in reference to: Cox Communications – Unbelievably Fair (view on Google Sidewiki)
in reference to: Cox Communications – Unbelievably Fair (view on Google Sidewiki)
- Try to comprehend why the carriers are obsessing about 3G, 4G & LTE speeds when all consumers want is a reliable connection? The industry lacks marketing standards for speeds and the carriers intensionally want consumers to be confused about what they are buying.
- Try and get acknowledgment and public feedback from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon & Sprint on our poor coverage data and what is being done to improve in areas. Carriers wont admit any guilt but there are a number of companies like Alcatel-Lucent and Ericcsson that provide services to these companies who will look at the data on their behalf.
- Identify which US retailer will be the first to launch coverage maps (Best Buy Mobile or Radio Shack) to help their customers choose the best cell phone service in their area? There are lots of companies generating variations of coverage map data and selling this now like CarrierIQ, Root Wireless & Nielsen. They all seem to have lots of data but how much of it is meaningful actionable data. Google is also mapping coverage using their Android phones and will likely use this data to promote Google Voice VoIP services on broadband.
- Identify which Cable Company - Cox, Time Warner, Comcast, Cable Vision will be most aggressive about wireless services and how will they go to market? Sounds like Cable Vision and Cox are going to be first and most aggressive. Comcast is going to continue their Sprint MVNO strategy. Looks like Time Warner is rolling out at WiMAX VoIP network as well.
- Which femtocell manufacturers will get AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile nationwide deals? AT&T's 3G Microcell will be launching Nationwide this summer. It remains to be seen how they are going to deal with the overwhelming demand from customers especially in major dense cities.
- How will US carriers and femtocell manufacturers begin marketing femtocells to the masses similar to Vodafone UK? US Carriers will remain very reactive and less proactive about promoting their Microcells or Femtocells. The customers who pay and complain the most will get femtocells first. Its is speculated AT&T to Spend $1B on Free Femtocells for Its Customers.
- Will the US carriers begin to educate their consumers about femtocells and their benefits or will they continue to hide behind their bogus coverage maps. I don't see the carriers marketing femtocells heavily yet in 2010. They are too scared about the demand they might see.
- What companies are using Wi-Fi to get cell phone reception solutions are looking to help improve coverage problems in buildings. Saw some interesting companies like Skype, Line2, Trufone who have alternative VoIP solutions to fix coverage problems. Google Voice is positioned the best in the industry considering they are already mapping poor coverage areas.
- What other mobile apps that depend on good coverage (Pandora) would be willing to partner with us and allow us to aggregate their dead zone reports on our map. Google Maps seems to be mapping coverage already and will likely do something creative with this data soon.
- Understand why we have been doing the FCC's coverage auditing job for the last 8 years and why they suddenly want to get into the speed testing game. I approached the FCC at the show about using our data and about their trademark infringement had some interesting conversations that are still in process. However, it seems they are entirely focused on only selling spectrum and don't really care about where consumers who are getting screwed by false carrier claims. I offered to give them my data but they aren't even sure if they can politically take it. Very weird.
Are you in sales or sales management and under severe pressure from your boss to sell phone service in territories that have horrible coverage? We can appreciate the difficulty you might be having when the carrier you work for has a bad reputation of service in a territory that has been assigned to you. We can help you cover your ass with intelligence to give to your boss that proves customers hate us in this market and what are you doing to support my marketing efforts. We have thousands for complaints that can be used as ammunition if you ever need an excuse why you can't sell your service. We will build you a list of complaints from real customers in the market that you can give to network operations and ask them what they are doing to fix each location. How about dealing with these complaints first "Mr. Boss" before holding me to a quota that is unrealistic.
There is clearly division within the largest carriers to grow but it doesn't appear that all divisions are in sync and believe in each other. For example: I hear marketing blaming sales, sales blaming network operations, network operations blaming sales. I blame it all on your customers who are frustrated with the continued bull shit slinging (aka coverage maps). Transparency is the key to business theses days and honesty is the best policy. See our AT&T Service Map, Verizon Service Maps, Sprint Service Map, T-Mobile Service Map and email use if you want specific details on territories.
My contrarian indicators are now hinting its not the much publicized iPhone usage of video and data competing for access on cell phone towers thats causing capacity problems. It's a signaling issue causing the majority of AT&T's network congestion issues for the iPhone. iPhones and other smartphones are continuously pinging 3G networks and making constant queries of the network as they move among cellular sites to push email, access social networking tools and conduct other repetitive actions. For instance, an IM (instant messenger) user may send a message but then wait a couple of seconds between messages. In order to preserve battery life, the iPhone moves into idle mode. When the user pushes another message seconds later, the device has to set up a signaling path again. Signaling traffic is out-pacing the growth of actual mobile data traffic by to 50%, if not higher.
