Apple has been called a lot of things over the years: Innovative, visionary, controlling, doomed. One thing it hasn’t really been called is “super active on Twitter.”

The tech giant does have Twitter feeds for several of its products, offering tips and new announcements for the App Store, iTunes, Beats 1 Radio, and Apple Music. Apple executives Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Angela Ahrendts, and Eddy Cue also have their own Twitter accounts. But there’s no all-encompassing @Apple account—or at least not one that does anything.

Today Apple seems to have just come down with a serious case of Tweetin’ fever! A new microbloggin’ help desk called @AppleSupport just launched, serving up “tips, tricks and helpful information.” (You’ll notice that Apple ditches serial commas like they’re MagSafe connectors, optical drives, or skeuomorphism.) The verified Twitter account also offers on-call answers to all those who @ it.

That’s the idea, anyway. @AppleSupport hadn’t responded to our Twitter test-queries at writing time. But that’s probably because they’re really busy: In the three hours since the account was started, it has churned out 400 tweets and counting. The average wait time for a response looks like it’s about two hours.

In most cases, anyone who asks the @AppleSupport account a question is instructed to move the conversation to DM and provide more information about the hardware they’re using.

Wait, what’s DM? Well, they’ll even help you out with that one:

@ftahan DM stands for Direct Message in Twitter.

— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) March 3, 2016

Watch this video on The Scene.

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Remember the Apple AC adapters with the swappable prongs? The little plugin piece would slide so conveniently into the charging side? Apple said today that some of the swappable AC adapters have been found to present a risk of electrical shock. So some of those are being recalled—and by some, we mean a lot.

If you bought one of these bad boys between 2003 and 2015 in Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina, or Brazil, you should send it back. If you bought one of Apple’s World Traveler Adapter Kits during that period of time, yours is one of the affected as well. The issue is with the two-pronged power connector used in those regions.

Follow the instructions here to find out if you have one of those bad plugs. If you do, the unsafe device can be exchanged for a safer one at an Apple Store or certified Apple service shop.


That little “EUR” in the image above means everything is good. If you’ve got one of the old models, then you’re at risk of “electrical shock if touched.” So don’t use it, just give it back to Apple.

A young man separates cobalt from mud and rocks at a mine located between Lubumbashi and Kolwezi in the DRC, on May 31, 2015. Federico Scoppa/Getty Images

Children as young as seven are working 12-hour days in dangerous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mine the cobalt many global tech firms use in their smartphones, computers and cars, according to a report Amnesty International and African Resources Watch (Afrewatch) released today. The report claims the companies, which include Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, are not performing the basic checks that would ensure mineral mining operations don’t use child labor.

Cobalt is a mineral used in the rechargeable lithium batteries that power many smart devices. More than half the world’s cobalt comes from the DRC, a country long criticized for its use of child labor. In 2012, Unicef said 40,000 children worked in mines throughout the southern part of the country, and many of them were involved in cobalt mining.

The authors of the current report interviewed 87 people, including 17 children, working at five different mine sites. People described working for as little as a dollar a day while enduring violence, extortion, intimidation, and health problems. Amnesty International and Afrewatch, an African NGO, say mines employing those people provided the cobalt in lithium batteries sold to 16 multinational brands.

The cobalt reportedly came from Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM), one of the largest mineral processors in the DRC and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese mineral company Huayou Cobalt. The report says Huayou Cobalt sells to battery manufacturers, who say they sell to companies including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and also Sony, Vodafone and others. Responding to Amnesty International, Huayou Cobalt said it had no knowledge that the suppliers upon which it relied had hired child labor or operated unsafe working conditions.

Samsung, Sony and Vodafone denied having a connection to this supply chain or to DRC Cobalt when asked by the authors of the report. Apple said it is evaluating a number of different materials, including cobalt, to identify both labor and environmental risks, according to the human rights groups, while Microsoft said it hadn’t traced cobalt use in Microsoft products all the way to the smelter level “due to the complexity and resources required.”

