browsing will be stopped. This includes navigation. Just hope nobody calls you while you’re driving. Testers found the navigation gets stuck recalculating the route even after you hang up.

You can still call and text, but Consumer Reports feels this limitation on the Sprint and Verizon network should make you reconsider your thoughts about getting this phone on either network. This comes after first weekend sales topped 5 million.

Say goodbye to spam text messages

I am so tired of my phone buzzing, only to find a text message telling me I can win an iPad or $1,000 cash.  Some even use local phone numbers to make you think it’s a legitimate text from a local business. All I have to do is go to a website and give up all my personal information. I get these texts on my work and personal phone. The good news – there are things you can do about it.

You can forward the text to your carrier by sending it to SPAM or 7726. That way they can investigate where the texts are coming from and help prevent them in the future. To send the message to SPAM, you won’t incur any fees.


Keep tabs on when your carrier implements bill shock alerts so you don’t go over your data, text, or voice limits

The government is cracking down on those unexpected charges that appear on cell phone bills for going over your voice, text, or data plan limits. The government estimates one in six cell phone users have experienced what’s known as bill shock. That’s when unexpected charges appear on your bill. Cell phone carriers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are working to put an end to the shock by next spring. A new chart makes it easy to keep track of what your carrier is in the implementation process.

Starting October 17, 2012, carriers will automatically alert when your usage goes over your plan for at least two of the four types of charges. These include text messages, data, voice and international roaming. The carriers will have until April 17, 2013 to let you know about the other charges.

Some carriers have already started offering you this service for some of the features. You will get an alert when you approach an overage charge, and one when you go over the plan limits. To make it easy to know when your carrier starts the alerts, the FCC started a char that breaks down which carrier is doing what.

T-Mobile is offering the most alerts including voice, data, and international roaming alerts. Automatic alerts are set up, and you can check your minutes, text messages, or data by dialing a code on your phone. To check Whenever Minutes, dial #MIN#. Text messages, you dial #MSG#, and data is #WEB#. To check your balance, due date, or payment history you simply dial #BAL#. If you are a prepaid customer you dial #999#.

AT&T is offering data alerts. You can get a courtesy text or email when you reach 65, 90, or 100-percent of your data usage for the month. You can dial *3282# or *DATA# to get a text message with your usage, or check online or through an app.

According to the FCC chart, Sprint is offering international roaming alerts.

Verizon offers data and international roaming alerts.  There is an online tool that you can check for your limits, or you can dial #MIN or #DATA for the respective information. You can also setup usage controls, but there is a small fee attached.

Wireless companies work together to protect your stolen phone

So many people can’t live without their smartphone. If you ever stand on a street corner, you’ll see one person after another talking, texting, or scrolling through emails. That $2-300 device you have in your hand, wallet, or purse are wanted by thieves. In major cities across the country, 30-40% of robberies involve cell phones. Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and cell phone carriers are teaming up to make that stolen device useless.

Smartphones are full of personal information. If it ends up in a thieves hands, he could wreak havoc on your financial and personal life just by pushing a few buttons.  Within six months, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon will beginning deterring theft and secure customer data. If you report your wireless device stolen, the provider will make it impossible to use that electronic item again. The program will be roll out over the next 18 months.

As part of this effort to deter theft, consumers will also be encouraged and educated on safety mechanisms. A password is a good place to start. Some phones allow you to draw a diagram or punch in a numeric passcode to unlock the phone. These can be annoying especially if the phone times out every few minutes, but it’s a huge safety precaution. There are also apps that allow you to remotely lock, locate, and delete your phone’s contents.

Don’t wait to be a victim. Protect your information today.

Verizon asks customers if they want to be tracked

Courtesy Verizon Wireless

A year ago, I reported on the digital footprint we all leave behind when we search the Internet. While unnerving, there are steps you can take to increase your privacy online like using your browser’s Incognito or Private Browsing mode. However, I think we only know half of what is collected about us. As marketers look for ways to make money online and on mobile, we’re learning more about how our personal information is collected. Verizon Wireless is telling customers they collect certain information about them, and if you don’t like it opt out.

Verizon told customers it is updating its privacy policy since it’s using information in new ways. It’s collecting information to make mobile ads more relevant to each user, and for certain business and marketing reports. The marketing report might say 10,000 sports fans visited a site and 60% were male, but the information will not be personally connected to you.

Verizon says it will collect information like the addresses for sites you visit, search terms you use, apps and features used, location of your device, data and calling features used, amount of use, demographic information like your age and whether you are a sports fan.

Verizon says it would want information like your location to tell marketers that a certain percentage of people take a certain highway during rush hour. Verizon says that specific information would likely be combined with data from other wireless carriers. Does that mean we’ll see billboards along that highway targeting certain demographics? It’s a unique opportunity to gather specific marketing research that otherwise wouldn’t be available, but it’s not without critics.

The Federal Trade Commission is proposing a do not track option for browsers. Originally, it was described as similar to the do not call list. It’s a bit more complicated than that, and the FTC says it doesn’t want to run this list and is encouraging browsers to enact do not track standards or lists.

When privacy first became an issue, I was totally opposed to a company collecting this information about me. I know they do it with long-standing things like loyalty or frequent shopper cards, but the collection of data online and on mobile devices seemed more intrusive to me at first. I guess I believed it was intrusive because I didn’t sign up for a web browser to collect my information, but I did sign up to get rewards from my local grocer or the online shopping site that earns me cash back.

As I’ve dwelled on this more, I’m beginning to get a bit complacent about it. We are tracked whether we are driving down the street and caught on a surveillance camera, or our digital habits are tracked. I think companies should be more upfront about it and request our permission. I don’t like this data collection, but it’s beginning to become expected if you use a digital device.

Related links you may like:
Update your browser to surf more privately
Erase your digital footprint
FTC wants browsers to adopt do not track proposal

Verizon iPhone 4 sales hit records

Verizon iPhone 4 sales are breaking records according to the carrier.  It stopped pre-sales to existing customers.  Now, you’ll have to wait until February 10th for your chance to order the phone on the Verizon network.

“In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history. And, when you consider these initial orders were placed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., it is an incredible success story. It is gratifying to know that our customers responded so enthusiastically to this exclusive offer – designed to reward them for their loyalty,” said Dan Mead, Verizon Wireless President and Chief Executive Officer.


Verizon or AT&T iPhone? Which is better?

The reviews are in on the new Verizon iPhone. Data speed, dropped calls, and talking and browsing the Internet at the same time are all differences that are discussed by those who got a sneak peek.

Here’s the CNN article with the reviews from the likes of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Pre-orders are underway for Verizon customers, and the Verizon iPhone 4 goes on sale to the public on February 9th online at 3:01 A.M. and in stores at 7 A.M. on February 10th.