AT&T Service Plans and Coverage Review

Coverage: Marketing AT&T 4G LTE.  AT&T claims to have the fastest download data speeds of any wireless service.  However, most customers still have 3G only phones.  Before you purchase a 4G phone beware of the poor batter life issues.  This is one of the many reasons why the iPhone 4G LTE launch has been delayed.

AT&T took a public beating years ago with their poor network planning with the iPhone 3G roll-out not realizing how much capacity they would need.  It appears they are taking their time in 2012 to launch.  Most of the Eastern United States and the majority of the south have AT&T 3G coverage and 4G now reaches 2000 cities. A good portion of the west coast is covered or soon will be, but the mountain time zone shows vast areas with no coverage at all. If you live in mountains, hilly areas or areas with lots of structure or trees you might want to look closely at the map before you choose a wireless plan with AT&T.  AT&T has had considerable problems with network congestions due to the popularity of  the iPhone data usage but is adding capacity in many major cities to improve it.  AT&T also seems to be taking a leadership positing and is heavily investing in its new Microcell technology or more commonly known in the industry as "femtocells".  These are small mini cell phone towers which provide route voice traffic and 3G data through broadband landlines to improve in-building coverage.

Plans:  AT&T Wireless offers several plans ranging from pre-paid, family plans, and individual plans but most people I know using the carrier are corporate customers. Blackberry and iPhone are the two reasons that most people I know are still using the carrier which seems to charge a 30% premium for voice and data that is unjustified as well. Plans come with a free basic phone that is subsidized by a contract, but you are allowed to upgrade for a price if you choose.  Plans available below.  Click here to review AT&T & Verizon shared data plans.

Other features:
  • This carrier offers unlimited calling plans.
  • AT&T's "rollover" plans let you roll unused minutes over to the following month.
  • GSM carrier, AT&T offers extensive international roaming.
  • Starting to roll out enhanced in-building coverage with its' Microcell / femtocell product. 
  • AT&T has a history of picking up the hottest phones soon after their release date. It was the first carrier to offer the Motorola Razr and is the exclusive provider of the Apple iPhone.
  • Every carrier claims they have the best network, and AT&T promotes that independent studies (that are unnamed) have shown that it has the fastest download speeds of any carrier. 
  • We recommended you monitor your text messaging usage closely and get on an unlimited plan so you don't get charged the outrageous .25 cents per message if you go over.
  • 4G networks are limited to metropolitan areas of 2000 cities.
Other Reviews:
Feedback is always welcome. Please submit your comments below.

@ATTCares Twitter Chatter

Verizon Wireless Plans and Coverage Review

Coverage:  Verizon Wireless promotes itself as the most reliable network with their annoying commercials "can you hear me now" and especially their commercial that has violated our copyright and trademark "dead zones". Verizon Wireless might have slightly better connectivity indoors and call quality but it will cost you a 30% premium which may or may not be justified. Like other carriers, California, Colorado, Nevada and the mountain states have a lot of dead zones. There are several other small pockets throughout the nation, where extended service (translate this to service you pay extra for) is available, but there are also lots of places where you won't be able to make a call. Click on our map on the right for more detail.  If you travel by car quite often check the coverage areas carefully before you sign on with Verizon. Verizon works on the CDMA network for 3G and is rolling out a 4G LTE network.  Before purchasing a 4G phone beware of the short battery life.  Most of Verizon phones can't be used in Europe.  If you use your phone indoors Verizon offers a network extender 3G femtocell that will help you extend coverage in a dead zone. 

Plans: With plans ranging from pre-paid, family plans, individual and business plans, they also offer several to meet your calling needs. They do offer a free basic phone with most plans, but if you want anything that uses data, web or video, you have to pay for it yourself. Many of the plans charge roaming rates when you call outside your service area. The good news is that you can make a call from out of state, but the bad news is you will pay a different rate for that call than you will from calls made in your coverage area.  Plans available:  Compare Verizon shared data plans

Other features:
  • Its Friends & Family option offers unlimited calling to a select group of numbers, even landlines. 
  • Claims to have the largest 3G & 4G Coverage network nationwide. 
  • Verizon claims it has the most reliable network nationwide, and the network quality has been rated highly in consumer and analyst studies.
  • As a CDMA carrier, Verizon's international coverage is limited to a handful of countries but it offers dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets.
  • Small discount if you have Verizon FIOS as your TV, Home Phone and Internet provide and bundle your cell phone as their Quad play. 
  • We recommended you monitor your text messaging usage closely and get on an unlimited plan so you don't get charged the outrageous .25 cents per message if you go over. 
  • Launching LTE has their 4G platform. 
  • 3G femtocell network extender available for a monthly fee. 
Other Reviews:
Feedback is always welcome. Please submit your comments below.

