Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

The expert panel that evaluates cancer risks today said that cell phones might possibly cause brain cancer.  Full Story from WebMD

The announcement comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Like the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society relies on IARC for evaluation of cancer risks.

"After reviewing all the evidence available, the IARC working group classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans," panel chairman Jonathan Samet, MD, chair of preventive medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine, said at a news teleconference. "We reached this conclusion based on a review of human evidence showing increased risk of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, in association with wireless phone use."

In finding cell phones to be "possibly carcinogenic," the IARC means that heavy cell phone use might -- or might not -- cause a specific form of brain cancer called glioma. The finding means that research is urgently needed to find out whether cell phones actually cause cancer, and how they might do it.

The IARC estimates that some 5 billion people worldwide have mobile phones. Lifetime exposure to the magnetic fields created by the phones -- particularly when they are held tightly against the head -- rapidly is increasing.

Children are at particular risk, not only because their skulls are thinner but also because their lifetime exposure to cell phones likely will be greater than the exposure of current adults.

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Cell Phones & Cancer Risk?

How to Monitor Mobile Data Usage

Carriers are increasingly asking consumers to monitor their own data usage and imposing data caps and additional fees on their customers who use too much.  However, wireless operators are not providing sufficient tools like this one above from Deutsche Telekom.  This new ‘self-care’ customer app from Deutsche Telekom comes with a WiFi finder, Facebook integration and funding option if you run out of data.  As you can see it provides the user with the capability to manage tiers of speed on 2G, 3G and LTE.  It controls data caps, WiFi access, and varying levels of added-on bundled services.  AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile Metro PCS and Leap and all of the carriers imposing data caps must provide tools like this for consumers to easily monitor their usage.

We will try and list available mobile apps as they become available in the marketplace.  Please submit any suggestions below in the comment field for us to review.

How Many Cell Phone Calls Are Made a Day?

crowd of people holding their cell phone at a convert
6 Billion Cell Phone Calls Per Day in the U.S.
The average person makes or receives 8 mobile phone calls per day.  That is roughly 2.4 billion phone calls across the 300 million cell phone user in the U.S.  The average mobile phone user in the U.S makes 250 phone calls per month or 3,000 phone calls per year.  There are 300 million cell phone users in the United States so if you do the math that is 900 billion cell phone calls made per year.

Do you know what percent of calls are dropped?  Our surveys say that the average cell phone customer drops 12 percent of their phone calls which is probably a conservative estimate.  100,000,000,000 billion phone calls are dropped each year and consumers have very few solutions accept cell phone boosters and femtocells which the FCC is trying to ban. These numbers are calculated by with a Verizon customers who claim to drop 5 percent of their calls and AT&T iPhone user who claim they drop 1 in 6 calls or between 15 to 20 percent.   We have read the ChangeWave surveys and that claim AT&T and Verizon customers drop 4.5 to 1.5 percent of the calls and we all know these are not true.

The average mobile phone user pays $59 per month for service and this factors out to approximately .24 cents per phone call for 250 minutes.  So if the average person drops 12 percent of their calls per month you are paying $7.08 for calls that should be if your carrier refunded the dropped call.  Carriers should be refunding $85 per year to customers on average if dropped calls were refunded as credits.  Thats a total $25 billion dollars that carriers are stealing from their customers.

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How Many Text Messages Are Sent a Day?
How Much Does AT&T Charge for Text Message Overage?

How Much Does AT&T Charge for Text Message Overage?

$10 Billion Per Year Spent on Texting

Going over your 1000 text message limit will cost you .10 cents extra per message.  Text messaging costs the average AT&T customer $10 per month for 1000 text messages whether you use them or not. $20 per month will get you the unlimited Domestic text plan. It doesn't sound like a lot until you go over your text messaging limit which can add up or if you send International text messages.  Domestic text rates do not apply for International text messages. Charges for international messages sent from the U.S. are $0.25 for Text Messages and $0.50 for Picture/Video Messages. Charges for usage while roaming internationally: $0.50 for each text message sent, $1.30 for each picture/video message sent, and $0.0195 for each kilobyte used. Standard rates apply to all incoming messages as well.

We estimate that each wireless customefreer generates .33 cents in revenue per day for text messages which is roughly a $10 billion dollar per year business for AT&T or $30 million dollars per day.  Its also pretty ironic that AT&T (NYSE: T) pays $10 billion dollars per year in dividends.  Coincidence or a house of cards that is wait to fall?  Here are 10 other reasons why charging for text messaging is a scam.

What if you could save $60 - $240 per year in text messages with free text messaging services?  The average AT&T customer sends out 621 text messages per month which is approximately 20 messages per day.  The cost of text messaging is .33 cents per day which does not sound like a lot.  Free text messaging is growing with companies like Facebook, Google Voice and Apple getting into the game.  Our thesis is that the handset and software manufactures Apple, Google & Microsoft will soon be getting into the data delivery business and will be subsiding messaging with mobile advertisements.  

How Many Text Messages Are Sent a Day?

Text messaging continues to grow in the US but is showing signs of deceleration. The average customer for AT&T sends 621 messages per month. That is an average of 20 text messages per day per person. So is it conservative enough to assume that the average customer across all carriers sends 15 text message per day?

