T-Mobile Adds Mexico, Canada to Simple Choice Plan

north america flags

After July 15,  T-Mobile users traveling to Mexico or Canada will use 4G LTE data straight from their existing plan instead of paying additional roaming fees.

The company recently announced an expansion of its Simple Choice plan. The new plan could be of special interest to small business owners who travel to either country regularly.

Named ‘Mobile Without Borders,’ the move delivers calling to both landline and mobile phones — and most notably, 4G data straight from your plan — across three countries. T-Mobile claims its Simple Choice mobile plan is the first and only of its kind to span an entire continent.

The move could eliminate a major pain point for U.S. wireless customers who do business in Mexico or Canada by keeping their data costs the same when in these countries as it is at home, the company says.

During a press and analyst call simulcast via Periscope for the general public, T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert explained:

“Over 70 percent of international trips taken by small and mid-sized business travelers were to Mexico and Canada [in 2014].”

During the same year, a release issued by the company claimed carriers collected nearly $10 billion in global roaming charges at over 90 percent margins.

The new “Mobile Without Borders” expansion on the existing Simple Choice data plan is an obvious swipe at rivals AT&T and Verizon.

T-Mobile claims both carriers’ rates for data jump by about 120-times when users leave the U.S.

For example, T-Mobile says business owners who travel to Mexico or Canada could pay anywhere from $30 to $245 per line, per month.

The company claims that last year, U.S. wireless customers’ long-distance calls to Mexico and Canada totaled approximately 25 billion minutes.

Assuming even half those minutes were mobile-to-mobile, T-Mobile says the total pay-per-use cost could be as much as $7.5 billion. And, even if every customer paid for additional international long-distance (ILD) packages, the cost could still total up to $130 million, the company insists.

Still, the claims of long distance companies must be taken with a grain of salt.

One example was in 2014 when carriers were beginning to move to unlimited voice and text and charging for data transfer instead.

At the time, T-Mobile introduced a plan starting at $50 with 1 GB of high-speed data transfer on its 4G LTE network. The company claimed it was offering more data for less when compared with its competitors.

Meanwhile, plans from AT&T started at $65 per month with 2 GB of data.

The idea of paying from the same data plan even when traveling to Canada or Mexico and avoiding added roaming fees could certainly be appealing.

But small business owners or employees who travel regularly to these countries should do some additional homework and watch for similar offers from other carriers to find the best deal available.

North American Flags Photo via Shutterstock


Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Is Said to Plan Improved Cloud Services by Unifying Teams

Apple Inc. plans to unify its separate Internet services groups into a single campus to better compete with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. in the cloud, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple cloud services teams run by executive Eddy Cue, including Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News and parts of iTunes and Apple Music, will move together into the company’s existing Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California, the people said. Currently, most Apple services are developed separately from each other in office parks rented out in other parts of Cupertino and Sunnyvale, California.

The current structure contributes to software bugs and slow product development, the people said. Bringing the teams together at a single, dedicated campus is designed to improve growth of the services business and fight competition from Google and Amazon, the people added. They did not want to be identified talking about private Apple plans. Apple declined to comment.

As iPhone growth slows and Apple goes behind the scenes to develop new hardware, the services business has been a bright spot. It grew almost 20 percent in the third quarter and may soon pass the Mac and iPad as Apple’s second-largest revenue source. Still, Apple’s cloud services have been criticized by users because of technical issues and a lack of new features. The company also stumbled in 2008 with MobileMe and in 2012 with Maps.

Cloud Space
Space for the cloud teams at the current headquarters will begin to open as Apple inches toward the launch of Apple Campus 2, a futuristic, spherical structure with multiple floors of open work space. Apple will begin moving employees there in 2017, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in March. Apple broke ground on the new campus in 2013, following a well-documented announcement by company co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

While many Apple executives want to relocate their teams to the new campus, Cue thinks unifying at the old campus is a suitable way to improve his organization, one of the people said.

