Cheapest Unlimited Data Plans

Average Cell Phone Voice Minutes Used by Age
The smartphone data usage trend and the decline in cellular voice minute usage is concerning to the telecom industry.  In theory, you really don't really need to buy talk time minutes if you have a data plan or only use WiFi for making VoIP calls.  Carriers are constantly pushing their fast new 4G LTE networks but in reality they compete with Free WiFi.  So as a consumer you should be smart about what you buy.  Here are list of data plans in order of pricing. The trick is buying a phone on the provider network or have an unlocked phone that works on any of these networks.

Virgin Mobile - No Contract plan for $25 per month which includes unlimited data, text, and 300 calling minutes on 3G.

Tracfone / Net10 - No Contract $45 per month with unlimited data, text, and talk on 3G.

MetroPCS - No Contract for $40 per month with unlimited talk, text. Some data roaming charges may apply as the network is limited in size but they do have an LTE network that is fast.

Boost Mobile  - No Contract: for $40 per month with unlimited talk, text, data, no roaming charges. 3G available with some phones.

T-Mobile (Best Value!)- No Contract for $40 per month which includes unlimited data on 3G and 4G HSPA+ Blackberry phones will cost you $50 per month for unlimited data.  If you are an older customer hopefully you have been grandfathered into their old plan which costs $25 per month.  

Sprint - Requires a 2-year contract for $69.99 per month which includes unlimited data, text, and calling.

AT&T data plan - plans range in price from $15 for a 200 MB data plan and $25 per month for 2 MB. If are conscious about downloading video on WiFi their pricing plans might work for you. Caution because just like texting they have crazy data charges of $10 per 1 GB of data if you go over and the data is not reusable on monthly basis.  AT&T is also rolling out a 4G HSPA+ network.

Verizon Wireless - Requires customers to buy a mobile package that is more than $30 per month and you’re limited to 5GB per month.  They do have an LTE network coming out in 2011 but this will require you to purchase an LTE compatible phone.

Fix WiFi Reception With Multiple iPads on the Same Network

If your home has multiple iPads in your home or office running on the same network you should be aware of this problem. My home has 3 iPads: iPad 1, iPad 2 and an iPad Mini and our reception was getting worse and worse.  I noticed over time that each iPad was dropping the WiFi network more and more.  Each iPad would drop reception while searching from the Safari and Chrome browser and also while downloading from the App Store.

This first thing I did was to change the WiFi DNS settings to Google at  This improved speeds a little bit but the connections kept dropping.

I took me a while to figure it out but I realized each iPad had the same name.  By simply changing the name of each iPad the reception problems improved drastically.

Verizon Fios apparently views devices with the same name on the network as the same device and thus each of the iPads were competing for the same IP address from the router.  

How to Choose A Wireless Carrier

How to Choose a Wifi (Woops I mean Wireless) Carrier? 

Enhanced coverage: We recommend choosing a cell phone service that works in your neighborhood first.  If all carriers have spotty coverage in your neighborhood and at your home we recommend selecting a provider that offers femtocells, microcells, UMA phones, SIP phones you can use to enhance your in home coverage. Most carriers do not currently offer these features because they fear it will cannibalize their voice minutes.  The reality is carriers need to start subsiding voice minutes through location based advertising which will open up more VoIP features. After you have determined this selected a compatible phone and plan that also has the UMA, SIP or VoIP options.  See related articles:  Using Wifi to get Cell Phone Reception & UMA Phone + Wi-Fi = Home Cell Coverage

Voice usage: Estimate the number of minutes you need by taking an average of minutes from previous months.  You can do this by simply calling customer service and ask them how many minutes on average do I use each month. Keep in mind that you will be using your minutes both on outgoing and incoming calls with most plans. If you make less than about 200 minutes of calls per month or use mostly test services, a prepaid cell phone plans will generally be the best choice. If you'll make more than 400 minutes of calls per month, a monthly plan is probably the best option.

Data usage. TXT messaging, browsing the internet, MMS messaging are hardly ever free, and fees can add up fast as people use these features more often.  Especially if you are downloading lots of music, ring-tones and media.  Most carriers offer both ala carte pricing: 10 to 25 cents per text message for instance as well as unlimited plans for $5 to $10 per month.  Make sure you monitor your usage if you buy a package of text messages because going over can be costly. 

Roll-over minutes: Before you select a prepaid plan, check the terms and conditions. Some prepay plans require minimum monthly or daily usage fees and minutes may expire after a certain period of time (30, 60, 90 or a full year). Minutes may have different prices depending upon which the times of the day, and some plans include free night, weekend and mobile-to-mobile minutes. The best plans let you roll over minutes by adding funds before existing minutes expire.

International travel: If you travel internationally frequently, be sure to choose a carrier that lets customers "roam" without additional charge. Some carriers may charge you a small fee to roam on another GSM network but it will cost you a lot to call home to the US.  We recommend UMA, Wifi, VoIP phones in this case.  Rates are very reaons able at 5 to 10 cents per minute from most SIP phone carriers.

Smartphones that are More Fragile than Others

While most smartphones are very useful, all of them are fragile. Carrying a smartphone can be fun and convenient but it also requires that you handle it with care. Smartphones generally have larger screens, so a drop, crash or hit can affect it more severely than on any other type of cell phone. Even so, there are a few smartphones that are even more fragile than others and especially older more durable phones.