AT&T handles 180 billion text message per year which is roughly 500 million per day. Its was estimated in 2009 that 2.5 billion text messages are sent per day in the US. If we assume that AT&T has 30% market share of 300 million total US wireless customers. We can assume that 5 billion text messages are sent per day if we estimate that the usage is 16 messages per day across all of the carriers.  50% growth in 2 years isn't bad but is that going to change with new free text messaging services coming out?

The total cost of managing a text messaging network is hardly anything and the profit margins are enormous for carriers. If a mobile phone customer is paying $10 per month for text messaging that is roughly 33 cents per day. If there are 300 million US wireless phone users we can assume that text messaging is a $100 million dollar per day market which equals $36 billion dollars per year for the carriers.  Pretty scary if we assume that Instant Messaging, Facebook, Google Voice, Skype, Twitter and Email are all free and provide a much better service.  You have to ask yourself is this fair competition or is text messaging a scam?

Most carriers don't tell you how to send free text messages using services like Google Voice for obvious reasons but that will change in the future.  Apple, Google and Microsoft may start to get into the data network business soon which we be great for competition and consumers.

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How Many Cell Phone Calls Are Made a Day?

How China is Beating the U.S. in Wireless

The FCC in the US is a joke and when the US Government touts their success about making progress in the wireless race and staying ahead of the rest of the World they are delusional because consumers are getting screwed.  Is embarrassing to see large U.S. companies like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) protecting their turf and holding us back from wireless innovation in the U.S.  It is even more embarrassing to see that the U.S. Government subsidizing oil companies when they could be subsiding entrepreneurs to build out wireless broadband.  Free ad supported wireless will create millions of jobs if white spaces spectrum and WiFi is open.  Here are 4 reasons why China is kicking our ass.  

1)  China understands that the high end of the market is saturated and that their most important growth customers are those who can't afford phones subsidizing iPhones for $10 for the masses.  The US total cost of ownership for an iPhone in the US is over $1,000 if you factor in all of the costs.  

2)  China has 900 million mobile phone users and its been growing at a rate of 20%+ per year for the last decade.   The US has 303 million mobile phone users growing at a rate of below below 5%.  See CTIA numbers.

3)  China Mobile services 606 million customers on their network and China Unicom services 324 million customers at faster data speeds. The networks handle 3 to 6 times as many customers as AT&T and Verizon who can't seem to fix their network congestion.

4)  China 1 Million Free WiFi hotspots and building an infrastructure for free ad supported networks in the future of wireless.  The US would rather pretend that we can stuff all of the data through old cell towers and not distribute the computing power.  When will content providers like Google step up and subsidize wireless connections with mobile ads.  

China gets it and understand that wireless should be free like water some day.  Albeit state controlled access and blocking site but atleast they are offering services that will reach the masses.  I don't agree with is their censorship and state controlled media but that is another topic for discussion.  

Why China Has $10 Per Month iPhone Service Plans?

China Has Fair Competition & U.S. Has Corruption
China Unicom is trying to grab additional customers before its exclusivity with the iPhone ends. The wireless carrier is starting a new promotion that drops the price on its lowest iPhone plan to 66 yuan (US$10) a month.  That's $120 per year and very cheap.  This comes two years later after China Unicom (CHU) was offering free iPhones to customers who had the most expensive data plans. China Unicom is the only carrier in China to offer the iPhone with a service contract and it added 1.82 million 3G subscribers for a total of 20.4 million in April of 2011. China Unicom lagged behind the 29.4 million 3G users for China Mobile, whose total customer base of 606 million is almost double Unicom’s 324 million. China Telecom is the country’s biggest fixed-line carrier and is in talks with Apple to offer a CDMA version of the iPhone. Read more on Business Week.

It makes you wonder about the crooks AT&T and Verizon who charge $200 for GSM or CDMA iPhone and still charge $100 per month for data plans.  This has to make you question if he US has fair competition if Verizon & AT&T are paying shareholders $5-$10 billion dollars per year in dividends?  We think ad supported wireless is coming in a big way to the world and that the used $100 iPhones market will start feeding he rest of the world.  Handset manufactures and carriers will be giving phone and wireless services away soon.  China Mobile plans to add 1 Million Free WiFi Hotspots.

Why Did Cox Fail at Wireless?

Why Didn't Cox Try Femtocells Inside of DVR's or UMA WiFi Cell Service?
Cox failed at wireless because they failed to focus on the weaknesses of their competitors AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile & Verizon.  The big wireless carriers continue to fail & provide quality indoor coverage for millions of customers and cable companies have a unique advantage being able to fix it.  Thus, it wouldn't surprise me to see more cable operator and wireless operator mergers in the future to keep up with Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse who will soon be adding femtocells in DVR's.

Cable operators can fix indoor wireless service through their own backhaul via femtocells or WiFi through their own networks.  There are a handful of femtocell companies that Cox could have partnered with but the best might have been Kineto who offers UMA WiFi for cell phone calls.  Will Cox change their marketing strategy as a new MVNO partner with Sprint selling Sprint femtocells?  We wrote an article back in 2009 outlining why we were excited to see a cable company like Cox get into the wireless services game.  The blog post was titled Comcast and Cox Wireless Marketing Strategy.

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Where is AT&T LTE Service Available?