A committee of Apple managers is working on the plan to reorganize Apple across its current and future locations. Recently that plan has changed, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Apple originally expected up to 13,000 employees at the new campus. Now that number will increase by thousands and Apple is adjusting internal office space accordingly, the person said.

The new building features open floor plans and few traditional offices. While some of Apple’s senior vice presidents are expected to see their offices move over to the new campus – less than a five minute drive from the current headquarters – management must be at a vice president level or above to get a formal office, one of the people said. Previous plans included office space for senior directors, who report to vice presidents.

The new campus will be made up of bench seating, long work tables, and open cubicle spaces, potentially irking employees used to quiet office environments, two people briefed on the new campus’s plans said.

Apple’s Pie
Apple is also reorganizing its cloud computing resources to bolster its services business. The company is moving its infrastructure – things like software to process Siri queries and Apple Music downloads – onto a single, Apple-made system, according to people familiar with the matter. Code-named Pie, the platform gives Apple more control and may speed up load times.

Apple has begun moving over parts of Siri, the iTunes Store, and Apple News to the new platform, one of the people said. Apple plans to move other services, including Maps, to its new system over the next few years. Apple has also developed an internal photo storage system dubbed McQueen to gradually end its reliance on Google and Amazon servers, the people said.

The company recently indicated it is taking the cloud more seriously by hiring former Time Warner Cable executive Peter Stern as a vice president leading cloud services.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Apple, Mobiles, Apps, Tim Cook

Apple Said to Plan iPhone for Japan With Tap-to-Pay for Subways

Apple Said to Plan iPhone for Japan With Tap-to-Pay for Subways


  • A future iPhone will include technology called FeliCa
  • Apple intends to work with multiple transit card providers
  • The FeliCa chip is able to process a transaction in 0.1 seconds

Apple is planning a new iPhone feature for Japan that will enable users to pay for mass-transit rides with their smartphones instead of physical payment cards.

A future iPhone will include technology called FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay standard in Japan developed by Sony Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The FeliCa chip will let customers in Japan store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. Users would then be able to tap their phones against the entrance scanners instead of using physical cards. While the FeliCa chip is the standard technology underlying the service, there are several different providers of transit payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan.

The Near Field Communication technology powering Apple’s mobile-payments service, Apple Pay, is prevalent in North America, Europe and Australia, but the FeliCa standard dominates Japan with a penetration of 1.9 million payment terminals, according to the Bank of Japan. The terminals handled 4.6 trillion yen ($46 billion or Rs. 308,478 crores) in transactions in 2015. Last year, there were 1.3 million NFC terminals in the US and 320,000 in the UK, according to research from Let’s Talk Payments and the UK Cards Association.

Apple intends to work with multiple transit card providers, one person said. The major players there include the Suica and Pasmo networks. Theoretically, virtual representations of the transit passes would be stored in the iPhone’s Wallet application, said the person, who asked not be identified because the planning is private. The card companies sell access to transit services both as-needed and via monthly packages.

Apple’s opportunity in Japan is significant with the country alone representing 8 percent of the company’s total revenue and almost 11 percent of operating profit in the most recent quarter.

Apple has planned to launch these new features with the next iPhone models, which the company is set to unveil in September, according to people familiar with the matter. However, the company could hold back the transit card feature to next year’s model if discussions with the Japan-based payment networks fall apart, one person said. Apple is already at work on a major redesign of the iPhone for 2017 that focuses more heavily on the display by removing the Home button, according to a person familiar with the matter.

(Also see: Apple Developing Virtual Home Button for Future iPhone Models: Report)

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The FeliCa chip is able to process a transaction in 0.1 seconds, according to Sony. Super-swift transaction speeds are critical for adoption in the fast-paced environment of Japan’s transit network, the person said. Each sale over Apple Pay currently goes through a server and requires bank approval — which can slow the process.

In addition to supporting the transit-pass network, the FeliCa chip can also store e-money, an electric form of currency now widely accepted at vending machines, convenience stores and cafes in Japan. Apple is in discussions with at least one major financial institution to support these e-money transactions, according to one of the people.

