iPhone Coming to Verizon on June 26?

A few weeks ago, I stopped by my local Verizon Wireless store. In the course of conversation, the subject of the iPhone inevitably came up. Rather than the standard “I don’t know” response, the gentleman helping me gave a somewhat cryptic but clear response: “Someone, somewhere, is making an announcement on June 26.” Playing along (albeit a bit taken aback by his forthrightness), I mused that the person making this announcement might be wearing a turtleneck and tight jeans while standing on a starkly-black stage. The Verizon employee nodded affirmatively.

While I understand that rumors appear and disappear regularly on this subject, never before has an employee of Verizon Wireless provided such direct responses when I’ve brought up the iPhone’s availability on the carrier’s network. Some may respond with skepticism founded on doubts that store employees not at a managerial level would have such knowledge, but if the announcement does come on June 26, I can only suspect that Verizon’s preparations for the melee that will ensue include informing its entire staff of its plan for handling the throngs that will turn out for the device. The staff alone needed to process all of those individuals looking to transfer their service from AT&T will likely require a carefully coordinated effort on Verizon’s part.

Come the end of June, I can only hope that this rumor is confirmed as my upgrade eligibility date follows soon thereafter.

Condescending Mobile Phone Carrier Nicknames

There are certain things I’m quite outspoken about, and my preference for Verizon Wireless over every one of its competitors is one such example. My disdain for Verizon’s competitors largely stems from living in New England, where Verizon dominates.

Over the years, I’ve come up with condescending nicknames for two of its three nationwide competitors, but T-Mobile has always been one carrier that escaped my venom.

AT&T became AT&WeSuck, while Sprint, following its merger with Nextel, became SprintSuckTel.

Have you devised a creative name that both derides T-Mobile’s inferior service while clearly identifying the carrier?

I ask because I’m working on a future post regarding the four nationwide carriers. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment below.

Rather Than Improve Its Network, AT&T Sues Verizon Over Ads

In response to Verizon’s recent advertisements highlighting the deficiencies in AT&T’s 3G data network, AT&T this week sued its competitor. The carrier’s suit claims both that the map displayed in Verizon’s ad is misleading and that the commercials are causing the carrier to lose “incalculable market share…” and “invaluable goodwill….” AT&T argues that the substantial white areas shown on Verizon’s map are misleading because many of those areas are covered by its 2G EDGE network. Supporting AT&T’s claim is its online Coverage Viewer, but its suit entirely misses the point of Verizon’s advertisements.

Continue reading Rather Than Improve Its Network, AT&T Sues Verizon Over Ads

One Step Closer To Net Neutrality

On Thursday, the FCC approved its net neutrality rules, giving way to 60 days of comments from the public, after which the Commission will release final regulations. Given the intense opposition from companies such as AT&T, the rules will likely face legal challenges before taking effect, and Congress could intervene as well. Progress is progress though.

AT&T Details Network Improvements But No Further Expansion Plans

Following AT&T’s recent decision to allow VoIP applications on the iPhone, I questioned whether or not the carrier’s network could handle the increased traffic. Yesterday, AT&T addressed some of the issues I raised as it announced third-quarter earnings. The carrier reported that dropped calls are down 12%, while instances of calls failing to connect are down 30%. Absent from the announcement, however, were any new plans to expand its data network, though the carrier did concede that it has seen an “explosion” in customers’ data usage.

For The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the announcement, see “AT&T on iPhone Exclusivity, Dropped Calls and Net Neutrality.”

Why Wireless 4G Will Change the Mobile Landscape

For some time now, the nation’s two largest mobile phone carriers have competed almost exclusively with each other, marginalizing their smaller competitors. Verizon Wireless (VZW) has touted the reliability and extensiveness of its wireless network, while AT&T has focused on its network coverage and the superiority of its wireless technology. Now, as mobile phone operators prepare to deploy the next generation of wireless technology, the competitive pressures these companies face are changing dramatically.

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In Ongoing Net Neutrality Battle, Internet Providers Consider Metered Connections

As the FCC prepares regulations to ensure unfettered access to the internet, AT&T and Time Warner are weighing the possibility of charging customers based on their usage, as in the days of dial-up access. The providers contend that if the FCC limits their ability to control the traffic on their networks, they will have no choice but to meter their customers’ access. Already, some broadband carriers are experimenting with metered access, while others have imposed extremely high limits that affect only a minority of users. After having unfettered access for many years, however, either option currently being explored could cause consumers to reduce their use of online services. Largely for psychological reasons, users may avoid data-intensive services for fear of exceeding their allowance, even if the allowance is so high as to not pose a problem. Some may argue that metered access will stifle the growth of the internet, but its widespread use makes that unlikely. Instead, it seems that metered access will become little more than a negotiating point in the FCC’s deliberations on net neutrality. After all, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the amount of data consumed by the average internet user would cost $20 under AT&T’s plan.

There’s A Map For That. Or Is There?

Verizon Wireless (VZW) recently began an ad campaign aimed squarely at both AT&T and its flagship device, the iPhone. By now, Apple’s “There’s an app for that” commercials are well known for showcasing one of the myriad applications available for the iPhone. VZW’s new ad campaign uses a minor tweak to the familiar wording to wheedle AT&T over its poor 3G coverage. In its “There’s a map for that” commercials, VZW declares, “If you want to know why your 3G coverage works so well on Verizon Wireless, there’s a map for that,” and proceeds to show red- and blue-tinged maps of the United States. As one would expect, the proportion of red covering the continental US far exceeds that of blue, by five times as the advertisements report. The campaign made me chuckle for two reasons when I initially came across it, first because of how easily Verizon Wireless could turn a successful Apple advertisement against the iPhone maker and its wireless partner, and again after I discovered that AT&T doesn’t even produce a map of its 3G coverage area.

Continue reading There’s A Map For That. Or Is There?

Can AT&T’s Network Handle the iPhone’s VoIP Traffic?

AT&T’s recent decision to allow iPhone-based internet voice applications (VoIP) on its network begs the question, can the network handle it? In September, the New York Times reported that the increase in data usage related to the iPhone 3GS release has severely impacted AT&T’s service. Customers complain of “dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds as AT&T’s cellular network strains to meet the demand.” At the same time, AT&T has yet to support tethering on the iPhone as it performs “fine tuning to our systems and networks so that we do deliver a great experience” (Ironically, AT&T does support tethering, or using one’s phone to access the internet by computer, on other devices, for $60 per month). Considering that AT&T also recently began supporting picture messaging (MMS) on the iPhone, how will AT&T’s network respond to the added stress of voice applications?

Continue reading Can AT&T’s Network Handle the iPhone’s VoIP Traffic?

AT&T Takes Aim at Google Voice

It was only a matter of time until AT&T jumped into the fight over Google Voice. As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, AT&T sent a letter to the FCC on Friday alleging that because Google Voice does not connect calls to certain numbers, Google’s service violates FCC regulations governing phone carriers. The AT&T letter also accuses Google of violating the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules by blocking certain calls. AT&T’s arguments, however, are flawed for multiple reasons.

Continue reading AT&T Takes Aim at Google Voice