AT&T LTE Requires a Phone Upgrade or Data Card
AT&T has finally taken the first steps toward building out their LTE network. Verizon and AT&T are being kind of shady about their marketing LTE Phones Require Upgrades to access 4G on the higher speed networks while HSPA+ is just getting underway.  To confuse marketing even further they are starting with five random cities below. AT&T plans to add 10 or more markets in the second half of 2011. AT&T will start rolling out LTE this summer in the following 5 cities:

San Antonio

iPad Menus Needed in Restaurants & Bars

Because Restaurant & Wireless Service "Ain't What It Should Be"
A Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup called E La Carte is hoping to improve the experience of ordering food at restaurants. They have created an iPad that lets you order and pay right at your table without using a waiter.  How many times have you said, "Wow the food was great but the service really stunk?"  We seem to do that a lot here in LA where flaky people and actor / waiters are a "dime a dozen."  I wouldn't might seeing the restaurant industry do away with the 20% tip rule and bake it into the price of food items.  Restaurant service and wireless service just ain't what it used to be.

The iPad app works like this: The company uses tablet computers that have credit-card readers attached. You select what you want to eat and add items to a cart. Depending on the restaurant's preferences, the console could show you nutritional information, ingredients lists, and photographs. You can make special requests, like "dressing on the side" or "quintuple bacon." Just add it on the console, and wait for the waiter to bring it to your table. When you're through with your meal, you pay on the console, splitting the bill item by item if you wish and paying however you want. And you can have your receipt emailed to you.

All this is wonderful but requires the restaurant to have quality free WiFi access on the premises and its not likely that 4G or 3G will will word indoors. It would surprise me to see location based advertising try and get into this game. The company is currently rolling the product out after two years of development, testing, fundraising, and manufacturing. 20 restaurants have signed up and many more nationally have expressed interest.  This seems like a great adjunct business for a company like Boingo (Nasdaq: WIFI) to think about in the future.

What is not clear to me is does the restaurant provide the iPad for use or can the restaurant patron download the iPad app from the App store?  This to me would make more sense to manage costs and give early adopters some free coupons or promotions to promote the use.  

Can Marissa Mayer Help Improve Mobile Phone User Experiences?

Google VP of Search User Experience is Now VP of Location Services
According to Google 20% of their searches are local and Marissa Mayer is the VP of Location and Local Services now at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) responsible for this success. Google receives hundreds of millions of queries per day and controls 97% of mobile paid search which will be a $1 billion business for Google by the end of 2011.

Marissa Mayer previous was VP of Search and User Experience and did a fantastic job keeping the Google experience simple. I am now very excited that Marissa is now responsible for location and local services at Google for many reasons. But Marissa has the potential to bring some disruptive change to the telecom industry that needs to upgrade their user experiences for customers. As local search and wireless data services start to overlap more, I can see only one reason why Google Mobile location based advertising could fail or grow too slowly . . . poor phone reception = failed mobile ads.

Location based advertising is the future of Google advertising and Google is betting hundreds of millions of dollars on it.  Android will be the smartphone platform for distribution of content and local ads on smartphones and tablets. We believe Android will ultimately be a huge success but Google needs to enforced stricter standards for wireless reception and coverage.  In order for consumers to have a great experience consuming content on their phones in local places they must have quality WiFi, 3G or 4G data connections.  Apple and Google have the power to enforced more quality controls and provide solutions to fixing coverage problems that the carriers fail to provide.  Marissa must be an evangelist for Google promoting the need for open solutions to fix coverage problems such as open spectrum, WiFi and white space solutions.  There are still hundreds of millions of dead zones in the US and carriers will only fix those which are profitable.

For the last decade we have been asking ourselves when will wireless reception and network congestion improve throughout major cities.  Dead zones have improved slowly but data congestion is now a huge problem on cellular networks trying to stuff too much data through voice networks that don't scale.  Therefore, we think free or ad supported WiFi will be as ubiquitous as water in a few years as soon as the incumbent carriers and FCC gets out of the way of innovation .  Entrepreneurs and companies like Google have the power to improve wireless experiences for millions of people but don't have the legal or licensing authority to do it with unlicensed spectrum.

Google is one of the only companies that has the financial scale to bring disruptive change that is needed by the telecom industry.  Quality consumer experiences require fast data connectivity on 3G, 4G or WiFi.  However, most business do not provide quality WiFi connections or free WiFi to their customers because they are not incentivised to do so.  Google, Apple and Microsoft are some one of the only companies that could provide free WiFi hotspots or ad supported white spaces.  Location based advertising is highly dependent on quality 4G coverage that is lacking inside of buildings, homes, malls and restaurants.

So what is the solution to fixing coverage for millions of wireless customers who cannot get heard by their carriers?  Is it femtocellswhite spaces or super WiFi?   Can businesses be empowered to fix coverage in remote areas and inside of buildings?  Time will tell and unfortunately the FCC is taking about a decade to provide businesses with the white space frequencies in local markets to make this happen.  Soon, we will have a database of what frequencies are available and entrepreneurs can go to work creating new businesses, jobs and revolutionize and industry. 