Apple Pay first launched in October 2014 in the US with the iPhone 6 and has since expanded to Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, France, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK. Apple Pay contributes to the company’s rapidly growing services business, which grew 19 percent year-over-year to about $6 billion (roughly Rs. 40,218 crores) in the fiscal third quarter.

Earlier this month, Apple struck a deal with Japan-based phone carrier KDDI to allow customers to bill iTunes purchases to their phone service bill instead of directly to their credit card. Apple’s deal with the Japanese carrier is indicative of Apple’s payment-related negotiations with firms in Japan and follows up the company’s work on activating carrier-based iTunes billing in Germany, the UK, Russia, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

In tandem with the upcoming mobile payments launch for Japan, Apple is preparing to ship mass-transit navigation support for Japan in its iPhone Maps application, the company posted on its website in July. This feature, coming in iOS 10 later this year, will allow users to find departure and arrival times for transportation across the region.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Sony, FelliCa, Mobile

Apple Launches 2TB iCloud Storage Plan Ahead of iPhone 7 Event

Apple Launches 2TB iCloud Storage Plan Ahead of iPhone 7 Event
It costs $19.99 in the US
50GB, 200GB, 1TB iCloud storage options still available
The iPhone 7 is set to launch on September 7
Apple has introduced a new tier in its iCloud storage plans. Alongside the 1TB plan, the Cupertino giant has now introduced a 2TB plan for $19.99 per month as well. For Indian users, the new plan costs Rs. 1,300 per month.

This move comes just a week before the iPhone 7 launch event on September 7. Apple is heavily rumoured to unveil the new 256GB storage variant, and upping the iCloud storage plan seems certainly seems to be an associated strategic move.

Expanding to 2TB would follow the current iCloud storage pattern, as 9to5Mac notes. The former largest tier, 1TB, was roughly eight times as large as the top storage model – 128GB. With the bump up to 2TB of iCloud storage available to users, Apple appears to want to maintain the same ratio for the anticipated 256GB storage variant.

For users who are unaware, when you first sign up for iCloud storage, the first 5GB is free. After that, Apple offers plans for 50GB, 200GB, 1TB, and now 2TB as well. In the US, these plans cost $0.99, $2.99, $9.99, and $19.99 per month respectively. In India, these plans cost Rs. 65, Rs. 190, Rs. 650, and Rs. 1,300 per month respectively. For other countries, check the price list here.
In any case, Apple is going to unveil the iPhone 7 with its new storage options next week. This year, Apple is sticking with minor changes and looks to break its tick-tock cycle. The camera on the 4.7-inch variant is pegged to get OIS, while the 5.5-inch variant is said to sport a new dual camera module. The company is ditching the 16GB base storage variant, in favour of 32GB. There’s also a Space Black variant that is expected to be introduced.

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Tags: apple, mobiles, iCloud, iCloud Storage, 2TB iCloud Storage, iOS, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 plus


Reliance’s sport plan for Jio

Reliance Jio seeks to sign up 100 million users in one year before the commercial launch. Photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Reliance Jio seeks to join up one hundred million users in 365 days before the commercial launch.photograph: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
New Delhi: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd isn’t targeting excessivecease purchasers with its telecom offerings. at least its preliminary plan to sign on a hundred million users in 12 months beforethe economic launch shows that it’s miles combining highpace information with low-to-mid varietyphones.

Reliance Jio’s Lyf cell telephones will be priced among Rs.4,000 and Rs.19,000—a rate segment that hasmerchandise from a plethora of device makers who’re aiming to seize a slice of the market, two peopleacquainted with the problem stated, asking for anonymity.

“It became a aware choice to be in this variety because this is where the maximum offtake occurs in India. Secondly, if you see, India is turning into a singledevice usa. From home to workplace, a majority of the humans eat information, videos on cellular phones; so human beings need accurate handsetsand those want to invest in one product that’s reasonably-priced and yet of right first-class,” stated one of the people.

The precise promoting proposition of these gadgets may be their capability to transform an ongoing voice name to a records call at a unmarried command with out interrupting or disconnecting the decision.

other sights of the platform include Jio money, a payment software. except payments, the carrier will even cover patron services in e-fitness, e-trade and e-training.