The DRC has a long history of conflict driven by its massive mineral wealth. According to a 2011 United Nations Environment Program report, “The DRC has the largest artisanal mining workforce in the world—around two million people—but a lack of controls have led to land degradation and pollution. Its untapped mineral reserves are of global importance and are estimated to be worth US$24 trillion.”

Meanwhile, as global demand for cobalt rises, the market remains largely unregulated because it is outside the “conflict mineral” legislation regulating the extraction and sale of other minerals like gold and tin from the DRC. The new report’s authors are calling on multinational companies to better investigate their supply chains and be more transparent about where they get their materials.

Apple really wants Apple Music to be a force in the music industry. So much so that, much like it once brought iTunes to Windows users so they’d all buy iPods, the company is bringing its music service to other platforms.

Apple Music for Android Apple

As of today, Android users can check out a beta of Apple Music. It’s very much the same experience. You need an iCloud account to sign up (a clever move to turn more Android users into Apple account holders), and if you’ve already used the free trial on iOS you won’t get it again here. Once you drop the $9.99 per month, you get the same bubbly setup screen, asking about genres and bands you like. You get Zane Lowe and Beats 1—it’s Worldwide! Always on!—along with the same set of playlists, radio stations, and recommendations as every other platform.

Apple Music on Android nods to Android’s design language in spots, like the way it uses a hamburger menu rather than tabs. The fonts on Android are a little bigger, too, and the cards a little more spacious. I like this design better than the iOS app, which feels a bit cluttered. The only content difference I’ve found between iPhone and Android apps is the order of For You recommendations. Not the recommendations themselves, just the order in which they appear.

Within the app, you’re getting essentially the same experience. But Apple does not seem terribly concerned with integrating Apple Music at a deeper level within Android. You can’t use Google Now to search within Apple Music, for instance—Siri is easily the most powerful guide to Apple Music, and you can’t replace the experience here.

Apple Music appears to need Android (and its billion-plus users) a lot more than Android needs Apple Music. The app looks good and works well, but at least in its beta stage it doesn’t look like more than a prettier but less powerful version of Google Play Music. Google’s service offers many of the same things, and many of them for free, plus the deep OS-level integration you get with Apple Music on an iPhone. Still, though, Apple Music is significant: It’s Apple’s first real Android app (beyond the one that helps you switch to the iPhone), and another example of just how important the future of music is to the future of Apple.

Disclaimer: You should not jailbreak your iPhone. We do not advise you to jailbreak your iPhone.

Hey, are you are willing to jailbreak your older iOS device? Then you can get what’s arguably the most compelling feature of the latest iPhones: 3D Touch. If your iPhone 6 just doesn’t look so good next to the 6S anymore—and you’re known as a risk-taker—then here’s your chance at an easy upgrade. The hack is called Forcy, and it’s available in the Cydia jailbreak store.

Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Apple design guru Jony Ive responded to a question about cinematic representations of Steve Jobs, his former friend and colleague, about how you might expect. He’s not a fan.

While Ive says he hasn’t yet seen Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs yet, he knows plenty of people who have, and more importantly he knows what we all suspect every time we sit to watch a two-hour movie about a decades-long life; there’s no way it can encapsulate the whole person.

“I just find it ever so sad,” Ive said to the crowd. “[Jobs] had his triumphs and his tragedies, like us all. And like most of us, he’s having his identity described, defined by a whole bunch of other people. I think that’s a bit of a struggle, personally.”

The “most of us” here, presumably referring to people with enough notoriety to merit lengthy magazine profiles, biographical films, and mean tweets. And rightly so; it’s impossible to capture every nuance of a life in such a short amount of time, in a single medium, or maybe even at all. Still, Ive might want to give Sorkin’s effort a try; it may not let us know Jobs in any meaningful way, but it surely helps us understand him.