T-Mobile Customers Can Keep Their Unlimited Data Plans

You must read between the hidden agenda lines of Fierce Wireless' report that T-Mobile USA is quietly eliminated its $30 per month unlimited data plan for smartphones and adding four new tiered data plans.  However, Fierce Wireless did not provide the important details in their report that should say existing customers can keep their unlimited data plans.  I called customer service today to confirm that existing customers who have the $30 unlimited data plans can keep them.  The service rep told me I can keep the plan.  However, if you make changes to your plan please read the fine print or ask customer service if you will lose the unlimited data plan.  If you are like me and tether your iPad to your G2 phone this is great news. This is just another reason you Don't Buy T-Mobile's Even More Plus Data Plan because you will lose your grandfathered unlimited data plans.

T-Mobile told Fierce Wireless that if customers go over their allotted data caps they will not incur overage charges but instead will have their data speeds throttled down to an EDGE, or 2G, experience of around 100 Kbps or less. T-Mobile customers with smartphones can now select from the following new options:
  • $10 for 200 MB per month
  • $20 for 2 GB
  • $30 for 5 GB
  • or $60 for 10 GB
According to a T-Mobile spokeswoman, customers will be notified via a free text message when they exceed their monthly data threshold. At that time, they will have the option to change their data plan to one with more data or continue to use their existing plan with the reduced speeds for the remainder of the month.  This is great customer service compared to AT&T and Verizon who charge you extra for going over your data plans without notice.  Read more: T-Mobile kills unlimited data, unveils new tiered data plans for smartphones - FierceWireless 

Why is Verizon Wireless Providing Temporary Cell Towers in Joplin, Missouri?

Verizon Wireless "Theoretical Cell Service Maps" in Joplin, Missouri
Why is Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) providing temporary cell towers in Joplin, Missouri.  Verizon's press release is very confusing and lacks any context of why they are doing this?  There is not mention in the press release that their existing cell tower or network in the area was damaged.  If you look at Verizon's coverage maps in Joplin, Missouri it shows perfect coverage throughout the City and State.  This is a perfect example of why cell towers are not reliable in emergencies.  Cell towers provide to few points of failure in a natural disaster like a tornado.  The only solution is for more options for communication like broadband data across hundreds of nodes and not just a few cell phone towers that might go down in a tornado.
Joplin, Missouri Coverage Complaints
I am suspicious of this press release because Verizon is notorious for claiming they have coverage in an area that is blatantly not true.  We want to hear from you in you live or work in the area prior to the tornado.  We want to know how Verizon Wireless performed in the surrounding area of Joplin, Missouri before the disaster.  Please submit your comments below.   You can also submit your Verizon Wireless coverage complaints directly on our map.  We don't have many comments in the area but we do for AT&T and T-Mobile.  Click on the map above. 

Who Will Buy a Data Carrier First: Apple Google or Microsoft?

Who is going to buy a data carrier first?  The Next Web wrote a great article over the weekend about what Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) should be doing with $65 billion dollars of cash reserves.  Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is sitting on about $37 billion in cash and has been rumored to be interested in buying Sprint and also Verizon FiOS.  I also would not be surprised to see Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) become interested in buying an ISP as well with the interest in location based advertising and their recent purchase of Skype.

A data carrier is an Internet Service Provide that specializes in providing high speed broadband via wireless or wireline.  Examples of this would be Clearwire or Verizon FiOS.   Why would Apple or Google want to do this?  The vast majority of Apple and Google's headaches are dealing with the carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint who are managing both voice and data networks.  Sophisticated technical smartphone users know that they don't really need 2G and 3G voice services with free VoIP services.  Carriers are also offloading the majority of their data transition to WiFi because their networks cannot handle the traffic and won't scale.  WiFi networks are growing 25X faster than cell phone towers and quickly becoming the means to download and access the internet for free.  Now that VoIP or voice over Internet services like Skype, Google Voice & Facetime are taking off, wireless consumers don't need to use traditional voice networks anymore.  These wireless carriers have a massive infrastructure of wireless networks that provide 2G, 3G, 4G services that may soon be extinct in the next decade if pure data networks become the standard for Voice and Data.  It would simplify the World into a a single homogeneous protocol that would bring massive acceleration to the wireless industry.

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55% of US WiFi Hotspots are Free
Free Ad Supported iPhone
Why We Bought the Boingo (Nasdaq: WiFi) IPO

How is Verizon's Network Handling the iPhone?

We have started to receive a lot more dropped call and dead zone complaints from Verizon Wireless customers this year now that Verizon has iPhone running on its network.  The Verizon wireless coverage problems seem to be occurring more on the East Coast vs the West Coast. See our Verizon Dead Zones Map.

It also seems a little hypocritical of AT&T and Verizon  to be offloading data on the iPhone to WiFi when you are paying for expensive and overpriced 3G data plans.   WiFi is free and smart consumers are going to need to learn how to live without 3G and 4G in the future because the networks will never be able to handle the traffic.  Wireless armageddon is coming in 2012 and the only solution is more open WiFi networks distributing the traffic.

