Bad WiFi Is Slowing You Down. Fix Yours Without Spending a Dime.

Aidan Morris, 16, works on his homework at home in Dayton, Ohio. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post) 

Can everybody hear me? Your Zoom is hiccuping. The WiFi is being weird. You’re breaking up, America. Bad Internet connections are our No. 1 tech problem — as frustrating as robocalls, but tied directly to our ability to do our jobs, learn and be entertained from home in the coronavirus era.

Here’s some advice you won’t hear from many gadget guys: Don’t buy anything. At least not yet. Yes, some new gear or a different service plan might help. But first, let’s do some tests to get to the root of your problem. A fix could be as simple as moving the location of equipment you never really think about. We might even save you money.

It’s not always very easy to call a technician over to look at your network. So I wrote this guide to the most common problems and cross-checked my solutions with Internet service providers, or ISPs, including Comcast, Verizon and Sonic — and with WiFi hardware makers Netgear, Google and Eero. My request to all of them: Don’t try to sell us stuff, just help us fix what we’ve got.

Think of this guide as CSI: WiFi. Network problems are a mystery you solve through a process of elimination. I’m going to suggest a few tests, possible fixes and tips. If one doesn’t help you, then move on to the next.

 Step 1: Is your Internet really the problem?

Before you spend the time digging your network equipment out of some dark, dusty corner, let’s look closer at the laptop, tablet or phone you’re using. It might actually be the problem.

Do certain devices in your house have more trouble going online than others? That’s a sign.

It’s possible your device just wasn’t built for working from home in 2020. Video chat applications like Zoom are actually pretty intense, and your older device — even if you paid an arm and a leg for it six years ago — might not have the memory or horsepower to keep up.

Tip : Restart your computer. Sometimes we all just need a refresh. Also, close any apps you don’t need to have running, especially while you video chat.

Tip : Dedicate a device for video. With a seven-year-old Apple MacBook, I couldn’t Zoom and work at the same time. So I turned an old iPad Mini into a dedicated video conference machine that sits right next to it. No more stutters.

 Step 2: Run two quick speed tests

Here’s the most important piece of the puzzle: Is your problem with your WiFi network or with your Internet service?

They’re actually two different things, each temperamental in their own ways. Your Internet connection, which comes from an ISP like Comcast or Verizon, is the link from the outside world into a box you’ve got called the modem.

Your WiFi network is usually specific to your home. It uses equipment called a router to beam wireless Internet around. WiFi routers used to often have antennas on them, but nowadays they can also look less like spaceships.

Many Americans rent their modem and router from their ISP, and sometimes it’s even combined into a single box. Plenty of others, including yours truly, buy their own modem or router — doing that can give you more control, access to newer tech and save you money over time. (If you’re not sure which you’ve got, look to see if your ISP painted its name on the equipment.)

Do this test : Find wherever your WiFi router is in your house, perhaps near the cable box or TV. Get as close to it as possible. Then on your phone, tablet or laptop, turn the WiFi off — and then back on again. Once you’re back on, visit the website It’s got a test that should only take a few seconds to run. Make a note of two numbers: upload and download. You might run it a few times to find average results.

(To be even more scientific: Get everyone else in your house to completely shut off their devices for a few minutes while you test.)

Then mosey over to the part of your house where you notice glitchy or slow performance. Turn your device’s WiFi off and back on again. Then run again, making note of the upload and download numbers.

If your speeds are much lower away from your router, you’ve got a WiFi network problem. You might have a dreaded “dead zone” — an area that signals can’t reliably travel to and from.

If the speed test results are about the same in both locations — and not so good — you’ve got a problem with your Internet service (and can skip to step four below).

What’s a good speed? You’ll want at least 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 5 mbps upload if you want to watch Netflix in HD and do some video calling. But that’s just the start.

The speed you need multiplies when your house has more people — and more devices — that need to tap into the connection at the same time. It’s easy to forget how much household stuff can be online nowadays: smartphones, tablets, video doorbells, smart speakers, smart TVs, you name it.

If you’ve got a family all doing work calls and online classes at the same time, you’ll want at least 25 mbps download and 10 mbps upload.

 Step 3: Tune your WiFi

All the technicians I spoke with agree: Most people’s problem is the WiFi network. Dead zones are particularly common in large or oddly shaped homes. Building materials can also wreak havoc: In my 100-year-old house, I discovered there’s chicken wire in the plaster that acts like WiFi kryptonite.

