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Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Jerro, Aug 2, 2005.
MSNBC OUR CELL PHONE SERVICE sucks
Please don't blame me for the title.
Ironically, the banner ad at the top of the page was a VZW ad for the Sammy i730.
I am responding to the author right now. I will post my email responce when I finish it.
I have just finished reading your recent MSNBC article
titled "Why cell phone service here sucks:Europeans pay
about the same, but that's where the similarities end"
In your article you bring up several valid points however
your data is incomplete and your conclusion is incorrect.
The reason that cell phone service here is, in industry
speak, called NIMBY's.
NIMBY means Not In My Back Yard. it is an attitude that
many people have and as such they oppose very strongly the
building of new cell phone sites or towers in there area.
The problem is, in order to have cell phone coverage in an
area a cell phone service provider MUST have a site or
tower in the area.
Here is a typical scenario. Verizon Wireless wants to
service YOUR neighborhood. Your neighbors say H*#L
NO!!!!!. They fight the cell phone site with all there
legal and financial might. It takes Verizon Wireless 24
months and 3 million dollars to erect this one site.
That is more normal than not. If instead there were no
NIMBY's Verizon Wireless using the same financial
resources, 3 million dollars, is able to erect anywhere
between 6 to 12 cell sites in your area and get them
on-line in under 6 months.
If there were no NIMBY's then American cell phone coverage
would be significantly better than it currently is.
True enough about NIMBY's But it is also true that standards are different.
ALTHOUGH: the same NIMBY types here are also responsible for higher gas prices, not enough refineries, nukes etc.
Guess in France where the cell service is good, the anti antenna NIMBYS also looked the other way since France is almost 80% nuclear power. Imagine if the US was even 50%. Same for cellular here. VIVE LA USA!
damn we still have a long way to go... lol
Sorry to be the devil's advocate, but although your point is very valid, it becomes very weak once you realize that there are NIMBYs in Europe as well and they fight against towers just as hard (if not worse) as they do in the US. Just read some of these articles:
The real question is, why is cell phone service in Europe so much better despite the NIMBYs over there? Before blaming the NIMBYs I would blame the FCC licensing structure first. If the FCC hadn't broken down the US into hundreds of licenses, we would not have to see companies spending a fortune in integrating their systems and there wouldn't be so many inconsistencies when roaming. They would all be standard by now and they could spend those dollars in expansion and better coverage instead of engineering ways to make so many incompatible systems work together. Where do all these incompatibilities come from? They come from all the small regional companies that got together to form a big carrier that now has to deal with the issues explained above.
This guy is an idiot. Yes, Europeans might pay as much as we do for a base plan per month, but those plans definitely don't include any minutes/ or if they do, way less minutes than here in the States, and I mean way less!!! Europeans don't even talk a fraction of what cellphone users here in the States talk, that's just pathetic, and also I don't think that Europeans do more text messaging, with no unlimited plans out there.
This guy says that he got perfect service in the middle of nowhere...well, that's true, BUT you have to consider that some countries there are as big as one of our States. Say that all VERIZON had to do was build out Utah, they would have near perfect service after being here for years... this guy needs to get his facts straight and stop commenting negatively on our services here. He's honestly an idiot.
Also we have to consider the fact that it was cheaper for us to buildout a wireline network then it was in Europe, and the wireless was a better deal for them to get phone service to people.
I think all the mentioned factors by everyone between them & us is why they have way better coverage, then we do.
Also this country is so much bigger and when going from Analog to TDMA to GSM or from Analog to CDMA & now they are all going to 3G, it's alot of money being spent on these changes that could also have been used to build out networks, and since Verizon & Sprint pretty much have stuck with CDMA after Analog, they have a better built network vs Cingular.
(just my 2 cents on this)
Let's not forget that the regulatory agencies in Western Europe require a significantly higher level of coverage in exchange for a license to sell service. The reason France has almost 100% coverage is because the French government has a requirement that in order to maintain the license, Orange, SFR and Bouygues must maintain 95% coverage.
The governments also heavily subsidised the buildout of the original GSM networks, because it was a cheaper alternative to shoring up the horrendous landline networks in those countries. As recently as my last trip to France in 2004, landline service was cut off for nearly three weeks to the village where my friend lives. Imagine if landline service were cut off for even three days in the U.S.
In some countries -- Finland, for instance -- there is no process for the public to object to land use, so there is no problem with NIMBYs. Other countries, notably the UK, have problems constructing towers (called "masts") because they DO have a public grievance process.
Finally, in countries where there is no government mandate for service, such as Ukraine, cell phone service approximates what we have here in the US -- excellent coverage in large cities and along major highways, but gaps in the rural areas.
Back in the days prior to cellular we had 2 choices for CAR phones, in 1977 one could get on a waiting list for SMR service or IMTS service; through a private local carrier or the local phone company. Almost all phone companies ATT entities used IMTS by the 1970's. It was dial, pulse service with manual roaming.