Verizon's CDMA iPhone only works on 3G is has been reported to be much slower than the AT&T network.   Verizon's iPhone is at a disadvantage because it accesses Verizon’s EV-DO  network, which tops out at 3.1 mbps down, while the AT&T iPhone is capable of hitting 7.2 down on AT&T’s HSDPA network.  I

Wireless Competition Before the iPhone

Wireless Before the AT&T iPhone in 2006
The US wireless market was far more competitive before AT&T got the iPhone exclusive and this is how the market looked with AT&T / Cingular having 27% of the market with only 60 million customers.  Verizon Wireless had 26% of the market with 59M, Sprint / Nextel 23% 52M, T-Mobile 11% 25M, Alltel 5% 11M and US Cellular 2.5% with 6M.   How is wireless competition today and how have mergers consolidated the wireless industry?

The iPhone was the start of the smartphone revolution and AT&T took a year and half to negotiate with Apple to get an exclusive on it.   Its important to look back at the history of innovation before the iPhone came on to he market.  Verizon turned down the iPhone and the rest of the telecom industry greeted Apple with skepticism over whether they could make a phone that consumers would want since they were largely a PC company.  AT&T had to respond to competitive pressure 5 years ago and was forced to negotiate with Apple not knowing how successful the iPhone was going to be.

Here is a great example of how the telecom industry would have held us back from innovation if Steve Jobs had not required YouTube and other features be added to the iPhone.  Apple had to fight with AT&T in order to get the YouTube feature added on the deck and it took a year and half to get it.  Keep in mind we also had fewer dropped calls and better network service in 2006 as well.  So when a carrier like AT&T raises the argument that they will bring innovation in a duopoly competitive market they are lying.  The only thing carriers can do is protect their turf and try and keep up with the competition of WiFi that will soon surpass the capabilities of controlled and non-scalable 4G and LTE.  They will forever be dump pipes that transmit data and we should make sure that they have zero power to raise margins and prices for the sake of technology innovation and growth.

Apple iPhone had the vision which paved the way for Google to roll out Android with T-Mobile.   I think T-Mobile was the most brilliant of the carriers taking the risk and having the vision to launch Android.  The telecom industry was skeptical of course as well but look where we are now.  Its great to see the corrupt carriers losing control over data access while at the same time seeing the growth of unlicensed wireless data access WiFi and soon to be White Spaces.  The future is not longer about charge for data but about free wireless through location based advertising to get the rest of the World using smartphones who cannot afford it.  

T-Mobile Calling Plans Cost $600 Less Than AT&T & Verizon

Consumer Reports survey says that T-Mobile customers are paying $15 to $50 less per month or $600 per year less than comparable plans from AT&T.  Will T-Mobile customers be able to keep these plans or will prices be raised by AT&T?  34 million T-Mobile customers are going to be forced to pay a higher rate if they switch phones in the future.  Not only that but AT&T would not have any GSM handset competitors and would be forced to pay monopoly rates and pass the costs onto consumers.  If existing T-Mobile customers switch or upgrade their phones in the future they will be forced into new AT&T plans.  The elimination of T-Mobile would remove the incentive to compete on price and pave the way to a duopoly market structure.  AT&T knows they can afford this merger because if they raise prices it will pay for itself in only a few quarters if customers don't leave.  T-Mobile is currently doing about $22B per year in annual revenue and if prices were raised by 30% it won't take long to pay for the $39B acquisition.     

T-Mobile Wi-Fi Phone Calling is Now Free

T-Mobile WiFi Calling App Works Great
Did our blog post in November of 2010 Why is T-Mobile WiFi Calling is Not Free have anything influence on T-Mobile finally allowing their customer to make WiFi calls for free?  Or was this decision influenced by the Microsoft acquisition of Skype?  Making calls on using T-Mobile's WiFi calling app on Android phones is now free and does not count against your minutes.  This fabulous mobile app is provided by Kineto Wireless.  Here is a list of T-Mobile UMA WiFi phones and keep in mind they are Android phones.  AT&T does not have WiFi calling features on their Android phones and because they have stuck with their profit making Microcell strategy of charging $200 to use your broadband data.  

If you are traveling overseas this is a tremendous benefit as WiFi has become ubiquitous throughout the World.  Its a great feature if your home or office is located in a cell reception dead zone.  This is a great alternative to AT&T's Microcell or Verizon's femtocell which don't work very well and have interference issues in many cases.  

T-Mobile subscribes with the Even More, Even More Plus and 4G Do More plans will be able to take advantage of this new feature to save on minutes.  T-Mobile customers with these data plans will be notified via SMS for the new feature.  You may also call the Customer Care service on details of how to download the app or obtain a phone with the WiFi calling feature embedded.  See also how to boost your WiFi signal

How to Get a Broken iPad Replaced for Free

Apple Stores Have Great Customer Service!
Will Apple retail stores replace broken iPads?  I heard two examples on today that loyal Apple customers have had successful experiences taking their broken iPads into Apple stores and getting them replaced.  It was clear if they got them replaced for free but it sounded like it.  Is this too good to be true?  We would appreciate your feedback below in the Disquss comments section.

Shattered or broken iPads screens are not covered under Apple care.  Twit.TV sited two examples of situations where iPad customers were able to get their iPads replaced.  This is great customer service by Apple and we commend them for not charging customers.  I wish this was true for iPhone customers who frequently crack their screens and batteries need to be replaced.  Apple has charged $79 charges to iPhone batteries and we wonder how long customer service will be giving free replacements for customers who damage their screens. 