Think of WiFi waves like music coming out of a speaker. The closer you are to the source, the better you can hear it. When you’re separated by walls, things get quieter and more muffled.

Tip : Move your router to where you can see it. I wouldn’t blame you if the ugly thing is currently buried in a closet. But that makes it hard for the signal to get out. Pulling the router out might make a world of difference — just keep it away from obstacles containing metal or water that will block the WiFi waves. On a shelf is better than the floor. Upstairs is better than in the basement. If you just can’t stand the way it looks, put a lamp shade over it.

Tip : Check your network names. Older routers often offer two different networks at the same time: one that runs at 2.4 GHz, and another that runs at 5 GHz — often with those numbers you can see at the end of the network name. Think of the 2.4 network as the slow lane. It can travel further but can’t transmit data as quickly. The 5 network is faster but can’t travel as far through walls. Newer WiFi routers automatically switch you to whichever is best for wherever you’re trying to connect, but older ones ask you to make the call, so try switching it up.

Tip : Move your router to the middle of the house. Often routers are connected to wherever in the house the cable connection enters. But if you’re beaming WiFi from one corner of your house, you’re sending 75 percent of your signal out to your neighbors, the backyard or the street. So if you’re up for a home improvement project, buy a long Cat 5e Ethernet cable and string it between your modem and a more central location for your router.

Tip : Update your software. Router makers frequently issue updates to stability and security, both things you want. Many routers leased by ISPs and newer do-it-yourself models update automatically. But older ones may require you install the upgrade yourself. Usually there are instructions printed on the device to access its control panel, such as going to a special website address. (While you’re there, make sure you’ve put a good password on your network.)

Tip : Upgrade to a newer mesh system. Starting in 2016, router tech made a significant leap forward. Instead of one single box trying to beam out all over the house, so-called mesh systems use a bunch of little wireless boxes all over. Your modem plugs into one of these mini-routers, and then the rest connect up to each other wirelessly. Start with two and add more if you need them.

Options that are pretty easy to install include Amazon’s Eero ($135 for a two pack), Google WiFi ($269 for a two pack) and Netgear’s Orbi ($129 for a three pack). Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, but I recommended Eero long before Amazon bought the router maker in 2019.

Some ISPs also sell mesh units that work with their rented gear, such as Comcast’s xFi Pods. But you’ll probably save money in the long run by buying and installing your own mesh system.

What if you invested in a fancy Apple router a few years back? Alas, Apple officially grounded its AirPort WiFi system in 2018. It’s time to look elsewhere.

Step 4: Get more out of your ISP

If you’re not getting the speed you need even standing close to your WiFi router, you’ve got a problem with your ISP. That could be a technical glitch — or you’re being ripped off.

Tip : Restart your modem. Before you contact support at your ISP, try unplugging your modem from power, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging it back in. It’s possible the thing has been running for a very long time and just needs to clear its memory.

Tip : Ask about upgrading your modem. Like routers, modems have also improved over time. Ask your ISP if it can tell how old yours is and whether you’d get faster service if it sent you a new one or you bought one yourself.

Tip : Complain — and consider a different ISP. It’s possible your ISP just can’t serve your neighborhood very well under the current demands. ISPs including Comcast, America’s largest, claim their networks have been holding up well with so many people working from home. But my connection has cut out periodically, and some of my Post colleagues have noted spikes in network latency (a measure of responsiveness). Some ISPs, particularly cable companies, use technology that’s actually a shared resource — which means, if your neighbors are also all running Zoom conferences, everyone’s connections will suffer.

Coronavirus exposes Internet inequality among U.S. students as schools close their doors

If you can find a recent Internet bill, look to see whether there’s anything about what speed you’ve been promised. Often ISPs use cagey language like “up to,” but if you’re paying for 25 mbps and only getting 3, you have a good reason to complain. The squeaky wheel gets a discount.

Tip : Pay more for faster speed. This is a last resort. If you’re tempted to upgrade to a faster tier, tell your ISP you’re going to test it and downgrade again if it doesn’t solve your problems.

 Step 5: Conserve the bandwidth you’ve got

If all else fails, you can try to conserve the limited Internet you’ve got.

