I Call Shennanigans On T-Mobile The "Uncarrier"


T-Mobile is on a rampage. They are fishing for converts from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint by offering to pay all of your current contract cancellation fees to make the switch to the "uncarrier". But when you take away all the fluff, they're no different than any other carrier.

If you're not paying full price for a smartphone, or bringing your own phone, you're still required to sign a 2-year contract agreement with T-Mobile. I'm so surprised that nobody seems to realize this.

Smartphones are super expensive miniature computers. They can cost anywhere from $350 to $800. A lot of people don't realize that you're not getting a "free smartphone" or a brand new handset for $200 when you sign on for an agreement.

The cost of that amazing little device that you landed is built into the fees charged to your 2-year agreement. That's how it is paid for.

For example, if you want to upgrade before your 2-year commitment is up, you've still got to finish paying for the device that you have. That's why AT&T offers the "Next" program where you pay an extra $25 (roughly) per month, which covers the cost of paying for the device early.

No carrier currently offers smartphone deals with no contract. You'll pay for it one way or another. It will either be up-front in full, through your monthly fees, or through a special program that catches you up from switching to new devices early. T-Mobile is no different.

So why is T-Mobile promoting their company as the renegade "uncarrier"? I have no idea. I call 100% shennanigans on this practice. It's sneaky marketing, period. They are no more an "uncarrier" than the next company.

Just consider this...if you want the same great deal with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, you can do the same exact thing by paying for your smartphone from the get-go. When you do, you won't have to be bound to a 2-year agreement.

Thus far, their marketing scheme is working.  In the 4th quarter of 2013, T-Mobile acquired 866,000 new customers by supposedly undercutting the competition. But in the end, the only thing you'll undercut is yourself, if you switch to T-Mobile in one of their crappy coverage areaa (like Central Missouri).

Chew on that a while.

Carlton Flowers
Carrier Balonga Caller


Nexus 5 Review Hands-On Coming Soon!


The delicious LG Nexus 5 with KitKat (Anroid 4.4) is coming to stores and mailboxes! I haven't given this new smartphone much attention, but it's been stirring up quite a bit of buzz. Tomorrow, I hope to video an unboxing of fellow gadget geek Travis Fitzwater's new Nexus 5.

You'll only be able to get the Nexus 5 from AT&T (my choice), Sprint, and T-Mobile. Sorry Big Red customers, you get no Nexus love. Yet.

This is looking like a very decent smartphone, tech-wise. It's packing enough power to have motivated my pal Travis into jumping ship (or at least temporarily) from the world of Apple. It packs a 2.3GHz quad core processor made by Snapdragon, and a healthy 2Gb of RAM (this seems to be the new standard).

The display is nothing short of glorious. It looks like LG has hit a homer with the 5" 1080p screen. This seems to be the trend in smartphone screen size these days. And this big puppy is powered by a 2300mAh battery that has wireless charging capability. Very impressive.

The new Nexus 5 has a Gorilla Glass front screen and a palstic casing. You all know how big of a fan of plastic form factors I am when it comes to smartphones. But for those who are critical, I've read that the pastic on the Nexus 5 has a very silky "quality-like" feel, for whatever that's worth.

The Nexus 5 looks to be super thin, and stretches the edges of the display to the limits. It's right up to the edges of the bezel. It's slightly rounded on the sides, so that should give it a comfortable feel in the hands.

Camera-wise, you have a 1.3Mp front facing cam and an 8Mp rear main camera. That sounds like a step back, but it is supposed to have optical image stabilization (OIS) for reducing blur. That's a big plus in my opinion. I'd rather have less megapixels and blur control, because 13Mp will do you no good when you need to use a tripod to get a good picture.

Price-wise, this looks like one heck of a bargain at $349 for the 16Gb version if you're buying the device straight out. It's probably going to be $150 on contract. Add fifty bucks for the 32Gb version and it's still a great deal.

That's about all I want to cover for now. I'll wait to give more useful details when we rip into the box of Travis's new Nexus 5, and I'll have a YouTube video to share the exicitement with you! Stay tuned!

Carlton Flowers
The Gadget Master

Fall 2012 Mid-Missouri Wireless Service Coverage Status – What Route Should You Take?


With the LTE coverage race looking like a singular and lopsided win for the big red cellphone carrier, many people in Central Missouri  are trying to make the tough decision on whether or not to make a switch, or hold fast.