History of US Wireless Telecom Consolidation

US Mergers and Acquisitions of Wireless Telecom in the US
List of companies consolidated by Sprint (NYSE: S), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), T-Mobile (DTEGY.PK) & AT&T (NYSE: T).  Here is a chart explaining the acquisitions and the year it took place.  This slide was contributed on the Rural Wireless Telecom webcast to help the industry understand why the AT&T and T-Mobile merger is too big!

Sprint: Nextel (2005).
Verizon:  Nynex (1995), PrimeCo (1999), Airtouch (1999), Vodafone Airtouch (1999), GTE (2000), Unicel (2007), Alltel (2009), Western Wireless (2005).
AT&T:  Bell South Mobility (2000), SBC (2000), Cingular (2004), Dobson Cellular Systems (2008), Centennial Wireless (2009).
T-Mobile: Founded as Voice Stream (1994), Omnipoint (2000), Aerial Communications (2000), Powertel (2001),  Changed the name to T-Mobile USA (2002), SunCom (2007).  

10 Ways You Can Help Stop the AT&T Takeover of T-Mobile

Here are 10 ways you can help stop the AT&T Takeover of T-Mobile?  The merger can be blocked if Government officials simply evaluate the AT&T & T-Mobile merger facts. The US Justice Department blocked the Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq: NDAQ) proposed takeover of NYSE Euronext recently so the AT&T and T-Mobile merger can be blocked as well.   Here are two different ways you can help influence the decision makers the Department of Justice and the FCC are just puppets.   FCC petitions to deny are due Tuesday, May 31st and opposition are due Friday, June 10th and replies to the oppositions are due by Monday, June 20th.  

1)  Visit to share your opinion about AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile with Congress and FCC.

2) Email the US Department of Justice at

3)  Write a letter to President Obama who is tight with Unions and show them AT&T's CWA Union Corruption

4)  Fill out a form at the FCC and express your opinion on the merger.  This method will likely go into a black hole of nothingness because the FCC is a joke.

5)   Send out Twitter tweets @ your congressmen and FCC "@FCC Stop the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile. Protect wireless competition! Stop the spectrum lie!  #attmobile"

6) Attend public hearings on Capital Hill that AT&T is trying to block from public view.  Visit local town hall meetings and express your opinion to your local congressmen.  Charles Grassley the Senator of Iowa received strong opposition at this last town hall meeting from Iowa residents to block the merger.  You can do it to by expressing your opinion to representatives.

7)  Support and become a customers of rural wireless carriers like Cellular South, Iowa Wireless, Cellular One, US Cellular, Leap, Cincinnati Bell who may benefit from the FCC roaming agreement mandates.

8)  Support and send information to TV personalities like Jon StewartAl Franken & Jim Cramer and local news networks with facts and relevant merger information they can use to influence public opinion.

9)  Disseminate positive information about how T-Mobile can compete and survive on its own with the $3B breakup fee and spectrum.  Encourage the financial press and financial industry that T-Mobile could be a great IPO candidate.

10)  Expose the fact AT&T is the largest donor to Congress, corruption and conflicts of interest that lobbyist and army of investment bankers have.

10)  Write a blog post and send us your article that we can publish on Dead Zones,  Public Knowledge or Huffington Post

AT&T Will Fire 18,000 T-Mobile Employees

The merger will likely result in the firing of 18,000 of the 40,000 T-Mobile employees.  This number is calculated  by looking at the historical trend of how many AT&T employees AT&T fires in previous mergers.  AT&T has historically fired 37-50% of their acquiring company employees.  This merger needs to be blocked under anti trust law and given the opportunity to evaluate the AT&T & T-Mobile merger facts

Free Ad Supported Skype Windows Phone

Microsoft made a great purchase of Skype to further their advertising footprint.  I think it won't be long before Apple iChat, Facebook, Microsoft and Google Voice start testing their ability to provide customers with free ad supported phones. If you are sophisticated smart phone or tablet user, you probably already know how to make WiFi phone calls on Skype, Google Voice or iChat. Ad supported phones are only possible if you have scale and reach to lots of people and can sell advertising against this inventory.

WiFi is growing much faster than 4G cell towers and data capacity can handle.  The only solution to eventual wireless armageddon in 2012 is unlicensed free wireless access that is in the hands of entrepreneurs and not the carriers.  Carrier networks were built for voice traffic and do not scale for massive amounts of data.

The reality is we talk on our phones about 90% indoors while we are standing still. So it is not inconceivable that consumers might want a WiFi only phone. Ya but there where is the revenue in for the company? Its my belief that as CPM (Cost Per Thousand) advertising rates increase due to improvements in advertising technology that WiFi and phones will be ad supported. Companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft will make more money selling against their customers using Windows and Android phones. WiFi can actually be more reliable than 2G, 3G and 4G in the vast majority of cases.  Service level guarantees are way overrated as we all know from our experience with AT&T Wireless 3G iPhone problems. 

