It’s no secret that AT&T’s cell network sucks (and, yes, that is the scientific term for the state of the company’s infrastructure). Fortunately, AT&T has come up with a solution to dead zones and overtaxed circuits: The AT&T 3G MicroCell, a router-like device that will let you experience the magic of using your mobile phone in your very own home! Of course, magic doesn’t come free — or cheap. AT&T is testing the MicroCell now, and is charging subscribers $150 for the box, plus $20 a month for the magic of, you know, using your own freaking phone in your own damn home.
If you’re a gadgetophile like me, you love firmware updates because it’s like giving your smartphone, camera, or other mp3 player a mini-makeover. If you’re normal, however, don’t rush into it—the best thing to do is wait a bit and see what problems are reported from the front line. Take for instance this issue between 3G iPhones and Exchange servers, which no longer play well with each other after yesterday’s 3.1 iPhone OS upgrade.
Oh jeez, AT&T, don’t you have enough on your plate? You can’t handle your iPhone customers as it is. TechCrunch says some customers’ voicemails go missing for days or even weeks, you can’t enable MMS because there’s no room for it on your system, and the “faster” 3GS isn’t any faster at all on your network. Now comes word that you’ll be the one providing so-called “connectitivty” for Barnes & Noble’s new ebook reader coming out next year. The result: more congestion for every AT&T customer.
For a while now, there have been rumors and speculation that AT&T was considering reducing its data plan by $10 per month in an attempt to be more competitive with other carriers. Today AT&T officially put the kibosh on that scuttlebutt, which is how I write once the cocktail hour kicks in on Friday. Says an AT&T spokesman, “We’ve been very happy with our pricing.”
Apple fans around the country are foaming at the mouths over the jacked-up pricing AT&T has announced for the upgraded iPhone. AT&T apparently can’t afford to subsidize the phones for existing customers, because if you currently have an iPhone and more than 6 months left on your contract, you’ll have to pay $417-$517 for the newer model (that includes an $18 “upgrade” fee).
The number of people gunning for some Apple/AT&T cash keeps increasing, with three new class action lawsuits filed over the past 8 days alone. In all three suits, the primary complaint is the same: that AT&T Mobility’s 3G network isn’t robust enough to deliver the type of experience promised by iPhone marketing.
AT&T is encouraging its customers to upgrade to the faster 3G network—by downgrading their older EDGE service.
Good news: Apple is extending MobileMe subscriptions by an additional 60 days to make up for the recent problems with the service. The extension applies to all subscribers with an active account as of August 19th. Apple granted a 30 day extension a few weeks ago.[InformationWeek]
Last week, a developer discovered that the iPhone has the capability to quietly connect to Apple’s servers to check an application blacklist, and then disable any installed apps that are on the list. The story was quickly defused by blogs, but today the Wall Street Journal says Steve Jobs has confirmed that there really is an application “kill switch.”
Reader Joshua wants to warn everyone that exchanging your defective-out-of-the-box iPhone 3G is a huge pain the butt. His girlfriend got her iPhone on launch day but quickly discovered that the speaker was broken. She brought it into the Apple store to have it checked out and an employee accidentally dropped it. At that point, Apple told them they’d just replace to the phone. That’s where things got complicated.
The new iPhone is 3G–but AT&T’s 3G network isn’t exactly “nationwide,” so you might want to check the coverage map to make sure that there’s a 3G network in your area.
If you’re thinking about getting that new 3G iPhone, you might want to hold off a few more months and see what happens with the other carriers. BusinessWeek has an article about how AT&T’s aggressive subsidizing of the iPhone will have a negative impact on handset makers and carriers, because it’s going to force them to increase subsidies and reduce service fees. Translation: good times for the consumer bold enough to stay off the iPhone train.
A leaked internal Sprint memo says that the company will be placing limits on the previously unlimited EV-DO mobile broadband data service. If you go over 5GB per month total or 300MB/month while off-network roaming you will be subject to extra fees. Two Sprint employees writing on Sprint user forums vouched for the leak’s authenticity. Now Sprint will no longer be the only carrier to offer actually unlimited 3G service. Somehow I don’t see CEO Dan Hesse bragging about this move while strolling through black and white cobblestone streets.
Thomas Hawk, he of a PriceRitePhoto scandal fame and G.I. Joe name (lucky bastard), details his attempt to sign up with Cingular Wireless’s 3G Laptop Connect service. He’s already an AT&T Wireless customer—now part of Cingular—but the Cingular rep insisted that he ‘switch’ to Cingular so he could use the 3G service. Thomas seems a little baffled by this, but having put in our times in the phone trenches, we can almost certainly say that the rep would have gotten a ‘sale’ on her account had she convinced Mr. Hawk to switch his service.