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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The good news is that, after years of having to pay per gigabyte, unlimited plans are now the norm at all of the major U.S. wireless carriers. The bad news is that, somehow, those same companies have managed to create different categories of unlimited.
What's happening now: At the low-end, some have data caps before speeds are throttled. At the high-end, many come with premium video services (the latest battleground).
The bottom line: You'd think unlimited was an absolute, like "infinite." But even with unlimited data, you will have to read the fine print to make sure you are getting what you want and not paying for things you don't need. Here's what each is offering:
1. AT&T: The biggest challenge with AT&T's unlimited plans is that the options and combinations keep changing.
2. Sprint: The nation's No. 4 carrier, which is in the process of trying to sell itself to T-Mobile, has been experimenting with all kinds of promotions and offers, though most are limited-time plans.
3. T-Mobile: T-Mobile's plans are probably the simplest to understand.
4. Verizon: In its latest ad campaign, Verizon actually boasts about the fact that it now has a bunch of unlimited plans and you can now mix and match them within a family plan.
My thought bubble: The wireless carriers always want some point of differentiation they can tout to distinguish their plans. In the old days it was the number of voice minutes or texts, then the amount of data. Now it's the use of things like video services to ensure there's more than one price point.
Go deeper: The Verge has a comprehensive look at all the options from each of the major carriers.
Facebook's headquarters in California, where a vintage sign that says "The Hacker Company" hangs. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
Facebook is quintupling its engineers in Washington, D.C., as it looks to show lawmakers it can handle problem like countering online extremism and foreign election meddling, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: This underscores how tied Facebook's future is to decisions made in the nation’s capital.
What they’re doing: “We’re looking to quintuple the size of the office over the next couple of years,” said Ben Strahs, who helps lead Facebook’s existing engineering presence in Washington. Those new recruits, which Strahs said the company is looking to bring on “as quickly as we can hire,” will join engineers who are already working on contentious issues.
Go deeper: Read David's full story.
Meanwhile: Facebook had a busy day on Monday. The company also...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded a long time ago (and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee agreed) that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections. But, as Axios' Shannon Vavra reports, election-tampering can take many forms.
Reality check: The American election system is actually made up of 50 different state-run elections, and each state has several systems that are potentially vulnerable.
The systems most at risk in the election process:
Of note: This list doesn't include voter fraud, illegal efforts to influence votes, and problems with news, social media and information surrounding elections.
Be smart: Any vulnerability can be exploited in ways that reduce public trust in elections, and if that's the goal of an adversary like, say, Russia, then the system's credibility could be weakened even if tampering hasn't promoted a particular winner or loser.
Go deeper: Shannon has more here.
Lyft finally confirmed Monday that it’s getting in the bike-sharing business by acquiring Motivate, the company behind Ford GoBike in San Francisco and Citi Bike in New York. Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva has a look at the deal, which sources tell Axios came with a $250 million price tag.
The bottom line: Once again, Uber and Lyft are going head-to-head, this time with bikes (Uber acquired dockless bike-sharing company Jump in April).
What Lyft bought: Motivate’s team, assets, and contracts with cities, which means Lyft now owns a large chunk of the bike-share market in the U.S.
Bear in mind: Many, if not all, of Motivate’s contracts with cities include clauses that allow the city to terminate the contract under conditions like a change in control — such as Lyft acquiring Motivate. It’s unclear whether Lyft got the cities’ blessings before going forward with the deal.
Baby elephants, anyone?