Jon Stewart on FCC & Comcast Corruption

We all know the FCC is a joke but this one takes the cake as one of the most ridiculous conflicts of interest I have ever heard. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart just railed the former FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker for becoming a lobbyist for Comcast. The hilarious segment was complete with booing and hissing from the audience when the commissioner’s actions were revealed.  Criticism of Commissioner Baker has come from almost every media outlet including:  The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone and now The Daily Show.  Freepress has collected more than 60,000 letters urging Rep. Darrell Issa to investigate Baker’s sudden departure with a goal of 100,000 before delivering them to the congressman.  Send you letter demanding the resignation and clamping down of the FCC corruption

AT&T & T-Mobile Merger Webcast Debate

Live webcast: Wireless Industry Consolidation
Time:  Thursday, May 19, 2011 11 AM EST
Duration: 60 mins
Presenters: Public Knowledge, Sprint, RTG and Cellular South
View the Recorded Web Cast: Bright Talk

Join us on an important call to hear from industry groups on why AT&T's takeover of T-Mobile is bad news for competition and would hurt the wireless industry and the economy. We all know this takeover is not about spectrum. Decreased mobile competition means higher prices and less innovation. Data plans become more expensive while networks get slower. Join the fight to keep the mobile industry innovative and competitive.

As the debate surrounding the proposed AT&T / T-Mobile merger continues to rage, small providers, public interest groups, consumer rights organizations, and antitrust experts have banded together to speak with one unified voice, calling for a block of the merger that surely represents a major step toward putting Ma-Bell back together. In anticipation of next Thursday’s House testimony, our panel of experts has prepared a unique, interactive webinar to serve as a background briefing on this pressing issue.

Speakers include:
Public Knowledge's Director of Government Affairs Ernesto Falcon, Sprint's Director of Government Affairs Trey Hanbury, Cellular South's Manager of Public Policy Ben Moncrief and RTG's General Counsel Carri Bennet.

Public Knowledge is a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture.

The Rural Telecommunications Group (RTG) is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve less than 100,000 subscribers.

Cellular South is the nation's largest privately held wireless provider with approximately 1,100 employees residing in the Southeastern United States.

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services and served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010.

Why is Verizon Wireless Reception Poor on the East Coast?

Does Verizon Wireless use a different frequency on the East Coast vs the West Coast?  We have also been receiving a great number of complaints for Verizon since the iPhone and iPad 3G CDMA devices have been available on their network.   On our Verizon Dead Zones map which collects anonymous complaints from customers has been receiving a greater number of coverage complaints proportionately in Eastern States like New York, Florida, Georgia & New Jersey.  What is the the explanation for this?  On the West Coast we tend to get more AT&T Wireless dead zone complaints versus Verizon.  Is this because their is a great concentration of iPhone users in the West Coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco? 

FCC: Understanding Wireless Coverage Areas

FCC Article: Understanding Wireless Coverage Areas

Coverage Maps and Other Coverage Research.  Before choosing a wireless service provider or a plan, it is wise to research the various providers to determine the extent of their coverage in the areas that matter most to you. You can research a wireless service providers’ coverage area in a number or ways:
  • Ask neighbors, colleagues, and friends. You can also visit Internet sites (such as that list specific dead spots (submitted by individuals). Information on dead spots is organized by wireless service provider and location.
  • Test the wireless service providers’ plan and coverage area on a trial basis, if possible. Some wireless providers offer trial periods, during which you can test a phone before you are committed to a service contract and have to pay a significant fee to terminate that contract. Be aware, however, that if you terminate during a trial period or at any other time, most wireless service providers will not refund any activation or usage fees. During the trial period, you may want to test the phone in the areas where you plan to use it most frequently to determine if the actual coverage suits your needs.
  • Check out the wireless service providers‘ coverage map on its Web site and/or in stores where its products are sold. Often these maps show very general coverage for entire regions. The maps usually carry a disclaimer saying they are provided for informational purposes only and that actual coverage may vary. There may be holes where the service provider does not have cell sites or where the topography causes dead zones. With few exceptions, the maps do not indicate signal strength or dead zones. Additionally, these coverage maps are not intended to show whether coverage is provided in obstructed areas, like buildings, tunnels, and underground garages. While wireless service providers often deploy in-building wireless solutions for these areas, any lack of coverage is usually not disclosed.

There is no guarantee that your phone will work in an area, even if it is included on a wireless service providers’ published coverage map. Just because a wireless service provider generally advertises service to an area, there may be several reasons why the service is not reliably available in all locations. Although wireless service providers attempt to design their networks to eliminate dropped calls, busy signals, and dead zones, no network is perfect, so coverage breaks within the general coverage areas are still possible. Specific and/or updated information may not be available on maps provided by the wireless service provider, because coverage is frequently changing. Censored Blog Posts

Wi-Fi Only Tablets Selling More Than 3G

The CEO of Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA), Huang claims Wi-Fi only tablets are seeing more uptake than 3G versions with all the bells and whistles. This points to the fact that consumers want a cheaper alternatives and don't need 3G and their expensive data plans that come with it.. The Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab have not really taken off in a big way because its a price point problem. Compared to the basic $499 iPad Wi-Fi Only, many feel Honeycomb tablets have priced themselves a little bit out of the market. Are tablet manufacturers learning from their mistakes and poor forecasting of 3G uptake?  How are their readjusting their retail plans if the wireless carriers are not the main sales channels?  Will this help struggling Amazon Wireless and Best Buy Mobile who have been getting crushed by carrier retail distribution? 

