AT&T Reminds Us That 5G Will Be Awesome Someday

We've been hearing about the advantages of 5G's high speed wireless data connections for years now, but if you have a 5G capable phone, you probably rarely see significant speed boosts and you may not even know why you would want higher bandwidth. Now AT&T has some new use-case scenarios that will give you a better idea of what 5G will be useful for in the future.

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T-Mobile is giving away a free 5G phone to all, no-cost iPhone 12 with trade-in

T-Mobile really wants to put 5G phones in the hands of more people. In the hindsight, the carrier also wants to good use of those 5G airwaves and infrastructure it has built over the years, and of course, make some money too. To achieve that T-Mobile is giving away a free 5G phone to everyone. All you have to do is bring in an old phone – smart or not – and get a Galaxy A32 5G that was launched earlier today in exchange.

T-Mobile wants you to pledge loyalty for two years to get free 5G phone

“This offer applies to new and existing customers, and ANY old phone in working condition — flip phone, Sidekick, whatever that suitcase phone was called. T-Mobile will take it,” T-Mobile said in its press release. So, what’s the catch? Well, T-Mobile will recoup the cost of that Samsung phone in the form of 24-monthly credit bills. So essentially, a free 5G phone means you have to get locked with a T-Mobile line for two years.

There’s a free iPhone 12 deal too

However, if the Galaxy A32 5G is not powerful enough for you, T-Mobile also has a great deal for iPhone lovers too. Actually, there is more than one deal in place. So, here they are:

  1. When you exchange an iPhone 11, you get an iPhone 12 for free, and at no additional cost. 
  2. If you trade in an iPhone 7, iPhone 8, or iPhone X, T-Mobile will take half off the price of iPhone 12. 
  3. And if you have any other older iPhone – dating as far back as the first iPhone – the carrier will take half off the price of the iPhone 12 Mini as a trade-in deal. 

Of course, the 24 monthly bill credits condition applies in the case of iPhones as well. However, you have to be vigilant, as T-Mobile’s 5G upgrade deal for the iPhones will kick off on April 18 and will last less than two weeks, ending on May 1.

View iPhone 12 at Best Buy

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Verizon sets the date for shutting down its 3G network, for real this time

The saga of Verizon planning to sunset its 3G services, only to delay it again might finally come to end. The Big Red originally had plans to stop 3G operations in back 2019, but extended it to 2020. Then in January this year, the company put those plans on hold indefinitely. Now, the company has announced it is going to shut down its 3G CDMA network – for good this time – on December 31, 2022.

December 31, 2022 is the day when Verizon finally says goodbye to 3G

“We worked for the past several years to help those who still have 3G devices transfer to devices capable of accessing the 4G LTE or 5G networks and continue to actively work with remaining 3G customers to migrate them to new devices and technology. As a result of those efforts, we can now report that more than 99% of our customers are using the enhanced features of 4G LTE or 5G, with less than 1% still accessing the 3G network.”

To recall, Verizon no longer allows activation of non-4G devices on its network, and is now trying to migrate its remaining 3G customers to 4G or 5G with a host of plans and services for both its regular and business customers. However, Verizon says it is strongly encouraging the existing 3G users to make the upgrade. Verizon notes that it would be among the last carriers to abandon the legacy cellular networking standard.

Existing 3G users might face network degradation and lack of support moving forward

And to achieve that, Verizon says that users might experience what it calls ‘a degradation or complete loss of service’ as the company also plans to reduce its support services and will only offer assistance for extremely limited troubleshooting. More details about Verizon’s CDMA services can and the facilities that are allowed / defunct can be seen here

However, Verizon has made it clear that the December 31, 2022 shutdown date for its 3G telecom infrastructure will not be extended again. So, yeah, this pretty much is the final nail in the coffin. 

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What carriers does the OnePlus 9 series support?

