Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Jul 2009 22:03 UTC
Legal It was more or less not a question of if, but when, and now we're here: the US Department of Justice is said to launch an investigation into the US telecommunications industry to see if the two biggest players, AT&T and Verizon, are abusing their market position. Even though Apple is not a target for the probe, the usually trustworthy Wall Street Journal states that the iPhone/AT&T deal will also come under scrutiny [subscr. req.].
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Wow, so attractive...
by umccullough on Mon 6th Jul 2009 22:24 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

IMO, mobile pricing is ridiculous. In a time when people are ditching land-lines completely in favor of wireless plans, I'm amazed that the pricing is still as poor as it is.

4-5 years ago now, I ditched my mobile phone entirely, I rarely use my landline for anything, and my internet access is all that really matters. My wife still has her own phone.

With wireless carriers charging the ridiculous rates that they do for data, and so against tethering, I can't see myself going back to a mobile phone anytime soon. These "innovations" they speak of seem to be new charges they dream up, and new ways to extract money from the consumer. I believe this is mostly specific to the U.S. market.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Wow, so attractive...
by avuton on Mon 6th Jul 2009 22:46 UTC in reply to "Wow, so attractive..."
avuton Member since:
2009-07-06

Spot on. All I've been wanting is to get a decent phone from one of the local carriers with decent prices (MetroPCS or Cricket) and the best thing they have is a blackberry; which is good, but I'd like to get an android which those are all locked in to high price cell services. I'd pay full price for the phone, that's not a problem, it's definitely severely limiting my choice.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Wow, so attractive...
by Macrat on Mon 6th Jul 2009 23:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow, so attractive..."
Macrat Member since:
2006-03-27

Spot on. All I've been wanting is to get a decent phone from one of the local carriers with decent prices


But why do you expect to rely on a carrier for a phone?

Do you rely on your internet service for a computer?

That's the real problem with these national mobile phone scams.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Wow, so attractive...
by DrillSgt on Mon 6th Jul 2009 23:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wow, so attractive..."
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

But why do you expect to rely on a carrier for a phone?

Do you rely on your internet service for a computer?

That's the real problem with these national mobile phone scams.


That is the problem in the US. You can't buy any phone and expect it to work with your carrier. Either the carrier offers it, or they will not turn it on for their service. The iPhone is a prime example, as to have one you *have* to use AT&T. Basically you are stuck with the phones your carrier has, or pay the exhorbitant fee to cancel your contract and go with the carrier that has the phone you want.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Wow, so attractive...
by tyrione on Tue 7th Jul 2009 04:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wow, so attractive..."
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

"But why do you expect to rely on a carrier for a phone?

Do you rely on your internet service for a computer?

That's the real problem with these national mobile phone scams.


That is the problem in the US. You can't buy any phone and expect it to work with your carrier. Either the carrier offers it, or they will not turn it on for their service. The iPhone is a prime example, as to have one you *have* to use AT&T. Basically you are stuck with the phones your carrier has, or pay the exhorbitant fee to cancel your contract and go with the carrier that has the phone you want.
"

That deal was a requirement by Verizon, T-Mobile USA or AT&T for Apple to get into the phone business.

Only AT&T accepted Apple's terms regarding hands off the platform and device/Apple aided AT&T in their 3G build out and testing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Wow, so attractive...
by TemporalBeing on Tue 7th Jul 2009 17:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wow, so attractive..."
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

"But why do you expect to rely on a carrier for a phone?

Do you rely on your internet service for a computer?

That's the real problem with these national mobile phone scams.


That is the problem in the US. You can't buy any phone and expect it to work with your carrier. Either the carrier offers it, or they will not turn it on for their service. The iPhone is a prime example, as to have one you *have* to use AT&T. Basically you are stuck with the phones your carrier has, or pay the exhorbitant fee to cancel your contract and go with the carrier that has the phone you want.
"

Not entirely true. AT&T and other GSM network-based services (T-mobile) has no control over which phone you actually use - only the SIM card in the phone.

So you can go buy an OpenMoko, pop the SIM card in and off you go.

