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Do we miss the days before 3G?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by viewfly, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Okay, the title is a little bit of a teaser, I admit this. It's a question of getting what you asked for.

    I started thinking about this while traveling overseas; I turned off 3G because I didn't want to rack up data charges or perhaps there was no 3G service. As a result, I also didn't check email or maps, or browse the web. My observation? My battery went the whole day, and I still had 90% of my battery charge left. LIke the good old days of GSM and simple B&W screen Nokia phones. Except this was my beloved iPhone.

    I began with WA forums because of the transition from TDMA to GSM in the US. Back then we had many lively discussions :)O) comparing GSM vs CDMA. One of the keener observations was that the same phone model (Nokia for example) has twice (2x) the talk time on GSM as compared to the CDMA model (based on the mgfr specification data sheet). We GSM'ers were quite boastful of that. Back then we wrote of 6 hours of GSM talk time and 25 days of standby.

    Then I went to Japan, and slipped my GSM SIM card into a WCDMA (3G) Motorola phone. Black and White screen and I barely got through the day. Geez, a glimpse into the future for the US GSM 3G. ( in fact, today's specs are that WCDMA talk times are 1/2 of GSM times; for the iPhone that 5 hours vs 12 hours of talk time). So now GSM's WCDMA became equal to Verizon's CDMA, in terms of battery life, but I digress

    Then came my GSM Nokia 6131 color screen phone. Great phone, 16 million color display. I would charge every night and get 2.5 days of use out of it. Useable.

    And now Smartphones; gorgeous color screens, GPS, 3G, WiFI, full browsers, push and fetch email. Turn all of those things on, use them, and battery life gets pretty poor. Makes little difference if it's an iPhone, Pre, full 3G BB, etc.

    So we got what we asked for, higher speed for data, and we lost the great talk times we had , when we used the phone as a phone. And the solution is not carrying around spare batteries.

    Anyone miss that? So no, i wont go back, but I have learned battery management depending on what I expect to do that day. Mostly, I am in 3G...I get through the day just fine. But when I know that it will be a day of heavy voice phone use, with no or little data, I'll put the phone in 2G GSM mode and I'm back to great battery life. And you know what? Even checking stocks, weather, email is really not that bad on EDGE. Well, that is what most BlackBerries still do anyway.

    But what happens when GSM disappears completely for 3G? Or LTE?

    What's your opinion?
     
    #1 viewfly, Aug 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2009
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  2. TWX

    TWX Mobile Enthusiast
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    Great write up. I miss getting better battery life with my older phones. However, in the near future there will be leaps and bounds in battery technology that will give us that "old phone" battery life (even with 3G, WiFi, GPS, all on...) :)
     
  3. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    I don't miss 3G since I only use my phone to speak to people.

    2G GSM will be with us for many many years to come. It took almost 25 years for them to shut off analog AMPS.
     
  4. KyleAndMelissa22

    KyleAndMelissa22 Woot Woot, Splat !!!
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    Same here!

    I never even met 3G. So I can't miss it, only hope for it in the very distant future, like 50 years from now (OK I like to exaggerate :)).
    I really don't need it, 2G / 1x is just perfect for me!

    I'm on the phone way too much (average around 10,000 minutes per month) so I don't have time for 3G.

    All my data is done on my computer with my 10 MB high speed internet cable modem at my house,
    and all text and picture messages to & from cell phones (like 10 total per month) are sent & received through my Gmail for free.

    I've blocked text messaging through my phone, and my phone isn't even MMS capable,
    so I use my Nikon Digital camera for all my pictures, (with my 16 GB USB flash drive for data storage).
     
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  5. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    True enough, but probably not too fast in coming. But battery and electronics have greatly improved. As in my OP, that fact that the iPhone gets 5 hours of talk time on 3G is pretty close to the old Nokia that got 6 hours. Except that the ole nokia, one could not do much else than talk (sms only mainly) so that is close to reality. With the newer smart phones, even with the screen off, doing other things brings that talk only value of 5 hours down quite a bit...it's more like 'phone use' of 5 hours. Those screens are power hogs.

    As Charlyee posted years ago on the Nokia 6131 forum, she noticed that sms, via using the bright colorful screen consumed almost as much power as talking!
     
