Posted: January 10th, 2011 | Author: irv | Filed under: Apple, Verizon | Tags: AT&T, iPhone, verizon | No Comments »
There have been a few times recently that AT&T’s
network has saved my bacon, recently, once in San Diego, a couple
of times in Denver, and a few times in San Francisco. AT&T is
definitely faster on downloads than Verizon, and often faster than
the hotel broadband. Not only that, but Verizon actually costs more
than AT&T, which is ridiculous. Android phones that are wildly
more complicated to use are not a useful proxy for how much
bandwidth the average iPhone user consumes. I think I’ll stick with
the carrier who has experience dealing with the iPhone’s load.
The other thing that bugs me a bit about the whole AT&T sucks thing, is that it is so market dependent. Typically which carrier “sucks” in a given market is whether or not, and how much sub 1 GHz frequency they have in the given market. Since Verizon has a bunch of 700 MHz spectrum here in the bay area, they typically have better signal indoors, etc… Leading people to believe that Verizon is the second coming. It is a similar situation in many markets, but not all so your milage may vary.
As far as voice is concerned, Verizon may have a bit of an edge, but with data, the jury is still out. Technically Verizon should perform marginally better on voice traffic in large markets due to the efficiency of CDMA, but since both carriers are moving to LTE, this is a largely insignificant difference. The real difference maker will be latency, and the size of the backhaul. AT&T has spent the past 3 years or so constantly upgrading it’s back hauls in all of their markets, I haven’t heard anything about Verizon upgrades.
Verizon might do a bit better in their packet latency, but I’d wager that it isn’t enough of a difference to really make anyone switch. AT&T’s latency isn’t that bad for a mobile provider, and it has actually been getting better here in the Bay Area.
I think that everyone who leaves AT&T for Verizon will be complaining the same way they were when they were on AT&T. The smartphone market caught all of them with their pants down, let alone tethering. The rumor is that Verizon will offer an unlimited data plan, firstly, this is unlikely, secondly, if they do I’m sure there will be some ridiculous throttling they will do which will make power users wish they could pay for full speed.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that Verizon is going to finally get the iPhone it will keep AT&T honest. I hope that T-Mobile gets it too so we can have some decent competition. All phone companies are the same, they all want to get the most for the smallest amount of capital invested. Verizon will probably try to louse up the iPhone with their “apps” and end up screwing up the experience in some way. Starting off by reducing the time users have to return their phones is s great way to reduce confidence in their ability to deliver the service level that they claim.
Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: irv | Filed under: android, Companies, iPhone | Tags: AT&T, Cellular, iPhone, rate plans | 1 Comment »
First, let me get the link to Gruber out of the way : good and bad regarding at&t data plans. I read his post, I disagreed with AT&T’s price changes, and after reading it, I still disagree with the changes. They are all bad. First AT&T announces that they are upping their cancellation fee to $375 from $175, which was bad, but understandable given the percentage of their customers buying the iPhone. Then they announce this garbage. My biggest issue with it isn’t that they are charging for it, it is the way they did it. They took a device that we all love for its simplicity and tied it to a maze of complicated data + text + voice plans.
Remember, when the first iPhone launched, there was just the iPhone plan, and the only choices that customers had to make was how much extra to pay for SMS, which sucked but at least it was understandable. Now, trying to explain to regular people what will happen if they buy the iPhone HD is nearly impossible. When I told my wife about it, not technical, she said, “but wait, it was supposed to be unlimited.” It doesn’t matter if the cap is high, as soon as people know there is a cap, they will change their behavior. They will start to think, maybe I should wait to look up this site until I get into Wi-Fi, or maybe I shouldn’t watch this YouTube video, or how many kilobytes per second is the streaming on this h.264 video, all way too complicated.
Going from bad to worse, we were on the verge of a new age for the internet with plentiful, high speed data everywhere. We were going to start seeing a new class of always connected applications, able to provide real-time data. Consumers are likely to start self-restricting their mobile data use unless they are on the few and far-between Wi-Fi hot spots.
There is a class of argument along the lines that AT&T was drowning with the amount of data its consumers were using and that no carrier could keep up with providing quality service for the prices they were charging. I can buy that, but the solution is simple, instead of complicating everything, increasing ETFs, and other stuff that is hard to understand for most people, just raise the price of the iPhone plan to $99.99 and give unlimited everything.
Contrast this to T-Mobile, who recently re-iterated that their unlimited was really unlimited. One could argue that they have fewer customers and can afford to have more aggressive pricing. That is true, however to the end user, unlimited is unlimited. Unlimited is better than limited. It is simple to understand. I am very glad that I bought a Wi-Fi only iPad, or I’d feel like a sucker who got baited and switched after Steve Jobs got on stage and announced a “breakthrough” data plan for the iPad. A 2 GB capped plan is not breakthrough, it is hobbled. The iPad is designed to watch video, stream audio and in general consume the hell out of bandwidth intensive content.
Basically I’m glad I terminated my AT&T contract when I did. My iPhone 3GS makes an awesome iPod, my iPad can take its place, I will be able to use my Nexus One for tethering when Froyo comes out if T-Mobile does what I expect and make it free. AT&T’s crap makes the next generation iPhone look less attractive, since after all, the shine wears off on any new technical gadget, no matter how wonderful, but you are stuck with the crap contract. T-Mobile also one-ups AT&T by offering attractive no-contract rates if you want to just buy your phone outright. When the Nexus Two, or the dual-core Snapdragon HTC Scorpion or whatever comes out, I can just save up the money, buy the phone, slap in my SIM card and away I go, I don’t have to wait for 2 years.
The cell phone industry ought to be ashamed of itself for what it is doing. Even with crappier cell service, which is getting better, T-Mobile is a far better carrier than AT&T. At least they don’t bait-and-switch their customers and partners with half-truths and complicated one-off deals. If this doesn’t make people look around for an alternative carrier to AT&T I don’t know what will. You can get overpriced, horrible service, not be able to make calls, not be able to use the data you are paying for, not be able to get out of your contract for a fortune, and still have to pay large amounts each month for garbage service. What happened to the model where the business didn’t take their customers for granted, where they actually did things to be better than their competition? Why are we stuck in the US with carriers who just want to squeeze their customers for every penny while providing as little service as possible. I don’t understand what is good about AT&T’s price changes, and I hope they don’t set a precedent for other carriers. If so we may find ourselves, in this country, at the far back of the line as far as wireless connectivity goes.
Posted: February 6th, 2009 | Author: irv | Filed under: iPhone | Tags: AT&T, Cellular, iPhone, Telephone | No Comments »
Frequently, in my house, at work, and in my car here on the west coast, I drop calls. It’s so bad that I can’t use my phone for voice or data over the cellular network. I find myself wondering why I have an iPhone when it doesn’t work anywhere I go.
Now I am reading about these AT&T MicroCell devices. At first I thought it was going to be cool, and that I might get a bit of revenue out of it. Now it looks like I am supposed to pay for this. It isn’t clear how much from the post, but really, charging me more money to make what I am already paying for work is criminal.
When I was recently on the East Coast, I had awesome coverage, but in the Bay Area it just doesn’t work. I attribute it to the unavailability of 850 MHz spectrum out here for AT&T, and I understand that that this is a clever way to get around it, but they really should be paying me for using my broadband to bolster their signal, it should also be open to any AT&T 3G subscriber in the area who is close enough to benefit.
I want one, but not if it is closed and not if I don’t get paid for it. If AT&T can’t get their act together, then I can easily use an iPod touch, and get a different smartphone on a carrier that actually gives me some bars.