If you’re an Android user on either T-Mobile or Verizon I’ve got some potentially bad news for you: your subsidized device may be afflicted with the latest delivery system for carrier bloatware. Android Police ran a story last week about a system application called DT_Ignite, found on the T-Mobile version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 and the Verizon LG G3.
I myself try to steer clear of carrier-subsidized hardware, so my hands-on experience with bloatware has been limited to devices on-loan from Howard—most famously the Samsung Galaxy S4. On that device (at least the Canadian version) the carrier apps were preloaded onto the ROM. DT Ignite is different in that it’s a single app that updates itself and apks under its control without the user’s knowledge (or permission). T-Mobile Note 4 owners have uninstalled carrier apps only to have them reappear after a reboot!
Digital Turbine, the company behind DT Ignite, is owned by Mandalay Digital, who just bought another mobile marketing company called Appia. Are T-Mobile and Verizon getting paid for putting DT Ignite on their devices? Probably. Aren’t they also earning back the balance on your subsidized phone—and then some—by locking you in to their service on a multi-year contract? Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. Wouldn’t this qualify as double-dipping? You can probably guess the answer…
The only good news here is that DT Ignite seems to have been implemented differently on Verizon—according to Android Police, uninstalled carrier apps on Verizon devices stay uninstalled. I think the bigger concern for any user with DT Ignite on their device is whether updates via that app will count against their data bucket.