The OnePlus 9 series has now started shipping in the US. And as per CEO Pete Lau, pre-orders for the OnePlus 9 series are 324% higher compared to the OnePlus 8 series. The company has done good work with its latest flagships – especially the OnePlus 9 Pro – and it appears that the positive reception has inspired potential buyers to hop on the OnePlus bandwagon. But before you shell out your hard-earned benjamins on a brand-new OnePlus 9 series phone, take a look at the carrier conundrum first. The OnePlus 9 carriers situation is a bit tricky, so here’s a brief explanation to help you out. 

T-Mobile and Verizon are the only major carriers that offer 5G support on OnePlus 9 series

Right now, the only major carriers that offer 5G support on the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are T-Mobile and Verizon. If you’re on a Visible line, you can take advantage of 5G too. However, the OnePlus 9 series phones won’t run on AT&T 5G network, as they lack support for its 5G bands. Following is the list of 4G and 5G bands supported by the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro in the US:

carriers oneplus 9 series

But that’s not all. Only the OnePlus 9 Pro brings support for the faster mmWave 5G band, while the vanilla OnePlus 9 is limited to Sub-6GHz frequency. So, if you go with Verizon, you can only enjoy its blazing-fast Ultra Wideband (UW) 5G if you get the OnePlus 9 Pro that currently costs $1,069 for the 12GB + 256GB configuration. 

If you go with AT&T, you'll essentially pay a 5G tax for the OnePlus 9 and its Pro model

On the other hand, the OnePlus 9 can only latch on to the slower Nationwide 5G network that is more widely available, but relies on spectrum sharing with 4G bands. Unsurprisingly, tests conducted by PCMag’s Sascha Segan revealed that Verizon’s nationwide 5G is actually slower than its 4G LTE network.

In case you’re wondering, both the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro can latch on the 4G network of T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, irrespective of the tricky 5G situation. While that might come out as a relief, it also means that if you have an AT&T line and have purchased either the OnePlus 9 or its Pro sibling, you’re simply paying a 5G tax by not being able to utilize the 5G hardware you’ve paid for. 

If you’re planning to splurge on the OnePlus 9 Pro, do check our list of the best cases for OnePlus’ latest flagship. And in case you need more clarity whether it is worth the asking price, check out Pocketnow’s review of the OnePlus 9 Pro below:

View OnePlus 9 Pro at Best Buy
View OnePlus 9 at Best Buy

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OnePlus 9 series gets Verizon nod to work on its 5G network

OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro are now up for pre-orders in the US market, but the carrier situation is a bit tricky at the moment. To start, T-Mobile is the only major carrier right now whose 5G network the OnePlus 9 series phones can latch on to. If you go with another carrier, says AT&T, you can only use 4G LTE, and will simply end up paying a 5G tax. The situation has been no different for Verizon, but that is about to change.

Only the OnePlus 9 Pro supports Verizon's faster UW 5G network

Verizon executive George Koroneos has revealed that OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have been certified by Verizon to work on its 5G network. If you’ve been on a Visible line, you will also be able to enjoy 5G on your OnePlus 9 series phone. The 5G certification applies to both business and regular tiers of Verizon’s service, which means you don’t have to worry about being left out if you maintain a business account line. But there is still a catch – the flavor of Verizon 5G you can enjoy on your OnePlus 9. 

You see, OnePlus 9 only supports the Sub-6GHz band, which means it can only work on the much slower Verizon 5G Nationwide network. But that’s not necessarily good news, as the Verizon 5G Nationwide network offers speeds slower than 4G LTE. PCMag’s Sascha Segan recently ran some tests across multiple locations and found that Verizon’s 4G network actually is much faster than its nationwide 5G

Verizon is yet to start selling the OnePlus 9 series

However, if you want to enjoy the perks of Verizon’s Ultra Wideband (UW) 5G, you’ll have to buy the pricier OnePlus 9 Pro because that’s the only model in the series to support mmWave 5G band. While the carrier situation has been sorted out, Verizon is yet to start selling the phones officially.   

If you have a Verizon line and don’t want to switch carriers, you can pre-order an unlocked OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro from the official OnePlus e-store, Best Buy, and B&H Photo Video in the US. Irrespective of the retailer you choose, you can buy an unlocked OnePlus 9 or OnePlus 9 Pro and enjoy Verizon’s 5G network on it. 

