In yet another display of near complete disregard for its customers, Verizon Wireless announced this week it plans to eliminate the $30/Month unlimited data plan any user subscribed to prior to the company’s transition to tiered data plans last July. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said at the 40th J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom conference that once unlimited 3G data plan customers upgrade to 4G LTE, they will be forced to purchase the company’s shared data plan.
“Everyone will be on data share,” Shammo said. The carrier’s shared data plans are scheduled to launch in the coming months, and will allow users to share a single pool of data between multiple devices. “If I can add as many devices as I want, that is more efficient from a family perspective and a small business perspective,” the CFO said.
When asked how Verizon will migrate customers off their unlimited data plans, Shammo said that LTE will draw customers away from it. “A lot of our 3G base is on unlimited,” he said. “When they migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share. That is beneficial to us.”
Sure, beneficial to you, but how does that benefit customers again? Oh yeah, it doesn’t. It just means people should get ready to pay ever increasing costs for mobile data.
How do we feel about this?
To be honest, I’m surprised it took this long. But now it seems our government here in the U.S. has finally decided to take action and attempt to stop a merger that should not take place anyway.
That’s right, the government has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block AT&T’s proposed $39 Billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. According to the complaint, such a deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market. Bloomberg reports that the complaint was filed with the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday, and the government is asking for a declaration that the proposed merger would violate U.S. antitrust laws.
“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing. AT&T has argued that it needs T-Mobile’s spectrum in order to improve service quality and cover the majority of the U.S. population with 4G LTE service.
Well, I can understand them wanting to improve service quality. However, competition is good and as long as T-Mobile is around, AT&T will have to work that much harder. That won’t hurt them one bit. In fact, it might just help them.
Even with the recent outage, it’s no secret lots of people use Skype to make calls on a daily basis. It’s also no secret many of those calls are video chats. However, if you wanted to video chat using your iPhone and all you had was a 3G signal, you were out of luck — even with Apple’s Facetime. That is until today.
Today Skype announced a new version of its iOS client simply titled Skype 3.0. The new update brings several improvements and, most notably, adds the ability to make and receive video-calls from your supported iOS device over both 3G and Wi-Fi networks. And while that’s great news when you can’t find a WiFi signal, I would take anything reported to work over AT&T’s 3G network with a big grain of salt. In other words, your mileage may vary.
Check out the full press release after the jump.
Continue Reading →
What would a week be without yet another “confirmation” of the iPhone’s long rumored appearance on Verizon? A boring week we say! So, to make sure we get one in for this week, here’s the latest from the folks at Fortune Magazine.
In a profile on Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, the magazine has to, of course, talk about the iPhone. Noting Seidenberg’s success in making Verizon the number one wireless carrier in the U.S, Fortune notes that “every tech company” — including Apple — “must find a way to partner with it [Verizon].”
However, that’s not the really juicy part. Nor is it the part that will cause even more speculation and machinations among Apple loving and AT&T hating fans. This is the part: “Fortune has confirmed that a Verizon iPhone will be released in early 2011.”
With all the other evidence mounting that we will actually see a Verizon iPhone combined with this new evidence, it must be a forgone conclusion, right? Sadly, with a company like Apple, you can’t really count on anything except absolute secrecy until they are ready to make the announcement. They love to control the message.
Of course, there’s always the possibility some hapless employee will leave one in a bar somewhere. Hey, it could happen.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. People love the iPhone but hate the AT&T network and are waiting for the day when the iPhone comes to Verizon. Well, as in the past, that rumor is being reported again that the device will indeed be coming to the Verizon network. This time the report is in USA Today.
Although they don’t name any sources due to anonymity, the report does say the iPhone will be hitting Verizon in January. If true, this is great news for those who really want an iPhone but love to have a network where phone calls are possible even sitting in the living room.
Although, with the issues that seem to be plaguing the new iPhone, you have to wonder if a new network is really the answer. Maybe those issues are because the iPhone 4 had to be modified with a new antenna to accommodate AT&T’s poor network performance?
If so, a Verizon iPhone potentially would not have to be designed the same way and any issues with antenna strength, for example, may be removed. Plus, with Verizon potentially rolling out its LTE network in November, perhaps the new Verizon iPhone would even have 4G? Wouldn’t that be cool?
Of course, it’s all speculation until either Apple or Verizon confirm something is really going to happen. Still, it’s fun to think of the possibilities.
If you’re waiting and hoping for a Verizon iPhone this year, you might be disappointed yet again. According to a recent analyst report highlighted over at Computerworld, the iPhone is going to remain an AT&T exclusive at least until the end of 2010. Why? Well, read on.
AT&T is offering data plans for the iPad on a non-contract basis at the reasonable price of $15 for 250MB of data and $30 for unlimited data. According to analyst Brian Marshall of BroadPoint AmTech, AT&T would not have agreed to those low prices, and no-contract plans, without receiving something big from Apple in return. That “something big”, he thinks, is an extension of the iPhone exclusivity agreement with AT&T.
“AT&T had to do something dramatic to get the iPad,” said Marshall. “For that pricing [on the iPad], AT&T was able to negotiate a six-month extension on the iPhone exclusive,” he continued.
So there you have it iPhone fans. If you’re as sick of AT&T as I was but still must have your iPhone, you’re just going to have to hang in there a a bit longer. Of course, this is just one person’s opinion, albeit an informed one. Still, he could be wrong and we may never see a Verizon iPhone.
After all, Apple usually does what’s in Apple’s best interest so going to the trouble of making a CDMA iPhone for just the U.S. market, where they already dominate the space, may be more than they are willing to do. If you believe Marshall, I guess we’ll find out at the end of the year. Until then, try not to be too hard on AT&T.