@VZWSupport Twitter Chatter

T-Mobile Service Plans and Coverage Review

Coverage:  T-Mobile's coverage can be spotty in a few areas around the United States and Mexico, but not as bad as most people proclaim it to be.  Their features and flexibility far outweigh the lack of connectivity in most areas and provide the most value data plans.  If you don't have coverage in many areas simply make calls through T-Mobile's WiFi android app on some smartphones.  This is huge so you don't if you make a lot of calls indoors in remote plces.  If you live in a major metropolitan area it is likely you will have comparable coverage to AT&T and Verizon 3G in most areas.  One benefit of being a smaller carrier means you are likely competing against less customers for network capacity. T-Mobile now has the best 4G (HSPA+) coverage and its great to be a customer with fewer people competing for coverage on the HSPA+ network.  The difference between 3G HSPA+ and 4G LTE is not that significant in my opinion if you are not downloading video.  T-Mobile does not currently have a plan for LTE.  Nevada and some of the mountain states are some notable dead zones in their coverage network and even Northern California and Oregon have quite a few miles where service is not available. T-Mobile has network coverage in every state except Alaska, reception in rural areas can be spotty. Also, as with all carriers, reception will vary due to location. International coverage is available in more than 187 countries.Their website does have a nice feature that allows you to check coverage areas by inputting your zip code and overlaps nicely with dead zones reported on our map on the right. If you travel a lot, they do have international service options, but it will cost you as roaming charges do apply.

Plans:  T-Mobile leads these carriers in free minutes and value now offering unlimited plans without long  term contracts. Prepaid cards are affordable if you only want a short term plan.  For the money, they offer the most free minutes of any plan and likely the most value depending on where you live. T-Mobile offers more plans that are typically less expensive, particularly for Internet access, text and multimedia messaging services. They offer several plans including business plans, pre-paid, family and individual plans. They do offer free phones subsidized phones, including camera phones, but if you want to choose a different phone than the one they offer you will have to pay for it.

Other features
  • Unlimited data plans still exist for some customers grandfathered. 
  • Offers unlimited calling plans without long term contracts is a great selling point
  • As a GSM carrier and a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile has extensive international roaming and thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States and Europe.
  • Of the major carriers, T-Mobile received the highest customer service rating by J.D. Power and Associates for several consecutive years.
  • T-Mobile is the only major carrier not to offer push-to-talk services.
  • We recommended you monitor your text messaging usage closely and get on an unlimited plan so you don't get charged the outrageous .25 cents per message if you go over.
  • Has 3G Coverage now in most cities. 
  • 4G LTE plans will come soon but 3G HSPA+ is plenty fast.  
  • T-Mobile has the Android phone with unlimited data plans.  We highly recommend it!
Other Reviews:
Feedback is always welcome.  Please submit your comments below.

@TMobileHelp Twitter Chatter

WiMAX Operators Fined For Poor Coverage

WiMAX operators fined for failure to reach coverage target of 25% the population by March of 2009 stipulated by their concessions.
Three of Mayalsia’s WiMAX operators have been hit with fines relating to failures in rolling out their networks on time, the Star Online reports.   

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, head of the YTL Group, which owns Y-Max, saying: ‘We believe in having an extensive network up and running as we don’t see the point in having incremental coverage. We take this business seriously. We will have 60% coverage (more than the needed 40%) by the next deadline.’ Additionally, unnamed sources at one of the operators claimed that the delays in achieving the coverage target stemmed from a number of issues including long waits for approval to install the base stations. REDtone meanwhile blamed technical issues with its spectrum allocation for its delays.According to reports, the country’s telecoms watchdog, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), advised REDtone, Asiaspace and Y-Max Networks that they had failed to reach the 25% population coverage stipulated by their concessions by March 2009. The three operators all face differing levels of financial penalty, with Y-Max looking at a MYR1.9 million (USD559,000) penalty, while Asiaspace and REDtone will be required to pay MYR1.7 million and MYR200,000 respectively.