In our state’s capital of Jefferson City, the only LTE service currently available comes from Verizon Wireless. The timetable for the rival competitors of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (snicker) is unknown at this time. So for a person considering what the best provider for this area would be, it looks like an easy decision. Or is it?

A good friend of mine, Scot Nichols, owns 2 Droid RAZR smartphones for he and his wife on Verizon Wireless. He’s pretty pleased with the service thus far. We did some testing, and the results were pretty impressive for Jefferson City.

The download speeds for the Droid RAZR under Verizon’s LTE coverage ranged from 10 to 20Mbps. The upload speed was even more impressive, running between 13 and 19Mbps for our tests. That looks clearly better than the HSPA+ speeds I usually get on the AT&T network ranging from 1.5Mbps to as much as 10Mbps with uploads going from 500Kbps to 2Kbps.

But after Postal Jim Stuckey sent me screen shots of his Speedtest results while sitting in the Cardinal’s stadium in downtown St. Louis, I can tell you that this paints a different picture. His Samsung Galaxy S3 was averaging 20Mbps upload and 49Mbps download.

I don’t know what is documented as “typical” from the AT&T company, but several users in the STL area have reported the same speeds using Samsung, Apple, and HTC devices that are equipped with an LTE radio. 50Mbps down and 20Mbps up is quite typical with newer technology.

Back here in good old #CentralMO (Twitter hashtag), I don’t know what the timeframe is for LTE expansion. There aren’t any published reports on a timetable. It could be better than a year out. But I’m not swayed on switching services, knowing what potentially super high speeds are coming to my devices.

The choice to #CentralMO users is simple. Go with Verizon Wireless for LTE speeds right now, and slower CDMA 3G speeds when off the LTE map. Or stick with AT&T for a while, with respectable HSPA+ “4G”, and blazing fast LTE speeds at some point in the future. Or, you could go with T-Mobile that is running on the blazing fast EDGE network, with blinding speeds upwards of 5Kbps (more snickering).

Something else to consider is the plan for Verizon to drop all of the current 3G CDMA network in order to fully go with LTE service. AT&T will continue to have the HSPA+ backdrop as they expand LTE coverage.

My choice and recommendation is for sticking with AT&T. I don’t think you can go wrong with Verizon, it’s a good service. Sprint is not something I recommend for #CentralMO until we know what their future direction is, and T-Mobile gets a flat-out FAIL for our area (they have much better service in STL, however).

In the long run, I think I’ll be better off sticking with my AT&T service to have the widest range of options. But what are your thoughts on the choices of carriers in #CentralMO, or in your area of residence? Shout me out a holler in the Disqus comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Techno Craver

Does Verizon Wireless Have Their Central MO Blog Radar On?


About a year ago, AT&T St. Louis discovered the best tech blog site in the Midwest, the CZ Blog. They noticed my articles talking about their devices and wireless service. AT&T seems to be on top of all social media activity surrounding their company.

Since I was first contacted by AT&T, I have gladly made myself available to test and review many of their wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets. I don’t get paid to do it, so my opinion is somewhat unbiased.

I say “somewhat unbiased” because I am an extremely happy customer, having had my AT&T wireless account for the past 7 years. I was formerly with Sprint. I enjoyed Sprint for many years, but had to make the switch due to a big dead spot at my new place of employment.

The question I have right now is, how long will it take Verizon Wireless in Central Missouri to discover the amazing CZ Blog? I have written quite a few articles that cover their products and issues, so there should be a blip on their blog radar.

In my opinion, there are only 2 choices for wireless service in Central Missouri: AT&T and Verizon. AT&T provides excellent customer service and good coverage. Verizon has good coverage, plus 4G LTE service in Central Missouri already. Sprint is spotty, and T-Mobile doesn’t even have 3G coverage in our area. how sad is that?

To keep it fair for the top dogs in the Mid MO market, I would love to review Verizon products and report on their usability and service if offered. A lot of my readers want to know how the different providers do in our area, so this would be very valuable.

I’d love to hear a report from T-Mobile concerning the timeframe for expanding respectable high speed coverage in our market.

As of last year, when I broke the contract for my wife’s T-Mobile smartphone, they had no idea when an upgrade would come. That was during the midst of the possible AT&T buyout that did not pan out. Maybe they have new plans. I would love to hear about it if they do.

Until then, I’ll keep reporting on AT&T developments straight from the horse’s mouth, and I’ll fill you in on any worthwhile news from the other carriers concerning our Show-Me state market area.

