It’s the end of an era! Or at least, the beginning of a process that will eventually lead to the end of an era. 3G was once the great new hotness that made everyone run out and buy an iPhone, but over the years it’s been left in the dust by faster 4G LTE service. Now Verizon, the country’s largest wireless carrier, has started down the road that will eventually kill off the venerable 3G once and for all.
In the last few years of the aughts, while many of us privileged jerks were whining about how our iPhones kept dropping calls, and the national mobile network couldn’t handle the call volume generated by our data-slorping smartphones, a hidden army of workers were there for us, risking their lives so that we could download podcasts on the bus. These dudes (they’re all dudes) scale towers to fix and upgrade equipment, working for subcontractors and receiving relatively low pay of $10-$11 per hour. And some of them fall and die.
“AT&T Inc. flipped a switch and turned on its 4G wireless network Wednesday,” reports the WSJ. “The switch, however, was in the company’s marketing department.” Taking advantage of loose definitions for what qualifies as 4G, AT&T has simply relabeled its existing, and much-maligned, 3G network as 4G.
If you’re on one of AT&T’s limited data plans, you’d better start carefully monitoring the data usage, because some customers are noticing unexplainable daily hits on their accounts. The support forums at Apple are filled with pages of theories and complaints from frustrated customers, but our tipster David got the following admission directly from an AT&T rep: “She told me that most, if not all, 3g-capable iPhones were being charged erroneously like I had been experiencing. She told me AT&T was unaware of why the data was being charged, and where it was coming from.”
One month ago, Verizon Wireless’s CFO hinted in an interview that the company might follow AT&T’s lead and replace unlimited data plans with tiered ones. Now Engadget is reporting that the switch might come on July 29th. Because this is just a rumor so far, there’s no word yet on whether Verizon will offer the same 200 MB / 2 GB split as AT&T or whether it will grandfather in existing unlimited customers.
When Verizon Wireless begins to introduce plans for its next generation data network later this year, don’t expect to see any all-you-can-eat unlimited offerings. In an interview with BusinessWeek, the company’s CFO said the company will likely have to change how it bills for data consumption as more data-hungry smartphones and apps enter the marketplace–and that means tiered data plans similar to the ones AT&T has introduced to help control data consumption.
Say you’ve got one of the 1st gen iPhones that operates on the EDGE network, and you want to upgrade to that fancy new model that was just announced. Can your unlimited data plan be grandfathered even though it was never 3G? That’s what Consumerist reader and 1st gen iPhone owner thecrazypnut wanted to know, so he contacted AT&T for an answer.
AT&T has officially delivered on the threats made by its consumer business director Ralph de la Vega last December: it’s switching to usage-based pricing on data plans for smartphones and the iPad. Starting Monday, all new AT&T customers who buy an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or other smartphone and purchase the necessary data plan will have two options: $25 for 2 gigabytes, or $15 for 200 megabytes.
The wunderiPhone can be more like a shiny brick of strife, especially for urban dwellers who want to do futuristic activities like make and receive calls and text messages. That’s because all your fellow connectivity addicts have saturated AT&T’s network. I know people who have had to, on repeated occasions, on a clear night in Manhattan, resort to payphones because of this. But wait, there’s a solution!
Here’s the latest in the “my phone is better than your phone” war. A new test of upload and download speeds on 3G networks in 13 cities has AT&T coming out on top by a large margin over Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Someone cue the next round of Luke Wilson commercials…
I’ll keep this short because it’s Apple-related and we all need a break from that company: Apple has removed its ban on using your iPhone’s 3G “connection” to place VOIP calls, so now you can use an app like Fring to place overseas calls even when you’re not around a Wi-Fi hotspot. Call quality in those moments will naturally depend on AT&T’s ability to provide a good 3G connection, so keep your expectations low, but still it’s good news for any iPhone/AT&T customers looking to save money on calls.
Verizon is cutting its prices, and by cutting them is actually raising them. What? Yeah, let’s let Ars Technica explain it.
Apparently quite a few Nexus One users are having a hard time getting their new phones to connect to T-Mo’s 3G network. Instead, according to InformationWeek, they are getting bounced down to the slower EDGE network.
Awhile back AT&T sued Verizon over their “There’s a Map For That” advertisements, claiming that the maps were misleading because the empty areas on the maps represented different things. Now Verizon has responded to the lawsuit with some fightin’ words.
As a whimsical follow-up to AT&T’s lawsuit concerning their “There’s a map for that” ads, Verizon Wireless released their Christmas-themed set of AT&T/iPhone bashing ads today. They’re harsh, but also pretty funny.
AT&T has had it with Verizon’s “there’s a map for that ads” and have filed a lawsuit. The big blue death star says that the ad is misleading because while the blank spaces in Verizon’s map actually show places where there is no Verizon service at all — the blank spaces in the AT&T map may still have voice and data coverage — just not “3G” coverage.