View OnePlus 9 Pro at Best Buy
View OnePlus 9 at Best Buy


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Pocketnow Daily: Apple Event LEAKED! Here’s What You Should Expect! (video)

Apple’s latest iPad Air, HP Chromebooks and more on sale today

The Google Pixel 5, OtterBox cases and more devices are on sale today

As expected, let’s end the week with deals. Starting with the Google Pixel 5 and Amazon which is currently 150 dollars off. That leaves the entry level model for 789 with free shipping involved. If you really want a Pixel, the Pixel 4 is also available for 250 dollars off its original price tag, leaving it at 549 dollars. The Sony Xperia 1 Mark II which we know a lot of you like is 102 dollars off, leaving it at 1098 and yeah, that’s still pretty expensive. The OnePlus 8T is still 60 dollars off, leaving it at 689 dollars shipped which is a pretty ok deal. If you’re looking for an iPad, the new iPad Air which I’m currently rocking is 50 dollars off, leaving it at 699 dollars. Samsung’s trade-in deals are still available, leaving the Galaxy S21 Ultra for just 499 dollars and giving you 250 dollars in instant credit, but if you have an eligible device. We have more deals on Google Nest Speakers, Hisense TVs which are some of my favorites, plus Chromebooks and more.

ASUS ROG Phone 5 to launch on March 10

Moving on to the ASUS ROG Phone 5 and yes, they’ll be pulling a OnePlus and skipping the number 4. For the past couple of weeks we’ve been getting a ton of leaks and rumors, including Geekbench listings and teasers from the company. Now when you go to the ASUS ROG Phone 5 landing page, it has a countdown that ends in 18 days and 20 hours at the time when Diego was writing the script. So yes, we’ll be getting this phone on March 10 at 6:00AM ET. The ROG Phone 5 is tipped to bring a 6.78 inch display, powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, a 6000 mAh battery, running on Android 11. According to the leaks we should also be getting a dot matrix display on the rear panel, kind of like the panel you get on some ROG Gaming Laptops. We don’t have any price tags just yet, but we hope ASUS surprises us with some wow factors as, is it just me or it sounds kind of boring?

Malware targeting Apple’s new M1 Macs has already been spotted in the wild

Let’s talk about Apple Silicon Macs but, not for the reasons you would typically expect. We have a new report from a Mac security researcher cited by Wired, that explains in detail how malware is being adapted and recompiled to run natively on M1 Macs. He discovered the first one to be a Safari Extension called “GoSearch22” which was originally written to run on x86 Intel Macs. As they usually do, it presents itself as a regular Safari extension but, it collects your data and serves you a ton of banners and pop up ads, including ones that link you to malicious websites with malware. Now, the writer mentions that since malware is still at an early stage, antivirus scanners are not detecting the malware as easily and effectively as they do on Intel Macs as most of the tools haven’t been adapted or are simply not available just yet. Of course, all of this is bound to change as Apple expands their line-up.. Hopefully very soon.. And developers start patching these up and bringing antivirus software. We’ll make sure to link to the report in the description as, it’s still pretty interesting.

OnePlus 9 Pro might use an LTPO display to enable adaptive refresh rate

Let’s talk about the OnePlus 9 Series as, we’re getting pretty close to it. So far, the leaks for the OnePlus 9 have been kind of calm, I mean of course we had the design heavily leaked last week but for the other features, things have been kinda quiet. Now, we have a new tweet from Max Jambor that shines some light on what we could expect from the 9 Pro’s display. In his typical fashion, he didn’t share much on the tweet but it brings an image with the words, 9 Pro LTPO, on top of a display that looks like it’s scrolling at a high refresh rate. This also means that we should expect the 9 Pro to feature adaptive refresh rate like we get on the Galaxy S21 Series. For those of you who don’t know, this feature uses software to automatically change your refresh rate, depending on what you’re doing with the phone and giving you better battery life in the process. According to the guys over at PhoneArena, Jambor also confirmed that the regular OnePlus 9 won’t bring this feature, but it should still bring 120Hz. Now, according to surveys on OnePlus fans, they like their display permanently set at 120Hz so, this might be kind of a turn off for them but I mean, high refresh rate, better battery life.. Sounds good to me.