The iPhone 4 Recent studies made by FourSquare have shown the iPhone 4 to be the most fragile of all iPhones. This is because of the larger glass screen size. The functionality of this iPhone 4 is outstanding, with features like the ability to easily take credit cards for businesses; its physical design requires a great deal of care.

To compensate for this issue, you can use some inexpensive options from Apple like a vinyl skin or protector to keep the iPhone from becoming damaged should it fall. There are many cases available to fit the needs of every consumer today, providing more functionality from a phone.

The Samsung Intercept While the Samsung Intercept doesn’t necessarily have broken screen issues (although it can happen), this phone does have some very noticeable issues. The voice quality seems to be decent, but it takes a long time to press buttons and the phone tends to freeze often. The interface is very slow, which in turn causes the phone to turn off. The smartphone applications are difficult to install because of the slow operating system.

Samsung SGH-D807 Although this is a great phone with great smartphone capabilities and outstanding sound quality, it does have a slippery keypad and can easily slip out of your hand. Again the solution is to use a special skin or protector.

Because all smartphones have large screens they are more prone to breakage. Some of the newer smartphones are compensating for issues such as this by manufacturing the phone with rubber backings. This gives the phone a slight bounce effect before it hits the floor or hard surface and protects it a little better. Still just as a laptop is more fragile than a desktop, so is a smartphone than a regular mobile.

Most smartphones are well made with operating systems that are reliable and applications that are easily installed. Still the use of a smartphone should be reserved for people that need important business applications like mobile credit card processing, mobile cloud computing capabilities and sharing features allowed through Bluetooth and wireless technology.

Smartphones are all about making life and business processes more convenient, and easy to use from any location, but they do require special accessories to keep them safe from damage.

Top Most Expensive Cell Phones

Cell phones are an absolute necessity nowadays and although the majority of the sets sold are branded as 'entry-level' phones, there is considerable demand for premium phones. Vertu, a division of Nokia, had a monopoly in the luxury phone market till recently but it seems that its days of reign are over as more and more companies are now manufacturing uber-luxury phones which are targeted towards the richer sections of the society. Let's have a look at some of the most expensive cell phones in the world. The following list does not follow any particular order.

1. Goldvish "Le million" ($1,000,000)

The "Le million" by Goldvish is widely regarded as the world's most expensive mobile phone. The phone features 120 carat of diamonds (VVS-1 grade) and it has been designed by eminent designer, Emmanuel Gueit. Goldvish is a Geneva based company and it has many other diamond-encrusted models which are a bit reasonably priced than this one.

2. Vertu Signature Cobra ($310,000)

This is a limited edition phone and only 8 pieces are available in the market worldwide. It features a pear-cut diamond, a white diamond which is round in shape and more than 400 rubies. There is also a cheaper version of this phone available which does not have any rubies encrusted on it. It is being offered at an attractive price of $115,000.

3. Goldstriker iPhone 3GS Supreme ($320,000)

In 2009 this phone, designed by Stuart Hughes, was declared as the world's most expensive phone. The phone is made from 271gm of pure gold and there are more than 200 diamonds on the cell phone. There is an Apple logo on the back of the phone which has a large number of gems. The home button is made from a single piece of diamond (7.1 carats). This is easily one of the most beautiful looking luxury phones available in the market today.

4. Diamond Crypto Smartphone ($130,000)

This beautiful looking phone has been designed by peter Aloisson, a luxury accessories designer. The phone has been encased in a platinum base and it has more than 50 diamonds. The USP of this phone is that there are as many 8 rare blue diamonds. Even the navigation key of this phone has been encrusted in 18Carat rose gold. It is very interesting note that this cell phone, originally worked on Windows CE.

4. VIPN Black Diamond Smartphone ($300,000)

The body of this cell phone has been made from polycarbonate and it features a cutting edge mirror that has been adorned with diamonds. The cell phone has a 400 MHz processor, a 4MP camera and a 256 TFT screen.

5. Vertu Diamond ($88,000)

The Diamond is part of the many high-range premium mobile phones by Vertu. The handsets are made from platinum and they are fully diamond encrusted. Only 200 such handsets are available in the market today and the most expensive one is priced more than $90,000.

6. Motorola V220 Special Edition ($51,800)

This special edition Motorola phone is studded with 1,200 diamonds and the keyboard is made from 18 carat gold. The phone is priced at $51,800. Media reports suggest that this phone has caught the fancy of football stars and film stars but the general rich class has stayed away from this model. The price that some of these phones command is a gentle reminder to us that all of them are beyond our reach but it is surprising to know that people are actually eager to pay such amounts for a cell phone!

About The Author: Kelly is a writer. She loves writing, travelling and playing. These days she is working on technology used in cell phones.

Schools Blocking Cell Phone Reception

kid using cell phone in school with teacher in background
Is It Right For Schools to Block Cell Phone Reception?

Schools are increasingly becoming more aggressive about blocking cell phone signals in their classrooms.  Are they doing this because a few select students are abusing the rules of no cell phone?  There will always be students who break the rules and disrupt others but aren't there other ways to solve the problem using phones in the classroom?  How about turn your phones off when you enter the classroom?   Turn them on vibrate?  No texting during class?  Confiscation of phones used during class? 