Tip : Turn off hidden data hogs. It’s easy to forget everything we’ve got running on our gadgets these days, from iCloud and Dropbox to streaming security cameras. They’re usually not smart enough to shut themselves off while you’re trying to have an important video call, so just turn them off.

Tip : Switch to audio. It’s far less distracting to just join a Zoom conference via voice than to keep stuttering via video. You can still see everyone else and they can understand what you’re saying.

Tip : Make sure you don’t have a virus. Internet troubles are often a canary in the coal mine for a virus or malware. Nefarious programs can turn one of your devices into a robot that gobbles up your bandwidth to help them attack someone else. Try running the free Malwarebytes to check.

Tip : Tether to your phone. If your ISP is having a problem and you’re stuck waiting for a fix, try using your smartphone as a personal hotspot.

By:  Geoffrey A. Fowler , The Washington Post

Source: Bad WiFi Is Slowing You Down. Fix Yours Without Spending a Dime.

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Why Bluetooth Remains an Unusually Painful Technology After Two Decades

In the two decades since it was first included in products available to the general public, Bluetooth has become so widespread that an entire generation of consumers may not be able to remember a time without it.

ABI Research estimates that 5 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship to consumers this year, with that figure expected to rise to 7 billion by 2026. Bluetooth is now in everything from smartphones to refrigerators to lightbulbs, allowing a growing number of products to connect to each other seamlessly — sometimes.

Despite its pervasiveness, the technology is still prone to headache-inducing issues, whether it’s the struggle to set up a new device to connect with, switching headphones between devices or simply being too far out of range to connect.

“I have a very love-hate relationship with Bluetooth,” said Chris Harrison, a professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Melon University. “Because when it works, it’s amazing, and when it doesn’t, you want to rip your hair out.”

“The promise was to make it as seamless and easy as possible,” he said. “Bluetooth never quite got there, unfortunately.”

The reasons for this go back to the very foundation of the relatively low-cost technology.

The rise of Bluetooth

Bluetooth is said to borrow its name from a ninth-century Scandinavian king, Harald “Blue tooth” Gormsson, who was known for his blueish-gray dead tooth and also for uniting Denmark and Norway in 958 AD. Early programmers adopted “Bluetooth” as a code name for their wireless tech that connects local devices, and it eventually stuck.

The technology was differentiated from Wi-Fi by being “inherently short range,” Harrison said. It’s still the case today that the Bluetooth options many consumers are accustomed to in their phones and portable speakers function at lower power and can only connect at limited distances.

Bluetooth signals travel over unlicensed airwaves, which are effectively open to the public for anyone to use, as opposed to privatized airwaves that are controlled by companies like AT&T or Verizon. This may have eased its development and broader adoption, but it came at a cost.

Bluetooth must share and compete with a slew of other products using unlicensed spectrum bands, such as baby monitors, TV remotes, and more. This may generate interference that can disrupt your Bluetooth’s effectiveness.

Harrison cites other reasons why Bluetooth can be “unusually painful,” including cybersecurity issues that can arise when transmitting data wirelessly.

If you set up a Bluetooth speaker in your New York apartment building, for example, you wouldn’t want just anyone within a 50-feet radius to be able to connect to it. But manufacturers never settled on a seamless “discovery mode” process, Harrison said.

“Sometimes the device will start up automatically and be in this, ‘I’m ready to pair mode,'” he added. “Sometimes you have to click some kind of alien sequence to get the device into this particular mode.”

More than that, multiple U.S. government agencies have advised consumers that using Bluetooth risks leaving their devices more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. The Federal Communications Commission has warned that, as with Wi-Fi connections, “Bluetooth can put your personal data at risk if you are not careful.”

At least one high-profile government official is said to be a Bluetooth skeptic: Vice President Kamala Harris. In the much-watched video of Harris congratulating President-elect Joe Biden after the election (“We did it, Joe!“), she can be seen holding a clump of wired headphones in her hands. According to Politico, Harris “has long felt that Bluetooth headphones are a security risk.”

But businesses and consumers continue to embrace Bluetooth. Apple, perhaps most prominently, ditched traditional headphone ports and introduced its popular Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds, AirPods. Other tech companies have since rolled out similar products.

Some diehard audiophiles, the sort of people “who complain about Spotify not being high-quality enough,” as Harrison puts it, also refuse to embrace the world of Bluetooth headphones for sound quality reasons.