Story of the day:

Apple reportedly locks March 16 event to launch new iPads, and possibly, AirTags too!

And finally, for the hottest news today let’s talk Apple, as we’re just a few days away from March and we’re expecting to get a lot of products at this March Event. We have a new report from Korea’s Economic Daily News that claims that Cupertino will be having their Event Virtually on March 16th. Now, Apple has recently been doing this event a little later but, this date actually makes sense. See, according to the report the main focus here will be the new iPad Pros, and the original iPad Pro was announced on March 18 back in the day. Speaking of that iPad Pro, the report mentions that we shouldn’t expect a complete redesign, pretty much like what the leaks have pointed out but, this iPad could finally bring mini-LED displays and it will most likely be the first 5G iPad. And along with 5G we could also be getting additional built in magnets for new accessories. Apparently we could also be getting a new iPad mini which could be getting a larger display by shrinking down the bezels, at least to the older iPad Air’s level of course. The report also mentions that we could get a One More Thing moment to Tag along with.. AirTags. These trackers have been on the leaks since 2019 and according to trusted sources, they’re finally set to release. Other tipsters claim that we could also get new AirPods but, those rumors are kinda shaky.
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HUAWEI is legally challenging the ‘national security threat’ label bestowed by FCC

HUAWEI, alongside fellow Chinese telecom equipment manufacture ZTE, were classified as a national security threat back in June last year over alleged ties with the Chinese government and risks of potentially compromising the country’s critical communications infrastructure. Following the designation, the US lawmakers backed a sum of $1.9 billion that would go towards replacing HUAWEI and ZTE’s telecom gear. Now, HUAWEI has legally challenged the status of being labeled a ‘national security threat’ by the FCC.

HUAWEI says FCC's action was arbitrary, capricious and abuse of discretion

As per a Reuters report, the lawsuit filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit argues that FCC’s move was ‘arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion’, and that it was not backed by substantial evidence. The company further claimed that the FCC’s order violates federal law and the constitution.

“Last year the FCC issued a final designation identifying Huawei as a national security threat based on a substantial body of evidence developed by the FCC and numerous U.S. national security agencies. We will continue to defend that decision,” an FCC spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

READ MORE: HUAWEI dealt another blow by US government that could cripple its PC business

To recall, the US FCC rejected a petition filed by HUAWEI back in December, asking the agency to reconsider its decision. To recall, after being classified as a national security threat, US companies were prohibited from using money from the multi-billion Universal Service Fund for purchasing telecom gear from the company. On a related note, a similar petition filed by ZTE was also rejected in the same month.

US FCC rejected HUAWEI's petition to reconsider its stance in December

In addition to being designated as a security threat by US FCC, the company has also been put on the commerce department’s Entity List, a move that prevents US companies from trading with HUAWEI without obtaining a license to do so. Additionally, the company has been put on a military blacklist as well over alleged ties with the Chinese military.

READ MORE: Troubles for HUAWEI not going away anytime soon under new leadership in the US

Being put on the Entity List proved to be a fortune-altering decision for HUAWEI, as the company lost its license to ship Google services such as Gmail, Maps, and Google Play services on its smartphones. With customers outside the Chinese market unwilling to buy HUAWEI (and Honor) phones without essential Google services, a massive decline for the company’s phone business followed, and eventually forced it to sell the Honor sub-brand to a government-backed consortium.

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X65 5G modem brings a promise of 10Gbps internet speeds

Qualcomm has lifted the overs from its 4th gen 5G modem – the Snapdragon X65 modem, that succeeds the X60 found in last year’s flagships. The biggest promise with Qualcomm’s latest offering is that it brings 10 Gigabit 5G to the table – the first 5G modem-RF system in the world to reach those numbers. Additionally, the company has also launched the slightly toned-down Snapdragon X62 5G modem as well. Both the new Qualcomm offerings are currently in the sampling phase and will appear in commercially available devices such as smartphones by late 2021.

