Linked by snydeq on Wed 6th Jan 2010 20:08 UTC
Google InfoWorld's Galen Gruman writes that the main potential game-changing attribute of the Nexus One - that Google is selling the device direct - does nothing to move the industry past carrier lock-in. "At first, I wanted to credit Google for making a tentative step in the direction of smartphone freedom. But that step is so tentative and ineffectual that frankly I think it's a cynical fig leaf covering the usual practices," Gruman writes. At issue is a political battle regarding walled gardens in the U.S. cellular market, a fight that will take years to result in any true consumer freedom. "The only way we'll ever get the ability to choose a smartphone and carrier independently is for the platform providers that count - Apple, Google, and RIM - to first develop only multiband 'world' smartphones and then refuse to sell their devices (or in Google's case, use its Android license to forbid the sale of devices) to carriers that block or interfere with device portability."
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RE: The title says it all...
by FellowConspirator on Wed 6th Jan 2010 20:55 UTC in reply to "The title says it all..."
FellowConspirator
Member since:
2007-12-13

As far as lock in, all you need is your favorite sim.


That would be great if it were true. The lock is in the firmware of the device, not (only) the SIM. You can't take a locked AT&T phone, exchange the SIM with a T-mobile one and have it work without AT&T first releasing the lock on the phone (which they will do if your contract term is expired, but not before).

The carrier's position is that without such a feature on the phone, a customer could purchase a $600-$700 phone at $199 (with a 2-year contract that pays off the subsidy), and simply drop the service and move to another carrier without paying. Of course, they can do that now too (but they need to get another phone). Of course, try to buy from them an unlocked phone at full-price and they will balk AND not give you a lower rate (you wouldn't be paying the subsidy, after all).

What the market (in the US) needs to move to is a model that's more open. All the vendor phones should be multiband/multinetwork so they can be sold to work for any carrier. Carriers should be required to separate out the charges for the phone and the service, and provide the subsidies as an optional loan / installment payment. You would then be able to walk into "Bob's Phone-A-Rama" and have your pick of any phone and know exactly how much the hardware's going to set you back. You could buy it on your credit-card, lay-away, or in installments like any other purchase. Then, once you've got your phone, you call / visit a carrier kiosk to sign up for service, just provide your IMEI and SIM numbers and billing information. If your carrier jacks up prices, you can walk that same day to a different carrier and transfer.

That's how it should work.

Reply Parent Score: 4

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Better idea: Screw this carrier model and just put up Wifi everywhere. Then you pick your choice of VOIP provider (Skype, SipPhone, etc) and you can go anywhere and use it anywhere there is Wifi. Obviously there would have to be an additional location-based part added to facilitate 911, but that's not exactly difficult. The problem, in addition to locking, is that carriers here in the states have their regions where they're good and regions where they're bad, and no carrier you go with is going to cover everywhere. T-Mobile is really good in the west while AT&T and Verizon are all over the east, with Sprint having a good spot in San Francisco and a few other places. If you get T-mobile and have to go to the eastern U.S, e.g. Ohio or Pennsylvania, you're screwed. If you get AT&T and have to go to a remote part of Arizona, you're screwed. What we need is nation-wide Wifi plus VOIP. Of course, the carriers'll never let that happen, but I can dream can't I?

Reply Parent Score: 2

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

No, you can't dream those dreams. They are anti-capitalist. ;) Next you'll want peace on Earth and everyone fed and clothed.

Reply Parent Score: 4

computeruser Member since:
2009-07-21

802.11 isn't very good for wide area cellular networks. It uses too much power while having a short range, isn't good at handoffs, has limited non-overlapping channels, etc. Fixing 802.11 to solve these issues would result in a standard that looks very much like a modern cellular network or perhaps a near-future one (LTE).

Plus, 802.11 networks cost money - access points, wiring, installation, electricity, and network connectivity.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The title says it all...
by doctor on Thu 7th Jan 2010 04:51 in reply to "RE: The title says it all..."
doctor Member since:
2009-11-07

The carrier's position is that without such a feature on the phone, a customer could purchase a $600-$700 phone at $199 (with a 2-year contract that pays off the subsidy), and simply drop the service and move to another carrier without paying.


I don't see why this is a problem, and it's exactly how it works in Australia. The carrier won't lose money out of you doing that, because dropping their service doesn't magically mean you can breach the contract and not pay the the rest of the money, which is going to be more then the difference in phone cost. Carriers will agree to break contract with you for a fee somewhere between the remaining cost difference and the full amount, so they make a small amount from you breaking contract.

Maybe there's something (else) weird about the US and phone services, but I don't see how you could just break your contract with no penalty, and lead to a loss of money for the carrier.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Ikshaar Member since:
2005-07-14

That would be great if it were true. The lock is in the firmware of the device, not (only) the SIM. You can't take a locked AT&T phone, exchange the SIM with a T-mobile one and have it work without AT&T first releasing the lock on the phone (which they will do if your contract term is expired, but not before).

May be ATnT but I told T-mo I was going abroad and they unlocked my G1 phone, well before end of my contract... i think you just cannot do it within 90 days of purchase.

Frequencies wise, the problem is only true for 3G, a T-mo GSM phone would work on ATnT just not the 3G part (which is a big deal for smartphone - but just to be precise).

Being on T-mo here, and traveling to Europe, Nexus is all I need. True it is a bit expensive, but I really don't agree that Google "blew" it because their first iteration is not the perfect world phone...

Reply Parent Score: 1

dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

So nice the "free" american cellphone market. In Europe it is much batter:
Almost all networks are GSM900, a few are GSM1800 or pure 3G - so all 3G phones work anywhere (There are some CDMA networks, but that is an exception).
When you buy any phone the options are:
- Free market - full price
- Software lockedin, a little cheaper (not worth it)
- Software lockedin + prolong your contract/sign a new contract, can be a lot cheapper, based on your montly plan and how long you prolong your contract or special offers.

If you don't pay:
- legal actions will be taken
- huge panalisations wil be imposed if you ever get to the same network
They don't care what YOU do with YOUR PHONE

Reply Parent Score: 1