The cell phone base station controller is spending a lot of its extra resources trying to process the signaling so it can't do other things like allocate additional resources for data. As a result you'll see dropped calls and data service degradation. Moreover, even when the signaling resource is released by the smartphone, the network can't react fast enough to allow for the next station to use resources until several seconds and sometimes minutes. One of the ways iPhone and other smartphone vendors try to alleviate this problem and save battery life on their devices is by incorporating a fast dormancy feature.
Apple upset several operators last year when it implemented firmware 3.0 on the iPhone with a fast dormancy feature that prematurely requested a network release only to follow on with a request to connect back to the network or by a request to re-establish a connection with the network. Apple soon after released firmware 3.1, which removed the feature but spurred complaints among iPhone users when it came to battery life. While fingers point at BlackBerry devices for also being signaling pigs, RIM argues that its devices don't have to wake up as often to query the network.
This is why carriers are continuing to look at a variety of solutions to reduce signaling traffic while preserving battery life including 3GPP which Nokia Siemens began selling this year at Mobile World Congress. There are a number of other solutions operators can use to ease the congestion by offloading data traffic onto femtocells or Wifi hotspots and adding more network resources. HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) that will enable the networks to reduce their transmission time from idle to active state and should help ease the congestion. Carriers can also monitor and control which devices and applications are generating excessive amounts of signaling or hogging more than their fair share of bandwidth. With this information, carriers can have increased awareness of the overall cost of delivering specific applications and services and can even map out their smartphone portfolios accordingly.
A special thanks to a young lad named Caleb located somewhere in Europe for creating the video without any coaching from us. Special thanks to Mr. Technoi Geek. One thing Mr. Technoi Geek does not mention in the video is the importance of using the search box to locate your area and browse the other pins submitted by users in the area. To do this select a layer in the upper right hand corner. You can follow him on Twitter/Mrtechnoigeek
BOSTON, MA - March 15, 2010- Skyhook Wireless® today announced a new service called SpotRank and its availability via SimpleGeo, provider of a comprehensive location API for developers. Based on groundbreaking data never before made available, SpotRank will change the way that location-based apps are built. Skyhook is showcasing SpotRank with real time location data from this week's SXSW festival in Austin and other spots around the world. To see SpotRank in action, visit Skyhook Worldwide Map.
SpotRank data is based on hundreds of millions of anonymous location lookups processed daily through Skyhook's Core Engine. This location platform powers positioning requests on tens of millions of devices and applications around the world. Skyhook continually mines this data to create detailed behavioral intelligence profiles for over half a billion 100 meter "spots" around the world. Providing brand new insight into the movement of crowds through out urban areas, these profiles are based on historical trends in location lookup volume and time of day. Read more.
See our map which asks for users to contribute locations where there are Wi-Fi dead zones.
We are pursuing this matter through the press so we do not waste additional taxpayer dollars on lawyers that are not needed to resolve a simple issue. Our request is similar to Verizon's violation of our trademark in 2008 using their Verizon 3G Dead Zones Commercial back in 2008 during the Super Bowl. They kindly cooperated thanks to some helpful Verizon PR folks and the term has not been used in a commercial.
We request that the FCC name its' mobile measurement product anything other than Dead Zones, 3G Dead Zones, 4G Dead Zones, LTE Dead Zones, Dead Cell Zones, Broadband Dead Zones or Wi-Fi Dead Zones as we have worked very hard to build our brand and don't need the government stepping on our efforts. It should not be too hard to change the name since this is the first day in use and this is your first notification. Their are plenty of other terms available to use that make the point such as: Slow Connections, Poor Connections, Dropped calls, Dead Spots, Dead Patches, Dead Areas, Poor Coverage would be terms that would be more appropriate and might be available without violating our trademark.
We have spent almost ten years building our brand and don't want it destroyed by big government and the lack of due diligence . The FCC has 1,900 employees and is supposed to act as an "independent agency" of the US government with an approximate budget of $466 million which is funded by $1 million in taxpayer appropriations and the rest in regulatory fees paid by the largest telecom companies in the US (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Cox, Comcast, TimeWarner, CableVision, etc. It doesn't sound too independent when 99% of your revenue comes from the companies you are supposed to regulate. $465 million of your dollars are funded by organizations that don't like our service because it exposes their bullshit coverage maps.
We have offered to donate our data for free to the FCC yet they can't take our dead data because of political pressure from their customer the wireless carrier. This lack of administrative accountability on behalf of the taxpayer is ridiculous.
As a side note, if you think using the term "Broadband" as a a loop hole you are wrong. The term refers to cell phone connectivity according to Wikipedia (broadband). Dead Zones can also refer to Ocean Dead Zones (Ecology) but this is clearly under different context and not in violation.