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Architecture firm HOK is designing Apple’s newest building in Sunnyvale, Calif. HOK

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The 770,000-square foot building is shaped like a three-leaf clover. HOK

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The building will take the place of nine old office buildings. HOK

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The renderings show a massive courtyard. HOK

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You can look out onto the courtyard from Apple store-esque curved glass windows. HOK

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Aerial view. HOK

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There will be 90,000 square-feet of accessible green space. HOK

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1 / 7

Architecture firm HOK is designing Apple’s newest building in Sunnyvale, Calif. HOK

2 / 7

The 770,000-square foot building is shaped like a three-leaf clover. HOK

3 / 7

The building will take the place of nine old office buildings. HOK

4 / 7

The renderings show a massive courtyard. HOK

5 / 7

You can look out onto the courtyard from Apple store-esque curved glass windows. HOK

6 / 7

Aerial view. HOK

7 / 7

There will be 90,000 square-feet of accessible green space. HOK

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This is Apple’s newest spaceship. Or at least it will be, once the ink dries and construction begins. The new Sunnyvale campus, named Central & Wolfe for the streets that border it, is reportedly the latest in Apple’s big land grab and building craze. This campus is situated five miles from where Apple’s new main campus in Cupertino is being built. It’s designed, notably, not by original spaceship architects Foster + Partners but by the studio HOK, who designed Apple’s current offices at 1 Infinite Loop. There’s no news on when construction will begin or what the buildings will be used for, but we have the first renderings of the massive space (HOK didn’t respond to a request for comment).

Renderings of the plan show Apple transforming nine buildings from an old, ’70s-era office park into a single curving building that looks like a three-leaf clover. The six story, 770,000 square-foot building has nary a straight line in sight, save for the outline of the main courtyard that you can look out onto from Apple store-esque curved glass windows. The clover leaf sections also open onto individual courtyards with the hope, we presume, to bring the some 4,000 computer-obsessed employees who will be working in this building closer to nature. In total, the plan calls for 90,000 square-feet of accessible green space.

It appears that Apple is doubling down on its spaceship aesthetic. The company is so committed to its curvilinear form factor that there’s even a website celebrating the fact that the building isn’t a box. You can see this same aesthetic creeping across technology companies (see also: Google’s flexible, transparent canopied headquarters). These more organic shapes could be a way to imbue a warmth into an otherwise high tech environment. It’s been found that the human brain simply finds curves to be more aesthetically pleasing than hard, straight lines. There’s also the fact that, for the first time, we’re actually able to build these curving structures from glass, thanks to improved glass manufacturing technology. Whatever the reason, it’s probably safe to assume that we’re going to be seeing a lot more curving, sinewy architecture in the future.

Your Mac’s latest makeover, OS X El Capitan, is finally available for download right here. You should download it for new features like split screen apps and (finally!) transit directions in Maps, but also because it’s the biggest push yet toward the gradual unification of OS X and iOS.

Or, you know, hold off until that first update comes through, the one that fixes all the bugs. Either way, Apple’s desktop future is once again yours for the taking.

Just as surely as the leaves fall from the trees, selling a record number of new iPhones has become an autumn tradition for Apple.

Today the company said it that it had sold more than 13 million new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models over this past opening weekend (Foursquare called it). This is—you guessed it—a new record all over again, tearing past last fall’s record of more than 10 million.

Apple must have a fill-in-the-blank template for such press releases by now. “Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple’s history,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement this go-around. “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos.”

(Here’s Cook in Apple’s post-iPhone launch weekend press release last September: “Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier.”)

The latest iPhones got a boost from launching in China the same weekend as it launched in the US. China is the world’s largest smartphone market, representing 30 percent of global smartphone sales, and it’s still where iPhone sales are growing fastest. Saturation in the Chinese smartphone market means fewer first-time buyers. But the demand for upgrades as China transitions to 4G technology makes the iPhone a coveted purchase.

Deviating from its usual practice, Apple also gave buyers an extra week to pre-order the new iPhone models ahead of their actual appearance in stores—two weeks instead of the usual one. The extra time presumably meant more sales, which made it easier for Apple to boast a bigger number.

As in the past, it’s reasonable to believe this big number will get bigger. Apple said today that it would sell the 6S and 6S Plus in additional territories starting October 9. The new models, the company said, will be available in more than 130 countries by the end of 2015.