Despite its flaws, Harrison doesn’t see demand for Bluetooth dying down and admits he himself uses it seamlessly — some “70% of the time.”

“Bluetooth hasn’t seen its pinnacle yet,” Harrison said, predicting the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things, or smart devices, working together in close range will only add to its growth. “Bluetooth will be the glue that connects that all together.”


Source: Why Bluetooth remains an ‘unusually painful’ technology after two decades

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‘Unprecedented’ Water Levels Threatening Hydropower Generation In The West

The nation’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell, is continuing to dry up, placing water supplies and power generation in the West in potentially dire straits.

Lake Powell is an artificial lake in the middle of the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and Utah. Created in 1963 after the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, the lake has become a critical source of hydropower and water for the West.

Now, for the first time, the water levels at the lake are threatening to dip below 3,525 feet in elevation, a critical elevation marker, with water levels dropping a full 45 feet in the past year.A boat cruises along Lake Powell near Page, Ariz., on July 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The critical elevation provides 35 feet of buffer before we reach our minimum power pool elevation where Glen Canyon Dam can no longer generate hydropower, ” said Heather Patno, a hydrologic engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Levels are expected to be below the target elevation for a few weeks before rebounding in April due to snowmelt from mountains along the Colorado River Basin. Hydropower generation is not expected to be affected this spring, but it is possible that the reservoir’s level will dip to critically low levels again in the summer.

“We’re talking about multiple seasons of well-below-average rain and snow that have kind of gotten us to this point, coupled with exceptionally high temperatures which we attribute to regional warming from global warming, ” said Justin Mankin, an assistant geography professor at Dartmouth College and a co-lead at NOAA’s drought task force.

Water conservation measures will likely need to be implemented, something that Mankin says will hit farmers in the West first. As drought conditions continue to build, farmers may be asked to limit their water usage, something which makes growing crops more difficult.

“These are unprecedented times, and these decisions are not taken lightly, and we’re aware of the impacts it has to the Colorado Basin, where there’s 40 million people within the basin,” Patno said.

While water cuts might be necessary to sustain the water supply this year, Mankin believes that the continued drought in the West indicates that more structural solutions might be needed in the future.

A current look at drought conditions in the Western United States as of March 10, 2022.

One peer-reviewed study published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the western United States and parts of northern Mexico are experiencing their driest period in at least 1,200 years, with some calling the unprecedented period of dryness a “megadrought.”

“This drought is indicating we need a structural orientation of our management of water in the West,” Mankin said. “What does it mean for the West to be in an exceptional drought, that is, a drought without exception, every year?”

For the latest weather news check back on Watch the AccuWeather Network on DIRECTVFrontierSpectrumfuboTVPhilo, and Verizon Fios. AccuWeather Now is now available on your preferred streaming platform.

By Zachary Rosenthal




Drought contingency plans define the 3,525-foot mark as a significant “target elevation” for the reservoir, under which the situation becomes dire. As of Thursday, Lake Powell had fallen to just over 3,526 feet in elevation, which is just over 24% of capacity and less than two feet away from the critical level.

“We’re kind of in some uncharted territory, socially and economically,” Justin Mankin, assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and co-lead of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Drought Task Force, told CNN. “It’s totally within reason to expect that the next couple of weeks or so for [Lake Powell] to fall below the critical level.”

Lake Powell’s plunging water level threatens Glen Canyon Dam’s capacity to produce hydropower, much like Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Glen Canyon Dam provides power for many states including Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska.

The 3,525-foot target is crucial because it allows a 35-foot buffer for emergency response to prevent Lake Powell from dropping below the minimum pool elevation of 3,490 feet above sea level, the lowest at which Glen Canyon Dam is able to generate hydropower.

Lake Powell and nearby Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, have drained at an alarming rate in the last year. In August, the federal government declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time after Lake Mead’s water level plunged to unprecedented lows, triggering mandatory water consumption cuts for states in the Southwest which began in January.

The significance of the dwindling supply in the two reservoirs, fed by the Colorado River watershed, cannot be overstated. Water flowing down the Colorado River fills both Powell and Mead, which are part of a river system supplying more than 40 million people living across seven Western states and Mexico. Both reservoirs provide a critical supply of drinking water and irrigation for many across the region, including rural farms, ranches and native communities.