On the other hand, you do have to be careful about what frequencies the phone uses and make sure it is compatible with the carrier.

You can get a lot of phones directly from manufacturers - e.g. Motorola - at full price without having anything locked, and be able to use it on AT&T or T-Mobiles network for instance.

Personally, I'm planning on getting an OpenMoko soon and using it with my AT&T account in the U.S.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wow, so attractive...
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 7th Jul 2009 00:24 UTC in reply to "Wow, so attractive..."
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

I believe this is mostly specific to the U.S. market.


Well, it could be worse - look northwards. To quote Michael Geist:

"For example, Rogers - Canada's sole GSM provider and therefore the only telecom company currently equipped to offer the iPhone - offers a starter data plan that provides 1.5 megabytes of data per month for $15 (each additional MB is $21). Since that is not even enough data to download a single high-resolution photograph, most consumers presumably opt for more. The company's biggest data plan provides 500 MB, yet costs $210 per month - far beyond the reach of most consumers."


http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2117/135/

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Wow, so attractive...
by umccullough on Tue 7th Jul 2009 00:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow, so attractive..."
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Well, it could be worse - look northwards. To quote Michael Geist


Ouch.

There comes a point where a good old analog modem that ties into the headset jack (or bluetooth?) of your phone starts looking like a cost-effective alternative for data access ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Wow, so attractive...
by willerd on Tue 7th Jul 2009 02:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow, so attractive..."
willerd Member since:
2005-07-15

I really hate the idea that I'm defending Rogers but this info is now outdated. For an "internet stick" the plan is still not great but you get 500MB per month for $25, 1 GB per month for $30, 3 GB per month for $60 or 5 GB for $80. For a smart phone data plan you get $45 300 Anytime (35¢ per additional minute) Unlimited Evenings & Weekends (9pm) 500 MB $0.03 / MB or for $70 550 Anytime (35¢ per additional minute) Unlimited Evenings & Weekends (9pm) 1 GB $0.03 / MB

Here's the proof --

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-plans/iphone_card_plans

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-plans/iphone_smartphone_...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Wow, so attractive...
by kaiwai on Tue 7th Jul 2009 06:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wow, so attractive..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I really hate the idea that I'm defending Rogers but this info is now outdated. For an "internet stick" the plan is still not great but you get 500MB per month for $25, 1 GB per month for $30, 3 GB per month for $60 or 5 GB for $80. For a smart phone data plan you get $45 300 Anytime (35¢ per additional minute) Unlimited Evenings & Weekends (9pm) 500 MB $0.03 / MB or for $70 550 Anytime (35¢ per additional minute) Unlimited Evenings & Weekends (9pm) 1 GB $0.03 / MB

Here's the proof --

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-plans/iphone_card_plans

http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wireless-plans/iphone_smartphone_...


Assuming one goes to Vodafone in New Zealand, purchases an iPhone outright, plonk in a XT Network sim card, you can pay NZ$18 (US$11.50) per month and have the following (on prepaid):

http://store.telecom.co.nz/mobile/prepaid/plans

3 x Favourites
1500 Txt
240mb month

It might be a little expensive but at least in New Zealand like in Europe, Australia and possible Canada, we get this this called 'coverage', you know, when you move slightly out of the big cities we can get a signal. Kinda helpful if you go on a trip.

Edited 2009-07-07 06:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Wow, so attractive...
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 7th Jul 2009 13:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wow, so attractive..."
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

True, Rogers data plans are a little bit better these days. My cynical suspicion is that the lower rates for data are driven entirely by the iPhone, that it effectively put Rogers between a rock and a hard place.

I'm sure they were getting non-iPhone customers complaining to them ("Why do iPhone customers get 6GB/month, but I'm paying $200 for 500MB?"). And, on the other side, I'm sure that people paying nearly $100/month for an iPhone wouldn't have been happy to get bills for going over their data transfer quota.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Wow, so attractive...
by chrish on Tue 7th Jul 2009 12:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow, so attractive..."
chrish Member since:
2005-07-14

Caller ID is also an extra charge for mobiles in Canada, something like $6-$9 CAD/month.