Am I in the minority of people who want to be able to reach my child in a moments notice in case of an emergency?  Should parents be concerned about schools that decide to block signals by jamming signals?  Are schools overlooking safety implications of removing communication between a parent and child?  What happens in an emergency and parents cannot reach their child quickly?   

Please post pins in our map if your school has a cell phone signal jammer in the school.  Lets hear from you if this poses a safety concern below in our comments.  

Will The iPhone 5 Have Battery Drain Problems?

Expected Battery Life of iPhone 5 LTE

Early entrants of LTE Motorola and Samsung phones have impressed users of smartphones, but one big issue has held back its growth: horrible battery life. This is the biggest question overhanging the rapid adoption that Wall Street analysts are forecasting.  If the iPhone 5 proves to drain battery power too quickly as it searches for an LTE signal it can't find this could be the black swan to hurt adoption.  The faster the download speeds historically on the phones the more power a phone will use.  The further away your iPhone gets from a cell phone tower the more power it requires to search for and/or use a weak signal.

Apple explained some information about how the iPhone 5 battery will handle normal day-to-day functions performed by its users. While the iPhone 4S featured 200 hours of standby, the iPhone 5 will feature an improved 225 hours of standby time. Wifi is the same as the 4S with 10 hours.  LTE browsing is said to be 8 hours which I have a very hard time believing.  The question becomes how much testing was done in a real world environment?

Related Articles:
Why Does My iPhone 4S Battery Drain Fast?
Why Does The iPhone Battery Replacement Cost $79?
Are LTE Phone Batteries Ready for Primetime?
Apple iOS 5.0.1 Brings Life Back to 4S Battery

iPhone 5 Models By Carrier & Country

AT&T, Bell, Rogers, Virgin, Fido, Koodo, Telus 
  • USA & Canada
  • GSM model A1428
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17)
Verizon, Sprint, KDDI
  • USA & Japan
  • CDMA model A1429
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)
Deutsche Telekom, Orange, T-Mobile, Optus, Telstra, Softbank, SK Telecom, KT, SmarTone, M1, SingTel 
  • Germany, UK, Australia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore
  • GSM model A1429
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5)

Apple Claims iPhone 5 100 Mbps Download Speeds? Really?

Is This Really True?  Maybe in a Vacuum.  Hype or Not?

Here is the Current Speed Test for Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile LTE

Better Battery Life? 

You rely on your iPhone. So a thin, light design and outstanding battery life are important to you. But so is a fast data connection. LTE wireless technology is built for speed, but adding it to a phone can create bulk and drain battery life quickly.  (Really?)  iPhone 5 does LTE the right way — optimized for better battery life and designed for ultrafast connectivity in a thin profile. The very things you want most from your smartphone.

100 Mbps LTE When Verizon & LTE Max out at 50Mbps?  

iPhone 5 supports more networks all over the world. That includes advanced networks such as HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA. Browse, download, and stream content at ultrafast speeds. Dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity accelerates your Wi-Fi experience, too — up to 150 Mbps.

AT&T Launches New LTE Markets Just in Time for iPhone 5

AT&T revealed a large list of cities set to get an LTE 4G network upgrade in the weeks and months to come.  AT&T's LTE network reaches 60 markets today and will reach 100 markets by the end of the year. AT&T is on track to complete its LTE build-out by the end of 2013.Some of the markets that will see LTE 4G service for the first time include:

Anchorage, Ak.
Rochester, N.Y.
Jacksonville, Fla.
Ft. Myers, Fla.
Wilmington, Del.
Northern, NJ
Allentwon, NJ
Harrisburg, PA
Lancaster, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Reading, PA
Wilkes-Barra, Pa.
Omaha, Neb.
Knoxville, Tenn
Bakersfield, CA
Sacramento, CA
Monterey, CA
Modesto, CA
Tucson, AZ
Albuquerue, NM
Portland, OR
Providence, RI
Grand Rapids, MI
Cincinnati, OH
Gary, IN
Hartford, Conn.
New Haven, Conn.
Nashua, NH
Green Bay, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Little Rock, AK
El Paso, TX
Columbia, SC
Charlestown, NC
Albany, NY

Why is Persistent Location Important for Mobile Devices?

Introduction to Persistent Location at SXSW Conference 

Watch this video which outlines the benefits of persistent location on mobile phones.  Persistent location is the active monitoring of multiple sensors on your phone to determine your location.  Location is important for application running on your phone to determine intent and anticipate your needs before you do.

For example, sometimes you are indoors and don't have a view of the sky for satellite and a different sensor maybe used to determine location.  Companies like Skyhook use a database of WiFi hotspots IP addresses to determine location.

Many privacy advocates will likely have a problem with knowing too much information about mobile phone users.  However, the benefits far outweigh the the privacy issues.  This industry needs to be very transparent about the use of the data and disclosure of how to use it.  Data silos might be the solution.  

Panelists Include; 
Tyler Bell Factual - Databases of geo data
Peter Marx Qualcomm - Chipset manufacturer
Sam Liang Alohar Mobile - Automatic place detection platform
Kipp Jones Skyhook Wireless - WiFi Location Database

One question that was not asked of the panel that I would like to know?  What happens if you are in a complete dead zone with no WiFi, no view of the sky for satellite or cellular signal?  

