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MSNBC/Why US cell service is worst

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by Jerro, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I understand your point, but you can't use area of service in the roaming cost factor equation. It's more of a geo-politcal issue. The cost of service has little to do with coverage in europe.

    Anyhow I think all good points made were good. Even some of the journalist, but not all.
     
  2. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Regarding the whole USA cost issue, how long do we think that free m2m, night and weekends or rollovers will last?

    Not too long ago, and even today for some plans, we do and did pay roaming charges in different states, and even within states. Have we forgotten? With consolidation in the US to 3 big wireless units now, Cingular, Verizon, Sprint/nextel, all of them in the 40 to 50 million customer range, they will want to increase revenue desperately. Imagine if one them succeeded in gaining 80 percent of customers over their rivals, they couldn't afford giving free m2m anymore. Not without increasing the monthly fees to some base level, which we see already.

    The traditional landline model in the US has been unlimited local calls, to the next town over, but pay for all long distance on top of a monthly fee. Free incoming. Newer better plans have unlimited local and long distance for $60 a month, for landline. Could wireless afford to move to that? Maybe not in the near future, and still expect to afford tower build out.

    I wonder, after some level of maturity, if our plans will drop m2m n/w, etc when they feel comfortable with their wireless coverage across the US. All three of them will probably flex some muscle and increase rates somehow. After eliminating coverage, reliability issues, and availability of sexy phones, one would think they must compete on price, but they probably can't afford to without raising the dollar bar a bit first. Can they recover costs solely via data services?

    Also even in the US, a bucket of SMS messages is a cheaper alternative for teenagers than using minutes...and they like using SMS too. It's like IM to them. It saves me a bunch of money. I also tell people if the voice signal can't get through, SMS usually will.

    Some speculations that I ponder on...I have no idea how it will play out. Any thoughts?
     
  3. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    Ok. Here is the scenerio.

    Cingular 52 M
    VZW 48 M
    Sprint (NEXTEL) 40M

    So basically 85% of the market share is in the hands of 3 companies. In order for ONE of these comapnies to start dominating the other two ...well....VZW would have to pull there trend from Q4 '04 - Q2 '05 and increase ADD's While decreasing churn for a few more YEARS. The race right now is 60 Million. To be a dominat player in therre league you have to get to 75 Million. In order to do that your pricing MUST be competitive, AND your service MUST be superior in reality AND reputation. Hence I don't think that any of these companies will do it any time soon.

    However, I really feel that VZW is in the drivers seat for two major reasons.

    1.) There numbers will continue to be the best in the Industry (There CEO won't stand for anything less.)

    2.) They don't have an merger pains to deal with.

    Besides, if your coverage is good enouggh in order to increase your enormous market share you have to GIVE something, not take it away. If VZW dropped something, How soon before Sprint starts saying "We will pay your VZW or Cingular ETF AND give you what they won't" So as to not get left in the dust.
     
  4. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    The big three don't have that much share. CTIA reports about 193M subscribers (http://wow-com.com) so using the numbers above, that is 72%. It does rise to 82% if you include T-Mobile.

    That said, I don't see losing m2m anytime soon. Carriers are chasing revnue in data - ringtones, wallpaers, caller tunes, web surfing, etc., and soon video.
     
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  5. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    Thus making my case even more compelling. Thanks for the correction. Now we can worry even less about it.

    And Tmobile is chasing the other three so they wilkl porbably continure to use there strategy/position as the low cost leader.
     
  6. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    I don't see that any carrier will charge for long distance. Why;Because of the excess of Long lines such as fiber and now internet calling. Vonage type service could easily be used by any wireless carrier if the excess fiber optic, microwave and satellite, not to mention copper long distance land lines were to capacity. Weekend capacity is free because it is otherwise under used. So it costs the carrier nothing more.

    Verizon is now taking over MCI, this gives even more capacity, for them.

    Also:when a cell phone to cell phone call is made (even to a different carrier)
    the call is most often send directly to the other companies cell switch, not to the land line company, first.
     
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  7. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I agree that it will be years before anyone tries to remove m2m minutes. I am still baffled by Cinguar add a phone price increase from $9.99 to 14.99. I wonder how this has worked out for them...were they expecting others to follow suit and everyone gets a revenue boost or are their marketing people just retarted. It seems that they need to do everything to keep their customer edge at this point in time.