Jio Play, a 24×7 capture on tv for customers with all channels and a backup of seven days and zerobuffering time lags, may also be available.

The enterprise has tied up with a public health centre in Punjab wherein it’s far presently testing its e-fitness offerings. A affected person, as an instance, may be tested thru a video name, and analysis can be done although the affected person does now not have a document of his past contamination.

“So, the bottom line is there may be enough appetite inside the marketplace for records, and peoplewill locate revolutionary uses of the equal,” stated the primary person noted above.

in line with Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner Inc., it’ll be exciting to discover how beneficialare the bundling of 4G records services that Reliance Jio will provide as India continues to be warming as much as the concept of content material consumption for a diffusion of makes use of.

“So, what Jio does beyond content with 4G and limitless net might be a key driving force,” Tripathi said.

however Tripathi has reservations approximately Jio offerings being available only on Lyf telephonesinside the beginning.

that is questionable as humans will not go away their smartphones and shift to their (Reliance Jio’s)devices. any person who purchased a Rs.6,000 cellphone might hesitate to spend an amount again tobuy a Lyf smartphone,” Tripathi brought.

To make certain, bundling smartphones with services has not been too a hit in the Indian marketplace.

“So, if Jio pursuits to introduce bundling, what’s their fee and carrier factors to get better capital cost, andif they observe the alternative model, then there is nothing new to provide because the marketplace is already full with such gadgets. additionally, will they be able to generate that form of ARPU (commonrevenue in step with user) to fit the value of bundling?” said a area expert who also asked anonymity.

The stakes are excessive. Mukesh Ambani has made the arena’s biggest guess by way of investing $22 billion (about Rs.1.five trillion) in Jio, that’s successfully his 2d coming to the arena.

Mukesh Ambani launched Reliance Infocomm Ltd, now Reliance Communications Ltd and run via his more youthful brother Anil Ambani, in 2002.

the dimensions of investments inside the task by way of figure Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has already raised issues among buyers. but the big capital investments has ensured that Reliance Jio has the very best amount of 4G spectrum, get admission to to the widest optical fibre network in India and superiorgeneration.

“We recognise there may be a postpone (within the launch of Reliance Jio offerings), however we needto present it our quality shot,” said the character mentioned above.

to start with, these services will only be provided via Lyf gadgets but the business enterprise is alsotesting the offerings with products of at least forty tool makers, together with Samsung Electronics Co. and Lenovo group Ltd.

Reliance Retail’s LYF emerged as India’s fifthlargest cellphone emblem via volume within the firstregion post launch, growing a flutter in India—the sector’s quickest developing cellphone marketplacethat is led via Samsung, according to facts from Counterpoint research.

generally, Reliance Jio plans to offer net velocity of 8-10 mbps. additionally, the company has give you500,000 squarefeet facts centre space already operational in Navi Mumbai, Nagpur and Noida, and it plansto feature another 500,000 sq. feet earlier than its legit industrial launch—due in 4-to-five months.

“The purpose of these facts centres is to paintings as garage potential and server for all of the programsresiding on their community,” said the man or woman privy to Jio’s plans.

Blatstein’s new Broad and Washington plan disappoints design board


New renderings, submitted by developer Bart Blatstein to the Civic Design Review Committee, show changes made to the proposed mixed-use apartment tower and rooftop village at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
by Jacob Adelman, Inquirer Staff Writer @jacobadelman
A design-review board for the city’s biggest building projects expressed disappointment Tuesday with the latest version of developer Bart Blatstein’s plans for the northwest corner of Broad Street and Washington Avenue, saying it still overwhelms the South Philadelphia site.

Blatstein’s plan for a 32-story-high tower and outdoor shopping mall atop a podium of parking and larger-format stores suffers from overly long, unbroken facades and too few street-level entries, among other problems, members of the Civic Design Review board said at a meeting.

“If this is the best you can do to improve this scheme, in my mind, I’d go back to the drawing board,” CDR chairwoman Nancy Rogo Trainer said.