Google TV & Broadband Internet $70 Month

How many people are sick of paying $200 per month for cable, internet, phone and TV that you hardly use?  Most people don't realize it but we are all subsidizing channels like ESPN for those who don't necessarily watch the channels.  If Google launches a Nationwide fiber to the home network as it is testing in Kansas City, Missouri.

The traditional cable TV industry like Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, Comcast are going to be in big trouble protecting their margins if this happens.  The only reason they would disrupt the traditional cable monopolize is because they will likely make more money from local targeted advertising.

Here are some highlights from this article at FastNetNews below..

Sergei Brin and the team at Google want to move ahead on a plan to run fiber to 10’s of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of homes. That’s implied by the $70/month price, which is high enough to be quickly profitable if 20-30% of homes sign on. Google’s research says they’ll get that high a rate, but no one is sure until they actually offer the service to 170,000 homes in Kansas City.

The box has two terabytes, enough for 500-1000 hours of HD video and/or a fine home music collection. It also has eight tuners, so it’s almost impossible to have a problem with too many simultaneous shows. With two HD channels fitting in 7 meg and almost no sites effectively downloading at more than a meg or two, it's rare for most people to max out at 10 meg. For the small amount of time they do, many aren't willing to pay.

There is empirical examples of surprisingly low high speed take rates from Sweden, France, Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and California. A difference of $10 to $30 discourages 3/4ths of the customers. Google is looking for $70/month for a gig, compared to 10 meg cable at about $50 and 3 meg DSL at about $35. Cable in Kansas City can easily offer 20 or 30 meg for the same price and possibly 50-100 meg.

A $50 difference between 10 meg cable and 50-100 meg DOCSIS has been standard in the U.S. and the take rate on the higher speeds has been so low no company will reveal it. Cablevision is coming down to $70 and we’ll soon know if it helps. All of these prices are approximations and available with different deals and bundles, of course, so none of these comparisons are exact.

HBO and other networks are refusing to sell to Google at a price Google considers reasonable.

Marin County Cell Phone Reception Review

Marin County Cell Phone Reception Dead Zones
Marin County Cell Phone Reception Dead Zones
(Click on the Map to Submit a New Location)

I was shocked recently on our family vacation how poor the cell phone reception was in Marin County.  I would be surprised if cell phone companies Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile had any satisfied customers in the area.  The terrain is quite hilly and the trees are enormous.  It is one of the most beautiful areas in the County but probably has the worst cell phone reception of anywhere I have ever visited or vacationed with a reasonable population density.  This area is also the home to thousands of commuting technology professionals who work in San Francisco and rely on coverage during their daily commutes.

West Marin County especially almost had no reception at all.  This was surprising to me because of the population density and the amount of tourism and residents.  I would guess it is also a safety nightmare for emergency services in the area.  There are long stretches of road that have no signal and the roads are dangerous.  There are bicyclist all over the narrow roads that don't have any shoulder to ride on.  The roads are steep, have lots of blind curves and make for hazardous driving conditions if you are not alert behind the wheel.  I would imagine there are lot of car accidents.

Here is a list of cities, highways and locations in the area that had NO RECEPTION for T-Mobile and Verizon.  AT&T had a weak signal in many of these locations.

Bolinas - No signal
San Anselmo - No signal
Muir Woods National Monument - No Signal
Highway 1 in West Marin - No Signal most of the way
Panoramoic Highway - No Signal
Ridgecrest Blvd. - No Signal
Sleepy Hollow - No Signal
Butterfield Rd. - No Signal
Stinson Beach - 2 bars of 2G Edge on T-Mobile

AT&T probably had the best reception in the area and this seemed to be the carrier of choice for most residents in the area.  If any reception was available it was likely 2G and downloading data or email was virtually impossible.  I would imagine that there are lots of AT&T Microcells used by residents in the area.

I was not able to review Sprint's coverage in the area but it is likely not much better.  Thankfully I am a  T-Mobile customer and was able to make and receive phone calls through WiFi at our friends house.  T-Mobile WiFi phone calls save the day once again.

I would imagine there is lot of resistance from the residents for installing cell phone towers in the area.  I would characterize the population of residents to be quite "earthy".  I have found these communities and the City Council's o be quite resistant to the installation of cell phone towers or new antennas.  

How to Select an AT&T Shared Data Plan

Shared Data Plan Options

Mobile Share plans from AT&T allow customers to share data across multiple devices. These new plans allow families to share a single bucket of data with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, plus get unlimited domestic voice and text Up to ten devices can share the same plan, which includes tethering and access to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. Learn more about the data plan that works best for you and your mobile devices at  Watch this video which explains how to choose a plan and various options.

AT&T Launches 4G LTE in Florida Cities

AT&T now covers nearly 90 million people across 51 markets with its high-speed wireless 4G LTE network. AT&T covers more than 275 million people when including its HSPA+ network in its “4G” figures. By the end of 2013, AT&T expects to provide LTE coverage to all major U.S. metro areas.