We promise to provide you coverage just look at our maps.  Where have we heard this story before?  I guess its much easier to audit coverage in a smaller country like Malaysia than the U.S.  Good to see some accountability coming to the telecom industry which notoriously over promises and under delivers.  If the FCC wanted to enforce rules it also could become a profit center of fines itself.  All they have to do is levy a fine against the carriers for over-promising coverage and the community of users can assist in the audit. 

Cell Phone Reception Guides

How can you be sure you'll get good coverage in your neighborhood? 

Arguably, the most important factor in choosing a cell-phone carrier is whether you'll get good reception in the places you spend the most time: home and work. Sure, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint publish general coverage maps, but can they tell you if you'll be able to make calls from YOUR house, street or office? 

Carrier coverage maps can determine the signal strength in your region, city and zip code, but can't get much more specific than that. You're also depending on the carrier, not actual users of the service, to give you this information. So how can you get more granular than that?

Tips on predicting if you'll get coverage in the place you live/work/hang out:

Ask friends and neighbors. Do your own informal poll of people in your area. Those who live and work in your neighborhood can tell you how frequently they experience outages, busy networks or dropped calls on a particular carrier. Ask your co-workers the same questions.  

Use some online tools. Carriers have coverage maps on their websites, but some carriers are better distributed than others in more rural or remote states such as Wyoming or West Virginia. That may further limit your choice of carrier., offers coverage maps for major carriers in areas not covered on carrier coverage maps and solicits user comments about reception quality at actual addresses - both indoors and out. Larger cities have more comments from users, but it's worth checking even for other areas to see if users have reported lousy reception. Smaller cities and rural areas also have many comments and should be reviewed because this is arguably the weakness of most carriers.  Simply type your zip code, address, or city name into the search box see what other customers are saying.  Click the images on the right to their carrier-specific maps: and help you locate cell towers in your neighborhood, a way to potentially predict signal strength.  However, locating cell phone towers is becoming less important as new technology is rolled out like femtocells and UMA / SIP phones that enhance signals over broadband. Navigating and understanding what to interpret from the data on these maps is also somewhat confusing. 

Take advantage of return policies. None of the online tools are likely to help you if they don't display any information for your area. In that case, the best way to determine cell coverage is to actually try out a cell phone in a variety of locations. Granted, this type of trial-and-error approach is time consuming, but it's the only way to definitively tell what kind of reception you can get in your living room.

All major carriers have grace periods so you can try out the service, but policies are not all the same, and if you don't act quickly, you may be stuck for the activation fee. If you miss the grace periods specified in the table, early termination fees will apply, and can be very high ($150 to $200).

Here is a breakdown of the four largest national carriers. 

Grace period for returning phone and canceling service
Grace period for activation fee
30 days
30 days
14 days for in-store purchases; 20 days for online, except in California, where it's 30 days in either case
same as general grace period for returns
30 days
3 days
Verizon Wireless
30 days
3 days

Is it the phone or the service? There's no way of knowing if one cell phone model will give you better reception than another. If you're getting poor or no reception in your backyard, it's more likely to be a service issue. In addition, carriers typically charge a restocking fee (about $35) for exchanges, even within the grace period. Pinpointing cell phone coverage

Jon Stewart & Rachel Maddow Take On Net Neutrality

Jon Stewart took up the issue of 'net neutrality' and Senator John McCain's efforts to create one of those ironically named pieces of legislation that sounds like it is going to deliver something good -- in this case 'Internet Freedom' -- but would actually make the Internet suck out loud, forever and ever. As Stewart explains, everything on the Internet moves through what former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens famously called the 'series of tubes... at the same rate.' As Stewart explains, 'If you've got a packet of information from a major corporation like Google, that information gets exactly the same treatment as a packet from a little start-up company like

All of which makes sense -- even the part where people would want to see John Stewart's head on Mario Lopez's body carnally impaled by an onrushing unicorn. That's what 'net neutrality' allows for. But telecoms have been lobbying for changes in those rules so that Internet service providers would have the leeway to privilege their own content over the content of other sources by slowing or blocking access. In this cause, telecom lobbyists have found a friend in John McCain, author of the 'Internet Freedom Act.'

