Get A Cell Phone Data Plan Or Else . . .

If you download content to your iPhone make sure you have an unlimited data plan or you might end up having to negotiate like this guy who had a $4,954.14 iPhone Bill from AT&T. This is a carrier billing scam and should be regulated by the government. Many consumers have their plans automatically billed to their credit card and bank accounts and might be shocked if they looked at the details of their bill. Carriers should be required to automatically convert their customers to unlimited plans exceeding bandwidth on downloads. Paying by the amount of data downloaded is a complete scam. See related article

Dead Zones Launches New Complaint Mashup

Pushpin map technology was bought by Apple in 2009.  The new map technology dead zones uses is from 

T-Mobile Wi-Fi Phone Works

It is it a cell phone and VOIP phone. T-Mobile has a new phone that lets you talk via their regular mobile network or connect to a WiFi hotspot at home or on the go. Larry Magid demonstrates in this video.

Google's First Big Mistake Might Be Betting On The "Femtocell" Dream

Google says it is leading a $25 million investment into a U.K "Femtocell" company, Ubiquisys, which is developing hardware that lets cell phones run on home WiFi networks. In other words, it helps carriers move some of their data traffic away from their own cellular network, onto a home’s local area network, or the so-called “edge.”

Here is some industry scoop from our friends at Spotwave. Femtocell technology continues to experience media hype and delay in commercial availability. In addition price is anticipated to be relatively high based on implementation costs, handset requirements and network complexity. The key issues are related to frequency planning – managing the impact on the macro network, phone compatibility, synchronization (CDMA, W-CDMA), hand-off procedures, and very importantly, backhaul (access, security). Solutions to these issues generally require system-wide changes to be made by a wireless carrier planning to use the technology which slow down the wide-scale deployment and market acceptance of these offerings. The same issues faced service solutions based on Wi-Fi enabled phones, which have been available for several years now but have not had much impact in the market.

Spotwave’s proven offerings, which always maintain carrier network integrity, are compatible with any type of phone and provide a high-performance, cost-effective and future-proof approach to the issue of improving in-building coverage for subscribers at home or at work.

Sprint Terminating Annoying Customers

I once again have to laugh at the stupidity of a U.S. carrier to actually terminate customers who call too much with problems. I am not surprised because we have all been conditioned to tolerate horrible customer service from the telecom industry. U.S. based carriers are the ultimate marketing spin doctors and constantly point the finger to someone else and don’t solve problems. I guess if you don’t want to be flagged as a problem customer you must limit your calls to less the once every other month. I might suggest looking at some of the non-U.S. based carriers who have a customer centric mentality and are looking to steal customers. See the story here.

Nielsen Buys Telephia

Nielsen Buys Mobile Measurement Firm Telephia

I thought that Telephia was in the business of selling mobile data back to the carriers to help them improve coverage? Obviously this business model wasn't sustainable due to the consolidation of carriers from 8 to 4. Sometimes I question the future lifespan of a company like Nielsen in our "on demand" world of Tivo's and real data downloads? Extrapolating viewer numbers based on sample data and surveys like Comscore, Alexa, Compete and Nielsen TV Set Top boxes is a scam. Actually numbers from relevant consumers is the new model in my opinion.

Drive testing and surveying a few thousand mobile users by making direct phone calls to customers seems like another customer survey methodology that is expensive and lacks relevancy. Why don't survey companies source more qualified panelists through web sites like where customers are actually qualified to give feedback. Most survey companies motivate panelists by giving them a reward for taking a survey. If you were a carrier concerned with buying quality customer service data would you rather purchase information from a customer that was angry or one that just wanted a reward.

Micro targeting customers is possible with the internet and big companies still have a hard time thinking on a smaller scale. Is that a qualified or relevant customers that is worth. The fact that companies like JD Power and Telephia are the current "industry standard" for customer satisfaction is pretty scary. There are hundreds of millions of mobile customers and the fact that these companies only survey maybe less than 100,000 users per year is ridiculous. My advice is to survey customers who actaully have problems to help prioritize network improvements.

T-Mobile HotSpot @ HomeSM

T-Mobile Hot Spot @ Home has been discontinued by T-Mobile USA. 

Which Carrier Has Fewest Dropped Calls?

All major wireless carriers claiming to offer the fewest dropped calls, wireless management services provider 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%

Illegal to Cross the Street on Your Phone?

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.

Cell Phone Plan: Going Over Your Minutes

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.

Break Your Cell Phone Contract

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.

Related Stories:
How to Get Out of a Cellular Service Contract
How to Drop Early Termination Fees

Handset Manufacturers Expanding Venture Capital Fund Commitments

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.

Sand Hill Road Dead Zone Upgrade

Of all of the places in the world I would not want my customers to be unhappy it would be on Sand Hill road. It is amazing to me that dead zones still persist in 2007 on Sand Hill. An area where billions of dollars are under management and 99% of the office tenants carry mobile devices. It has come to my attention that new antennas are finally being installed on the top of the stop light poles. They have a a much lower profile and the aesthetics aren't bad. It remains to be seen which carrier is installing them?

Dead Cell Zones Heat Map Preview

We are excited to preview the launch of a brand new service to enhance the reporting and display of our dead cell zone coverage complaint database. We also intend to provide maps for the following four carriers: Sprint/Nextel, Cingular, T-Mobile and Verizon. This is a beta version and work is still in progress but we would love your feedback and comments.

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