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This is a sub-selection from The looming threat


amarryat
Verizon FiOS

join:2005-05-02
Marshfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Crookshanks

Re: The looming threat

said by Crookshanks:

You retain the freedom to leave whenever you want and keep a grandfathered pricing plan.

Device subsidies need to go away anyhow and I'd hazard a guess that the industry is moving in that direction.

Yes but the only reason you can leave whenever you want is because they're not subsidizing the phone! The bill should be lower for anyone who brings their own device, or is no longer on contract.

In addition, if you bring your own device or are no longer on contract, DATA should not be a requirement. Again you could look at the data requirement as part of the subsidy since smartphones are far more expensive than dumbphones.

Device subsidies going away won't disappoint me, however like I said above, if we're buying our own phones, we should also be able to select the services we want. Once voice is on data, that part won't matter anyway, neither would the text messaging surcharge.

Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

said by amarryat:

In addition, if you bring your own device or are no longer on contract, DATA should not be a requirement.

Again, in principle I agree with you. Personally I wouldn't want a smartphone without a data plan -- I'd just buy a wi-fi only tablet -- but to each their own. The end of device subsidies will fix this problem, it'll only be a matter of time before someone releases a "smartphone" that comes wi-fi only and doesn't include the cellular data functionality.

said by amarryat:

we should also be able to select the services we want. Once voice is on data, that part won't matter anyway, neither would the text messaging surcharge.

I wouldn't count on voice being billed exclusively as data anytime soon. We are talking about the phone company here. One could argue that voice has effectively been data ever since AMPS went away but it has always been billed as a separate service. Hell, it has effectively been data on the wireline network for decades, any call that leaves your local CO is digitized and carried alongside other calls and data.

Don't despair entirely though, I'd bet it's only a matter of time before you see a "Skype phone" or similar device that's effectively a computer shaped like a phone with a SIM slot in it. You'll be able to buy a data only plan and bypass the carrier's voice network entirely. Heck, you can do this now with Google Voice, it's just not as seamless as it needs to be to go mainstream.

SMS is the biggest rip off of all but I can't find much sympathy for the people who have paid for it. It's hardly a necessary service and the money the carriers raked in from SMS has funded network expansion and enabled them to charge less for voice service over the years.


amarryat
Verizon FiOS

join:2005-05-02
Marshfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by Crookshanks:

I wouldn't count on voice being billed exclusively as data anytime soon. We are talking about the phone company here.

SMS is the biggest rip off of all but I can't find much sympathy for the people who have paid for it. It's hardly a necessary service and the money the carriers raked in from SMS has funded network expansion and enabled them to charge less for voice service over the years.

I think that's the motivation for Voice over LTE. There will be no difference between that data or any other data. Isn't there a problem with latency using data, but not with the VoTLE standard? I realize that as a digital signal, voice is technically data, but it is handled differently I think - maybe on a different channel or frequency. At least in Verizon's case, there are two radios at the current time in a 4G phone.

Agreed about SMS - we have it though - the kids use it to send a lot of texts. And Google Voice works just fine for that, but you can't do picture messages with it. Plus it's another number. Once everything is data, that shouldn't be billed separately either as there would be no distinguishing it between SMS, MMS, or an email.

Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

said by amarryat:

I think that's the motivation for Voice over LTE.

The long term motivation from the carrier's point of view is to shut down their 2G/3G voice networks and refarm the spectrum to LTE. Most of them aren't in a hurry to do this though. Verizon at least has committed to running their CDMA voice network for many years to come.

said by amarryat:

I realize that as a digital signal, voice is technically data, but it is handled differently I think - maybe on a different channel or frequency. At least in Verizon's case, there are two radios at the current time in a 4G phone.

Consider the cable company, their phone product is VoIP. It transmits data packets on the same DOCSIS network used for your internet connection. Why do they get away with selling it as a separate service? Two reasons:

1) Because they can.
2) Because it's (theoretically) prioritized with QoS so web browsing/downloading doesn't kill it.

