Like most new phones, Google’s new baby the Nexus One is getting off to a rocky start. Numerous people on the Nexus One support forums are reporting spotty 3G service in areas that are supposedly blanketed with 3G. With the smallest 3G footprint of the big four US carriers, you can bet T-Mobile users know exactly where they can find that high-speed goodness.
Specifically, users say that the phone will switch back and forth between 3G and the slower EDGE data in 3G saturated areas. The more unlucky are reporting no 3G at all. Some users have even gone so far as to put their Nexus One SIM card in another T-Mobile phone to prove that Google’s new device isn’t connecting to the available 3G network. There are even some pics of other T-Mobile devices with 3G right next to a Nexus one rocking EDGE.
Just today we’re getting word that T-Mobile and Google have acknowledged a possible issue affecting a “small number” of customers. T-Mobile says to hold tight while they look into it. Anyone out there have a Nexus One? Any issues?
AT&T finally seems ready to admit that this whole Android thing isn’t just a flash in the pan. The carrier that brought you the iPhone will be launching five Android phones in the first half of 2010. The announcement was a bit short on details, but there were some clues as to which handsets to expect.
AT&T plans to offer a Motorola handset with a “unique form factor”. This can only be the Moto Backflip we told you about recently. This phone is “blessed” with an awkward looking reverse clamshell design and a lack of Google apps (in the prerelease version at least). The announcement also said Dell’s first smartphone would be coming to the network. That clearly means a version of the Mini 3i with US 3G bands.
The remaining phones are to be HTC devices. No details on what these might be. Knowing HTC’s penchant for repackaging the same hardware, these phones could end up being variations of the Hero. We may see some of the phones spied in the leaked roadmap from a few weeks back. Any AT&T customers planning to buy into the Android craze?
The launch of a new mobile broadband service at CES next month could spark a price war. The new prepaid mobile broadband service is called DataJack. Its 3G network will cover 130 U.S cities at launch, as per its website. It is promising unlimited mobile broadband – absolutely no download limits- for a flat fee of $39.99 a month. The icing on the cake happens to be the fact that the service is prepaid. The USB modem required to access the service costs only $99 and can be used for storing data using an inbuilt microSD slot (card not supplied). Similar offerings on the market are not only more expensive but also don't provide unlimited data usage. DataJack will be in a league of its own when it debuts unless other carriers try and outmaneuver it by slashing their own prices before that.
Citing "sources close to the situation," PC World says India's auction of 3G spectrum and licenses to the private sector probably isn't going to take place on January 14, 2010, as originally scheduled.
Disagreements between government ministries over the minimum pricing of licenses have proved problematic in giving the auction the green light. Also at issue are delays by the defense ministry in releasing spectrum in its possession to the communications ministry.
As recently as last week, India's Minister for Communications, A. Raja, said the auction was on schedule for Jan. 14, with allocation of spectrum to winning bidders mostly likely to follow in August. But according to local reports, the 3G auction likely won't happen until at least the end of February.
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega may have stuck his foot in his mouth recently when he suggested tiered pricing may be needed to bring mobile data usage under control. This resulted in a wave of complaints from users. De la Vega is now saying his comments were misinterpreted. "There are things people say I said that I didn't say. We have not made any decision to implement tiered pricing," said de la Vega. The iPhone carrier is apparently planning to take strain off its network by partnering with various networks of Wi-Fi hotspots.
AT&T hopes that better availability of free Wi-Fi will get users to consume less cell data. A deal with McDonalds has already been announced that will waive the $2.95 charge for Wi-Fi access. AT&T already has similar deals with Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. It’s not clear if this is supposed to be an interim solution while the 3G network is built out further.
It’s nice to see AT&T won’t be resorting to tiered pricing, but they haven’t made any firm commitments to network enhancement either. Maybe those golden arches can help a little, but wouldn’t you rather have a more robust data network?
Even a cursory glance at the internet will assure you of one fact: people hate AT&T. While a great many people love their iPhones, the network is their one major complaint. News of a massive AT&T failure is juicy stuff, and stirs up the interwebs nicely, but Gizmodo’s recent 3G speed test does throw AT&T a bone. If you have solid AT&T 3G service, it’s probably really, really fast.