STEWART: The "Internet Freedom Act of 2009." Now I know it sounds like that bill is the opposite of what its name implies in the way that, say, George Bush's "Clear Skies Act" gutted environmental regulations or Larry Craig's "No Handjobs For Me, Thanks Act" -- which oddly enough allocated a million dollars in federal funding for... and I'm quoting here, "handjobs for Larry Craig." But it's not! What McCain is proposing is that AT&T and Verizon be given "freedom" to control what information passes through the Internet. Information like: John McCain is the number one recipient of donations from the telecom industry and its lobbyists for the past three years, that I looked up on the Google, and it loaded pretty fast!
As Stewart points out, there's a hidden motive behind everyone who promotes net neutrality! And that is, naturally, advancing a radical socialist agenda by controlling the Internet! Set the telecoms free! Surely we can trust them!

Rachel Maddow, Boing Boing Editor On McCain And Net Neutrality

RadioShack Bolsters Sales Using Kiosks

RadioShack Bolsters Sales Using Kiosks at Target and Sam's Club

RadioShack third-quarter profits were down 24 percent but the company benefited from better-than-expected sales, some of which was attributed to the company's introduction of Verizon Wireless to its Sam's Club kiosks. In September RadioShack announced it will introduce Verizon Wireless in neary 450 Sam's Club wireless kiosks that it operates nationwide. Verizon -- the largest U.S. wireless carrier with about 80 million subscribers -- will make its hand-held devices and services available through Sam's Club wireless kiosks operated by RadioShack effective Oct. 1.

Radio Shack’s Kiosk Operations division is also launching their BullsEye Mobile Solutions inside of Target stores. Roll out begins in California with 104 stores. Nationwide roll-out total locations inside of Target is expected to be 1100 to 1500 locations by end of 2010, with eventually leading to a total of 1800 retail locations, including locations inside of Sam’s club. The Target locations will consist of three carriers which are Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. In addition, Radio Shack is already inside of Sam’s club locations but with one diffference; an additional carrier, Sprint are carried at the Sam’s club locations. Pricing will be extremely competitive with Best Buy and other retail locations.

Specifically, RadioShack reported a net income of $37.4 million, down from a net income of $49.1 million in third-quarter 2008. Sales from the company's 1,300 RadioShack stores dropped 15.7 percent and online sales fell 5.1 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Wireless represents more than one-third of RadioShack's total sales.  Company executives said that there was some uptick toward the end of the quarter because of netbook sales and other mobile products. Company executives said RadioShack benefited from having a full range of mobile products--the retailer recently added T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless to a lineup that includes Sprint Nextel and AT&T Mobility.

RadioShack is facing increased competition in mobile from the likes of Best Buy Mobile and Wal-Mart Mobile. Best Buy is expanding its Best Buy Mobile stores to more markets, and Wal-Mart recently started selling TracFone's prepaid service Straight Talk nationwide.

These retailers may soon be jumping on the consumer generated coverage map bandwagon, realizing their consumers are tired of looking at carrier generated coverage maps from 50,000 feet.  We think is most important for consumer generated coverage maps to reflect real customer experiences indoors and outdoors.  Its also, very important to have granular data down to the individual house, neighborhood, street and zip code level. Many of these retailers are trying to figure out what data is important and how they can the acquire it.  Keep your eyes open for mobile retailers who may soon begin offering beta map products soon.

Cell Phone Reception Through Wifi

Cell phones can use your home's wireless internet connection to make and receive calls. It's a handy technology if the cell phone coverage in and around your house is in a dead zone. Phones will automatically select Wifi if it's there but will require a compromise between economy and mobility. For example, Voice over Wifi offers potentially free service but is only available within the coverage area of a Wifi Access Point and currently will not allow you to hop between networks.