SO even then, there were non monopoly options but the real driving force was the PHONE COMPANY, be it ATT or GTE, etc. Prices on the Phone company for equipment was very high; I paid about $4,000.00. BUT the service was the price of a business phone and for years no air time charge. Once ATT was broken up by 1986 all this had changed and Phone companies had their cellular systems and private concerns had theirs. Thus the fragmented mess we have today as more and more local bells and "A" side carriers developed local and rural systems.
In Europe they did have a more unified system, however, today they also have alternative systems but as the article mentioned they are NOW compatible.
Nimbys are a big problem but also the fragmentation that the FCC allowed and the nonstandard service as mentioned here by others are contributing.
Cellular coverage is better than US in not only Western Europe but about every populated place in the world including all the developing countries. I travel for business and pleasure extensively and I have found near perfect cellular coverage from the villages of Malayasia, to the remotest historical sites in Egypt, to the Amazon rainforest, to the villages of Kenya and Tanzania.
I agree with all the reasons discussed so far. The one big one (Fire14 did mention this) that I feel is, none of this places had a landline that you could count on. In some of the remote areas, the wait for a landline phone was sometimes more than a year. Most of the people could not afford the monthly charges either. Usually there was one phone in the community that people used almost like a pay per use. Some of these phones actually had a cover with a lock over the buttons so nobody could call out without the owners permission.
So in these areas, instead of spending more money into an inadequate landline system, the goverment started putting in major funding and built a robust cellular system. The large equipment manufacturers, specially Nokia went gangbusters into flooding these markets with decent and affordable cell phones. In these places cell phones are a necessity of life and not a luxury like it is for us in the US.
PS: Sorry if this sounds like an editorial, I will get off the soap box now..
Very true, as you pointed out about Fixed Wireless in India, Tata Indicom was the first to launch CDMA-based Fixed Wireless Service in the country. Tata Indicom, is also the world's largest 3G - 1x Fixed Wireless Service Provider and is the first wireless service provider with over two million Fixed Wireless customers.
Now they are introducing - ' Walky', Fixed Wireless Service, it has all features of a mobile phone like SMS, caller ID, missed call notification, off hook reception, 99 numbers address book etc. together withhigh speed Internet capability. Operating on Tata Indicom CDMA network. It is believed that the Walky will be the landline of the future atleast in India.
I believe the handsets used are LG and Axesstel. Its interesting to note that around the world, manufacturers had considered Fixed Wireless Service as a dead product. But after the success of Tata Indicom Fixed Wireless Service in India, international vendors are investing money and are taking interest in Research and Development (R&D) on Fixed Wireless Service.
PS: Jerro thanks for pointing this out.
I agree w/ Andy Here. Reading that article I also said to myself "this guy is an idiot!
How easy would it be for VZW or CINg to cover an entire country w/ area less than the size of NJ, MD or CT, & with less population than the NYC metro area combined, especially if their plans included no Unlim bonuses, less mins & an included calling area only the size of NJ??
Areas here that require 4 or 5 cell sites, strictly for capacity, not coverage, can be handled by 1 site there, meaning less cost & more sites for other spots.
His conclusion seemed to be that "The US Goverment" should step in & make 1 system, "but of course" won't.
What the heck would the "goverment" forcing CINg to switch to CDMA, or VZW & Sprint being forced to switch their sites to xmit GSM signals, have anything to do with dead spots in the middle of nowhere??
As Andy Said, Most Euro plans don't allow Free calls, Unlim mins, with a Hawaii to Maine coverage area ect. That's not even getting into the Gvmt Subsidies, free tower right-of-way/rents ect that many of these countries cell systems have.
Another thing not addressed in the article is the "tourist" factor that he had.
Even here in the USA, a "tourist" to NYC, Orlando, Las Vegas ect will probably be satisfied with their cell service while there, Regardless of the carrier, vs a "local".
Your fone is going to work visiting most major shopping areas, business districts, hotel areas, ride the main train or bus to the suburbs that most people commute to work on , ect...
A "local" however, will know all the dead spots, & which carrier is better than another there....
You may recall a few years ago ATT; " Lucent" was doing fixed, wireless. in rural US and experimenting in other areas.
It evaporated as far as I know. It certainly sounded like a great way to go
bypassing the local Bell spinoff's.
Yes I do remember that, and I agree it would have been a great way to go. Somewhere around 1999-2000 maybe? It did evaporate but I don't recall the reason for it, was the cost per customer too high? Maybe around $750?
PS: Didn't Lucent and other tech stocks take a dive at that time also bringing Nasdaq to an all time low?
Probably the most important point!
There has to be some economic incentive for a wireless company to put up towers in some remote area with low population density. Until that happens, coverage is going to be spotty in these areas. And as any demographic map of the US will show, there are a LOT of these areas - the much of the US is pretty empty in terms of human habitation. To expect Europe-like coverage in the US is I think pretty unrealistic, although I am pretty sure it will happen eventually.
Around the time of the dot com bubble burst, i think. I was rooting for the end copper for the "last mile". I would have signed up in a minute, to replace the 100 foot run from the utility poll, that the squirrels love to munch on and take down my landline service. I wish some one else would offer the service.