4G LTE Market Launches

LTE Expansions

AT&T & Verizon Shared Data Plans Compared

Comparing AT&T & Verizon Buckets of Data for Multiple Devices

AT&T requires customers to have at least one smartphone on a plan. Data bucket pricing is staggered at $40 for 1 gigabyte; $70 for 4 GB; $90 for 6 GB; $120 for 10 GB; $160 for 15 GB; and $200 for 20 GB. Adding a required smartphone runs $45 per device on the 1 GB plan; $40 on the 4 GB plan; $35 on the 6 GB plan; and $30 on the remaining plans. “Basic” and “messaging” devices, or those that are not considered smartphones, runs $30 per device; laptops, mobile hotspots and wireless modems run $20 per device; and tablets and gaming devices run $10 per device.  AT&T includes access to 30,000 wifi hotspot locations with a plan like this.

In comparison, Verizon Wireless charges $50 per month for 1 GB of data; $60 for 2 GB; $70 for 4 GB; $80 for 6 GB; $90 for 8 GB; and $100 for 10 GB. For customers needing more, the carrier charges $10 for each additional 2 GB. Device pricing is at $40 for each smartphone; $30 for each “basic” phone; $20 for each wireless modem or hotspot device; and $10 per tablet.

Both carriers charge $15 per GB for data usage over the plan.  Both carriers also do not distinguish between 3G and LTE data received.  Slow or fast the pricing is exactly the same.

This still begs the question about why tethering costs are so high?  Tethering is still the easiest option if you have one 4G LTE device and its very easy to do when you create a wifi hotspot.  This option is still the easiest and cheapest if you have T-Mobile. 

Tell Us Where Vodafone, O2, Three, T-Mobile UK Black Spots Are

UK Black Spots Map Survey

Endemol TV producition is looking for mobile phone users in the UK who experience blackspots and deadzones.  They would like to interview people in the UK suffering from poor reception who use Vodafone, Three, O2 or T-Mobile. only has about 100 poor reception areas in the map currently and could use a few more contributors.  Please add pins to the map or email us or comment below if you can help contribute to the story that Endemol is doing.  Are UK mobile phone consumers able to get out of their contracts if they experience poor reception or bad patches in areas where the mobile phone companny promises coverage?

Related Articles:
UK Black Spots
UK Black Spots Map

AT&T Shows Network Upgrades in Washington DC

AT&T* is offering greater Washington DC area wireless users a bird's-eye view of AT&T's wireless network enhancements.

Washingtonians can see network enhancements in Washington, DC and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs by simply visiting the new "focus: Washington DC" microsite. Updated weekly, the microsite provides an unparalleled view, unlike any other in the industry, of what AT&T is doing to enhance the customer experience. Visitors to the microsite will see a map of the greater Washington DC area, and they are prompted to select the city or town they're most interested in exploring.

The hyper-local map displays neighborhood-level network enhancements made by AT&T since the beginning of 2011. Enhancements include new cell sites, capacity upgrades and network connection upgrades. The focus: Washington DC microsite interactive map is also optimized for most mobile devices.

In the greater Washington DC area, from the beginning of 2011 through June 12, 2012, AT&T has:
  • Built nearly 30 new cell sites, providing more bars in the area.
  • Added nearly 700 carriers to increase spectrum on area cell sites, providing extra capacity to reduce dropped calls and improve service quality at busy times.
  • Expanded more than 800 network connections with enhanced backhaul (e.g. fiber lines) at area cell sites, helping reduce dropped calls and enable 4G data speeds** for compatible devices.
In addition to the greater Washington DC area, AT&T has created microsites for:  AtlantaChicago,Dallas-Fort WorthDetroitHoustonIndianapolisKansas CityLos AngelesNew York,PhiladelphiaPhoenixSan DiegoSan FranciscoSouth FloridaSt. Louis and Tampa-St. Petersburg. All sites are accessible at the "focus: AT&T" landing page.

Read more here:

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**4G speeds not available everywhere. Compatible device required. Learn more at

AT&T Shows Network Upgrades in Los Angeles

AT&T is offering Los Angeles area wireless users a bird's-eye view of AT&T's wireless network enhancements.

Beginning today, Angelenos can see network enhancements in the Los Angeles area by simply visiting the new "focus: Los Angeles" microsite. Updated weekly, the microsite provides an unparalleled view, unlike any other in the industry, of what AT&T is doing to enhance the customer experience.

Visitors to the microsite will see a map of the Los Angeles area, and they are prompted to select the city or town they're most interested in exploring.

The hyper-local map displays neighborhood-level network enhancements made by AT&T since the beginning of 2011. Enhancements include new cell sites, mobile Internet speed upgrades, capacity upgrades and network connection upgrades. The focus: Los Angeles microsite interactive map is also optimized for most mobile devices.

In the Los Angeles area, from the beginning of 2011 through June 8, 2012, AT&T has:
  • Built more than 20 new cell sites, providing more bars in the area.
  • Upgraded nearly 60 cell sites, providing faster mobile Internet speeds. 
  • Added more than 1,150 carriers to increase spectrum on area cell sites, providing extra capacity to reduce dropped calls and improve service quality at busy times. 
  • Expanded nearly 1,400 network connections with enhanced backhaul (e.g. fiber lines) at area cell sites, helping reduce dropped calls and enable 4G data speeds for compatible devices.
In addition to the Los Angeles area, AT&T has created microsites for: AtlantaChicagoDallas-Fort WorthDetroitHoustonIndianapolisKansas CityNew YorkPhiladelphiaPhoenixSan DiegoSan FranciscoSouth FloridaSt. LouisTampa-St. Petersburg and Washington, DC. All sites are accessible at the "focus: AT&T" landing page.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

AT&T Shows Network Upgrades in Chicago

AT&T Launches Microsite for Chicago Area to Show Up-To-Date Local Network Upgrades 

CHICAGO, June 12, 2012 - AT&T is offering Chicago area wireless users a bird's-eye view of AT&T's wireless network enhancements.