VoIP mobile applications that may be compatible with your phone's operating system.
Skype - iPhone, Windows Mobile, Nokia
Line2 - iPhone, Android
Truphone - Nokia-Symbian, iPhone, Android, Blackberry
Jajah - Windows Mobile, Symbian OS
fring - Symbian 8.x and 9.x, Windows Mobile 5 and 6, iPhone, Maemo
Nimbuzz!- J2ME, S60, Windows Mobile, iPhone
Gizmo5 - Windows Mobile, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry, Java PDA, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung
Windows Mobile 6 - Windows Mobile 6 Professional/Standard

3 Mobile VoIP Protocols The Applications Above Are Built On
Skype - closed proprietary peer to peer network and working on video mobile phones

SIP - the standard used by most VoIP services
UMA - the Unlicensed Mobile Access Generic Access Network, designed in response to Skype by a group of carriers to allow VoIP to run over the GSM cellular backbone.
See Wikipedia VoIP software platforms for more details. The challenge for the mobile operator industry is to deliver the benefits and innovations of IP without losing control of the network service. Users like the Internet to be free and high speed without extra charges for browsing the internet. VoIP services challenges the most valuable service in the telecommunications industry — voice — and threatens to change the nature of the global communications industry.  Net neutrality is an important issue with the FCC for these reasons.

Related article: UMA Phone + Wi-Fi = Home Cell Coverage

Skype Leading EU Net Neutrality Fight

After the US FCC, Canada, Google and Verizon speaking in favour of the open Internet, the EU needs to commit through action

At the beginning of last week, the CEOs of Skype, Sony Electronics, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other Internet, telecommunications and media firms published an open letter to the US Federal Communications Commission to support the proposal to introduce rules to protect the open Internet, i.e. users’ right to access and use what they want online, which we applauded earlier. Also, in a joint blog posting released late Wednesday, US network operator Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt said they think it’s important for the Internet to remain an unrestricted and open platform. On Wednesday the Canadian authorities issued a framework by which they will judge whether Internet service providers are discriminating against certain kinds of traffic and content. Then on Thursday, the FCC voted 3 to 2 in favour of developing into formal rules a set of six Internet Principles, designed to safeguard the open Internet.

And in Europe? Well, Skype is of course still arbitrarily blocked by a number of mobile operators, across several EU countries. So are thousands of VoIP and Peer-to-Peer applications. We hear however that the European Commission has circulated a draft declaration on net Neutrality which mentions the ‘high importance’ it attaches to ‘preserving the open and neutral character of the Internet, taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle’. The Commission goes on to promise a review of the problem will be carried out, with recommendations made to the European Parliament by late 2010, monitoring the market in the meantime and stamping out on abuses using its existing powers. This act of faith by the EU for an open Internet is welcome.

But so far, we’ve seen no action by the European authorities to stamp out these blatant abuses of what Internet users can do online. The excuse that ‘net neutrality is an American problem’ just doesn’t wash anymore; it’s too convenient and simply not true, as millions of users and thousands of VoIP, peer-to-peer or video streaming innovators can attest because they are blocked or their traffic degraded by operators throughout Europe, just like Skype. The fact that politicians haven’t heard about their problems is because these guys are just too small – they don’t have armies of lobbyists like the big operators do. The thousands of innovators that depend on an open Internet to continue to innovate and put their products, applications, services and content online cannot wait years for lengthy political debates to take place, or for the market to ‘correct itself’ – they’ll have gone bankrupt before then. Users cannot wait either, before they can freely use what they have paid for – full Internet access, whether it’s fixed or mobile.

People started complaining about high costs of calling from abroad on mobile phones in the late 1990s – it took 10 years and the market didn’t correct itself so we ended up with the so-called Roaming Regulation to force prices down. Now, with the threat to the open Internet that is on our hands, we cannot wait: the European Commission should be bold and use any of its powers (such as the new Roaming Regulation or its mandate to preserve the functioning of the internal European market), to stamp out abuse, at the earliest opportunity. If it needs more powers, then the Commission should make legislative proposals to get them, urgently. And remember: you can sign the open Internet petition for Europe, and feel free to talk to your parliamentarians and write to your regulators to protect Your Internet.

Skype and other VoIP applications will undoubtedly help fill the millions around the World fix poor in-building cell phone reception and communicate globally.

7 places to find Skype on Twitter:
Here is where you’ll be able to keep up with thoughts and insights from Skype people.

End Data Discrimination

As expected, the FCC voted to move forward with a proposal to codify its four net neutrality principles and add non-discrimination and transparency rules to the regulations that will govern both wireless and wired broadband networks.