The presentation was the proposal’s second to the CDR board, before which projects passing certain size thresholds and other criteria must be submitted for nonbinding design suggestions.

On March 1, board members criticized the design for placing retail attractions atop the four-story-high podium at its base, undermining street-level activity around the site. They also voiced concern about its overabundance of parking and large expanses of opaque building materials.

In the design presented Tuesday, an indoor staircase leading from the street to the aboveground shopping plaza was brought into the open air, in response to suggestions calling for better access to the shops atop the podium. Architects also moved the residential tower slightly closer to the Broad Street side of the podium, away from residential streets.
But panel members were unimpressed with the alterations.

“It still feels like a wall between Center City and South Philadelphia,” said Trainer, who suggested a throughway to break up the four-acre site.

Blatstein defended his project, saying many modifications, such as the consolidation of two towers into one, had already been made in response to community input, in addition to the most recent round of changes.

He said that it would be impossible to break up the site without creating “a dark alley,” and that the large unbroken podium-top space was needed to achieve the necessary scale to make his project work.

“The fact that the site is so large allows for something very special and very different for development in Philadelphia,” Blatstein told the board. “I understand that maybe it’s something hard to get your head around, but I’ve seen examples of this around the world.”

He declined after the hearing to elaborate on where he’d seen the examples, saying he had a meeting to attend.

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Mahindra & Mahindra board approves plan to transfer agri-business to its subsidiary

Our agri-business is aligned to our long term vision of delivering farm tech prosperity, says Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group

Our agri-business is aligned to our long term vision of delivering farm tech prosperity, says Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group

The group’s agri-business turnover touched Rs. 900 crore

The board of directors of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) approved a proposal to transfer the company’s agri-business to its 100 per cent subsidiary, Mahindra Shubhlabh Services Ltd., (MSSL) to bring it under one entity for focused growth.

“Our agri-business is aligned to our long term vision of delivering farm tech prosperity. Today, we have multiple businesses under different entities, bringing them all together would provide the right environment to maximize synergies and create value for all shareholders,” said Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, M&M said, “Our agri-business has reached a critical mass now and this new entity would provide an opportunity to fully leverage the potential that these businesses offer and thus function as an end-to-end provider in the agri value chain.

“The transfer of the business offers an opportunity for immense value creation in agriculture. This consolidation will also enable the organisation to focus on agri-business and will allow us to serve the farmers with greater passion,” he added.


The group’s agri-business turnover touched Rs. 900 crore and the Mahindras thought the business should be allowed to grow independently.

The agri-business covers crop care, seeds, seed potato, pulses, edible oil, grapes, dairy products and micro irrigation and has vast potential for growth, according to a company statement.

Q3 net declines 14 %

Mahindra & Mahindra reported standalone net profit of Rs. 808 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015 compared to Rs.942 crore in the year-ago period, a reduction of 14 per cent.

“Excluding exceptional items, the net profit for the current quarter is Rs.745 crore as against Rs.643 crore in the same period last year, a growth of 16 per cent.” the company said. The company reported a total income of Rs. 11,697 crore compared with Rs.10,033 crore, an increase of 17 per cent.

The net profit of M&M and its 100 per cent subsidiary Mahindra Vehicles Manufacturers Ltd. (MVML) for the quarter was Rs.821 crore against Rs.667 crore, up 23 per cent. The combined entity reported total income of Rs.11,570 crore compared to Rs.9,931 crore,up 17 per cent.

“The combined entity has continued its leadership position in both the utility vehicles segment and the domestic tractor market with a market share of 38.6 per cent and 42.7 per cent respectively. On the back of good customer acceptance of TUV 300 and increased sale of XUV 500 the combined entity sold 58,660 utility vehicles during the quarter which is a growth of 18 per cent,” said Pawan Goenka. It sold 59,883 tractors in the domestic market and exported 2,881 tractors during the quarter. The KUV 100, which was introduced recently, has received 18,000 bookings, he said.

Keywords: Mahindra & Mahindra, agri-business