Wireless Infrastructure

10:44 PM
Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto
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Here's mud in your iPhone

I don't care about the iPhone. Unless Apple wants to buy out my current contract with Verizon Wireless or Verizon Wireless wants to start carrying the iPhone, I know that I won't be buying one any time soon. I plunked...

I don't care about the iPhone. Unless Apple wants to buy out my current contract with Verizon Wireless or Verizon Wireless wants to start carrying the iPhone, I know that I won't be buying one any time soon. I plunked down a pretty penny for my Treo 700P and I use the messaging and calendaring features daily. I half-jokingly tell people "If it isn't in my Treo, it doesn???t get done." I also carry an iPod for music, so I would love to reduce my gadget count in half???especially in the summer when I don't have enough pockets for my wallet, keys, pocket knife, Treo, and iPod. But I will be among the un-hip for the foreseeable future.

I predict the iPhone won't be nearly as successful as the iPod because, at least for the moment, it is only available on AT&T's wireless service, which has a less than stellar record (I can't think of a single person who has said anything positive about AT&T Wireless, but that's just me). Lauren Hackett alerted me to Consumer Reports assessment of AT&T Wireless:

"AT&T Wireless???formerly known as Cingular???has been among the least satisfying service providers, according to Consumer Reports??? annual customer satisfaction surveys. In fact, in our latest report, from January of this year, AT&T had ???middling to low??? customer satisfaction, with static and busy circuits pegged as widespread problems (as they???ve been in our previous surveys). Frequent service-related problems were compounded by the company???s relatively low marks for helpfulness in handling customer questions and complaints."

Consumer Reports goes on to say, "In addition, the iPhone will run on AT&T???s "2.5G" EDGE network, rather than one of the faster "3G" networks available from the major carriers, such as Verizon or Sprint???s EVDO or even AT&T???s own UMTS/HSDPA network (don???t worry about the acronyms; the upshot is that EDGE has much lower bandwidth than true 3G networks)." [emphasis added] But I do worry about the acronyms because they aren't just a bunch of crazy character strings, they limit my choice as a consumer.

1G, 2.5G, 3G, EVDO, UMTS/HSDPA, VoFI, E-I-E-I-O???none of these standards interoperate and phones often only use one or two of them. Even moving a phone from one wireless network to another using the same technology is often difficult if not impossible. The situation with wireless service is not unlike the early land-line days. You leased a phone from your telco, and until MA Bell was given a monopoly, you could take a phone from one telco to another and be guaranteed that it would work.

Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio
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