Beginning today, Chicagoans can see network enhancements in the Chicago area by simply visiting the new "focus: Chicago". Updated weekly, the microsite provides an unparalleled view, unlike any other in the industry, of what AT&T is doing to enhance the customer experience.

Visitors to the microsite will see a map of the Chicago area, and they are prompted to select the city or town they're most interested in exploring.

The hyper-local map displays neighborhood-level network enhancements made by AT&T since the beginning of 2011. Enhancements include new cell sites, mobile Internet speed upgrades, capacity upgrades and network connection upgrades. The focus: Chicago microsite interactive map is also optimized for most mobile devices.

In the Chicago area, from the beginning of 2011 through June, 2012, AT&T has:
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**4G speeds not available everywhere. Compatible device required. Learn more at Source: PR Newswire

AT&T Shows Network Upgrades in San Francisco

AT&T Launches Microsite for San Francisco Bay Area to Show Up-To-Date Local Network Upgrades

SAN FRANCISCO, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* is offering San Francisco Bay Area wireless users a bird's-eye view of AT&T's wireless network enhancements.

Beginning today, Bay Area residents can see network enhancements in the San Francisco Bay Area by simply visiting the new "focus: San Francisco Bay Area" microsite. Updated weekly, the microsite provides an unparalleled view, unlike any other in the industry, of what AT&T is doing to enhance the customer experience.

Visitors to the microsite will see a map of the San Francisco Bay Area, and they are prompted to select the city or town they're most interested in exploring.

The hyper-local map displays neighborhood-level network enhancements made by AT&T since the beginning of 2011. Enhancements include new cell sites, mobile Internet speed upgrades, capacity upgrades and network connection upgrades. The focus: San Francisco Bay Area microsite interactive map is also optimized for most mobile devices.

In the San Francisco Bay Area**, from the beginning of 2011 through the first week of June, AT&T has:
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**San Francisco Bay Area includes the US Census metro areas of San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont and San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara.

***4G speeds not available everywhere. Compatible device required. Learn more at

Has the iPhone Jumped the Shark?

The future utility of smartphones will be primarily for:  Pictures, Video, Talking, Texting, Emailing & Tethering.  The future of smartphones will NOT be for consumption of content now that the iPad and tablets have taken over the mobile market.  So you have to ask the question if LTE smartphones will be the huge success as every wireless industry analyst is forecasting with short battery lives and small screens?  Most people don't realize the faster data speeds require more processing power which requires more battery life.  

The iPhone may have officially jumped the shark now that the iPad has taken center stage as the hottest Apple product for mobile consumers?  Some may say that the iPhone 4G LTE is yet to come and it will be the next big thing, but I have to strongly disagree.  Why?  Because the experience of consuming content on the iPad is 1000X better on the iPad than it is on the iPhone.  A 4 inch screen versus a 10 inch screen will make you use your phone a lot less in favor of the iPad.  How about 10 hours of batter life versus 2 to 3 hours of battery life on most LTE phones.  Why would you want to pay another $600 for an iPhone 4G or LTE phone to occasionally download videos to a phone that has an inferior viewing experience to the iPad? 

Using a WiFi only iPad while tethering to me is the best and most affordable experience that anyone needs if you are way from WiFi. HSPA+ is fast enough when you are on the go and when you need to download videos, WiFi should be your primary network.  Data plans and data caps will eventually cost too much and its just not worth the extra fees.  Plus you can't rely on these networks that are often congested and do not download at the claimed speeds during peak hours.  

I constantly hear analysts saying that the iPad tablet is destroying the Mac & PC notebook market but it also may be destroying the smartphone / iPhone market as well.  Phone manufacturers keep coming out with new Android and iPhone upgrades but they have run out of compelling features to make the new purchases.  Lets face it the tablet experience is amazing for consuming content and it will eventually destroy the smartphone market as well.  

Why Does Your Phone Signal Fluctuate Standing Still?

cell phone full bars and one bar of coverage
The influx of smartphones and tablets accessing video and pictures has increased the amount of data flowing across cell phone networks.  Cell phone towers can only hold so many more concurrent phone calls or users accessing video or data.  Cell towers can typically handle up to 500 simultaneous voice users at once while drastically less and only about 50 data users. Once this capacity has been reached, the cell tower rejects the calls or data connection which end up dropping those calls.  You may even see full bars on your phone which is a good indicator of network congestion.

This is why its usually impossible to get good data access inside stadiums during games with thousands of people clogging the network. This theory of network data congestion holds true with too many people accessing data on the same cell tower.  Everyone is competing for the same access on the cell phone tower and the tower only has so many capacity.  The more people accessing data on a cell tower, the weaker the signal. You might notice the strength of your cell signal in a certain area change depending upon the time of day because of rush hour or you are near a heavily populated area.