Apple is a notoriously tight-lipped company, a reticence that leaves the public hungry for any clues that promise glimpses of its secrets. The latest: Foursquare claims it can mine its trove of foot traffic data around Apple Stores to predict this weekend’s sales of Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, which were released today.

“Combining Foursquare’s foot traffic with Apple’s sales data on a graph shows how closely the two are linked,” Jeff Glueck, Foursquare’s chief operating officer, writes in a blog post on Medium. Increased traffic, Glueck says, is a strong signal of how the phones will sell over the weekend

Based on these analysis, Foursquare predicts launch day traffic will more than quadruple from preceding weeks (a jump of 360 percent), which should translate to record sales of 13 to 15 million iPhones. Last year, Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets during the first weekend (the current record) after Foursquare says foot traffic increased by 330 percent.


Foursquare told WIRED the company believes it has “the best location data in the industry,” as does Glueck: “We believe this is the world’s best ‘panel’ of global foot traffic,” he writes, “and is a strong enough sample size to be a strong indicator of sales overall.” But the company does warn that foot traffic is only one facet of predicting sales. Foursquare acknowledges that it’s drawing inferences without access to pre-order data from Apple.com, carrier websites, and other online retail sites selling the iPhone this weekend.

Lines outside the door of iPhone retailers doesn’t always appear to tell you much about how well a new phone will sell, as Walt Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG Research, demonstrated pretty well this morning in his Twitter feed with pictures of stores with small or no lines—mostly storefronts for the major carriers. “As we state every year, counting the number of people in line does not provide enough evidence to properly formulate estimates,” Piecyk wrote today. Piecyk did hypothesize, however, that shorter lines than in previous years were likely due to including China in the initial launch, meaning would-be resellers didn’t have to line up to get their hands on phones for wannabe-early adopters overseas. Phones were also available to pre-order for a longer period of time, he said.

“We aren’t claiming a causation at all, what we have observed is a tight correlation,” Foursquare tells WIRED.


As data scientists try to divine Apple’s secrets from an array of signals Around the issue of device sales, Apple is likely to keep doing what it does: releasing data when it suits them, and staying silent otherwise. The company has already said its new iPhones are selling like mad. These days, in the world of Apple, predicting success is a low-stakes bet.

Aaron Wojack for WIRED

It’s iPhone day! Which means you can finally get your grubby hands on a
Rose Gold iPhone. If you took the day off to stand in line to pick it up, that is. If your reservation appointment is still upcoming and you simply do not have the time to go and handle the iPhone acquisition yourself, you have options.


Everyone’s favorite errand app is a obvious go-to for iPhone pick-up assistance. A quick search of Taskers in the San Francisco area suggests prices range from $20 to $80 an hour, but it will depend on your area.


Surf to Craigslist and navigate to your respective location. Hit “gigs.” Search “iPhone” + “line.” Select a willing participant. If nothing shows up, advertise your offer. And then just wait.


Enjoy is a relatively new platform that is akin to a Genius Bar on-the-go. If you have AT&T and live in the Bay Area or New York, Enjoy won’t just deliver you your iPhone, but will also help you set it up and answer any questions you have. (They cannot explain why the new emoji didn’t ship with iOS 9, sorry.)


Are you currently a Sprint customer or want to become one? Didn’t preorder an iPhone? Don’t care about getting it ASAP? Yes, that’s a lot of qualifiers, but if they are all true, then Sprint’s Direct 2 You service is a great option. A Sprint “expert” will hand deliver your phone to you, wherever you are, and help you transfer all your data from your old phone to the new one. Sprint says that right now, customers who call to make Direct 2 You appointments today by 3pm CT can have their iPhone delivered tomorrow.

Customers wait for the opening of the first Apple store in Brussels, Belgium September 18, 2015. FRANCOIS LENOIR/Reuters/Corbis

Apple opens new stores all the time, but this one, which opened Saturday in Brussels, is special: It was designed by Sir Jony Ive himself.

We knew an Ive-ified store was coming. A profile published February in The New Yorker noted that Ive had “begun to work with [Angela] Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice-president of retail, on a redesign—as yet unannounced—of the Apple Stores.” A few months later, news of Ive’s promotion to chief design officer indicated he would play a larger role in the design of Apple’s retail spaces.