The first of the new principles would prevent Internet access providers from discriminating against particular Internet content or applications, while allowing for reasonable network management. The second would ensure that Internet access providers are transparent about the network management practices they implement. The other four are:
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.
FCC votes for net neutrality rule-making process

The commission voted 5-0 to begin the rule-making process. The next steps will likely involve months of debate now that the FCC is asked for comments on the proposal. Initial comments are due Jan. 14. Hours later, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation aimed at prohibiting the FCC from enacting rules that would regulate access to the Internet. The legislation, called 'The Internet Freedom Act of 2009,' aimed at keeping the Internet from being regulated by the government. 'Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy,' he said. The two Republican FCC commissioners, Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker, dissented in part on last week's vote, arguing that the commission should proceed with its eyes open to the unintended consequences of the new regulations. They said they were unsure that there was enough of a problem to warrant new regulations, and questioned whether the FCC had the authority to impose the new rules. The GOP commissioners' dissent essentially signals that they intend to move forward with the action, but disagree with the current language in the proposal.

As promised by Chairman Julius Genachowski, the proposed rules governing wireless networks took into account that wireless networks have different network architectures, market structures, patterns of consumer usage and regulatory history than wired networks. The draft rules will seek comment on how, in what time frames and to what extent the rules should apply to wireless. Moreover, another points of debate will likely center on what "reasonable network management" means as it pertains to an operator's ability to manage network traffic (based on tiered access?). The draft rules say that such management includes practices that reduce or mitigate network congestion, address traffic that is unlawful, unwanted by users or deemed harmful. The commission staff also noted that nothing in the rules will prohibit service providers from delivering emergency communications. Additionally, the notice seeks comment on how to define managed services, such as subscription video services, telemedicine or smart grids, and how the new policies should apply to them. The commission also is going to form a technical outreach group to discuss network management issues and all other issues that have technical ramifications.

Instances of data discrimination listed on Wikipedia from 2004-2007 that unfortunately cause hardship for other applications that get grouped into the same categories and get blocked. 
  • In 2004, a small North Carolina telecom company, Madison River Communications, blocked their DSL customers from using the Vonage VoIP service. Service was restored after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intervened and entered into a consent decree that had Madison River pay a fine of $15,000.[6]
  • In 2005, Canadian telephone giant Telus blocked access to, a website supporting the company's labour union during a labour dispute, as well as over 600 other websites, for about sixteen hours after pictures were posted on the website of employees crossing the picket line.[7]
  • In April 2006, Time Warner's AOL (America On Line) blocked all e-mails that mentioned, an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme. An AOL spokesman called the issue an unintentional glitch.
  • In February 2006, some of Cox Cable's customers were unable to access Craig's List because of a confluence of a software bug in the Authentium personal firewall distributed by Cox Cable to improve customers' security and the way that Craigslist had their servers misconfigured. Save the Internet said this was an intentional act on the part of Cox Cable to protect classified ad services offered by its partners. The issue was resolved by correction of the software as well as a change in the network configuration used by Craig's List. Craig's List founder Craig Newmark stated that he believed the blocking was unintentional.
  • In September 2007, Verizon Wireless prevented a pro-choice organization from sending text messages to its members coordinating a public demonstration, despite the fact that the intended recipients had explicitly signed up to receive such messages.
  • In October 2007, Comcast was found to be preventing or at least severely delaying uploads on BitTorrent.
COMMENTARY: All this seems great in theory but it still seems to indicate that tiered network access is coming and carriers are still going to largely be able to control and discriminate packets across their network. Is that good for companies who want open access like Skype, Google, Slingbox who don't control the pipes? I suppose it depends upon which tier of access they end up on. Hopefully its the top tier.

Related Net Neutrality articles:
Verizon's Seidenberg blasts net neutrality as debate continues
AT&T urges employees to lobby FCC against net neutrality
Democrats, Internet firms lobby FCC on net neutrality
Net neutrality debate heats up ahead of vote
Opposing net neutrality, GOP puts pressure back on FCC

iPhone Exclusivity Will End Says AT&T CEO

AT&T Mobility CEO suggests iPhone exclusivity will end... sometime:

"Well, it's not much, but AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega doesn't exactly have to go too far out on a limb to attract attention when he's talking about something as big as an end to iPhone exclusivity. His latest, and seemingly most extensive ruminations on the matter came during a conference call with analysts this week, where he reportedly said that AT&T has a "legacy of having a great portfolio...that will continue after the iPhone is no longer exclusive to us," and that he thinks AT&T's ability to drive results "will continue after the iPhone." He did seem to dial things back a bit later in the call, however, switching to language like "even if we lose exclusivity" instead of "after the iPhone," and going on to extol the virtues of the iPhone, noting that "others will try to emulate them [Apple], but that device by far is the best in terms of ease of use."