Carlton Flowers
Avid Gadget Tester

"Dare To Compare" Why Sprint Unlimited Is Useless


Sprint is launching a campaign on their "Dare To Compare" webpage that attacks AT&T over data caps versus their unlimited data package.

Is it just me, or did someone forget to tell Sprint that unlimited crappy service is not better than limited service that works? The last time I checked, Sprint has the outdated dinosaur "4G WiMax" network that they are phasing out, while the company attempts to make the change to 4G LTE.

Right now, Sprint has a boatload of money tied up in their WiMax network. It's not helping the company at all, being forced into abandoning their version of 4G service for the newer LTE standard. Give them a year, and we'll see what happens as they promise to unlease a nation-wide LTE network.

I was a Sprint customer for 10 years, even before they were Sprint (Bell Telephone was the name in our market). I enjoyed their service, but had to let them go as AT&T nailed the first smartphone market with the iPhone, leaving the other carriers in the dust.

But the main reason that forced me to finally switch from AT&T to Sprint was the simple fact that there exists a huge dead spot in Sprint coverage where I work. Our offices moved in 2005 from central Jefferson City to the East side of town, into a dead zone. AT&T had great coverage, so I had to make the switch.

I haven't regretted making the switch. I've been very satisfied with AT&T in Jefferson City, and nationwide as a whole while traveling. I'm on pins and needles as AT&T expands LTE coverage in the State of Missouri, starting out in the St. Louis market area.

I'm hoping Sprint makes it through the pinch and ends up with a viable LTE network. Competition is good in this industry, and the more healthy competitors we have in the field, the better the products will be. But for now, if I were Sprint, I wouldn't be "daring" to compare anything until they get their network together.

Carlton Flowers
Callin' 'Em Like I See 'Em


Nextel Push-To-Talk Punches Out, AT&T Plows In


Do you remember how popular the "push-to-talk" feature was around 10 or 15 years ago when feature phones ruled the market? If you are a business customer, you quite possibly could could still be using it to this day.

Sadly, Sprint will be shutting down the Nextel network that plays host to goo-gobbles of customers using legacy push-to-talk phones.

Apparently, Sprint is pushing their new Direct Connect push-to-talk phone devices that will run on the regular Sprint network.

All the while, AT&T push-to-talk service is rolling strong, and they will be marketing a new enhanced version with events occurring in 27 cities, including Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri.

AT&T will be knocking out a huge event called the "Field Force Automation Forum" on October 2nd in STL-MO, and October 25th 2012 in KC-MO to introduce the newly enhanced service. Check out the KC event registration page, and the St. Louis event registration page by clicking the links.

Push-to-talk is a convenient and often integral part of business communications, offering a much-needed method of 2-way conversations similar to a walkie talkie radio.

It is heavily used by construction site workers, engineers, police officers, service and repair professionals, event planners, taxi drivers, and more. The big benefit is the ability to talk to a group of people instantly, without waiting for someone to answer.

Carlton Flowers
Communications Collaborator

Why You Shouldn't Buy Your Samsung Galaxy S3 From Sprint


If your heart is set on buying the monumental Samsung Galaxy S3 superphone and you are a Sprint customer, I have a bit of advice for you before you spend your money and lock into a contract: SWITCH TO AT&T.

That's pretty blunt advice. And don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash or be overly critical of Sprint. Nor am I just "promoting" AT&T. But it's for your own good, and it's due to the hardware that is built into the new Galaxy S3.

Here's the deal...

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has an LTE 4G radio built in. Sprint does not carry any 4G LTE service. Their version of 4G is "WiMax". It's a completely different standard on its own separate hardware network.

WiMax service is going the way of the dinosaur, and that is why many smartphone manufacturers are getting away from it. Samsung has decided not to invest in equipping the Sprint version of the SGS3 with a WiMax radio.

If you do choose to get a Galaxy S3 from Sprint, just understand that you won't be able to run it on their WiMax network. As a matter of fact, you won't even get to run it on the enhanced HSPA+ 4G network (the 2nd-generation of 3G service) like you can through AT&T and T-Mobile.

With your new Sprint SGS3, the best you will get is "EVDO" 3G service on the CDMA network. If you don't know what that means, all you need to know is that it old, slow, and outdated. EVDO 3G is slower than regular GSM 3G service, and it is far slower than HSPA+ "4G" service.