The number of simultaneous callers on a single tower was the primary cause for dropped calls years ago.  However, smartphones and their ability to view and stream data can put considerable strain on a tower data and voice backhaul. All these factors cause the cell tower cell signal strength to constantly change or breath.

This is one of the main reasons why many Verizon customers have suddenly started experiencing lack coverage in areas that they previous had 3, 4 or 5 bars of signal strength.  Coverage is not guaranteed and coverage maps don't really mean much these days.  Its up to you to submit your coverage complaints to our map where you experience frequent poor coverage. seems to be the only service that is trying hold carriers accountable for coverage the promise in areas.  

Does MetroPCS Have Coverage in Alaska?

Does MetroPCS Have Coverage in Alaska?

If they do can someone tell us in what cities?  If they don't can someone tell us if they have roaming agreements and on which carriers? 

Top 5 Major Troubleshooting Network Connectivity Issues

There can be many reasons behind network connectivity troubleshooting issues. It can be hardware failure, router failure, interruption because of other electronic devices and internet service provider’s planned outages.

Before starting the troubleshooting, we should scan our PC with anti-virus to check if it is free from malware and viruses. After running antivirus scan, we should delete cookies and temporary files from our computer, as they may be the reason behind our computer’s slow performance. We should also call up our internet service provider and ask if there is any problem with their service or any kind of planned outage in our area.

Modem or wireless dongle issues

This is the simplest step which can solve the network connectivity problem without putting much time and efforts. All you have to do is shut down the modem from the main switch, and start it back after two minutes. In case of hardware or modem failure, we won’t be able to see any indicator on the modem.

Computer’s task manager issues

Network trouble shooting should always begin with opening the computer’s task manager. After opening the task manager, just select networking. Networking section will show if the internet connection is active or not. If the connection is not active, we should check the modem or wireless dongle’s indicator.

Check network settings & version of device driver

Network connectivity issues can also occur if network services settings are incorrect.  One should check service settings, logon settings and adopter settings if we are not able to get connected to the network even if the network signals are strong.

Network settings will automatically change whenever we reinstall our computer’s operating systems or device drivers. After reinstalling the operating system or device drivers, we should check if the version of our ISP’s device driver is compatible with our new operating system or not. We will have to download a compatible version in case if the old one is not compatible.

Check the network’s signal strength

Browser and other applications on your computer will not work if the ISPs signal strength is very low. Our computer’s task manager can show us our internet service provider’s signal strength. Number of factors around our computer can reduce the network’s signal strength. Devices like Microwave, radio, mobile phone and other electrical devices should be kept at least 1m away from our computer as they can interfere with internet service provider’s signals and reduce the signal strength.

Signal strength can also reduce in case of too much load on the internet service provider’s network. There is nothing much that we can do in this situation, except for calling our ISP to log a complaint.

Problems while authentication

If we are putting incorrect user name or password in the network settings, we will get an error which says “authentication failure”. In this case we should try to reset our password or just call the internet service provider’s customer service number.

A proper, consistent and logical approach is necessary for troubleshooting network connectivity issues. Hitting your PC will not help. There is no need to be tech savvy to understand some basic connectivity issues. Above tips can help you to solve basic issues all by yourself.

About the author: Kelly Marsh is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology, health and parenting. Beside this she is fond of computer technology. She also likes reading various articles on diy health & gizmo watch.

How To Control Alt Delete MacBook, iPad & PC

Control Alt Delete MacBook, iPad & PC

Troubleshooting your iPad, PC and Mac with these steps 
The commonly used computational devices are the PC, iPad and the Mac. As with all modern gadgets, there can be problems overtime. Here are some tips and tricks to solve the most common problems associated with these devices.

1. The iPad

The iPad is a hand-held, touch sensitive device to meet your everyday computational and recreational needs. With the advent of the iPad, a new industry relating to designing applications for this device has flourished and the Apple app store is filled with thousands of applications to choose from. This also leads to numerous conflicts; with the turn-around time in application development being small, testing of apps is not always adequate and this often causes problems.

iPad being unresponsive?

The most common reason for iPad becoming unresponsive is due to runaway’s application.

(1) To solve you hold the sleep/wake button until the slider appears then instead on swiping the slider, press the home button this should resolve problem.

(2) If step 1 does not work the device should be switched on and off, this is done by holding the sleep/wake button and swiping the red slider to switch off the device and then put it on.

(3) If the both steps 1 and 2 fail, then pressing the sleep/wake button along with the home for ten seconds.

(4) If all else fails, the system can be restored using iTunes. Plug in the USB cord to the computer with iTunes installed, then hold on to the home button while connecting it to the USB to the iPad, allow the iPad to charge for 10 min and then continue to hold the home button. This will pop up an icon saying "connect to iTunes", now fire up iTunes and the "recovery mode" alert should pop up.

Apps causing the system to freeze

This is also a common problem with the iPad, and some applications may act adversely with your system. You could try reinstalling the app and see if this solves the problem, some apps get corrupted and they, at times need to be reinstalled. Do remember that once an app is downloaded from the app store you can reinstall it any number of times and on multiple systems.

iPad running very slow

The iPad enables multi-tasking by default and many apps try to take advantage of this feature. Many apps, even after closing remain active. Closing these apps that are not in active use can often hasten up the system.

