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article imageJohn Legere says T-Mobile is 'saying yes to FM' on new phones

By James Walker     Aug 16, 2015 in Technology
Following in the footsteps of AT&T's announcement last month, T-Mobile has said its users will be able to enjoy FM radio on Android smartphones bought from next year. The news comes amid a resurgence of support for analogue FM and local radio.
Nearly all Android smartphones have an FM radio receiver embedded inside them. The issue is that U.S. carriers usually disable them, pushing users towards listening to music through online streaming services whilst on the go and generating traffic for their networks.
As UberGizmo reports, AT&T last month decided it is time to give users access to all of their phone's hardware, announcing all Android phones it sells next year will have their FM radios activated. The network has gone so far as to stipulate that an activated FM radio is now a mandatory requirement for every phone sold on its network. Sprint's network has supported FM since 2013.
On August 14, T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed on Twitter that his network is also going to begin activating FM radios, saying "We're saying yes to FM chip" and adding that phone manufacturers will also be pushed into supporting it, as with AT&T.
The tweet was sent in response to a message from popular radio streaming app NextRadio, telling Legere that "support for free FM radio on Tmobile is still growing!" It seems like the network has taken note.
The deactivation of FM radio chips in smartphones has become a more topical issue recently. Local stations are often some of the most reliable sources of up-to-date news headlines and safety warnings in emergency situations when power or Internet may be unavailable. Having FM activated in a smartphone gives more people access to this potentially life-saving information.
Because it's an analogue signal using the conventional frequencies of radio waves, FM signals completely circumvent cell carriers too. Users can listen for as long as they like without spending even a penny on mobile data and downloads. The technology also uses very little battery power compared with playing MP3s or streaming from the Internet.
With three major U.S. carriers on-board, it seems as though the fight to return FM to phones may be starting to gain some significant traction. NextRadio retweeted "#VerizonIsNext" just hours after Legere's announcement that T-Mobile will support FM activation so it looks like the campaign won't end until all four pledge support.
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