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Uber, Facebook, Instagram and Other Apps That are Slowly Killing Your Smartphone

Uber, Facebook, Instagram and other apps that are slowly killing your smartphone

What is the first thing you do when you launch a new smartphone ? Download all the apps you need, of course. After a few hours (or days) downloading applications, your entry menu ends up covered in colorful squares, giving you the satisfaction that you have everything: apps for social networks, transport, dating, online commerce, for video conferencing and fitness, for name the most popular.

However, recent research found that many of them are slowly killing your smartphone. The pCloud company, which offers cloud storage services, conducted a study to discover which applications are most demanding for our mobile devices.

The research looked at 100 of the most popular apps based on three criteria: the features each app uses (such as location or camera), the battery consumption, and whether dark mode is available. Thus they found which of these not only drain the battery of our phone, they also occupy the most memory and make it slower.

These are the apps classified as ‘smartphone killers’

According to the study, the Fitbit and Verizon apps turned out to be the biggest ‘smartphone killers. Both allow 14 of the 16 available functions to run in the background, including the four most demanding: camera, location, microphone and WiFi connection. This earned them the highest score in the study: 92.31%.

Of the 20 most demanding applications for mobile battery, 6 are social networks . Facebook , Instagram , Snapchat , Youtube , WhatsApp, and LinkedIn allow 11 functions to run in the background, such as photos, WiFi, location, and microphone. Of these, only IG allows dark mode to save up to 30% battery, just like Twitter , which did not enter the top 20.

Dating apps Tinder , Bumble and Grinder account for 15% of the top 20 most demanding apps. On average, they allow 11 functions to run in the background and none have a dark mode.

In terms of the amount of memory they require, travel and transportation apps dominated the list. The United Airlines app is the one that consumes the most storage on the phone, as it requires 437.8 MB of space. Lyft follows with 325.1 MB and then Uber , which occupies 299.6 MB.

Among the video conferencing apps, Microsoft Teams is the one that consumes the most memory, occupying 232.2 MB of space. In comparison, Zoom only requires 82.1 MB and Skype 111.2 MB.

The 20 apps that wear out your phone the most

The top 20 of the most demanding applications, based on the functions they execute and all the activity they generate, was as follows:

  1. Fitbit – 92%
  2. Verizon – 92%
  3. Uber – 87%
  4. Skype – 87%
  5. Facebook – 82%
  6. AirB & B – 82%
  7. BIGO LIVE – 82%
  8. Instagram – 79%
  9. Tinder – 77%
  10. Bumble – 77%
  11. Snapchat – 77%
  12. WhatsApp – 77%
  13. Zoom – 77%
  14. YouTube – 77%
  15. Booking – 77%
  16. Amazon – 77%
  17. Telegram – 77%
  18. Grinder – 72%
  19. Likke – 72%
  20. LinkedIn – 72%

Among the 50 applications that kill the battery and memory of the phone are also Twitter (no. 25), Shazam (30), Shein (31), Spotify (32), Pinterest (37), Amazon Prime (38), Netflix (40), TikTok (41), Duolingo (44) and Uber Eats (50).

If you are already considering doing a general cleaning of apps, you can consult the complete list here .

By: Entrepreneur en Español / Entrepreneur Staff

Source: Uber, Facebook, Instagram and other apps that are slowly killing your smartphone


Our smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives that we can’t imagine life without it. Just like any object, phones are also subjected to wear and tear as well as our mishandling. Here are some things that you should stop if you want to prolong your phone’s life.

Draining your phone’s battery
Most smartphones have lithium-ion batteries with limited life cycles. If you’re constantly draining your phone to 1% before charging, it reduces the battery’s life cycles.

Exposing your phone to drastic temperatures
We understand that your phone can’t be left in your bag or pocket all the time. However, don’t leave it out in temperatures below 0 and above 35 degrees celsius as permanent damages may be done to the handset.

Maxing out your storage
Your phone needs extra storage space in order for the operating system to continue functioning. Maxing out your storage causes your phone to lag or crash. Avoid this by backing up your phone’s content regularly to either your computer or cloud storage.

Leaving your phone in the shower
Doesn’t a nice hot shower feels good at the end of the day? Not so much for your phone. Steam can seep into your phone and condense into water, which may short circuit the hardware.