Gizmodo tested 3G data speeds in 12 markets around the US. The tests checked raw speed via speedtest.net, as well as downloading very large images and webpages. The results of the testing indicate that AT&T beats out Verizon in average download speed. However, it was close, with Verizon winning out in four of the 12 markets. The real shocker is that AT&T absolutely destroyed the competition in upload speeds, winning all 12 markets.
If this tells us anything, it’s that we can’t be too harsh with AT&T. Sure, AT&T has some issues with service coverage, but the network is fast where you can get it. That’s at least half the equation.
Reports are showing up in various places indicating that AT&T is having major service disruptions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The nature of the problem seems to vary based on location. In some areas, calls are going through but data and SMS are down. In others, customers have no service at all. In still other areas, everything seems to be fine, leaving AT&T customers there to wonder why all their AT&T-using friends have their phones off.
This fiasco comes only days after AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega finally acknowledged the problems with the service quality in some cities. He promised to work to improve service in areas like San Francisco and New York. Now this happens… funny how the universe works sometimes.
Customers are reporting that AT&T reps are informing them of a 24-48 hour wait to get data and SMS services back up. AT&T has made a statement saying, “We are seeing a hardware issue in downtown San Francisco that is causing some degradation in service. GSM and EDGE voice and data services are still accessible. Our experts are aware and working to resolve as quickly as possible.” Indeed, users are reporting that turning off 3G results in solid EDGE access.
Sound off in the comments if you’ve been affected by this.
Still having to withstand constant media torture, not to mention competitive advertising, regarding its subpar network coverage, AT&T released a new iPhone application to help gain insight into network problem areas. The new application named “AT&T Mark the Spot” is available in the App Store.
The new application acts as an on-demand survey that users can submit promptly after having difficulty with their cell service. There are options for dropped and failed calls, loss of coverage, poor voice quality and data failure. Further, you can type in a small comment area for additional information and mark how frequently the issue occurs.
The application bundles all of this information along with your current (or mapped out) location and sends it off to AT&T. This should be helpful tool for AT&T to find where to concentrate its efforts in network maintenance and upgrades.
Verizon fired the first shot in its media war against AT&T, but many were left wondering how and when the competition would ever respond. Playing to its strengths the AT&T marketing department is finally bringing its guns to bare on Verizon, and speed will be the battleground on which they shall wage their bloody campaign.
Its a gutsy move for AT&T to pit their network against Verizon on national TV, but its bound to work better than chest thumping, lawsuits, and irate fist pumping I'm willing to bet.
The AT&T's ad features actor Luke Wilson trying to download a copy of himself over both networks, and much to my shock and amazement, the company that paid for the ad won the contest. AT&T might edge out ahead of Verizon in raw speed tests, but I think we would all rather see some of this ad money go into a few more cell towers wouldn't we? Arguably that would do an even better job of putting the kibosh on those pesky Verizon ads.
You may not be aware, but Qualcomm holds a number of patents on modern 3G cellular technology. Any company making a 3G cell phone has to pay patent royalties to Qualcomm. Analyst Sanford Bernstein pointed out in a report this week that Apple appears to be taking advantage of a licensing loophole to avoid paying all those fees for the iPhone. The loophole is estimated to save Apple $290 million in fiscal 2009 alone.
Licensees must pay 5% of the wholesale price of a 3G device to the patent owner. Qualcomm’s website lists over 145 companies that have licensed their 3G technology. The list includes all major makers of 3G handsets. The one notable exception? Apple. One surprise on the list is Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer of the iPhone.
The Bernstein report says that Qualcomm is being paid royalties not on the price Apple charges (average $590), but on the unit price Apple pays Foxconn, a mere $244. So instead of making $23.60 per iPhone, Qualcomm is only seeing $9.70. Apple is able to get away with this because the entire manufacturing process is done externally. Qualcomm seems fine with the arrangement. After all, $9.70 per iPhone is pretty good considering how they fly off the shelves.