If you’ve never been to Austin, TX during South by Southwest (SXSW), let me assure you AT&T’s network pretty much sucks during the fest. Sure, it has something to do with the sheer number of users concentrated all in one place but still, that doesn’t make it any better. So, to prevent a repeat of last years’s problems (To put it mildly) AT&T is going overboard to ensure a similar wireless network debacle doesn’t happen again this year.
To avoid a second such disaster, AT&T is pulling out all the stops (Well, most of them anyway) and bringing in a lot of additional equipment for the SXSW conference including:
• Bringing in three temporary cell sites that are positioned in areas expected to see high traffic.
• Installing a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Austin Convention Center. The DAS is comprised of 50 antenna nodes that provide the equivalent coverage of eight cell sites.
• Improving the cell sites in the surrounding area by utilizing 30MHz of spectrum for 3G instead of the standard 10MHz and upgrading the system to include the 850MHz band and HSPA.
• Improving the backhaul by beefing up the fiber optic connections that serve the eight cell sites of the DAS and the three temporary sites.
These all seems like great steps in the right direction for the company but still, you have to wonder if it will be enough. Even with AT&T’s recent victory in a PC World survey of network performance, many of us who use the network every day haven’t really seen much of a difference. It still kinda sucks.
When you’ve got thousands of power users with iPhones all in one square mile and all trying to use the network at the same time, will it be able to handle the load or will it fail once again? I guess we’ll find out next week. Any bets?
Seeing as how I use AT&T daily in Los Angeles and find the 3G service to be spotty and occasionally non-existant, I have a bit of a hard time believing that AT&T’s 3G network speed is actually the fastest. However, based on a recent study conducted by PC World, that seems to be the case.
The study, a collaboration between PC World and wireless analysis firm Novarum, took place from December 2009 to January 2010, and compares the four major U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile) in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle on both mobile phones and laptop data cards
Highlights of the study include:
• AT&T: average download speed 1410 Kbps, average upload speed 773 Kbps
• Sprint: average download speed 795 Kbps, average upload speed 396 Kbps
• T-Mobile: average download speed 868 Kbps, average upload speed 311 Kbps
• Verizon: average download speed 877 Kbps, average upload speed 434 Kbps
Continue Reading →
Now that I’ve had a chance to think about it and perhaps Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field” has worn off a bit, there are some things about the iPad I don’t like or wish had been, or hadn’t been, included in the new device. On the surface, the iPad seems like a great device and one that I will most likely get. But today’s announcement still left me wondering about a few things.
And here they are:
No camera – For a device like this it would make sense to have a video camera for video conferencing and to take pictures and video, much like the iPhone 3GS. If this device is supposed to be some sort of laptop replacement, it should have a camera. The deliberate omission of a camera smells like an obvious ploy by Apple to not cannibalize sales of the iPhone and iPod.
No Flash – Say what you will about Adobe’s Flash but for the full Internet browsing experience you still need to have Flash. Sure, the iPhone doesn’t have it but if this is supposed to be a larger, better device that can replace my 13″ MacBook, it should have Flash.
Navigating to web pages and seeing those black rectangles where video should be isn’t the fantastic experience Apple makes it out to be. It’s just bad and seriously undermines the credibility of Apple’s mobile web browser.
Storage – I realize that Apple probably isn’t positioning the iPad as a complete laptop replacement but it would still be nice to have more storage than the maximum of 64GB. Of course, having more storage would probably mean that battery life would suffer or the device would be more expensive but still, video files are usually pretty large and I’ve also got a lot of music and other files, plus applications and games, so larger storage options would be great.
Continue Reading →
Most people who love a particular phone but are forced to use AT&T know that their network performance can sometimes leave something to be desired. Yes iPhone owners, I’m talking to you. Poor network performance, inability to use 3G data and the ever-present dropped and failed calls are pretty consistent issues when using AT&T — at least in many areas.
But now it seems the network is listening and is going to try and do something about it. No, they are not introducing a radical improvement to their network or anything like that. Instead, they’ve rolled out a tool for the iPhone that will allow users to report any failure to their service. This application, called Mark the Spot, uses geo-location to pinpoint your iPhone’s location and then asks the user to identify the type of problem they are experiencing.
Supposedly this data will be used by the carrier to help pinpoint trouble spots that they can then take steps to improve. While I would prefer an actual improvement in network performance, i guess this is a step in the right direction. This application is now available in the iTunes store so go it it.
I wonder if they’ll get very many reports?
According to a report over at YouTube, uploads to the video-sharing site have jumped 1700% in the last six months. After last Friday’s launch of the new video capable iPhone 3GS, that growth sped up even further — to 400% growth per day. Of course, with this latest jump in network activity, you have to wonder how AT&T’s network is handling the load, given its relatively well-known issues.
According to DSL Reports, the AT&T network is doing just fine, thank you. “Upload has been a strength of our network for a while now with HSUPA,” said AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom in the article. HSUPA boosted the upstream capability of the company’s wireless network to between 500kbps and 800kbps, and the upgrades were all-but completed by Spring of 2008.
Bloom continued: “Things like adding 2100 cell sites around the country, adding improved backhaul to thousands of other sites, upgrading to HSPA 7.2 (7.2Mbps downstream) beginning later this year and concluding in 2011, and rolling out 850 (Mhz) to improve overall and in-building coverage”
So, there you have it. More users, more bandwidth being used and no problems. Sure. So why has MMS been delayed until “Summer”?