We would like to see exclusivity end with all phones in the U.S. similar to Europe. Find the best phone and pick the best carrier with coverage in your area.

AT&T Mobility CEO suggests iPhone exclusivity will end... sometime originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 23 Oct 2009 18:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wireless Powered Cell Phones

Your cell phone uses a lot more power when connecting a call than when it is has a low cell signal. Often, your battery can be strong enough to attempt a call, but not strong enough to find a signal. Bad cellular signals are a big contributor to the battery drain problems. The weaker the signal the more battery drain. The stronger the cellular signal the less battery drain. Its amazing to me how many iPhone users tolerate their poor battery life and purchase external batteries.

The technology industry has invested a lot of marketing energy and dollars into getting consumers excited about wireless power, the promise being that it will free us from the size and feature constraints imposed by batteries. There’s a consortium of bigwigs from Nokia to Dell trying to advance a standard called Qi, and Intel and WiTricity are trying to develop an even more compelling technology that will transfer power over the air. But we’re still a long way from cutting the cord.

Consumers intent on living a wireless life have two new options this holiday season — both of which are getting a lot of attention: mats on which they can wirelessly charge their mobile devices. Unfortunately this sounds far cooler than it really is. The two products — the Powermat, which goes on sale Sunday at Amazon, and the Duracell MyGrid, which went on sale earlier this month — use different techniques to charge a device, but both require the mat to be plugged into an outlet, which eliminates the wire to the device, but not the one to the wall.

After years of hope (and no little amount of hype), wireless power is finally getting into consumer hands. However, the technology that is showing up on trade show floors and store shelves is a far cry from the truly disruptive promise of wireless power. As we cram more computing power into our mobile phones and use them to deliver the web, take photos and shoot video (as well as talk), a key limitation has become the battery. Anyone who has experienced a three-hour battery life after surfing on a Wi-Fi network knows first-hand that battery life can impede the enjoyment of a full-featured mobile device. And that problem is the one that wireless power will one day solve.

Below is a omparison of total system effiiciencies versus transmitting range of the various technologies. Efficiency describes how much power is wasted and how much heat is dissipated during power transmission. Inductive systems have the highest system efficiencies of any wireless system.

Comcast & Cox Wireless Marketing Strategy

I can't wait to see the first cable company Cox or Comcast jump into the wireless business because there is still so much work to be done fixing dead zones. We think it will be fairly simple for either of these "cable giants" to find mobile customers who don't already have seamless wireless coverage in their home from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile. These cable companies obviously know where all of the home cable subscribers are located and their only missing link is which of them don't already have seamless cellular coverage throughout their home from one of the big four wireless carriers. Based on our data we think about 50% of homes in the U.S. don't have seamless wireless coverage throughout their home. See our maps on the right. Here are three maps of Comcast and Cox where they are likely to start marketing new service. Keep in mind Comcast is experimenting with Clearwire's WiMax which they will have to supplement with femtocells soon. See this map below as well.

These cable companies will have the capability to honestly provide coverage maps down to the home level that will provide coverage in your home or office if you participate in their quad play bundle. That is using one of their femtocells / microcells that is a mini cell phone tower.

Many people have suggested the WiMax, 4G, LTE will be coming from the wireless giants but this will likely require the use of femtocells for perfect coverage. Cable companies will be very resistant and make it as difficult as possible to put voice traffic over their lines. Trust me!

AT&T Encourages Employees to Complain to the FCC About Net Neutrality

Internet regulation is bad for consumers, jobs, investment and universal broadband

TO: All U.S.-based managers

Over the last few weeks an extraordinary number of voices expressed concern over news reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to regulate the Internet in a manner that would drive up consumer prices, and burden companies like ours while exempting companies like Google. According to The Washington Post, the FCC has received a dozen letters from Republican and Democratic governors, a letter signed by 18 Republican senators, and a letter sent by 72 Democratic members of Congress. In addition, letters expressing serious concerns were sent by many state legislators and minority groups, and our union partners, CWA and the IBEW.