  6. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    I remember those experiments well and you charging the phone while making your toast and chasing the chicken to give up her egg. :D
    So you make my Treo Pro an "etc"? - Geez viewfly. :p
    Nope, I do not miss that. I basically keep mine on 3G whether I am in the US or abroad, if nothing just to check out if that area has 3G. The only time I deviate from this is if I am going to be in a known GSM only area for more than a day. In the recent past, I went to visit a bird sanctuary in the middle of India, that had an obsceure provider whose name no one out side that area knew about. The reception was flawless but only "G" not even EDGE, so I did turn 3G off for the 3 days I was there.

    The one thing I have found on all my 3G devices, Blackjack, Trep 750 and the Treo Pro, is that voice quality is superior (crisp & clear) on 3G than on 2G, to me this is enough of a reason for me to keep it on 3G.

    My Treo easily gives me one day of moderate use with the battery down to about 35% at the end of the day. On a very heavy use day (mostly heavy on data) it has still made it with around 10% to spare.

    As Alienware mentioned battery technology is improving and so are the devices more efficient. My Pro actually consumes less power than my 750 even though it has more memory, faster processor, GPS, WiFi, etc.

    Great discussion thread, btw.

    Thanks :)
     
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  7. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Wouldn't our special someone loved it if we referred to them in this way. :p
     
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  8. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    LOL :)
    Hmmm. Since she has an iPhone already, she's probably thinking that I'm talking about that and not her! Hard to credit sometimes.

    Charlyee Sorry for the Pro slight...I was assuming that you had a new phone coming..but didn't know the model number. I hope that you are working on that!

    I do the same, but generally I travel for a week at a time, and if I'm paying for roaming, I know to leave 3G off...it is pretty easy to turn on for checking email, etc. Even with the last few trips where I purchased 20 Megs of data in advance.

    I guess there is always a little voice inside of my head that says, "this could be the day", meaning when I need to be on the phone constantly for some emergency. So I labor over battery life...but I love to browse on the phone, more than talking.
     
  9. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    Very interesting reading, this thread :)

    Personally, I was lucky enough to go from 2G to 3G by the means of Nokia 6131 to SE K850i. For the purpose of this discussion it means I increased the phone's battery life in the transition :D

    I went from charging the phone every day (Nokia 2120) to charging it once a week (Nokia 6160) and then gradually went down to every other day (Nokia 6131) — but I've never been in the situation when the phone wouldn't last through one day, so that doesn't bother me too much. But I think viewfly is quite right to worry about battery life with LTE — if it ends up where it's headed, we're talking "always on" data connection.
     
  10. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    With the exception of my very first phone, a GSM Nokia 5190, all of my phones have been CDMA. B/c of that, my battery life has never been stellar. I really have not noticed a drop in battery length between 1x and EV data. For me, it is the power of the phone itself, as noted above, that is the real killer.
    My last 2 phones, the Pre and the HTC Touch Pro have been battery murderers. For both of those phones I have carried around a spare battery everywhere I go, but have only used them a combined 2 times.
    Just compare the radios in our phones now to back then. Right now, most modern PDAs are running a cellular radio, bluetooth, wifi, GPS, etc. Back in the day, it was just the cellular radio.
    Just look at a verizon touch pro. It has to look, at the same time, for an 850 1x signal, a 1900 EV signal, wifi, bluetooth, and GPS. And I dare you to put it in a low service area, the battery will be dead in 2 hours.

    **end rambling post**
     
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  11. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    True enough! During the TMDA/GSM transition the number of GSM was small, but growing so that placed a drain on the batteries too. Now, the number of towers having 3G GSM is growing...and when that is 'done' it will LTE! Compare this to Europe, where the GSM coverage is well built out and battery life is very good.

    Of course Verizon is constantly growing too. It would be nice to have one world wide system and let it mature before moving on to the next.

    Probably in the back rooms of mobile and carrier designers, the criteria is to have a 'system' (phone + network) that must, on average last one day. So work must be continued on the phone/battery/tower distribution system together.

    Charlyee, I agree that in some situations WCDMA sounds superior or 'gets through' over an over worked urban GSM system. But lately, maybe because of the greater switch to WCDMA, GSM is working quite well in my Boston urban environment. Interesting switch.
     
