The Telecom Digest for June 01, 2010
Volume 29 : Issue 148 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
4G on the way (David Clayton)
511 users, say bye to the voice on the other end of the line (Monty Solomon)
Please give your opinion about a new format for the web-based digest (Telecom digest moderator)
Re: Prepaid cell phones under fire... (Joseph Singer)
Re: White Pages fading out? (Robert Bonomi)
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Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 13:49:58 +1000
From: David Clayton <email@example.com>
Subject: 4G on the way
4G wireless: fast, but overhyped
May 31, 2010 - 11:36AM
Mobile phone companies will soon start a barrage of advertising for the
next advance in wireless network technology: 4G access.
Carriers in the US are are promising faster speeds and the thrill of being
the first on the block to use a new acronym. But there's less to 4G than
meets the eye, and there's little reason for people to scramble for it, at
least for the next few years.
Sprint Nextel is the first carrier to beat the drum for fourth-generation
wireless technology. It's releasing its first 4G phone, the EVO, this
In the fall, Verizon Wireless will be firing up its 4G network in 25 to 30
cities, and probably will make a big deal of that. A smaller provider,
MetroPCS Communications, is scheduled to introduce its first 4G phone
around the same time.
So what is 4G?
Broadly speaking, it's a new way to use the airwaves, designed from the
start for the transmission of data rather than phone calls. To do that, it
borrows aspects of the latest generation of Wi-Fi, the short-range
For consumers, 4G means, in the ideal case, faster access to data. For
instance, streaming video might work better, with less stuttering and
higher resolution. Videoconferencing is difficult on 3G and might work
better on 4G. Multiplayer video games may benefit too.
Other than that, it's difficult to point to completely new uses for 4G
phones - things they can do that 3G phones can't.
Instead, the upgrade to 4G is more likely to enhance the things you can
already do with 3G, said Matt Carter, president of Sprint's 4G division.
"View it as the difference between watching regular TV and high-definition
TV," Carter said. "Once you've experienced high-definition TV it's hard to
go back to standard TV. It's the same sort of thing here."
So the improvement from 3G to 4G is not as dramatic as the step from 2G to
3G, which for the first time made real web browsing, video and music
downloads practical on phones. The introduction of 3G started in earnest
about five years ago, but it isn't complete.
There's an important caveat to the claim that 4G will be faster, as
well. It will definitely be faster than the 3G networks of Sprint and
Verizon Wireless - about four times faster, initially. But the other
two American national carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile, are upgrading their
3G networks to offer data-transfer speeds that will actually be higher
than the speeds 4G networks will reach this year or next.
That means that rather than focusing on real speeds, Sprint and Verizon
will try to frame their marketing around the 4G term, said Dan Hays, who
focuses on telecommunications at management consulting firm PRTM.
"It's a terrible story from a consumer standpoint, because it's
tremendously confusing," he said.
The fact that Verizon Wireless and Sprint are adding fresh spectrum may be
more important than the fact that they are using it for 4G service. No
matter if used for 4G or 3G, new spectrum means the companies can
accommodate more data-hungry devices such as smart phones.
AT&T's network is already staggering under data congestion caused by the
iPhone in New York and San Francisco. The carrier has made relieving the
congestion a top priority this year, and 3G upgrades are part of that
process. (As an aside, there is a lot of talk of a coming "iPhone 4G."
Apple will most likely release the fourth generation of the iPhone for
AT&T's network this summer, but it's virtually certain that it will not be
able to use a 4G wireless network. It likely won't be called the "iPhone
Faster in a way
There's another, more subtle benefit to 4G. While it's not always faster
than the best 3G when it comes to helping you download a big file in less
time, it is definitely faster in the sense that it takes less time to
initiate the flow of data to you.
What that means is that 4G is faster for quick back-and-forth
communications. You wouldn't notice this when surfing the web or doing
e-mail: We're talking delays of 0.03 second rather than 0.15 second. But
it could mean that 4G will work better for multiplayer gaming, where
split-second timing is important. Even phone calls could benefit from
shorter audio delays.
In five years or so, many phones are likely to have 4G capabilities, but
they'll complement it with 3G. Rather than a sudden revolution, consumers
are likely to experience a gradual transition to the new technology, with
increasing speeds. But for now, 4G is no magic bullet.