We pay the most for the worst service in the world, basically.

Sure is awesome having three companies control 100% of the wireless market up here. Amazingly they all offer similar products and services at exactly the same price points... no sir, no collusion going on!

Seriously considering just dropping my cell phone in August when my contract is up.

- chrish

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Wow, so attractive...
by qunying on Wed 8th Jul 2009 00:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Wow, so attractive..."
qunying Member since:
2008-06-04

The price for the Rogers is old (that was 2007 article). I don't like their pricing, but it is not that ridiculous:

The Mega Value $25 w/ 1000 Messaging + 6 GB Data Service Plan 100 + 50 Bonus Weekday Minutes Unlimited Evenings and Weekends from 9 PM 1000 Messages
voice: $25.00 data: $30.00 total: $55.00

Mega Value $25 w/ MY5 Local + 6 GB Data Service Plan 100 + 50 Bonus Weekday Minutes Unlimited Evenings and Weekends from 9 PM MY5 Local
voice:$25.00 data: $30.00 total:$55.00

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Wow, so attractive...
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 8th Jul 2009 00:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Wow, so attractive..."
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Their pricing has improved a bit, as I acknowledged in another comment. They probably weren't thrilled about the "publicity" that CBC gave them, by pointing out that Canada was the 2nd most expensive place in the world to own an iPhone (and 1st, after an initial promotion expired).

They don't seem to have upgraded data plans for older phones, though. E.g., my aging Treo still seems to have the $15 for 1.5 MB/month plan.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wow, so attractive...
by Leroy on Tue 7th Jul 2009 12:23 UTC in reply to "Wow, so attractive..."
Leroy Member since:
2006-07-06

I agree with the new ways of charging. The new commercials even make fun of a guy who just wants to talk on the phone; not use those extra services.

Must of been spying on me. If the DoJ wants to investigate the Telecomms, then it should find out why mobile phones have such poor reception and voice quality.

Reply Score: 1

Family plan
by WorknMan on Tue 7th Jul 2009 01:06 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

My parents have AT&T, and they have a service called the 'family plan', which basically allows me to leech off of their plan. If it wasn't for that, I probably would not have a cell phone. If I did, it would most likely be one of those pre-paid ones, so I could stick it in my glove compartment in case I broke down and/or got in a wreck.

Reply Score: 2

Uncompetitive competition
by bousozoku on Tue 7th Jul 2009 05:14 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

What can you do when 2 players use CDMA and 2 players use GSM and the GSM players are so far behind in supporting 3G data technology?

Qualcomm announced a chipset recently that covers all the bases, but that's likely to find its way into a courtroom, knowing how things work.

Unfortunately, it's a national market where no one (carriers, vendors, customers, government) really cares. Until everyone is using the same technologies, the government is spinning its wheels doing an investigation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Uncompetitive competition
by kaiwai on Tue 7th Jul 2009 06:26 UTC in reply to "Uncompetitive competition"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What can you do when 2 players use CDMA and 2 players use GSM and the GSM players are so far behind in supporting 3G data technology?

Qualcomm announced a chipset recently that covers all the bases, but that's likely to find its way into a courtroom, knowing how things work.

Unfortunately, it's a national market where no one (carriers, vendors, customers, government) really cares. Until everyone is using the same technologies, the government is spinning its wheels doing an investigation.


From what I understand, AT&T is moving to WCDMA 850Mhz and 850/2100 in the cities for extra capacity - so there is the right balance of capacity and coverage. I'm unsure how far along AT&T is with their deployment but in New Zealand and Australia it is pretty much under way already.

There is no reason why the US is so far behind the eighth ball considering there are countries out there with lower GDP per capita and less wealthy country in GDP numbers who are further ahead when it comes to technology deployments.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Uncompetitive competition
by bousozoku on Tue 7th Jul 2009 07:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Uncompetitive competition"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23


From what I understand, AT&T is moving to WCDMA 850Mhz and 850/2100 in the cities for extra capacity - so there is the right balance of capacity and coverage. I'm unsure how far along AT&T is with their deployment but in New Zealand and Australia it is pretty much under way already.