  12. larry

    larry Sprint loyalist and former mod
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    The talk times and battery life on my CDMA phones have actually improved over time. My early CDMA phones like the Samsung SCH-1900 and SCH-2000 had awful battery life compared to my Rumor 2 today.
     
  13. QLR

    QLR RIP Note!
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    I can say the same for my CDMA devices. I remember my 1st CDMA phone, the Samsung SPH-N240, had only a 90 minute talk time. I was literally glued to the wall charging the phone. Over time, the CDMA battery life has gotten better. Now on my Samsung Glyde, I can get at least 3 hours of talk time on the regular battery.

    I havent noticed as much of an improvement on the GSM devices, but they are usually efficient in my eyes anyway.
     

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  14. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I forgot that you are a former 6131'er too. ;) The first and only flip phone that I've owned.

    Any ideas when LTE is projected to be fully built out? And is it more likely that LTE will replace 3G and leave GSM as the legacy, like analog? It has a huge footprint around the world.


    Larry, Quint101
    Your experience doesn't surprise me too much...you guys have benefited from cell phone battery usage and improved batteries, while not making a huge change in the cdma technology (I think).
     
  15. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    Same here — I thought the excitement of owning a Nokia quad-band GSM would overshadow the flip aspect of it, but it didn't :D

    I honestly don't know much about LTE (I read the Wiki article on it and that's all) — I suppose RadioRaiders will know much more about it, but I don't see GSM or 3G going away any time soon. People outside the US don't seem to be changing phones quite as frequently and I just don't see AT&T saying "we're willing to drop all that international roaming income in favor of LTE". I believe that GSM & 3G are here to stay for quite a while.
     
  16. TnA2xXtReM

    TnA2xXtReM Member
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    Ah, the excitement of the past... I still remember when I first got my Samsung flip phone (B+W, forgot model) on the Sprint network. It was one of those high end phone on Sprint with an interactive wallpaper/screen saver, which was the first of its kind. It was a 2D movement of a panda, which was like totally awesome back then.. lol! Not to mention, I was like the coolest kid in school with the the first cell phone :browani:. However, the phone's signal or the Sprint network was really bad back then. Almost 20% if my calls were either dropped or lost during the conversation. Don't know if Sprint evolved over time, but my area never had issue with Sprint a couple years later.

    However, do I miss those days before 3g? I kind of do, especially when it comes to battery life. Other than the issue with battery life, 3g (soon 4g :eek:) had been plain sweet. Just love to share the love of tethering with the Sprint network by myself or with a group of people. Free internet in middle of nowhere in Maine, at the library, or even at a friend's house who doesn't have the internet in general :lmao:. What also sweet is internet for the roadtrip. People bringing their PC/Mac and use my phone as a wireless router for their pleasure :D
     
  17. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    You had the Samsung a460, my first sprint phone as well.
     
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  18. TnA2xXtReM

    TnA2xXtReM Member
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    Wow, that is awesome! Just searched an image for it and I'm in love with it again, lol! Well, actually, the a460 was my first postpaid cell phone on Sprint that I got from RadioShack. The first cell phone ever was that blue Nokia bar-type cell phone that I had prepaid plan with (looks like today's home phones). My mom got that package where they had 2 Nokia phone inside (white and blue). Ahh.. flashbacks :D
     
  19. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Still have my a460 around here somewhere. It really is, still, quite a fantastic looking phone. Too bad the reception on it was terrible, and battery life was OK.
     
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  20. TnA2xXtReM

    TnA2xXtReM Member
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    Ah, you got that 'terrible reception' as well. Just one more thing I have can remove from my bad impressions of Sprint. As for the phone, I wished I still have it, but unfortunately, I somehow dropped it without noticing it and then was later told it was stolen from some kid in that same period. It was just one of those really addicting computer class where we get to sit on these super comfy chairs and play networked Starcraft game after we done our project :D

    After my period with Sprint, I had gone through Cingular and had quite a blast with them until AT&T took over, unfortunately. I had Motorola V400>V600>Razr through Cingular until I became modernized with Sprint again :biggrin: So yeah, I found the missing piece to my puzzle to, which is the almighty Samsung A420! Well, kind of... :D
     
  21. Telekom

    Telekom Bronze Senior Member
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    You do realize that 1G is analog yes?
     
  22. dmapr

    dmapr Silver Senior Member
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    What does 1G have to do with anything in the post you were replying to?
     