"It's an important thing for the industry," said Bill Davidson, senior
vice president of marketing and investor relations at wireless technology
developer Qualcomm. "It's absolutely needed. ... But I just think some of
this has gotten a bit ahead of itself in terms of expectations for
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 07:18:02 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: 511 users, say bye to the voice on the other end of the line
STARTS & STOPS
511 users, say bye to the voice on the other end of the line
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff | May 30, 2010
The Boston Globe
It may not be John Henry battling the steam drill, but two 511
traveler information systems - one human-powered, the other
computer-driven - have competed in Massachusetts over the past week,
with the manned one doomed to expire and the computerized system set
to take over for good tomorrow night at the end of this busy holiday
State transportation officials say that's something to celebrate. The
outgoing SmartRoute Systems (also known as "smartroutes'') cost
taxpayers $1.2 million a year. The new 511 program, run by the
high-tech marketing company Sendza, costs taxpayers nothing.
Cellphone providers began switching 511 callers from one to the other
in recent days, in advance of a full June 1 turnover.
But even as Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan was holding a
press conference at a Route 128 service plaza and tweeting the news,
SmartRoute's shrinking but loyal band of devotees were startled and
"The 511 service is new but not improved. To be honest it is
terrible,'' a commuter wrote, voicing displeasure in a comment on the
state Department of Transportation's blog. I received several e-mails
along the same lines. "It is amazing that the state took a really
useful service and screwed it up so badly,'' wrote another reader.
If you're not familiar with 511, here's how it worked - or works,
until tomorrow - under SmartRoute. (And if you're not familiar,
you're not alone; fewer than 1 in 100 motorists take advantage of
it.) After dialing, you enter numbers for a particular highway or
route and hear a freshly recorded update that sounds like a tailored
version of reports you might hear on WBZ radio. Push more buttons and
you connect with a live operator who can provide extra details,
answer questions, or take input from you - if you're stuck in traffic
they don't yet know about.
Date: Sun, 30 May 2010 12:10:26 -0400
From: Telecom digest moderator <email@example.com>
Subject: Please give your opinion about a new format for the web-based digest [nfp]
To the readers:
I'd appreciate your opinion on a new feature I'm experimenting with:
clickable links in the web-based version of the daily Digest.
I've added HyperText markup to today's digest page, which allows
visitors to click through to each post.
Today's page is different than yesterday's in a subtle way: I want to
know which you like more.
Please visit the site and tell me what you think of it.
Here's the URL:
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 10:39:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Joseph Singer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Prepaid cell phones under fire...
Mon, 31 May 2010 08:40:10 +1000 David Clayton <email@example.com> wrote:
<<Nahh, just stock up now - or wait for later and buy one from those who
will have a large stock of anonymous phones for all sorts of people
with the need.>>
Unfortunately, the way prepaid mobile works in the US at least is that GSM operators (principally AT&T and T-Mobile) don't activate prepaid phones when you buy them. They have to be activated and are not sold already activated. This is true for non-GSM i.e. CDMA operators and their MVNO's as well. It would do you no good to stock up on prepaid phones or SIMS since they'd need to be activated and to activate them you'd be under the restriction that you had to provide identification in order to use one on a network.
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 12:14:21 -0500
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi)
Subject: Re: White Pages fading out?
In article <email@example.com>, <Wesrock@aol.com> wrote:
>In a message dated 5/27/2010 8:04:05 AM Central Daylight Time,
>> John Levine is speaking of a decades old US Supreme Court ruling,
>> whose name escapes me right now. Cannot copyright an alphabetical list
>> of names of residences or businesses. Categorized listings, however,
>> are copyrightable, because assigning subject heading classifications
>> is actual creative work.
>> I've seen those copyright notices too. I have no idea what they are
>The case involved a rural telephone company that served Gove, Kansas,
>and some other counties in north central Kansas which successfully
>prevailed in a suit against it for using allegedly copyrighted
>listings published by one of the major companies, either GTE or
>Southwestern Bell, if I remember correctly.
Incorrect on the last detail. it was two small/rurlal phone companies.
The case is "Feist v Rural Telephone".
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