Some carrier RCS implementations have security issues

The biggest issue with RCS prior to Google’s benevolent rollout was the sheer volume of implementations. Every carrier had its own spin on the standard with proprietary seasoning on top, and few of the systems talked to one another. Beyond the practical limitations imposed on customers’ cross-carrier communications, it turns out these customized versions are also exposing users to security vulnerabilities, based on details dug up by a cybersecurity firm in a recent report by Motherboard. Read MoreSome carrier RCS implementations have security issues was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

How to SIM unlock the LG V40 ThinQ

Launched back in second half of 2018, the LG G7 ThinQ was LG’s flagship smartphone for the second half of the year. Similar to the LG G7 ThinQ, the LG V40 ThinQ also came with similar high-end specs, which included the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage. It also marked the second phone in LG’s V-series that does not come with the secondary display, instead opting for a floating bar.
For those who are still holding onto their LG V40 and aren’t planning on upgrading it anytime soon and would love the freedom of being able to use it on any carrier they wish, here are some options that you can check out (free and paid) to unlock your LG V40 ThinQ handset.
Getting the unlock code from your carrier for free
If you’d rather not pay to unlock the SIM card on your LG V40, you can approach your carrier and see if they will be able to do it for you. There will be several criteria that you, as a customer, will need to meet in order for your carrier to proceed with your request.
To qualify for a free SIM unlock:

The device needs to have been paid off in full. For those who bought the phone on a repayment/installment plan, you might be out of luck.
You will also need to have owned the device for at least 60-90 days.
You must be in good standing with your carrier, which usually involves you having a good track record when it comes to paying your bills, and making sure you have no outstanding bills that haven’t been paid.

Request your free LG V40 SIM unlock code:

Launch the Phone app on your handset and dial *#06#.
This will reveal your phone’s IMEI number
Write the IMEI number down somewhere easily accessible as you will need to provide this to your carrier later
Call your carrier’s customer service hotline and request for your SIM unlock code
You will then be asked to provide the service rep with your LG V40 ThinQ’s IMEI number
Wait 2-5 days for your SIM unlock code which should arrive in your email associated with your account with your carrier.
Once you’ve received your code, swap out the current SIM card for another SIM.
You will be prompted to enter the SIM unlock code.
Enter it and your phone should now be unlocked and free to use with any carrier or any SIM card.

Purchase your LG V40 SIM unlock code

For those who would rather not wait for 1-2 years until they finish off paying their repayment plans to their carrier, not to worry because there are options that you can check out to unlock the SIM on your phone, but we should point out that this is a paid option:

Launch the Phone app on your handset and dial *#06#.
This will reveal your phone’s IMEI number
Write the IMEI number down somewhere easily accessible as you will need to
Visit Android SIM Unlock’s website.
Select your LG V40 ThinQ model and the carrier you bought the phone from.
Enter your device’s IMEI number.
Enter your payment and contact information to complete the checkout process.
Upon successfully making payment, you should receive the SIM unlock code for your LG V40 ThinQ in under an hour.
Once you’ve received your code, swap out the current SIM card for another SIM.
You will be prompted to enter the SIM unlock code.
Enter it and your phone should now be unlocked and free to use with any carrier or any SIM card.

T-Mobile LG V40 SIM unlock
We want to point out that the method above only works for those who bought their phone through carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. For those who bought their phones from T-Mobile, the process will be different, but it will still be quite straightforward and easy.

Launch the Phone app on your handset and dial *#06#.
This will reveal your phone’s IMEI number
Write the IMEI number down somewhere easily accessible as you will need to
Visit Android SIM Unlock’s T-Mobile page and enter LG V40 ThinQ’s IMEI number
Enter your payment and contact information to complete the checkout process.
Upon successfully making the payment, you should receive the SIM unlock code for your LG V40 ThinQ in the next 1-3 days.
Once you’ve received your code, enter it into the T-Mobile Device Unlock app to unlock your phone’s SIM
Tap Continue > Permanent Unlock to SIM unlock your LG V40 ThinQ
Your device will need to be rebooted in order to complete the process
You should now be able to swap out the current SIM card for another SIM.

Whichever of the methods you choose from above, the end result should be the same and you will soon be the proud owner of a fully unlocked LG V40 ThinQ. One of the upsides of having an unlocked handset is that you now get to use it with different carriers. For example, if you travel overseas quite frequently and would like to avoid data roaming charges, having your SIM unlocked means you’ll be able to use it with local telcos, saving you a bunch of money in the process.

