From One TechnoLust Sufferer to Another

How Apple will become a Mobile Carrier

Posted in Uncategorized by Christi Milligan on May 16, 2012

How Apple will become a Mobile Carrier

Here’s hoping it comes true!!

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A Solution to Cell Phone Service Woes

Posted in Cell Phone by Christi Milligan on January 23, 2010
Satisfied cell phone users

Customer service is way below acceptable levels

When was the last time you read an article or a tweet about the horrible cell service that plagues cell phone users the world over? Moments ago, right? It’s a nonstop complaint that nearly everyone has dealt with at one point or another. AT&T is daily raked through the coals by American iPhone users who are having to put up with mediocre-at-best service in cities like New York and San Francisco. Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile are not free from the onslaught either.

So what do the cell phone service providers do about all of this negative press? Unfortunately, they spend time and some major dough figuring out clever advertising ways to make fun of their competitors.

The big news a few weeks ago was the introduction of Google’s Nexus One. They are selling it on their own website and customers can now choose whichever provider they desire (well almost any provider — currently their only choice is between the GSM providers, but the CDMA Nexus One version will appear in spring). Oooh, it all sounded so incredible that customers were finally being given a choice.

People have been clamoring for the ability to pick whatever phone they desire and use that phone on whichever provider they wanted. Google’s Nexus One is a big step in that direction. Great! But not good enough.

In fact, it’s really not a solution at all. As customers who pay top dollar every month to own and use a cell phone, we should demand MUCH more.

There is a real solution that would be a complete win-win-win for all three major players involved in the cell phone industry: the service providers, the phone manufacturers, and, of course, the end-user who flips the bill.

Close your eyes and imagine this…okay, perhaps that won’t work since you have to continue to read along. Let’s try this again…. Imagine buying the cell phone of your dreams with all the bells and whistles you deserve. Along with that perfect phone, you also choose a service plan that meets your needs. Sounds familiar so far, right? Ah, but now things get interesting.

You turn your phone on and go about your business, all the while receiving the strongest cell service no matter where you are in the world. Yes, you read that correctly. Your phone AND your service plan are no longer attached to one provider. As you travel, your phone automatically accesses the strongest service in that area. When you need to tether your computer or surf the web, the network with the strongest signal will provide that service for you on the fly. At the end of the month, each service provider would receive their portion of your monthly service plan.

Misleading coverage ads

Misleading ads don't help the situation at all

If Verizon’s coverage is better in San Francisco than AT&T’s, then Verizon will receive the majority of those service plans. If AT&T doesn’t like that, then they know exactly what they need to do to remedy the situation in San Francisco. Basically, the stronger the service, the more revenue a service provider will make. This is the ONLY solution that will spur the service providers to do what they should be doing all along — providing better and better pipelines. Service providers will finally know exactly where they need to boost their networks. If they want a bigger piece of the pie, by all means, go for it! Service providers can finally stop advertising and put their money back into growing their business. There would finally be a direct correlation between good service and revenue.

If there are areas in the country (or world) that have terrible service by one provider, the end-user (you know, the one actually paying for reliable service) is not the one to suffer. Customer complaints would diminish almost entirely. In fact, customer service would fall solely on the phone manufacturers and their OS developers. Again, freeing up service providers to concentrate on growing their networks.

This solution could work world-wide. You can continue to use your cell phone on all of your extravagant vacation trips and cell phone providers world-wide would receive their fair portion of the service they provided you while traveling. The bottom line is the end-user continues to receive the strongest service whether they are skiing in the Alps or sunbathing in Cabo. Gone will be the days of having to use your cell phone on your back porch because that’s the only place you can get at least one bar from your current service provider. Currently, you’re locked into that provider until your contract is up. But with this solution, contracts like we know them here in the States would be obsolete.

I know this is technically possible. As a T-Mobile user, I’ve traveled to more remote regions of my state where T-Mobile has no coverage and my phone has continued to work on AT&T’s network. This isn’t a completely unknown or unchartered territory. It is completely feasible and we should start demanding it.

As end-users of cell phones, we would be free to upgrade our phones any time we wanted because we are no longer tied to a two-year service agreement. Heck, if someone came out with a cell phone tomorrow that you could surgically implant in your ear, you are more than welcome to take that plunge. The latest and greatest gadget is always within grasp. Just pay the asking price for the phone and your service plan immediately works with the new phone.

Sure service providers could continue to offer contracts and subsidized, locked phones to customers who don’t travel much and are completely satisfied with the coverage they currently receive. But for the rest of us who want a bit more freedom and innovation, we can opt to truly free our phones.

Mobile phone manufacturers and the OS developers behind them would have complete freedom to make the most innovative phones ever! Sure, there are currently two types of providers in the US (GSM and CDMA), but I know there are some really smart people out there who could design phones that access both types of networks on the fly. Ever since Apple stirred up the cell phone industry in 2006 with the game-changing iPhone, we have finally started to see some real innovation and creativity in the hardware and software. This solution would allow innovation to blossom like it has never done before. Competition in all areas would be unrestricted and would finally make wireless, handheld gadgets indispensable and accessible for everyone across the globe.

In fact, next week Apple will be announcing their “latest creation.” No one truly knows what it will be, but just imagine if this mysterious “iTablet” or the next generation of the iPhone had this solution reinforcing its functionality. Now that would be an unimaginable game changer like this world has never seen.

If the numerous cell phone manufacturers and other large companies, such as Apple, Google, Sony, Microsoft, and Palm, who design the mobile operating systems, all joined forces in agreement, this solution could happen. Unfortunately, the service providers have a huge consortium of lobbyists behind them. But again, I would plead with them that the money they are spending on lobbyists could be better spent on developing their networks. Perhaps the FCC could step up and help make this a reality. Please give us, the users, the freedom to receive the strongest, best network service and the ability to choose the technology that fits our needs.

Google Nexus One phoneI know I’m not the first one to come up with this idea, but I’m always rather surprised more people aren’t clamoring for it. Free Press’ Free My Phone is a step in the right direction, but in my opinion their vision falls short of the solution I’ve laid out above. I do appreciate their desire for freedom to access any Web content, applications or services and to no longer have service providers dictate what we can and cannot do on our phones. Stacey Higginbotham, at GigaOm, has the right ideas and was similarly disappointed with the Google Phone, in her article titled, “The Google Phone Won’t Open Up the Wireless Industry.”

We can make a difference. We just need to voice our opinions and get this idea out there to the masses. If David Pogue, a tech columnists with the NY Times, can help unite us to “Take Back the Beep” campaign. We need an even bigger push to get this solution to come about.

I’m tired of having to pick a provider who may not give me the service I need everywhere I go. I want to spend my hard-earned money on technology that just works! As better technology is made, better pipelines will be laid. What could be better than that?