    Thanks for the thoughts.
     
  8. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    I don't see M2M disapearing either, they cut out any switches & wired networks when you make a M2M call, so there is no or little cost to the provider for the calls.
    As for them raising the share rates, I think there are 2 reason's they did this.
    1. to see if other carriers would follow suit, if Cingular's ARPU went up they might have felt this was part of it. or
    2. They needed to slow down new add's & migrations while integrating the networks to prevent overload & if they raised the rates, it would slow at least family share migrations down. It would be interesting to see the breakdown of new add's the last quater with the higher rates on share plans & if the new adds were single lines vs share lines & how many before the new rates vs after the new rates.
    I think once the networks are integrated almost 100% with the new towers, the prices will come back down to compete with the other carriers again.
     
  9. theflaim

    theflaim New Member

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    I think I must be in a minority here in the US. What I want is good cell phone quality (phone plus service). I'm willing to pay for it, but I don't think it exists.

    All I want is a phone that makes calls, and remembers telephone numbers. I don't need games, PDA's, color monitors, mp3 players, cameras...etc. All of that is a distraction. Just excellent sound quality. That's what a phone is supposed to do, right? I guess it should be relatively small too, since all it does is make calls :)


    After reading some of these posts, it seems that American consumers are responsible for the state of our service. They are more concerned with number of minutes, and how little they pay than what really matters. But that's nothing new. Americans have always been like that. Just look at our cities, cars, food, everything!!!! Americans want it big, they want it cheap, and that's about all that really matters to them. It's all just for show anyways. A nice quality house that is elegant, made of lasting materials, but perhaps a bit small, or a huge house with the cheapest materials? Huge it is.

    I am a US citizen, but i don't identify with this mentality.
     
  10. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    As I recall this is a wireless forum not a political statement,complain about Americans forum.
     
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  11. Scrumhalf

    Scrumhalf Bronze Senior Member
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    Actually, the rest of the world is much more into making their phones do things other than just make calls. Americans are much more likely to use their phones for just talking compared to most other advanced countries in the world. Your assessment does not hold water - read through the thread to find other well-reasoned arguments explaining the reasons for the differences between mobile coverage in Europe and the US.
     
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  12. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Trolls just come and go....

    I agree with Scrumhalf....If Americans were so concerned about the things that do NOT matter, then why is it that we are the last to get the latest and most feature-rich phones? Theflaim's post just doesn't make sense. If he doesn't want a phone with cameras and all the other distractions, then he/she is in the right place! I'm sure he won't be able to find a plain old and simple cell phone in Japan, Europe or the rest of Asia for that matter. In the US, a simple and cheap cell phones that just makes calls and gives great voice quality is a lot easier to find in the US!
     
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  13. @TheRealDanny

    @TheRealDanny ALL IN
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    I hope the other posters didn't come across as rude to you. Welcome to Wireless Advisor.

    We just try to keep a politically neutral atmosphere here to avoid heated arguments or off topic discussions.

    However your comments and opinions are just as well valuable and well taken. There are others who share your opinion. The things is you're a dying breed. LOL. :)

    When I speak to my parents, they don't care about video conferencing or MP3 ringtones so I know exactly where you are coming from.

    Our younger generation, the ones who will be fueling our wireless phone companies for years to come, are starting to demand more and more out of their phones. Carriers will capitalize on this and are currently investing billions to prepare for a future laced with all things wireless.

    I remember as a teen wanting contact lenses. My parents said contacts are for vain people who think they are too good for glasses. Now both my parents have had Lasik done and glasses are a thing of the past.

    When I first introduced mobile phones to my parents back in '98, why mom asked me: "Do you think I have the need to impress anyone by having a cell phone?" Haha. Now, my parents don't even own a landline phone and rely 100% of their mobiles. Who would of known? Times have changed.
     
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  14. theflaim

    theflaim New Member

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    You missed the point. Part of the reason why US cell service is bad is because the market for Good service does not have nearly as much profit driving power as the market for cheap service. Most people aren't willing to pay higher prices for service if it meant they got better service. I'm not saying I'm the only person who wants good sound quality. However, the large majority of people who want phone service, want CHEAP phone service. That's why you see all the plans tending towards more minutes, lower rates. It's Business 101. I'm not going to get good service until more people demand better audio.
     