This all might sound confusing, sure enough. But to make it simple, you have 2 types of 4G service with AT&T: They are HSPA+ 4G, and LTE 4G. HSPA+ is the enhanced 3G network which has been enabled to run at tremendously higher speeds than that of standard 3G. 4G LTE is a completely new hardware network that is absolutly mind-boggling blazing fast in download speeds.

So if you are putting your money down on a Galaxy S3 from Sprint, you better understand that you are buying into a network that is basically two generations old when compared to AT&T, Verizon, or even T-Mobile.

If you are patient and you just love Sprint as a provider, you'll eventually get 4G LTE service. But it could be a while before you see it. They do plan on rolling out several major cities this year, but the majority of customers will not see LTE 4G service for a year or two.

And now you know the ressssst, of the story!

Carlton Flowers
Good Day!


Get your Samsung Galaxy S3 through Amazon Wireless today on pre-order for only $189! Enjoy all of the benefits of this outrageously amazing superphone featuring a whopping 4.8" Super AMOLED Plus display, a rock-solid Gorilla Glass II screen that is resistant to cracks and breakage, full 1080p HD viewing, Face Unlock facial recognition, blazing fast 4G LTE download speeds on the AT&T Wireless network, Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system, and so much more! Click the link or the thumbnail now to jump to Amazon Wireless and be one of the first to own one of the most cutting-edge smartphones on the market today!

Amazon Penny Sale


Sprint SmartphonesHowdy there guys and gals, I thought I'd pass on a good deal for you. Though I am not a huge fan of Sprint, I thought it would be worth letting those of you know who might be stuck with them that they are doing a one cent sale on all smartphones until the end of the month.

I used to be a longtime Sprint customer, but I bailed for AT&T after my employer moved to a new building that was right in the middle of a huge dead spot for Sprint. But there are still many people in the Jefferson City area that have good Sprint coverage who plan on sticking with their carrier, so this is for you.

If you are undecided on which phone to get, I'll make a few suggestions for you. Then, all you need to do is hit the link and you will be taken to Amazon Wireless where you will be able to upgrade your Sprint account and order one of these nice smartphones for a penny. Of course all new Sprint accounts will get the deal too, if you were wondering.

Here are a few phones that I would recommend to you that are on sale:


This is the flagship smartphone coming from Samsung. I own the AT&T version of this phone, and I have absolutely no complaints. You can get the Sprint version in black and white, and it packs a lot of features including a gorgeous 4.5" Super AMOLED PLUS display, 1GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory, Sprint's WiMax 4G connectivity, dual cameras, Android Gingerbread operating system, and a whole lot more. This is a great phone to use for surfing the net, reading, watching video content, and running any number of the gazillion apps available from Google's Play Store. You're not going to be disappointed with this phone, and I give it my top recommendation.


The Nexus S has a really interesting design. The 4" screen is curved, and its contoured shape really fits your hand and your face. If you're into ergonomics, this would be your smartphone of choice. The Nexus S has a 1.2GHz cpu, dual cameras, and DVD-quality video recording. You'll get Sprint's WiMax 4G service for surfing the net at high speeds. It also has 1GB of ram and 16GB of internal memory for storing all of your apps, data, and music content. If you are looking for something a little different, give this one a try!


This is a super fun phone with a large 4.3" qHD display that guarantees to amaze viewers with its real 3D capability. You've got dual cameras on this phone (front and rear facing), but the rear of the phone features dual 5 megapixel cameras for shooting video and taking pictures in 3D! You can view the content in full 3D quality without the aid of glasses. I had to see it to believe it, but it really works. The EVO 3D gives you all the standard hardware specs that you would expect to have in order to fully enjoy the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. If you are into 3D viewing, this is your phone!


This is a cool little phone from HTC, one of my favorite Android smartphone manufacturers. It's a great follow-up to the original HTC EVO smartphone, and has a nice 4" qHD display that fits perfectly in your hand. It runs on the Sprint WiMax 4G network, has an 8GB SD card included, and the capability to upgrade to 32GB. This is a durable phone that has a high quality build, typical of HTC devices. If you want a little bit smaller of a device than the big 4.5" display that the other smartphones have, this would be a great pick. So there you have it. There are plenty more choices for you, but those are my favorites. Pop on over to the Amazon Wireless Sprint Store and grab your smartphone for a cent with your 2-year contract agreement before April 30th!

Carlton Flowers

Smartphone Gadgeteer