What we didn’t know (but probably should have predicted) was that Ive’s first store would boast some of the most impressive work in glass manufacturing to date. The store walls are made of 26-feet tall, floor-to-ceiling glass panels, a few of which are even curved, to round out the building’s corners. Apple has been pushing the limits on what it can construct with glass for a while. In terms of engineering, this is a leap ahead of what the company did for its store in Hangzhou, China, where the 50-feet-high panels of glass already represented some serious sweat. It’s also a small hint of what’s to come at Apple’s new donut-shaped Cupertino headquarters, which will be made almost entirely of concave glass panels—the ultimate expression of these new manufacturing techniques.

Imagine that. The iPhone is still hot.

Apple started accepting preorders for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus last weekend, and says the new phones are “on pace” to beat last year’s record of 10 million units sold on the first weekend of in-store sales. The new phones, which have a couple of significant improvements beyond the fact you can finally get them with a rose gold finish, go on sale in Apple Stores on Sept. 25.

“Customer response to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been extremely positive and preorders this weekend were very strong around the world,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller says in a statement. In fact, Apple claims online demand for iPhone 6s Plus has been stronger than expected. But don’t worry. The company promises to have plenty of them available.

The preorders bode well for Cupertino. Some investors have worried about whether Apple, which has a market cap of almost $658 billion, can maintain the sales momentum its cash cow has long enjoyed. While demand for new iPhones appears to remain high, some analysts say sales are “on pace” to beat last year’s record because this is the first time customers in China have been able to pre-order iPhones.

Apple’s momentum ultimately will depend on whether it can continue beating last year’s record numbers, or if the people who wanted new phones already have preordered them. Investors seem appeased for now. Apple stock rose as much as 2.68 percent on Monday, closing at $115.31.

Apple’s legal battle against Samsung still isn’t over.

Next year, the two companies will face off over damages in the fourth jury trial spawned by Apple’s 2011 lawsuit alleging Samsung infringed on Apple’s smartphone patents. The series of suits and counter-suits that ensued culminated in an import ban on certain older model Samsung products in 2013. Next year’s trial, to be held in March or April, will be held to award damages for the infringement of Apple patents by Samsung products, including the Galaxy S Showcase and Vibrant, according to a scheduling order spotted by Ars Technica.

And it won’t even be the first trial on damages. A judge originally ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion, but the amount was later slashed to $600 million.

The irony is that despite being fierce competitors in the smartphone space, Apple and Samsung are also heavily dependent on each other. Apple still relies heavily on Samsung parts, such as processors and displays, despite years of trying to find alternate vendors. Samsung, meanwhile, relies on Apple for much of its manufacturing revenue. Putting this case behind them will be good for both companies.

Apple’s September 9 invites are out, and as per usual, the Cupertino company is teasing us with a sort of-clue. The “Hey Siri, give us a hint” line likely points toward something to do with voice activation. But instead of just guessing, why not just ask Siri that exact question, right?

So we did, and here’s the response.

Molly McHugh

How rude.

This isn’t her only answer, though. Siri has plenty of lip for anyone asking what’s happening September 9.

So I asked Siri what Apple is going to announce. Her response is priceless. pic.twitter.com/GY6Vq4OQPN

— Lance Ulanoff (@LanceUlanoff) August 27, 2015

so I did what the apple invite said and it made a bud light/tostitos joke fml pic.twitter.com/WPowf7ZBwh — Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) August 27, 2015

What Siri told me when I asked for a hint. pic.twitter.com/bzTrcjb5nS — Mary Catherine (@mcwellons) August 27, 2015


— John Herrman (@jwherrman) August 27, 2015

And a personal favorite:

“Hey Siri, Give me a hint” apples event September the 9th! pic.twitter.com/p8zUW1YZNw

— Callum Willis (@callumwillis23) August 27, 2015


It’s official: Wednesday (not Tuesday!) September 9 is the Apple event. Things kick off at 10am at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a cavernous venue in SF’s city center that holds thousands of people. WIRED will be there—albeit somewhat begrudgingly because c’mon, that’s the Wednesday after Labor Day Weekend! We’re supposed to ease out of vacation mode, right?