  15. theflaim

    theflaim New Member

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    I think the technical reasons (ie. tower density, load etc) why European service is clearer have been discussed as you suggest. My comment is an abstraction from this level of detail, addressing the problem of "how can we make the service better?" The consumer desires are ultimately driving the cell phone industry decisions. The service providers are constantly faced with decisions they have to make, and their goal is to maximize profits. I'm sure they are probably putting up towers as fast as humanly possible. They could choose to limit the number of users on their equipment to guarantee a higher level of service. Then they'd probably have to raise the price. Do we see anyone doing this kind of thing? I sure haven't. If you go to websites that specialize in helping you choose a cell phone and service, they have categories like "camera or not", "color or not", "mp3 or not", what size phone, what weight, how many hours standby, but never "Sound quality". I think this says a lot about what the public wants. I want to use my phone to have good conversations with people I care about. Seems like other people would rather take photos, listen to mp3's, play games, watch movie trailers... in fact these are all ANTI-PHONE activities. They involve you communicating less with people.
     
  16. theflaim

    theflaim New Member

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    I would assume that we are the last to get technology for a number of reasons, but not the reason you are implying. I've heard thousands of firsthand stories from people who went to Asia and came back to tell us about all the really cool stuff they have, and we won't get it for a year or two. The demand has always been there. The reason we don't get "the cool" stuff is probably more of a practical issue, like they need to test market things before they know they've got a "must have" device and should ramp up massive production for the US, and I imagine it takes a while to actually make the stuff too.

    So the US has cell phones with good quality? Where? Show me one that is as good as my landline and I'll be grateful.
     
  17. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    My Audiovox 9900 in my house has better Sound quality than my landline. That is what I believe.

    Two important factors.
    1.)
    I use VZW as my provider in New York whoch is obne of there most important markets.

    2.)
    Sound quality is subjective to the user AND a product of the Network.

    So the questions are, Where do you live and which proider do you use? And which providers HAVE you used?
     
  18. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Sound quality depends a lot on the area. I know in my area I can get landline-like sound quality even on cell-to-cell calls when using phones like Motorola V600, V551, etc. Incoming and outgoing quality is very comparable to landlines on those phones. These are the same cell phone models sold in Europe, so if anything, we can't claim it's only in the US. If that's not good sound quality, then you are too demanding and you have to wait until we get Dolby Digital Surround on cell phones. :rolleyes:
     
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  19. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    I agree 100%. If we look at the numbers, Cingular is signing up more customers than any other carrier. I think there is some pressure to slow this down during integration to reduce the number of complaints due to overloads, and Consumer Reports and JD Power's negative publicity. It is very difficult to maintain service quality during an integration that requires disruptions from end to end of the company.
     
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  20. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    I disagree with this point. (BTW you sure know a lot of people who travel to Asia!). I know people who sell mobile phones, and have sold them for many years (about 7). Most of their customers want a cheap flip phone, maybe with a camera. The percentage of customers who want high-end features (like video) is small. Phone manufactures, especially GSM manufacturers, would have no problems meeting the demand, especially in GSM's case where most of their customer base is outside the US, primarily Europe. The increase in manufacturing capacity for US subscribers who demand these services today is small. Plently of people don't even know how (or care to know how) to send a text message, let alone surf the web with their phone. My mother and in-laws are cases in point!! (although my father is good at SMS :D )
     
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  21. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    Hate to break it to you but the AVERAGE American is a technophobe. Most people over the age of 35 don't know how to text message yet. Let alone surf the web on there phone. Most people don't know how to program there VCR's either.
     
  22. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Good service costs the carriers money. Providing add-ons costs a little money up front, but increases revenue for the carrier. I think you accurately discussed that. Of coruse, most people do want to pay the least possible for their needs. Who wouldn't? Seems like a fair enough idea to me. Even with the recent mergers in the industry, most people have a choice of at least 4 national, and one regional, provider. Personally, I am a long-time customer of one of the most price-competitive providers, T-Mobile. They provide the services I want at a price I want to pay. If you have followed the industry in the last year, rates aren't going any lower....they are going higher. I believe T-Mobile is the only carrier that still offers plans for $20, and I think Cingular and Verizon start at $40. That's very different than a year or so ago.
     
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  23. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I'm going to stay out of this one, but Europeans, Asians, Indians, etc can be just as cost conscious (ie cheap) and any American. This is not the reason why there is, if any, difference between cell service in different countries.
     