Constantly dropping your phone
No matter how good the protective casing your phone is in, dropping it constantly will affect its internal hardware. Be thankful if it’s just a cracked screen; more often than not, the damages are more serious than that.

Too many background apps
Is it really necessary to keep Candy Crush, Facebook, Instagram, Calendar and Whatsapp all opened at the same time? This causes your phone to dedicate extra RAM to these apps and drains your battery.

Not turning your phone off
Like humans, your phone also needs a break once in a while. Leaving it on 24/7 can shorten the lifespan of the battery and decrease its performance.

Overnight charging
Most smartphones are clever enough to cut off the power supply to the battery once it’s fully charged. However, lithium-ion batteries don’t fare well against high heats. When you leave your phone plugged in overnight, especially with the casing on, overheating can occur and decrease the battery life.

Relying on cellular data
If you’re only using 3G/4G for internet connectivity, think again. Connecting to Wi-Fi consumes less energy than data network which helps make your battery lasts longer.

Cleaning your phone with household products
There’s a reason why cleaning agents exist specifically for phones. The chemicals in your household bleach or detergent can damage the protective layer often found on your phone’s screen.


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Verizon Launches Yahoo-Branded Smartphone For $50

Verizon is launching a purple Yahoo smartphone for $50, the first device from the once-ascendant tech company, which comes at a time when Verizon seems to be figuring  out what to do with the former search giant.

With its budget-friendly price point, the Yahoo Mobile ZTE Blade A3Y doesn’t have the latest and greatest specs: The phone will ship with a 5.4-inch 720p display, an Android 10 operating system, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a fingerprint scanner and face unlock.

Yahoo’s apps will come pre-installed, including Yahoo Mail, News, Sports and Weather.

The phone won’t be able to access Verizon’s newly launched 5G network, which isn’t a surprise considering its low price.

Verizon has already pushed Yahoo into a smartphone industry with Yahoo Mobile, a phone plan launched in March that charges customers $40 for unlimited talk, text and data on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. 

Key Background

Yahoo was a major player in the 90s and early aughts, but it never figured out how to compete with Google, and even turned down an opportunity to buy Google for $1 billion in 2002. Yahoo then acquired Flickr and Tumblr in an attempt to grow past its email and search engine, but even those services were eventually eclipsed by other social media companies. Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 for 4.83 billion, then a shell of its former self, and put it under its media arm. In its heyday, Yahoo’s market cap reached a whopping $125 billion in January 2000.

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Verizon also bought HuffPost and TechCrunch through its acquisition of AOL in 2015. Now, Verizon is trying to sell off HuffPost, but is reportedly struggling to find a buyer. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Rachel Sandler

 Rachel Sandler

I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email



Boyd Digital: Global Tech News 1.91K subscribers Reported today on The Verge For the full article visit:… Reported today in The Verge. Verizon launches Yahoo Mobile phone service Verizon is launching a Yahoo-branded mobile phone service called Yahoo Mobile in an attempt to use consumers’ total apathy toward familiarity with the Yahoo brand to kickstart a new wireless provider.

Yahoo Mobile works off of Verizon’s network and offers only one plan: unlimited LTE data for $40 per month, plus throttled tethering and a subscription to Yahoo Mail Pro. It’s a good price; Verizon charges $65 per month for a prepaid unlimited plan, and AT&T charges $45 per month. If this all just feels like a lazy attempt to recycle the Yahoo brand, well, it gets worse: Yahoo Mobile is basically just a rebranded version of Visible, which is another spinoff phone service operated by Yahoo.

The singular plan is the same, their websites match up beat for beat, and Yahoo Mobile even offers Visible’s phone insurance plan under Visible’s name. Verizon closed its purchase of Yahoo close to three years ago. The deal included the Yahoo brand and major web services like Flickr and Tumblr. But Verizon was mainly interested in Yahoo’s ad technology, and it’s done little with Yahoo.

Both Flickr and Tumblr have since been sold off, and Yahoo’s biggest announcements have been payouts for data breaches. Spinoff carriers like Yahoo Mobile and Visible let Verizon diversify its business and test out new ways of selling wireless service. Verizon isn’t exactly a beloved brand, but Visible has hip branding and a simple pricing structure – something that might appeal to younger customers. Yahoo Mobile offers another take on that, just with the extremely appealing added perk of… subscription Yahoo Mail.

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