AT&T’s 5G network goes live in 12 markets this week

The long-awaited launch of AT&T’s 5G network has officially arrived! AT&T has announced that it will be flipping the 5G switch on December 21st, lighting up 12 markets across the US with G speeds. The 12 launch markets include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio and Waco.

But before you get too excited, AT&T’s 5G launch doesn’t mean you’ll be able to go out and buy a 5G smartphone and take advantage of the improved speeds anytime soon. 

The first 5G device AT&T will be making available is the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot which will deliver 5G speeds over AT&T’s mmWave spectrum and will fall back onto LTE when it’s not able to connect to 5G. The NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot will cost $499 with a $70/month plan which will deliver a mere 15GB of data. It will not be available to everyday consumers until spring of 2019, but AT&T plans to give select businesses and individuals access to it before then. 

“As the ecosystem evolves, this technology will ultimately change the way we live and conduct business,” said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “We expect that our initial adopters will be innovative, growing businesses. They’re the starting point for what we think will be a technology revolution like we’ve never seen before.”

AT&T’s 5G network will expand to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose during the first half of 2018. The company hasn’t announced the full number of markets it will be rolling out 5G service to in 2019, but expect to see quite a few more cities added to the list. 

Are you ready to jump onto the 5G bandwagon in 2019? 

Source: PR Newswire

Metro by T-Mobile reverses $15 SIM-swap fee after public outcry

Last month, Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS) started charging customers a $15 fee whenever they put their SIM card in a different phone. The fee has technically existed for years, but it wasn’t enforced well — customer support or sales representatives often canceled the charge. Metro’s new policy made the fee mandatory, and the $15 charge didn’t even include taxes.
Following coverage by several news outlets, and complaints from angry Metro subscribers on Reddit and other sites, the carrier has now walked back on the fee. Read MoreMetro by T-Mobile reverses $15 SIM-swap fee after public outcry was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

How to get one month of Google Fi service for free

After changing its name and opening up its service to dozens of Android and iOS devices, Google Fi is now offering a new promotion to significantly increase its subscriber numbers. Google Fi is offering one free month of service to new customers, potentially saving them up to $80 (depending on how much data they use). The promotional offer is available now through December 19th and is limited to one account per person. 
Like most special offers, there are a few requirements which must be met in order to take advantage of the free month of service:

You must be a new Google Fi (formerly Project Fi) customer
You must port an existing cell phone number to Google Fi
You must bring your own Google Fi compatible device

As you can see, the list of requirements is pretty short. If you’re not sure if the device you currently own is compatible with the service, you can check out the full list of Google Fi supported devices.
Source: Googe Fi

Are you ready to do your banking with T-Mobile?

If you are feeling a little bit of déjà vu when reading this headline then perhaps you are remembering back into the distant past of January 2014 when T-Mobile last announced that it was going to help you manage your money. That time around the initiative was called “Mobile Money” and it hung around for about 30 months before shuttering in July of 2016.
There are some similarities between that service and the newly announced T-Mobile Money, such as no fees whatsover, including overdraft or ATM fees. But this time around the service is going to be a bit more like a traditional banking service with checking accounts that will net you at least 1 percent annual interest or 4 percent (on up to $3,000) if you also deposit at least $200 each month via direct deposit or the like. Anything beyond the $3,000 will earn interest at 1 percent, which as T-Mobile points out is still well above the current national average of 0.4 percent from the top 5 banks.
There is naturally an app to go with the service with the familiar T-Mobile magenta theme to it and at first glance it looks like a clean and intuitive interface. You’ll receive a traditional Debit card and the service is compatible with Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay at launch. Accounts are FDIC-instured up to $250,000 and along with the fee free overdraft protection, T-Mobile subscribers are even eligible for up to a $50 “Got Your Back” interest free loan in essence from T-Mobile that will cover the overdraft as long as you pay it back within 30 days.
In case you were worried that T-Mobile was just venturing into the banking business on its own, they are partnered up with BankMobile, which is the younger and presumably cooler digital division for Customers Bank.
It’s an interesting move from T-Mobile, probably wiser than going for yet another payment service, but would you consider using your carrier as your bank?
Source: T-Mobile

Google Fi officially adds support for ‘the majority of Android devices’ and iPhones