My spin on this article. The coverage comparison is easy to argue, so I will not go there. But before the major acceptance of GSM in the US(by Cingular and ATT, omit tmo for now) a few years back, the guy would have had a strong point: The phones offerings were much better in europe, more features, more things to do. Text messging became much more popular and years sooner in europe than the US. And let's not forget that incoming calls are FREE. That is a lot of free minutes for the receiver. I found that people use mobile phone extensively. Even though europe is small by comparison to the US, they could use their phones while roaming in other countries. Only GSM carriers have uncrippled BlueTooth.
But since the US embraced GSM in a big way, I'm not embarrased to window shop in a euro cell store...my US phone is on par with what I see. The Motos are the same, although there are some nice Nokias that are not in the US yet. My phone can now roam in europe too and SMS has become very popular and now can be sent across carriers. And the coverage is better too. We now can use sleek phones with no visible antenna because the US coverage has become stronger. Euros visiting the US would complain about GSM coverage here, but not anymore.
One point he missed is the mess that europe has regarding phone charges. I've heard that in the small Netherlands there are 5 carriers, each with great coverage. But a mobile user get charged different rates depending if they call to the same carrier, to a landline or to another carrier. I guess you find out when the bill comes who you talked to.
An example of sleek things I see in europe, but are not advertised here. Of course you could buy it overseas. When you see these things in stores, you do get the impression we're behind, but it's not really the case anymore, it more marketing. Hey! here's a great idea...they could make this into a '**** (Richard) Tracy' watch...keep the phone in your pocket and talk and see with your watch!
Get a fresh new point of view with the stylish Nokia Wireless Image Headset. Leave your phone in your pocket or bag - the headset connects using Bluetooth wireless technology.
See who's calling before you answer. Import your phonebook, browse the list of up to 250 entries using the five-way joystick and add or edit names and numbers with the simple text editor. Select a name to make a call or dial with your voice - just say a name stored in the headset phonebook.
A New Image
What makes the Nokia Wireless Image Headset really stand out from the crowd is the 128 x 128-pixel 4,096-color display. Transfer images from your compatible device with Bluetooth wireless technology to display as wallpapers or slide shows, or type a short message to put on view for all to see.
Connect in Style
The design focuses on the bright color display and discreet joystick, surrounded by a black and chrome casing and attached earpiece. Worn around the neck, the Wireless Image Headset can be as subtle or as striking as you want to make it.
I agree that this guy is missinformed. Here are the issues that I have with his article.
Cellular service does not cost the same in Europe and the US, unless you never use your European phone to place an outgoing call and you can get everyone to call you. If I use a wireless phone in Europe like I do in the US, it would cost me roughly double my average cost in the US. Polonius and I compared our usage and costs and this is what we came up with.
SMS has been very popular in Europe because it costs so much to call another cell phone. They do not have free in network calling. The caller pays double to call another cell phone (since the caller pays both the outgoing and incoming charge). Therefore, because of the cost, SMS is the cost effective way to communicate cell to cell in Europe.
The other fact that this author totally missed is roaming costs. I can travel all over the US without roaming. Traveling this way in Europe means roaming, and roaming charges are not cheap in Europe.
Some good points regarding phone charges. But you can't blame them for having roaming charges in other countries. - Viewfly
The central question is about coverage being better in Europe as opposed to the USA. Yes?
Well you are right, you can't expect no roaming charges whatsoever throughout Europe, but carriers like T-Mobile and Vodafone who have many partner networks throughout Europe should offer very cheap roaming rates on their networks.
For example, if I take my Vodafone phone from Germany to France or Spain and roam on Vodafone there, roaming charges should be minimal since both networks are Vodafone, but this is not often the case in Europe.
No, but that was not the point that I was making. I was comparing the size of the no-roaming area in which we live. Roaming brings in lots of Euros to the European Telcos. NA Telcos do not have these lucrative roaming charges. The underlying point that I was making was that the average European user pays more than the average North American user for the same amount of service. They may have better coverage in many places than we do in NA, but they are paying for it.
Indeed! In many cases the proper adjective would be "exorbidant."
Of course, and posters in this thread pointed out why this is true.
The reasons include:
European wireless licenses dictate minimum coverage levels.
The area is smaller and generally much more densely populated (excluding northern Scandinavia).
Europeans pay more than we do for the same level of service. When you consider roaming charges, they pay much more than we do for the priviledge of using a cell phone when they are more than 1,000 km from home (often the nearest national border is much closer than 1,000 km).
My question to you would be:
Would you be willing to pay twice as much for the same level of service, and pay very high roaming charges when travel outside the state (or province) where you live to have European style coverage in rural areas?
I read the original post, and the question is not just about coverage, but features, and type of use, ease of use.
That's not the way business works. Tmobile doesn't give great rates to US customers in Europe, Cingular charges $1.99 in the Bahamas and only $1.29 in Europe. Even within a business unit you can't buy at cost something internal.
I agree rates are high in Europe, but I think government cost add on's are probably also a factor with roaming rates.