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reply to Crookshanks
Re: Facetime True, but transmitted from the $150 AT&T Microcell I had to purchase because AT&T's cellular signals are too weak at my house - which is in a well populated suburb of San Diego, not out in the country somewhere.
So, yes their cell freq's for about 50' then my Internet connection the rest of the way to the BTS.
AT&T could allow free calling over WiFi like T-Mobile which would save the Microcell cost and also eliminate use of their cell freq's, but they chose not to.
If AT&T's signal sucks at your house, which is not out in the country somewhere, why didn't you simply switch to another provider? T-Mobile if you wanted to use UMA, or perhaps Verizon if they have macro coverage at your house?
Incidentally, if you have coverage outside of your house, then AT&T is doing their job. No cellular carrier promises indoor coverage, it's right there in your customer agreement, because as a practical matter they have no control over building materials that attenuate their signal. Every structure does so to a certain extent, sometimes the effect is negligible (wood frame, vinyl siding), whereas other times it will block even the strongest of signals (metal siding, foil backed insulation).
First, my cell phone is provided by my employer and is on the AT&T network. I have a choice for my wife's phone, but for various reasons it's nice to have them on the same carrier.
Second, coverage outside the house is sketchy too. There is a football field sized zone of poor coverage around us, which I suspect is due to shadowing of the cell tower from a hill near by (the area surrounding San Diego is rather hilly).
Lastly, I have had Verizon in the past. The vocoders on the Verizon network are not (in my opinion) as good as those on the AT&T network. I really don't like the Verizon voice quality or the higher apparent delay I had in conversations.
But, back to Facetime. I don't think the bandwidth hit on the network will be as bad as AT&T thinks.
If they don't open it up soon, I may consider writing an app for her iPhone that endlessly transfers a file forth and back between the phone and my webserver whenever she's on the AT&T network.
I bet running that for a month would equal a year or two of our Facetime usage . . .
Well, if your employer is paying for it, I'm not certain why you're upset. "Free" is hard to argue with, even if the quality isn't there.
I hear ya on the vocoders, though in my experience (12+ years as a VZW customer) it's oftentimes the phones themselves. This is my own perspective, and yours may differ, but I've noted that Motorola phones sound the best, even when set to the same vocoder as other models. Most phones will let you tweak the vocoder, it's just a matter of figuring out the service/programming code.
I switched to a Samsung phone a few months ago, mainly because I grew tired of Motorola's locked bootloader nonsense, and while I really enjoy the Samsung for ease of hacking/programming (currently running cyanogenmod and loving it), it's no where near as good as any of the Motorola phones I've owned in the voice quality/reception department. Voice calls are muddled, regardless of bluetooth use or not (ruling out the microphone/speaker in the phone), and the phone drops calls in areas where my Motorola phones had no issue maintaining a connection.
The best voice quality I ever had on a cell phone was when I experimented with T-Mobile and had a Motorola V195s. T-Mobile was all GSM back then, didn't use half-rate, and the call quality was out of this world. Not quite as good as a POTS line, but damn near, and way better than any other wireless provider I've used.
The Facetime block is nonsense, I'll concur with you. Games like this are the reason why I'll never do business with AT&T. They have just as much arrogance as Verizon, but at least Verizon has a reason to be arrogant. AT&T's network is nowhere near as good as Verizon's, yet their chutzpah is unrivaled.
Small clarification, employer pays for my phone, but I pay for my wife's.
I've got essentially unlimited minutes, but she's got to watch her minutes.
Now it's true that if we had decent coverage in the house and didn't have the microcell that she'd be using those minutes anyway. My gripe is that I get no credit for AT&T's use of my Internet connection when the Microcell is in the line.