Some Samsung users say their phones randomly sent photos to contacts

Some Samsung users say their phones randomly sent photos to contacts
Some Samsung users are complaining that their smartphones randomly sent photos and scheduled texts to contacts. According to posts on Reddit and Samsung’s official support boards first spotted by Gizmodo, the devices affected include the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 8. Their owners say that Samsung Messages, the default texting app for Galaxy devices, pushed photos and scheduled texts to random contacts, but left no record of the messages being sent.
One Reddit user says his Galaxy S9+ sent his entire photo library to a contact in the middle of the night while he was asleep (fortunately, that contact was his partner). The poster says that even though there was no evidence of the mass photo sharing in Samsung Messages, it showed up on his T-Mobile logs. He also added that he has never used the Shared tab in Samsung Gallery app, which lets users send photos through messaging apps, email or social media without leaving their photo gallery.
The issue also appears to be affecting some text messages. On Samsung’s Galaxy S9 support board, a user said Samsung Messages became buggy after a T-Mobile RCS/advanced messaging update on his phone. Errors included scheduled text messages ending up in the wrong threads.
Many complaints posted online are from people who said they are T-Mobile customers and recently updated Samsung Messages, leading to a theory that the issue may have been triggered by the carrier’s recent RCS (Rich Communication Services) updates. RCS is supposed to improve texting by adding features like group chat, video and GIF support, and file and location sharing. Since several accounts said photos had been randomly sent to partners or family members, there is also speculation that the problem affects shared plans.
In a statement, a Samsung spokesperson said “We are aware of the reports regarding this matter and our technical teams are looking into it. Concerned customers are encouraged to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.” TechCrunch has also reached out to T-Mobile for comment. The carrier told Gizmodo that “it’s not a T-mobile issues” and asked users to contact Samsung.
There are currently two fixes if you are worried about the issue affecting your device. First, you can go into its app settings and revoke Samsung Message’s ability to access your storage, which means it won’t be able to send anything stored on your phone, including photos. This may be a pain, however, because it means if you do want to send photos or files through the app, you need to restore permission in Settings again. The second fix is to stop using Samsung Messages until the company says the issue has been resolved and switch to a third-party messaging app instead.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

T-Mobile and Sprint have finally announced a merger agreement

T-Mobile and Sprint have finally announced a merger agreement

Sprint and T-Mobile, after years of going back and forth as to whether they are going to tie up two of the largest telecom providers in the U.S., have announced that the two companies have entered a merger agreement this morning.

The merger will be an all-stock transaction, and will now be subject to regulatory approval. That latter part is going to be its biggest challenge, because it will not only tie up the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers into the U.S. into a single unit, but also that international organizations hold significant stakes in both companies. SoftBank controls a majority of Sprint while Deutsche Telekom controls a significant chunk of T-Mobile. Following the administration’s intervention in the Broadcom-Qualcomm takeover attempt, it isn’t clear what will actually go through in terms of major mergers these days.

Bloomberg is reporting that Deutsche Telekom will have 42% ownership of the combined company, while SoftBank will own around 27% of the company.

As expected, the argument here is for the expansion of 5G networks as plans for that start to ramp up. T-Mobile argues in its announcement that it will help it be competitive with AT&T and Verizon as telecom companies start to roll out a next-generation 5G network, though it does in the end remove a carrier choice for end consumers in the U.S..

“The New T-Mobile will have the network capacity to rapidly create a nationwide 5G network with the breadth and depth needed to enable U.S. firms and entrepreneurs to continue to lead the world in the coming 5G era, as U.S. companies did in 4G,” T-Mobile said in a statement as part of the announcement. “The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately. T-Mobile deployed nationwide LTE twice as fast as Verizon and three times faster than AT&T, and the combined company is positioned to do the same in 5G with deep spectrum assets and network capacity.”

Both companies appeared to be finalizing the deal on Friday, when they set valuation terms and were preparing to announce the merger today. The deal values Sprint at an enterprise value of around $59 billion, with the combined company having an enterprise value of $146 billion. AT&T has a market cap of around $214 billion, while Verizon has a market cap of around $213 billion, as of Sunday.

The transaction, the companies said, is of course subject to regulatory approval. But, pending approval, it is expected to close “no later than the first half of 2019.”