Google Fi has officially announced that it now supports “the majority of Android devices” and quite a few of Apple’s iPhones as well. In the past, Google’s MVNO was only compatible with a select number of smartphones which were specifically built to work on the Google Fi network. 
While the announcement is good news for those who simply wanted to use Google Fi with a device that they already owned, the official Google Fi supported devices will still have an advantage since they are able to seamlessly switch between T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular towers to find the best reception and data speeds. Google has indicated which network all other devices will be operating on, but we suspect that most will be connecting to T-Mobile since it offers the best coverage of the three networks that Google Fi uses.
If you’re interested in switching to Google Fi, the service starts at $20/month with unlimited calling and texting with a $10 additional charge for every GB of data you use. The additional data charges are capped at $60/month even if you use more than 6GB of data, essentially giving you an unlimited talk, text and data line for $80/month. Google Fi also offers international roaming in 170 countries with the same data usage fees it charges in the use (including the $60/month charge cap).
With this new change, Google Fi will definitely be more appealing to the general public. It’ll be interesting to see how Google changes its go-to-market strategy over the next few months. We won’t be surprised if Google Fi ads show up a lot more frequently across the web.
Source: Google

Big changes could be coming to Google Fi

UPDATE: Google Fi has officially announced support for more Android devices.
Thanks to a now-pulled news piece, we may be getting a look at the future of Google Fi. According to the article that originally appeared over at BGR, it looks like Google is going to expand the lineup of phones it allows on its MVNO, Fi.
Currently, Google recommends that you purchase only the devices it sells to work on its network. Those range from Google’s own Pixel lineup to offerings from Motorola and LG. If the information in the BGR piece is accurate, you will soon be able to use devices from Samsung, OnePlus, and Apple. This change is potentially huge for customers looking for a low-cost option but are tied to a specific device. This news comes several weeks after we learned that Project Fi has been rebranded to Google Fi, implying that Google may be looking at changes to the service which will make it more appealing to mainstream consumers.
Google does give the disclaimer that you may not get the “full Google Fi experience” if your device isn’t “designed for Fi.” But what exactly does that mean? Right now, the devices that Google sells all have the ability to quickly switch between service providers. Like all MVNO carriers, Fi leases unused tower space from larger service providers. In this case, Fi leases space from T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular. Designed for Fi phones are able to quickly switch between towers they’re connecting to based on which has the strongest signal. Fi offers a base of $20 per month for calling and texting and $10 per month for each gig of data that you use. Additionally, data rates are capped at $60 per month no matter how much data you use so customer costs don’t spin out of control. For users who use very little data or a ton of data, these rates are great and now the expanded choice of phones makes Google Fi even more compelling.
It’s yet to be seen if a move like this will entice customers to come on board. The quick network switching is one of the biggest reasons to join Project Fi and if you’re unable to take advantage of that, Fi looks like any other carrier. But, what do you think? Does this make you more likely to consider Fi in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Source: BGR via Droid-Life

Verizon cuts prices to be more competitive with T-Mobile

It’s no secret that T-Mobile’s low prices and new strategies have forced its competitors to change the way they do business, but did you ever think you’d be able to get a contract-free pre-paid unlimited line on Verizon for just $65 per month? Verizon has just unveiled a few price cuts which save its customers around $10 per month, bringing its pricing structure much closer to what T-Mobile has been offering for a while. Verizon has also decided to up the data allotment to its $45 plans, giving users a total of 8GB to use up each month. 
To take advantage of the new low price or the extra gig of data, Verizon customers will need to sign up for Auto Pay. If you don’t have a bank account or credit card to link your account to, you’ll have to settle for the old pricing structure.
If you’re wondering how the Verizon’s new pre-paid unlimited lines stack up against the competition, you can get a similar line from Metro for $50 or save an extra $5 if you go with AT&T. Verizon has never been known to compete directly on pricing, but it’s nice to know that you’re not going to be gouged quite as much if you choose to go with Big Red.

Project Fi is getting a new name

Google’s virtual cellular network Project Fi has been around for over three years now. Despite that, the service has retained the “project” name. Not that Google is known for taking services out of beta in a reasonable timeframe, as Gmail stayed in beta for over five years.
However, we might be seeing a full Project Fi rebrand soon. A Reddit user by the name of u/moonlightclergy purchased a new Google Pixel 3 received a pamphlet offering “Google Fi” rather than Project Fi, complete with a new colorful logo. However, the service retains the same Google URL.

Other than the new logo and name, there are no obvious changes to the service according to the pamphlet. We shouldn’t rule out major changes or new perks, but we’ll have to wait for the official Google announcement to find out what’s in store for us. If Google is working on bigger changes for Google Fi, what would you like to see added, removed or tweaked?
Source: Reddit