There is no reason why the US is so far behind the eighth ball considering there are countries out there with lower GDP per capita and less wealthy country in GDP numbers who are further ahead when it comes to technology deployments.


There is no good reason. The government isn't in tune with citizens' needs.

AT&T are probably not as far advanced as Verizon were in 2007 and Sprint were in 2006 with their 3G data network. It should be embarrassing. I thought that they were using W-CDMA/UMTS early because it was cheaper and then, started to put HS*PA in speed critical areas.

I just wish they'd all work together, other than the bit about colluding on SMS pricing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Uncompetitive competition
by kaiwai on Tue 7th Jul 2009 09:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uncompetitive competition"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

There is no good reason. The government isn't in tune with citizens' needs.


Unfortunately what happens it there is massive fracturing in the market - of the 1.2trillion that was spent, what the US government could have done was provided low interest loans (interest at the rate of inflation) or allow investments into infrastructure to be written off against not only present and future tax payments but also past tax payments.

AT&T are probably not as far advanced as Verizon were in 2007 and Sprint were in 2006 with their 3G data network. It should be embarrassing. I thought that they were using W-CDMA/UMTS early because it was cheaper and then, started to put HS*PA in speed critical areas.


What the US needs is four operators who operate nation wide networks (not just regional) so that there is real competition rather than just regionally based monopolies. Leadership won't be taken because I only need to look at some of the Nobel prize winners that exist in the congress and senate from both parties - its little wonder as to why the US is in the mess it is in today.

I mean, honestly, Rick Santorum - in any other country would a senator be voted in who had a fetish to constantly talk about homosexuality and sexual acts? These are the types of idiots that exist in the US who are being voted in - in any other country they would be relegated to the lowest position on the list mp selection and kept at the back - far out of sight from the public.

For 8 years I saw the US consumed by the debate over gay marriage - the economy is going to hell in a hand basket, the infrastructure is falling to pieces before your eyes and your telecommunications infrastructure is a joke which makes many developing economies look futuristic. All those problems but apparently gay marriage, something that effects less than 10% of the population is the all consuming issue of the United States.

Congratulations, that is why the US the way it is; trivial sh*t consuming the air waves, political debates and policy decisions rather than long term policies that focus the energies of a nation in a given direction.

Edited 2009-07-07 09:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23


...
What the US needs is four operators who operate nation wide networks (not just regional) so that there is real competition rather than just regionally based monopolies. Leadership won't be taken because I only need to look at some of the Nobel prize winners that exist in the congress and senate from both parties - its little wonder as to why the US is in the mess it is in today.


AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile: they're all national operators, even though they don't all cover a lot of space in a country that I found to be about 4000 km wide. AT&T and Verizon are both made of different parts of the original AT&T that was broken by the government way back when. They just haven't got away from their 1950s way of doing business.


I mean, honestly, Rick Santorum - in any other country would a senator be voted in who had a fetish to constantly talk about homosexuality and sexual acts? These are the types of idiots that exist in the US who are being voted in - in any other country they would be relegated to the lowest position on the list mp selection and kept at the back - far out of sight from the public.
...


I saw Rick Santorum before he was a senator, when he appeared with Teresa Heinz (now Teresa Kerry) to take over her dead husband's seat and he appeared to be more in touch with what Americans wanted. Two years later, he did a 180 degree turn and he was way off centre.

Reply Score: 2

Sigh
by Phloptical on Wed 8th Jul 2009 00:37 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

Why does this government have a bug up it's collective a$$ for the telecom industry? Was the Ma Bell debacle in the 80's not enough? Did deregulation really benefit the public? The short answer....no. It got a lot of people laid off....and in the end, AT&T is almost as large now as it was back then, from buying back all the baby bells.

I'm all for lower prices for cell phones, as it's a ridiculous over-inflated monthly charge for a service that costs the company extremely little to provide and maintain.

Reply Score: 2