Phoenix Arizona Fake Cactus Cell Towers

Cactus Fake Cell Phone Tower in Phoenix

Paradise Valley & Scottsdale city officials, AT&T (NYSE: T) and NewPath Networks a subsidiary of Crown Castle (NYSE: CCI) has added new DAS networks throughout the cities to improve cell service throughout many areas of Phoenix where cell service was previously non-existent. Distributed Antenna System (DAS) were being used instead of cell phone towers which have many benefits.

Crown Castle has been improving coverage outdoors and indoor stadiums.  The DAS provide now has a total of around 350 DAS nodes in the Phoenix area, including in the west valley at the University of Phoenix stadium where the NFL Arizona Cardinals play, and at the Arena where the NHL Phoenix Coyotes play. Other buildouts on the east side of Phoenix contain 200 miles of fiber and 342 DAS nodes as part of the larger Scottsdale and Paradise Valley builds. The Scottsdale DAS network required Crown Castle to put up about 150 faux cactus/. The new system in Paradise Valley includes 50 cellular nodes with three on streetlights, two on traffic signals and 45 in fake (faux) cactus.

When is Super WiFi Coming to U.S.?

Super WiFi or White Space has enabling Singapore is become one giant hotspot with broadband speeds 10X faster than the US at 50 to 100 Mbs per second. These incredible speeds come at an incredibly low price of $10 or less per month. Why is this happening overseas and not in the US? Because many countries in Asia view broadband as a citizen right and a non-profit endeavor. Many businesses can be spawned off of the virtually free wireless broadband and thus expanding the economy beyond the expensive data rates that our US carriers hope to get at $50-$100 per month. $100 per year is a lot less expensive than $1,000 per year that AT&T and Verizon hope to get with their unreliable LTE 4G networks that are a 1/5 the speeds.

Al Franken Rips AT&T's Coverage Map

Ooooh . . . That's a Great Map!
Thanks to the strong support of a srtong U.S. Senator Al Franken, AT&T might actually have an opponent in the Government who won't approve the merger. Al is not on AT&T's political payroll. In this short video clip for CSPAN Senator Franken makes fun of AT&T's coverage map directly to the CEO of AT&T Randall Stephenson. He then moves on to other back haul issues after Randall Stephenson and others on the panel acknowledge that competition is a National issue. Read more and listen to more of the testimony on Al Franken opposing the merger and modification of net neutrality laws. Al Franken argues against the current practices of the Department of Justice and the FCC analyzing competition on a local level. Its wrong and the companies competing in the marketplace and everyone knows it. This quote came 1 hour and 30 minutes into the full Senate hearing.

10 Reasons Why The FCC is a Joke

1) FCC evaluates competition locally and not Nationally. Are they stuck in the '90's?
2) FCC is funded by Verizon, AT&T & Comcast and not taxpayers.
3) No transparency & FCC complaints go into a mysterious black hole.
4) FCC thinks rural carriers have fair competition with National carriers.
5) FCC violated our trademark and tried to replicate our dead zones service.
6) FCC trusts AT&T lies and propaganda.
7) It takes 10 years for FCC to force Verizon & AT&T to roam for regional carriers
8) FCC tried to ban cell phone signal boosters at the request of carriers
9) FCC refuses to acknowledge consumers getting screwed and our data.
10) FCC Staffers leaving to become lobbyist for telecom companies.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Executive Compensation

Randall Stephenson of AT&T Made $27 Million in 2010
The CEO of AT&T makes $25M+ dollars per year.  Is this because of good business practices as some conservatives might call it or unfair advantages on competition?  Randall made a modest salary of $1,533,333 in 2010 while also taking home an additional $25 million in stock bonuses and "other" compensation according to Forbes.  Not only is this compensation outrageous but AT&T shareholders were paid out $10 billion dollars in dividends in 2010.  Sounds like a huge ponzi scheme to me or a house of cards that needs to be knocked down for the sake of consumers and all Americans. Ralph de la Vega the CEO of AT&T Wireless which is a wholly owned subsidiary made $11 million dollars in 2010.  I am all for big businesses exercising their right to compete in the marketplace but you have to ask yourself is their enough competition?  AT&T is the top donor to Congress is paying just about every influential politician on Capital Hill and has a massively corrupt union.   Here are the full details of Randall Stephenson's CEO compensation.

Restricted stock awards$12,749,977.00
All other compensation$417,410.00
Option awards $$494,731.00
Non-equity incentive plan compensation$5,050,000.00
Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings$7,096,177.00
Total Compensation$27,341,628.00

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega Executive Compensation

Ralph de la Vega CEO of AT&T Mobility Made $11 Million in 2010
The CEO of AT&T Mobility makes $10 million dollars per year. See the latest numbers of Ralph de la Vega Compensation for 2010 from Forbes.  Ralph took a modest salary of $820,833 and other stock bonuses that grossed him exactly $10,894,670 in 2010.

How does this compare to his superior Randall Stephenson's executive compensation who took home $27 million in 2010.  Sounds like a wonderful ponzi scheme to me or house of cards that is waiting to come crashing down having also paid out $10 billion dollars of dividends to shareholders.   See the details of Ralph de la Vegas compensation in 2010. 

Restricted stock awards$4,000,024.00
All other compensation$96,850.00
Option awards $$36,513.00
Non-equity incentive plan compensation$1,700,000.00
Change in pension value and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings$4,240,450.00
Total Compensation$10,894,670.00

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