We’re of course expecting the next iPhone. But that invitation graphic hints at something larger, too. Here are some Hipchat-crowdsourced guesses as to what the image could be hinting at:

• “What if the iPhone 6 is just a microphone?”

• Apple TV voice control

• Footballs in the ocean

• Almonds

• An Apple-branded Nexus Q

See you September 9!

After some haxx… Custom watch faces on Apple Watch!

Watch face source code is on GitHub:
https://t.co/7ZvOz8nK34 pic.twitter.com/nQGJKlp6kt

— Hamza Sood (@hamzasood) August 18, 2015

A hacker on Twitter seems to have figured out the watch face on his Apple Watch, and has done some tweaking. The video shows watch faces that are a bit livelier than the default Apple ones. He has also provided a link to his source code, so you too can do some customizing.

Earlier this month, Verizon joined the ranks of T-Mobile by giving up selling two-year contracts, and now Sprint will do the same. Instead of locking customers into two-year contracts, Sprint will keep service and data plans on a month-to-month basis. This is meant to supplement their new iPhone Forever plan, in which customers lease their iPhones and pay a monthly fee of $22 in addition to paying for data. If customers stick to the iPhone Forever plan, they’ll be able to upgrade to the latest iPhone when it becomes available. Last year, Sprint began offering a cellphone lease option, and according to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint says 51 percent of customers bought a new phone last year using this option. The iPhone Forever program is likely a reaction to the success of its leasing program.

Two-year contracts have appealed to customers because they offer the option to upgrade to a new phone at the beginning of a contract. But as companies phase out these contracts, the way people buy new phones may also change. With Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile getting rid of their contracts, AT&T is the only major U.S. carrier that will offer smartphone upgrades every two years. Whether or not AT&T will follow this trend is yet to be seen, but chances are it isn’t far behind.


Apple Music was full of many confusing things, but none so frustrating as the absence of “shuffle all.” Sure, not actual absence, but the function is so buried it might as well be missing altogether. Happily, one redditor noticed that Apple is bringing it back to front and center. In the most recent version of the iOS 9 public beta, “shuffle all” now sits at the top of the Apple Music screen, making it way, way easier to mix all your music.

Seriously, thank you Apple. It’s back where it belongs.

Four years ago, an Apple patent surfaced that outlined how the consumer electronics company might become something called an MVNO. Rumors to that effect have persisted for years, most recently resurfacing this week at Business Insider. Apple swatted the latest aside, telling CNBC that it hasn’t discussed and isn’t planning anything of the sort. And that’s a shame, because it absolutely should.

MVNO may sound like an obscure pharmaceutical stock ticker symbol, but it stands for “mobile virtual network operator,” which is admittedly still pretty inscrutable. In practice, though, it’s very straightforward, explains telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan.

“An MVNO is simply a reseller,” says Kagan. “It’s a company who strikes up an agreement with a wireless network to sell wireless service without owning their own networks.”

Think of it as Costco, but for wireless service. In the same way that your favorite bulk toilet paper provider repackages name-brand cereal for its Kirkland Signature private label, MVNOs like Republic Wireless (Sprint) and MetroPCS (T-Mobile) are simply selling you access to a larger carrier’s network, often for less than their affiliated providers charge.

Take, for instance, Straight Talk, an MVNO owned by TracFone and available in Walmart retail locations. Straight Talk piggybacks on both GSM (T-Mobile, AT&T) and DCMA (Verizon, Sprint) networks, while offering an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for $45 per month, a significant discount compared to any of the big four carriers supplying the bandwidth. It’s able to do so in part because it’s bought up wholesale access to those networks on the cheap, and in part because the scale enabled by its Walmart partnership makes thin margins more feasible.

The other way MVNOs make money? No overhead. “They have no network to invest in, so there’s very little capital expense” explains Iain Gillott, president of iGR, a research firm that specializes in the wireless and mobile industry. That freedom from having to build and maintain massive networks a

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