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All major wireless carriers claiming to offer the fewest dropped calls, wireless management services provider www.MindWireless.com used its vast database of Houston call data for a study. Using a sample of more than 80 million calls placed in the Houston area received between January 1, 2006 and June 30, 2006. They defined a dropped or "duplicate call" as a call from a cellular device to another wireless device or landline placed within two minutes of a prior call to the same destination, with no call between. Additionally, calls to self (voicemail) & Nextel push-to-talk calls were excluded., mindWireless ranked the carriers in the following order of % of dropped calls:

1 Sprint 5.4%
2 Cingular legacy AT&T) 5.7%
3 Verizon 8.0%
4 Cingular (legacy Cingular) 11.3%
5 T-Mobile 13.8%
6 Nextel 14.6%

New York State Sen. Carl Kruger is proposing a ban on pedestrians using electronic devices, such as cell phones, Blackberries and iPods, while crossing a street. Since September, three pedestrians have been killed in his Brooklyn district while distracted by electronic devices. One walked into the path of a bus as other pedestrians shouted warnings that weren't heard over the din of his music. What would be the effectiveness of such a law, even with the $100 fine proposed? Having police chase down these offenders instead of going after other law violators seems silly. This law has no chance of success and I can't even believe that we pay our lawmakers to think of stupid ideas like this. Read more.

How many companies or industries do you know that penalize you for buying more products or services? Usually the fundamentals of business provide volume discounts in every industry. In the cellular industry there are far different business practices that I think are ridiculous. For example, if I purchased a rate plan for 1500 minutes at $40 per month, my rate would be approximately .026 cents per minute. If I were to go over my allotted minutes by 1 minute I would be charged .40 cents per minute. That is 15X the rate of my pre-purchased rate plan. On top of the penalty most companies do not provide consumers with ease of access to minutes and the transparency necessary to manage monthly minute plans. I am waiting for the day when media consumer “watch dog” groups jump on this issue and give the problem more exposure. I will be the first person to change to a new carrier that simply allows me to buy additional minutes at my base rate.

For those facing huge cancellation fees, there is a little-known loophole to avoid paying penalities. Consumers can cancel their cell service contracts if the cell phone company makes a change, such as including increased data fees for text messages and equipment replacement. How many of you have seen your fees changed from .05 to .10 and even .15 cents per text message. Carriers are encouraging customers to purchase bundles of monthly text packages. Read more.

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How to Get Out of a Cellular Service Contract
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Nokia Growth Partners, the world's largest maker of cellphones, is stepping up a commitment to its venture-capital activities, underscoring its efforts to expand into new and adjacent businesses such as mobile music and video and location-based services. The Espoo, Finland, handset maker is increasing the amount of money in its Nokia Growth Partners investment arm and adding new management to oversee the fund. The $100 million fund, based in London and Menlo Park, Calif., invests in companies that are in the mid- or late-stage of financing and have a commercial product used by industry players such as Nokia. The move by Nokia comes as other cellphone giants, such as Motorola Corp. and Samsung Electronics, have been making greater strides in venture capital.

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