There's a new mmWave antenna module that is said to boost mmWave coverage and power efficiency

Talking about the key advancements introduced by the Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF system, it features an upgradeable architecture that will adapt to the new 3GPP Release 16 standard via software updates. What this essentially means is Qualcomm’s new 5G modem is future-proof too. And to go with it, Qualcomm has also come up with QTM545 fourth-generation mmWave antenna module that is claimed to boost mmWave coverage and power efficiency as well, aside from supporting higher transmit power.

The Snapdragon X65 modem is also touted to be the first in the world to rely on an AI Antenna tuning technology to further improve cellular performance and efficiency to achieve faster data speeds and longer battery life.  There’s also a next-gen power tracking solution that is smaller, yet offers higher performance. Qualcomm says that its latest offering also relies on frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD across the mmWave and Sub-6GHz bands for the most comprehensive spectrum aggregation. 

Qualcomm 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platform Gen2

Snapdragon X65 is first in the world to use an AI Antenna tuning technology

In addition to the new 5G modems, Qualcomm has also announced its second-gen 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platform that also brings 10Gbps support to the table. The upgraded platform will let telecom operators offer fixed internet broadband services to homes and businesses using their 5G infrastructure.

It also features the new extended-range Qualcomm QTM547 mmWave antenna module and is touted to be the first in the world to offer 5G sub-6 GHz support with eight receive (RX) antennas. Following are a few key features of Qualcomm’s next-gen 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platform: 

Lastly, Qualcomm has also introduced a slew of RF Front End (RFFE) solutions targeted at 5G mobile devices. Here’s the fresh portfolio that Qualcomm has unveiled:

Seventh-generation Qualcomm Wideband Envelope Tracker (Qualcomm QET7100) – World’s first multi-mode, multi-output, multi-power amplifier, wideband envelope tracking solution supporting global 5G sub-6 GHz and LTE bands.

Qualcomm AI-Enhanced Signal Boost – World’s first 5G adaptive antenna tuning solution enhanced with AI designed to improve context-based antenna performance and help OEMs address the growing number of antennas and frequency ranges required in 5G mobile devices.

New integrated 5G/4G Power Amplifier (PA) Modules and Diversity Modules.

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MediaTek’s new M80 cellular modem brings the power of mmWave 5G

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MediaTek has today launched a new cellular modem – the M80 – which succeeds the M70 5G modem that was launched back in 2018. The biggest upgrade offered by the new M80 5G modem is support for mmWave 5G, alongside the Sub-6 GHz network on a single chip. It is claimed to be compatible with both SA (standalone) and NSA (non-standalone) architecture, and comes with a host of other features such as dual 5G SIM, dual 5G NSA and SA networks, and dual Voice over New Radio (VoNR) to name a few.

With the M80 5G modem, MediaTek is promising more reliable network coverage and higher power-efficiency as well. It supports 5G carrier aggregation with mixed duplex (TDD+FDD) as well as Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) – touted to be a cost-effective route for a more robust 5G rollout – to enable parallel use of LTE and 5G in the same frequency band and dynamically allocate resources based on bandwidth demand. The chipmaker is touting 7.67Gbps downlink and 3.76Gbp uplink peaks with its latest offering.

READ MORE: MediaTek announces 6nm Dimensity 1200 and Dimensity 1100 5G chipsets

As far as support for radio access technology goes, the M80 5G modem is ready for 4G LTE Cat-19 DL up to 5CC, 5G NR (FR1) more than 2CC, 5G mmWave (FR2) up to 8C as well as FR1 + FR2 dual connectivity and carrier aggregation. Coming to the boost in power efficiency, the new cellular modem relies on MediaTek’s UltraSave Network Environment Detection and UltraSave OTA Content Awareness technologies for dynamically adjusting power configuration and operating frequency depending upon the network environment.