We encourage you, your family and friends to join the voices telling the FCC not to regulate the Internet. It can be done through a personal email account by going to and clicking on the "Join the Discussion" link. The FCC has extended the period for receiving comments by allowing postings to its blog until Thursday, October 22nd. Those who seek to impose extreme regulations on the network are flooding the site to influence the FCC. It's now time for you to voice your opinion!

In addition to your own thoughts, any of the following points can be used when you develop your brief blog comments. America's wireless consumers enjoy the broadest range of innovative services and devices, lowest prices, highest usage levels, and most choices in the world. Why disrupt a market that's working so well? There is fierce competition for wireless and broadband customers. Competition drives innovation and encourages companies to develop products, services and applications that consumers want. There's been more innovation in this market than in any since the World Wide Web was introduced. The market is working for consumers. Don't burden it with unnecessarily harmful regulations.

Network companies have to be able to manage their networks to ensure the most economical and efficient use of bandwidth, and provide affordable broadband services for all users. Network management is essential for consumers to enjoy the benefits of new quality-sensitive applications and services. The FCC rules should not stop the promise of life-changing, cost-saving services such as telemedicine that depend on a managed network.

The "net neutrality" rules as reported will jeopardize the very goals supported by the Obama administration that every American have access to high-speed Internet services no matter where they live or their economic circumstance. That goal can't be met with rules that halt private investment in broadband infrastructure. And the jobs associated with that investment will be lost at a time when the country can least afford it.

The FCC shouldn't burden an industry that is bringing jobs and investment to the country, but if it is going to regulate the Internet it should do so fairly. The goal of the FCC should be to maintain a level playing field by treating all competitors the same. Any new rules should apply equally to network providers, search engines and other information services providers.

Thank you in advance for taking action that supports our customers, our company, and our country's commitment to ensure that every American has access to broadband.
Jim Cicconi

Senior Executive Vice President - External and Legislative Affairs


Coverage Map Audits Are Needed

If France is auditing their coverage maps why doesn't the U.S. via FCC,, Telephia (Now Nielsen Mobile), PriMetrica or GWS Solutions? When 66% of the market is controlled by 2 companies AT&T and Verizon they can push around the FCC like a rag doll. This has clearly been happening for the last 10 years and about to change with the new Obama administration at the controls of the FCC. However, it is clear an audit of coverage maps needs to be carried out by the private sector who is best at creating a business out of this and there are a number of big players entering the wireless market who would like to see this happen.

France’s national telecoms watchdog Arcep has published the results of its 2008 survey on the reliability of GSM coverage maps provided by incumbent mobile operators Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom. The regulator’s audit found that the maps are consistent with more than 96.5% of measurements made in the field. The reliability of the operators’ maps is considered generally good at the national level, but must be improved in certain regions (or cantons). With regard to these cantons, Arcep has asked the incumbents to revise their maps this year, and to take further steps in 2009 as required by the provisions of the Decision No 2007-0178. The watchdog has also set out in its decision No 2009-0200 (dated 10 March 2009), a new list of 251 townships to be audited by operators in the current year. The investigation should be completed late October 2009, with results made available in early 2010.

in reference to: Arcep audit shows GSM coverage maps 96.5% accurate: CommsUpdate : TeleGeography Research (view on Google Sidewiki)

Cisco is Leading the Mobile Internet Tsunami

Steel beams of a cell tower bent over by the force of the tsunami

If you think the mobile infrastructure business is dead for Cisco you are right! Full of "dead zones" the cellular carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have failed to fix. Have you seen our map of consumer generated cellular coverage gaps that the carriers will never likely fix without femtocells or VoIP?

WIMAX, LTE and 4G cell towers will never completely fix the in-building coverage problem and Cisco is positioned nicely to help consumers and businesses fix in-building coverage problems without the help of the carriers. Voice traffic is shrinking in the US and data traffic is quickly on the rise which will only accelerate the problem for the carriers who need to reinvent their business models.

Do you realize how many Wi-Fi routers and switches are under the control of Cisco? I think Cisco is positioned nicely to take control of the wireless infrastructure build-out and is in the game to fix all of the dead zones through alternatives to cellular like VoIP. Cisco's recent acquisitions (especially Starent Networks) give the company lots of options as the FCC primarily controlled by AT&T and Verizon (66% of the market) decide where to go with VoIP.

Advertising based VoIP networks will be the secondary Tsunami wave of the future and someone like Google will help monetize this traffic nicely.

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