We also have an iPhone in the approval process and guess what its called "Dead Zones" using our trademark
Reply comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking on cellphone signal boosters produced some finger-pointing between carriers and equipment manufacturers as well as renewed calls on both sides for the government agency to take action on the issue. The Federal Communications Commission is considering implementing a law that would make cellphone boosters illegal unless they are deployed by a wireless operator or with the consent of a wireless operator, a move that could impact thousands of end users already owning such devices. The FCC could care less about consumers based on my recent conversations with them and would rather squash our efforts to provide more transparency to coverage maps. See our post the FCC Violates our Trademark.
Perhaps one of the angrier responses came from YMax Corp., which is building the magicJack femtocell called the FemtoJack that it says could operate under Part 15 rules of low-power devices. CTIA in its comments before the FCC said devices like the FemtoJack should not be permitted to operate unless they are approved by wireless carriers.
more info at RCR Wireless »
Wilson Electronics of St. George, Utah, contended in a filing that "well-designed and -engineered signal boosters actually benefit not only wireless customers but the carriers as well." To ensure the boosters are well-designed, Wilson asked the FCC to adopt three standards for approving signal boosters during routine certification. The FCC, Wilson said, should require all signal boosters to feature:
- effective self-oscillation (feedback) detection and automatic shutdown;
- effective cell tower proximity detection and automatic shutdown to prevent cell-site overloads; and
- bi-directional (tower-to-device and device-to-tower) signal amplification.
more info at Wilson Electronics »
US mobile operators are feeling the strain on their cell phone networks as mobile data usage continues to grow exponentially. In addition, aggressive flat-rate data pricing is becoming the industry norm, and the capital cost to add the needed capacity to mobile networks is no longer being offset by higher ARPU (revenue). Mobile operators need cost-effective methods to increase network capacity and improve coverage to meet ever-growing subscriber demands.
To help address this challenge, companies like Kineto offer both Wi-Fi-based and Femtocell-based solutions for mobile operators. These Wi-Fi-based solutions enable operators like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint to turn any standard Wi-Fi access point into a seamless extension of their mobile network, allowing subscribers to receive all their mobile services when connected via Wi-Fi. Kineto’s Femtocell-based Smart Offload solution enables operators to provide subscribers low-powered 3G base stations for use at home or office to provide ‘five bars’ of cellular coverage. The core problems a dual mode femtocell solve are:
* Solves the data capacity crunch at cell phone towers for voice, data, IMS, not just Internet traffic like YouTube, to the fixed network.
* Resolves the 3G indoor issues at home and in the office where you need it most.
* Addresses VoIP with service pricing based on location.
* Helps battery performance enabling handsets to transmit at lower power thereby increase handsets' talk and standby times.
See our maps which collection data congestion and 3G dead zones locations from consumers.
Why not go with a campaign like are you one of the 150 million Americans who have poor cell phone coverage in your home? Cox can fix their poor coverage and actually enable to talk on your mobile phone and surf the web. Cox realizes that you talk on the phone nearly 50% of the time in doors and we provide in home coverage to support it. The other carriers can't provide the same level over coverage in your home because they can't put a femtocell (mini cell tower) in your home.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them crank up the marketing volume around the CTIA wireless conference. The critics will be out in full force if they waste a lot of money messaging around this. They are launching in select markets so I don't they will take this campaign to a national level.
The media and public have finally put pressure on the big carrier to provide what it claims in its ads. The AT&T femtocell has been in testing for almost three years and now it appears they finally have reached the tipping point where they have been forced to roll them out into the network. AT&T is offering them on a limited basis in these locations: North Carolina, Georgia, North San Diego, CA and Las Vegas, NV. The device promises to serve as a solution for people with poor, indoor cell coverage offloading both data and voice traffic over their network. AT&T has also announced a LTE (Long Term Evolution) roll out to start sometime next year and the Microcell (femtocell) will likely offload traffic from the cell towers through broadband as well.
We think if AT&T focuses on satisfying its customers needs and overcomes the technical barriers rolling out hundreds of thousands of femtocells on their network that it will reclaim a significant advantage over competing carriers like Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. One think to watch is how aggressive the cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Cablevision get marketing against their customers. It isn't clear how friendly cable companies will be routing wireless voice traffic over their broadband networks. I predict that "he who owns the line into the home is the winner of all services". Voice, Data, TV, Wireless
Femtos have really arrived: especially in the US and in Japan. According to its supporters there is now an accelerating commitment path, with the number of operators committing to a femto strategy having risen by a full 50 per cent just since November 2009. Vodafone UK, Optimus in Portugal and SFR in France have all come forward with offerings. And there are over 60 operator trials in progress around the world today.