Disclosure: Verizon is the parent company of Oath, which owns TechCrunch.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

T-Mobile is reportedly much closer to a merger deal with Sprint

T-Mobile is reportedly much closer to a merger deal with Sprint

It looks like a potential merger deal between T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the major telecom companies in the U.S., is getting closer and now has set valuation terms, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The deal could be announced as soon as Sunday, according to a report by CNBC. The proposed tie-up of the two companies was called off in November last year, but now that deal appears to be coming closer, with T-Mobile’s backer valuing Sprint at around $24 billion, according to Bloomberg. As part of the deal, Deutsche Telekom AG will get a 69% voting interest on a 42% stake in the company, according to that report. (Both reports, however, disagree on the valuation — with CNBC citing a $26 billion valuation.)

This deal seems to have been a long time coming, and consolidates two of the four major telecom providers in the U.S. into one larger entity. That could, in theory, offer it some more flexibility as they expand into 5G networks. Still, a deal of this scale could still fall apart and would be subject to regulation — with significant international ownership of both companies (Softbank for Sprint, and Deutsche Telekom for T-Mobile).

Sprint shares fell more than 8% in extended trading to under $6, while T-Mobile shares were largely unchanged. Shares of Sprint were up around 8% on the day up to $6.50 in early trading.

A representative from Sprint declined to comment. A representative from T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

FCC dings T-Mobile $40M for faking rings on calls that never connected

FCC dings T-Mobile M for faking rings on calls that never connected

T-Mobile will pay $40 million as part of a settlement with the FCC for playing ringing sounds to mislead customers into thinking their calls were going through when in fact they had never connected in the first place. The company admitted it had done so “hundreds of millions” of times over the years.

The issue at hand is that when someone is trying to call an area with poor connectivity, it can sometimes take several seconds to establish a line to the other party — especially if a carrier itself does not serve the area in question and has to hand off the call to a local provider. That’s exactly what T-Mobile was doing, and there’s nothing wrong with it — just a consequence of spotty coverage in rural areas.

But what is prohibited is implying to the caller that their call has gone through and is ringing on the other end, if that’s not the case. Which is also exactly what T-Mobile was doing, and had been doing since 2007. Its servers began sending a “local ring back tone” when a call took a certain amount of time to complete around then.

As the FCC estimates it, and T-Mobile later confirmed:

Because T-Mobile applied this practice to out-of-network calls from its customers on SIP routes that took more than a certain amount of time on a nationwide basis and without regard to time of day, the LRBT was likely injected into hundreds of millions of calls each year.

It’s not just a bad idea: it’s against the law. In 2014 the FCC’s Rural Call Completion Order took effect, prohibiting exactly this practice, which it called “false audible ringing”:

[O]ccurs when an originating or intermediate provider prematurely triggers audible ring tones to the caller before the call setup request has actually reached the terminating rural provider. That is, the calling party believes the phone is ringing at the called party’s premises when it is not. An originating or intermediate provider may do this to mask the silence that the caller would otherwise hear during excessive call setup time. As a result, the caller may often hang up, thinking nobody is available to receive the call. False audible ringing can also make it appear to the caller that the terminating rural provider is responsible for the call failure, instead of the originating or intermediate provider.

Users and carriers complained after this rule took effect, and also sought remedy with T-Mobile directly. The FCC looked into it and T-Mobile reported that it had solved the problem — but complaints continued. It became clear that the company had been violating the rule for years and in great volume and had not in fact stopped; hence the settlement and $40 million penalty.

T-Mobile will also have to take action within 90 days to stop the practice (if it hasn’t already) and issue regular reports to the FCC every year for the next three years that it is still in compliance. You can read the full consent decree here (PDF).

Update: FCC Commissioner Clyburn points out in a separate statement that despite evidence of widespread consumer harm, there’s nothing for users in the settlement.

[T]here is absolutely nothing in this consent decree to compensate consumers. Prior consent decrees have included direct-to-consumer benefits, such as refunds or discounts, or notifications to customers who have been impacted.

Despite demonstrating a clear and tangible consumer harm, in this consent decree, consumers are treated as a mere
afterthought.

The $40 million civil penalty, which will be paid to the U.S. Treasury, is dwarfed by larger, unpaid fines recently proposed against individual robocallers—and the volume of potential violations here outpaces any robocalling action the Commission has taken. And the compliance plan does not contain any concessions that would explain such a massive discount.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

These will be the first cities getting 5G from Sprint and T-Mobile

These will be the first cities getting 5G from Sprint and T-Mobile
 Just last week, AT&T announced the first handful of cities where it’ll roll out its 5G network later this year. Today at Mobile World Congress, T-Mobile and Sprint did the same. Sprint’s first 5G networks will go live in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Houston. T-Mobile will fire up 5G in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas first. Read More

Source: Mobile – Techcruch