“The M80 also integrates MediaTek’s Dynamic Bandwidth Part (BWP) technology which is designed to optimize bandwidth use to accommodate light or heavy data throughput requests,” MediaTek adds. And to ensure that the modem remains active in a connected standby mode even if users are not using mobile data, the new MediaTek 5G modem relies on what the company calls Connected Mode DRX (C-DRX) technology. MediaTek has also been strengthening its portfolio of high-end 5G SoCs, launching the Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200 processors earlier this month.

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Verizon has put plans of 3G network shutdown on hold indefinitely: Report

Verizon has yet again postponed plans of shutting down its 3G network, after announcing to pull the plugs on the legacy cellular connectivity generation in 2020. “Our 3G network is operational and we don’t have a plan to shut it down at this time. We’ll work with customers to move them to newer technology,” Verizon spokesperson Kevin King was quoted as saying by Light Reading.

Verizon gives 3G another lease of life, but it might be the last one

To recall, Verizon had originally announced a while back that it will stop 3G operations in 2019, but then extended the deadline to 2020. With yet another extension, it appears that the company is giving 3G one last lease of life. However, Verizon is not alone when it comes to continuing 3G support.

Verizon is not the only operator still carrying 3G

The other two names in the “big three of US telecom” world – AT&T and T-Mobile also offer 3G support at the moment. AT&T has already confirmed that it will phase out its 3G network in February next year. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has not revealed a concrete timeframe around which its 3G services will see the sunset. However, a Twilio support document suggests that t-Mobile will start shutting down its 3G network in January 2021 itself. “We expect the 3G network to begin to be shutdown as early as January 1, 2021,” it says.

Verizon is no longer activating 3G devices though

Coming back to Verizon, an official support document says that the carrier is no longer activating 3G devices for a new line on its service. After shutting down the service for postpaid customers back in 2018, the company stopped activating 3G devices starting May last year. Verizon’s latest announcement means the company will continue to offer its telecom services across 3G, 4G, and 5G bands, while it aggressively works on its 5G expansion plans.

However, jumping the 5G bandwagon if you’re on Verizon’s network might not be the best idea if you live in the New York area. As per a recent test, it was found that Verizon’s DSS-based Nationwide 5G network was slower compared to Big Red’s own 4G LTE network.

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T-Mobile details security breach that exposed phone numbers and call records

Earlier this week, T-Mobile started alerting its customers about a data breach that exposed details associated with their user account. While details about the scope of this security breach have so far been thin, the carrier has finally decided to shed some light on the incident after shutting down the malicious operations behind it. The company says that information related to customers’ T-Mobile account was exposed, which includes phone number, the number of lines on an account, and call-related information.

Approximately 200,000 customers affected by the incident

Specifically, T-Mobile says that the Customer proprietary network information (CPNI) was accessed as part of the security breach. But aside from phone number, the number of connections and call logs, no other customer data was exposed, claims the company. “The data accessed did not include names on the account, physical or email addresses, financial data, credit card information, social security numbers, tax ID, passwords, or PINs,” T-Mobile said in an official statement.

T-Mobile’s official notice does not reveal the number of customers that were affected. However, in a statement given to BleepingCustomer, T-Mobile mentioned that less than 0.2% of its subscribers were affected. If you take into account the roughly 100 million-strong customer base of the carrier, almost 200,000 users may have been had their information accessed by malicious actors.

READ MORE: Microsoft reveals SolarWinds hackers gained access to its source code

Phone number, the number of connections on an account and call logs were accessed

“We are currently notifying a small number of customers (less than 0.2%) that some information related to their account may have been illegally accessed. The data accessed did NOT include any names associated with the account, financial data, credit card information, social security numbers, passwords, PINs or physical or email addresses.” the company was BleepingComputer.

Not the first T-Mobile security mishap in 2020

However, this is not the first time that T-Mobile has been at the receiving end of a cybersecurity attack in 2020. Back in November, the company admitted that “name and billing address, phone number, account number, rate plan and features, such as whether you added an international calling feature” were accessed during a security breach. However, banking details, social security numbers, or passwords were not exposed in the breach.

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