So femtos, just ever-so-slightly delayed by the recession (thought its boosters dispute even this, saying the last year saw the industry involved in a sort of last-minute sanity check, hence the slight pause) are now ready for prime-time.
Femocells are the small and (relatively) cheap micro mobile base stations users are supposed to attach to the end of their broadband connections to relieve the radio network from the worst of their 3G data traffic, and to provide indoor voice coverage where this is a bit shakey (with 3G, for instance). To rework a well-known beer ad, femtos are supposed to reach the parts (and carry the load) that the public network can't.
Wi-Fi is cheap to deploy in both client and base stations. While femtos look like remaining in the £100 plus camp for the time being at least, Wi-Fi already costs just pennies to deploy in gadgets like smartphones, laptops, games machines and even television sets.
Wi-fi is already pervasive: because it's cheap it's everywhere and because it's everywhere it's cheap. It's already on laptops, it's on half of all smartphones and that proportion is rising. And it's available in hotels, cafes, hotspots and homes. And it's increasing its grip.
And when it comes to data offload (not voice coverage) Wi-Fi wins because most (like about 99 per cent) of the data it offloads goes straight to the Internet, not into the network provider's core as the femto is engineered to support. Yes femtos can do data 'breakout' to the Internet, but as the whole conception is about supporting the core operator network it's a less than optimum arrangement if it just uses breakout nearly all the time.
We recently ran two panel sessions at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. One on femtos and one on WiFi and we were left with the abiding regret that it might have been more illuminating to have run a joint panel. That way we could have thrashed out some of the 'pro' and 'con' issues.
However, you can view both of them now and make up your own minds.
Video: Getting it Right for the End-User
Video: Why WiFi? What's in it for Operators?
Video: Femtocells: are they critical for network offload?
In the panel on Wi-Fi it's pointed out that Wi-Fi is for the semi-stable world, when people are not actually on the move. They move and then they stop and do some data downloads from a sedentary postion. I called this nomadic rather than mobile. Our panelists had other definitions
Ubiquity in its Wifi sense is that it's every where you need it to be, rather than simply everywhere. So it is (or soon will be) in all coffee shops, airports, hotels, railway stations, in addition to it being both at home and at work.
We learned that BT has a million hotspots that can be accessed under its BT OpenZone brand and it intends to keep on growing that number towards almost total ubiquity.
In regards to mobile network offload engineered by the network operator in the interests of reducing the strain on the mobile data network, a BT representative said the company was already involved with three operators in the UK to provide a WiFi service for their iPhone customers.
On the femto side, the big conundrum is about how you shape an offer so that people are prepared to buy into the concept - what sort of incentives can be made available? What marketing messages might work?
One approach that appears to be working well, say some of our panelists, is the idea that the addition of a femto marks its user out as a serious mobilist. That way it's not so much a remedy for the inadequacies of the network, it's a personal cell for those who can appreciate it.
That might work. But it seems to me that the job of blending a Femto plus various incentives into a compelling offer needs some work yet.
There are many participants in the value chain, from software providers to the device manufacturers themselves, but what are each of them bringing to the table to enhance the user-experience? As they transform their strategies to accommodate ever-changing user demands, what future challenges are they preparing to face? How is the focus on the end-user changing the industry?
They say that chip technology doubles every two years. Doritos disproven that limitation with Spice 2.0. Muli-taste interface is fantastic. Maybe the dPad will have 3G in its' first version and we won't have to wait for version 2. This version will also have a cell phone booster to help improve dropped calls and data congestion. I wonder if AT&T will be selling this exclusively?
Where Do Verizon's Coverage Maps Lie?
Olinda, California - "No service Verizon even though the coverage map says excellent coverage"
Gresham, Michigan - "Dead zone your coverage maps are a lie"
Bridger, Montana - "Map shows coverage, whole town is dead zone."
Madison, North Carolina - "How does Verizon get away with their coverage maps that certainly do not reflect actual coverage???"
Lake Mack Forrest Hills, Florida - "Bad inside and outside. It was the same with Sprint, but Sprints coverage map showed I would have trouble Verizon's coverage map shows I should have full signal. Verizon wants to blame the phone I am using they are FOS."
Cisco has estimated the amount of smartphone traffic that can be offloaded through dual-mode devices or femtocells see below. The offload factor for each country is a combination of smartphone penetration, dual-mode share of smartphones, percentage of home-based mobile Internet use, percentage of dual-mode smartphone owners with Wi-Fi fixed Internet access at home. In many developing countries and regions, the offload percentage declines, while in developed regions, the offload factor steadily rises throughout the forecast period. The declining offload factor in developing markets is due to a decreasing number of mobile data users with Wi-Fi at home. Since dual-mode devices are primarily smartphones, the overall offload amount in the current year is much smaller than shown above, since non-smartphones still account for approximately half of handset traffic.