Arguably there's no reason at all to use the cable company's VoIP product. It's no where near as reliable as a POTS line, doesn't come with the mobility of a cell phone, and costs more than competing VoIP products like Vonage. Somehow they keep signing people up though.

said by amarryat:

Once everything is data, that shouldn't be billed separately either as there would be no distinguishing it between SMS, MMS, or an email.

SMS will eventually cease to exist in its current form. Arguably there's no reason to use it on a smartphone other than to communicate with non-smartphone users. If everyone you know has a smartphone you can use any one of a number of free IM clients to communicate with them.


amarryat
Verizon FiOS

join:2005-05-02
Marshfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by Crookshanks:

Consider the cable company, their phone product is VoIP. It transmits data packets on the same DOCSIS network used for your internet connection. Why do they get away with selling it as a separate service? Two reasons:

1) Because they can.
2) Because it's (theoretically) prioritized with QoS so web browsing/downloading doesn't kill it.

Arguably there's no reason at all to use the cable company's VoIP product. It's no where near as reliable as a POTS line, doesn't come with the mobility of a cell phone, and costs more than competing VoIP products like Vonage. Somehow they keep signing people up though.

SMS will eventually cease to exist in its current form. Arguably there's no reason to use it on a smartphone other than to communicate with non-smartphone users. If everyone you know has a smartphone you can use any one of a number of free IM clients to communicate with them.

But SMS is easier - same number as to call them. No need to know what kind of phone your friend has. No need to use one app to text some people, and another to text others. That being said, I do use Google Voice to send texts sometimes - one reason is that I can do it from my desk.

As for the cable company VOIP - supposedly it runs on a different channel as well? And it isn't on the public internet, just internal? Anyway, we have the FIOS digital voice product which works just fine. But in my office, I have the Ooma for that line - and it works just as well, especially on the FIOS internet connection. Before I got the Ooma a few years ago, I had a VOIP provider and it worked very well, with TONS of features that the telco don't provide. But that service became jittery sometimes when I was on Comcast, due to their unstable internet service.

But back to the original article, I don't like the idea of metered billing for data, the skyrocketing price of data (which has become cheaper to provide), and the double-dipping where you're paying twice when you bring your own device. I do like the SIM card options you have in Europe - when I was in England a few months ago, there were a bunch of providers and options.

Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

said by amarryat:

As for the cable company VOIP - supposedly it runs on a different channel as well? And it isn't on the public internet, just internal?

Nope, same channel. The only difference is that it's subject to a higher QoS priority. Internal vs. external network shouldn't make a difference at all, data is data as you've repeatedly said.

said by amarryat:

But back to the original article, I don't like the idea of metered billing for data, the skyrocketing price of data (which has become cheaper to provide)

For better or worse I think metered data is a necessity for wireless service. Particularly for 3G, an EvDO Rev. A channel has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 3mbit/s. That's shared with every user on the channel and in reality the available bandwidth is a lot less because 3mbit/s can only be achieved under perfect RF conditions.

One could argue that unlimited data would never have been offered at all if the carriers had predicted the smartphone revolution. When they rolled out unlimited data the primary use of a smartphone was push e-mail and light web browsing, both things that could easily be accomplished on a dial up connection. Nobody streamed audio. Nobody streamed video. People weren't downloading huge apps and surfing websites at desktop quality. Nor did you have a large number of people competing for the same resource -- smartphones were in the minority back in those days and dumbphones phones only used data for MMS.

Now I would like to see some changes to the current pricing model. Sooner or later one of the carriers will offer "nights and weekends" for data as they did for voice back in the day. The network is obviously less heavily loaded at 4AM and there's no reason why application updates and the like couldn't be scheduled to happen during off-peak hours.

said by amarryat:

and the double-dipping where you're paying twice when you bring your own device.

I don't like it either but for better or worse there's no law mandating a different pricing structure. T-Mobile at least does offer you a break if you BYOD. I'd jump onto them in a heartbeat if they had a rural network that was worth a damn. Alas they are utterly useless outside of urban/suburban areas.