(1) Press the home button twice in quick succession, a task list window opens up and shows the list of running applications. Select the application that needs to be shut and hold it down until is starts wiggling and a tiny red minus sign in the middle appears, tap on this minus sign to completely close the app. By closing apps you should be able to speed up the iPad.

2. The Mac

The Macintosh systems introduced by Apple computer Inc. is a user-friendly and reliable computing device available in the market. The mac system is a carefully crafted with the uber-reliable operating system (Mac OSX).

Is the system slow or crashing?

The mac systems do not automatically reboot themselves but can get slow at times. If you have recently installed or un-installed a software in your mac then you have a prospective culprit for causing system slowdown.

(1) The first test is to reboot the system to see if it improves the speed, if not you will have to boot the computer with extensions turned off.

(2) Turning with extensions off can be done by holding the "shift" key down till the machine completely boots up. If this resolves your problem then you have an extension conflict or items causing problems during start-up. You can then take a closer look at the start-up items and remove the intrusive ones.

Are you getting weird disk related errors?

(1) The other common problem could be with the corruption of the directory structure. You can solve this by popping in the install CD, and repair with the disk-utility manager available.

If the CD is not available, hold down the "Command-S" keys during start-up this should take you to the single-user mode and will open up the "text-prompt" window. When the prompt appears type "fsck -fy" and this will automatically repair all disk conflicts and then type "reboot" to restart the system.

(3) The other common error is the disk permission error, this also indicates that there were some problems related with the hard disk and the data was locked down to prevent damage. This can later be unlocked by running the disk-repair utility. This can be brought up by typing "Disk Utility" in spotlight.

(4) If you are using Mac OSX leopard and above, try using the time-machine. All you need is a spare external hard-drive, the hard drive needs to be plugged in and time machine makes a copy of your system into the disk. This can be used to restore the system at a later point.

3. The Personal Computer

This is the most ubiquitous computing systems and these have their fair share of problems.

The Computer does not start up

The most common of them all, is that the computer does not boot (start up). The most common cause is software or hardware-software conflict. Software incompatibility can lead to slow booting or the system may not boot at all. There steps you can take to solve this problem are:

(1) Start the computer using the "safe mode", this can be done by starting the computer and holding the "F8" button on the keyboard.

(2) Go to the control panel use "Add and remove Programs" and click on the recently installed software and uninstall it.

The hardware-software issue is generally related to driver incompatibility and corrupted drivers.

(1) Again get in through the safe mode and locate the "my computer" and right click on the icon followed by "manage" and "event viewer". There are three tabs look at all three tabs, those checked in yellow are bad but red is worse. Just beneath, there should be a "click for more details", this will take you to the Microsoft site and this should give you an answer.

Computer rebooting automatically

The PC may, at times automatically reboot itself. There are several reasons why this could happen.

(1) CPU heating is the primary cause: A CPU could overheat due to several reasons, a program heavy on graphics could trigger this, in which case, the CPU takes all the processing pressure and over-clocks and results in a reboot. This happens when there is no dedicated graphics card installed in the system. This can be checked by clicking the "Control Panel" followed by "System and Security" and then "System". Click on the "Advanced System Settings", this should pop-up a window called "System Properties", click on the "Hardware" tab followed by "Device Manager" and look for "Display adapters". As in the image shown if there are no dedicated graphics cards installed, this could be the problem.

(2) Another reason could be that the fan inside the computer is either malfunctioning or clogged up with dust. A simple cleaning should do the trick in this case.

(3) A badly aligned heat-sink or to do with the melting of the thermal-paste could also be a cause of constant rebooting, in which case it is best you take professional help.

(4) A problem with RAM could also be the issue, the RAM can at times go badly and this can result either in a system slowdown, a blue screen or sometimes a reboot (when computing is shifted to a segment in the RAM that is corrupted). You could use the Windows memory diagnostics to test for RAM related issue. This can be solved by replacing the RAM, and there is no loss of data or any other concerns.

The Windows Memory Diagnostics can be activated by typing "mem" at the start-up and following the instructions given on the screen from there-on.

(5) Rebooting could also be due to the hard-disk, this is one of the more common problems. The hard disk is a component in the computer that stores data, both the user's as well as the system's data. Overtime, the hard disk can develop bad-sectors, the information stored in these sectors are lost. If this data happens to be a vital system related data, then the system can crash leading to a reboot, or a screen freeze. If a hard-disk is failing it can sometimes give out small clicking sounds (do not confuse this with the spinning sound), and this indicates that the hard-disk needs changing. Windows 7 also gives an alert when the HDD status is critical.

The hard disk error can also be checked by right-clicking on the HDD and selecting the 'tools' tab followed by 'check now'. This will automatically check for disk errors.

PC, Mac and iPad are three popular devices, commonly used by people. The most common problems associated with the PC, are software related and at times due to software-hardware conflicts. In the Mac systems, the problems are start-up related or disk related, while in the case of iPad the problems are associated with unresponsive touch screen and the iPad running slow.

About the author: Kelly is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she is fond of technology. Recently an article on cellphone beat attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on style guru. 

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