  24. MeatChicken

    MeatChicken Senior Member
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    Thank You ! :)
    I think a lot of this is the old "The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence" type of nonsense.
    I personally have come in contact with many visiting Europeans to the NYC area that buy all their electronics goodies here, because " The US always gets most of this stuff first, & it's less expensive.".
    Also, Anyone ever think that the "worse service" myth is partially due to the Europeans, who's GSM phones up to all these years can Only access our 1900Mhz GSM channels, which one can argue is the most poorly built-out system in the US. They have no access to all of ATT & Cing's superior 800Mhz GSM networks, nor any of Verizon Or Sprints networks either.
    Even ATT/CING' GSM only a year or 2 ago was not up to par with their TDMA coverage, which Euro GSM had no access to either.
    Then they go home & complain about cell service in the USA.....
    Imagine if YOU only had a T-mobile single band 1900 phone ....
     
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  25. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    That's a good point. For years, many people believed GSM's RF was inferior by nature to anything else. This was because all of GSM in the US was only at 1900Mhz while everything else enjoyed the 850Mhz band.

    Many people still believe that Analog signals travel farther than digital signals because their providers only have digital service in the 1900 band and analog at 800Mhz. This is the same thing that happened to Sprint users.
     
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  26. Jerro

    Jerro Bronze Senior Member
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    OUCH! I past 35 a few decades ago and us over 35 guys invented the toys, gadgets and conveniences that the world uses today. We landed on the moon,We invented cellular.
    Gates is over 35, Jobs is over 35. Ellen Collins the commander of the Shuttle Discovery that safely landed today is over 35. Many more too. Please give us elderly geeks some credit. LOL.

    Oh; did I mention to the blame America first set;
    " God Bless the USA"
     
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  27. Scrumhalf

    Scrumhalf Bronze Senior Member
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    Hmmmm... not quite sure what point you are making here. Tower placement is ultimately a decision based on an analysis of how many customers are going to benefit vs. the cost. If you look at a coverage map of France or Germany, you see that practically every square inch of the country is covered. We in the US would of course like every square mile of every sparsely populated Western state to be covered by cell sites but practically speaking this is going to not happen so easily - why would a phone company put up towers in places that have only prairie dogs and coyotes and the occasional human being? Certainly not out of utopian notions of Europe-like coverage - that's for phone-geeks like us to debate on forums like this.



    Sound quality is a rather subjective metric which is just as much a function of the network coverage as it is a function of the phone. All the other items on your list are hard facts - does the phone have a camera or mp3 capability or not...this may be why websites don't report it. However, in just about any conversation I have had with other phone users, the ability to make and hold a call has ALWAYS been on the top of the list of every person I have talked to. Maybe you are underestimating the intelligence of the phone-buying public.
     
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  28. Scrumhalf

    Scrumhalf Bronze Senior Member
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    I seriously doubt the average Joe Sixpack in the US is any more or less comfortable with technology than the AVERAGE European or Asian. In every country I have visited, the situation is the same - average kids and young adults are more comfortable with technology of the computer age than average middle-aged or older adults. This is really not very surprising - kids grow up with computers and gadgets these days and naturally are more comfortable with them. My 5 year old son is more comfortable shutting down and starting up his PC than my father is with his. Not very surprising because my son knew to type on the keyboard before he could write. And my father isn't an "average" adult. He is a retired mechanical engineer and is very comfortable with technology per se, just not as familiar with computers because his first encounter with computers came at the age of 70.

    A counter argument about technology and adults could relate to cars and automobile technology. It is very clear that the average middle-aged or older adult knows far more about automotive technology than a young adult, at least in my experience. That's because they got to work with cars when cars were much more accessible and when cars represented the pinnacle of engineering technology that was commonly accessible to the public.

    So, I would posit that it is the level of familiarity rather than some innate "technophobia" that drives the generational divide regarding comfort with modern computerized gadgets.
     
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  29. adgsteve

    adgsteve Tower Hunting Addict
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    Hey, I'm perfectly capable of programming my VCR.. :rasp:

    Someone has to stick up for all of us "over 35" techies.. :browani:
     
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  30. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    Hey, enough about us old timers here, we do know how to SMS & program our VCR's as well as other fun electronic toys.
    Please be nice to your elders now dru, or I will have to email Stossle & let him know your picking on us. ;)
     

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