  23. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Network design takes no consideration of battery life. Battery life is purely up to the phone/battery manufacturers.

    Yea, I agree. Battery and circuit technology will keep up and become more powerful as the phones demand increases. Just look at computers, in the 70's it took tons of electricity to power one clunky computer that was just a big calculator. Today my 20W notebook consumes a fraction of the power and is 100x more powerful.

    Verizon is leading the way with LTE as Vodafone is pusing them, and Verizon has no 3G network to compete with AT&T so Verizon has more to gain with a fast rollout (EVDO is not 3G, if anyone disagrees, please start a new thread ;))

    You're right GSM is so omni-present it will be hard to switch it off (kind of like the Windows XP of cellular, it's so successful and popular it's hard to move forward ;)). However for the sake of evolution, I can't see a 3G network switched off with a 2G network still running. Regulators (ie: FCC) may not even allow that. But who knows, it will be interesting to see what happens.

    I have "inside track" info on LTE and even I don't know that much about it :O It's still very new and under development. It will be all IP tho, and will use high modulation and need a wide bandwidth to reach the high data rates promised (ie: 100-300Mbps). As the current 800/1900 bands are already overcowded in the USA, I can only imagine LTE will be successful in the new 700Mhz bands where it's "virgin" spectrum and can be fully dedicated to LTE, and I think the spectrum is wider as well...

    ....when it comes to fast data speeds, it's really just physics, whatever brand-name technology you use (fast speeds = high modulation + wide bandwidth)
     
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  24. Gottachase

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    "Verizon is leading the way with LTE as Vodafone is pusing them, and Verizon has no 3G network to compete with AT&T so Verizon has more to gain with a fast rollout (EVDO is not 3G, if anyone disagrees, please start a new thread )" -RadioRaiders

    So all of Verizon's claims of having the fastest 3G network are false? Wow they can be in a lot of trouble for that
     
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  25. TnA2xXtReM

    TnA2xXtReM Member
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    That's why both AT&T and Verizon are currently fighting over right now in court about the 'fastest 3G network" claim. But EVDO is not 3G though? It seem pretty fast for me when using on my phone and tethering on the laptop. I don't know, but Sprint had rolled out 4G in some selected cities though.
     
  26. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Of course, but I was meaning something a little different. If a carrier, like ATT, choses a wireless platform that , due to it's frequency, call handling, etc, etc and that might require certain cell spacing not only for coverage, but for lessening the need for the individual mobile unit to produce maximum RF power (and hence affect battery life), and the carrier has no long term plan to implement that cell tower structure, I doubt they would chose it. I only mean that there are many factors that affects a new platform's selection, without assigning any priority list to it.

    Minor point though.
     
  27. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Ok, I'll back-pedal a little. I just checked and IMT-2000 does officially declare CDMA2000 a 3G technology. I recall seeing some slides a few years back that said one of the requirements of "3G" was to be able to handle voice and data connections simultainously, which EVDO is not capable of. EDGE is also now declared "3G" (which was always considered 2.75G) so it looks like the "3G" definition got watered down somewhere along the line.

    ...anyway, EVDO isn't wideband and peaks at 3Mbps, whereas HSPA today is going up to 7-14Mbps and will be upgradeable to reach near-LTE speeds of 150Mbps in the coming years. So really, what I'm saying is that Verizon is hitting a data speed wall with EVDO, while AT&T has alot of room still with their "3G" network of UMTS..

    No, tower spacing is done by coverage requirements, with no consideration of RF exposure to handsets or battery life.
     
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  28. TWX

    TWX Mobile Enthusiast
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    Newer phones in the next 2 years will be outfitted with OLED screens. This saves a TON of power and is still very brilliant.
     
  29. Gottachase

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    ok that clears it up considerably but with respect to the true 3G network Verizon does not have one right?
     
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  30. RadioRaiders

    RadioRaiders RF Black-Belt
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    Verizon and Sprint have CDMA/EVDO networks. The voice and data are on seperate connections, and data can only go up to 3Mbps. That's similar to GSM/EDGE, which hasn't been considered 3G in the past, but now it is, along with EVDO. So really AT&T can market their EDGE network as "3G" also, if Verizon says EVDO is 3G.

    ...anyway, in a word, no, I wouldn't call EVDO 3G (altho some people do)
     
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