×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC Requires Data-Roaming Agreements

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 years ago | from the intravenous-data-feed dept.

Cellphones 101

itwbennett writes "The FCC has voted to require data roaming agreements between carriers in a move largely targeting AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile carriers in the US. 'What good is [a] smartphone if it can't be used when a subscriber is roaming across the country or even across the county?' said Commissioner Michael Copps. 'Our regulations must reflect today's reality and not make artificial distinctions between voice and data telecommunications.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

101 comments

Filthy cocksuckers!! Error 503 Service Unavailable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752566)

Goddamit !!!

Offended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752602)

From the article:

"This is so simple that a grandmother could understand it".

As a 49 yo grandmother, c programmer and feminist, I find this offensive.

Re:Offended (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752814)

You're too young to be a grandmother.

Re:Offended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753140)

Uh, apparently you haven't known too many 30-year-old moms with pregnant 15-year-old daughters.

Be warned: encountering such displays of human failure may make you question your very existence and ultimately result in your own suicide.

Re:Offended (1, Informative)

will_die (586523) | about 3 years ago | (#35754210)

There was a story about the worlds youngest grandmother a few weeks ago.
IIRC the grandmother got pregnant as a pre-teen and her daughter decided to make that a tradition.

Re:Offended (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 3 years ago | (#35760188)

My grandmother became a grandmother at 45, you insensitive clod!

(Mom was born when grandma was 25, I was born 20 years later.)

LOLWUT?! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752636)

Not sure how my Verizon CDMA phone is going to roam its data on over to AT&T's GSM network.

Re:LOLWUT?! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752744)

You missed the point. Verizon and AT&T would be forced to make agreements with CDMA and GSM providers respectively, not with eachother.

Re:LOLWUT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752884)

Why is this modded down? The point of the judgement is exactly this: AT&T would allow data roaming to other GSM carriers, while Verizon would allow it for CDMA carriers.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#35753050)

What other GSM carriers? AFAIK, AT&T just bought the last one of consequence, not counting single-city local carriers and AT&T MVNOs that already operate on AT&T's network.

Re:LOLWUT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753094)

That's the situation the FCC is trying to remedy. By allowing the single city local carriers access to data roaming, they're now able to compete in far larger areas.

Re:LOLWUT?! (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35753668)

Yes have to admit, not sure how much difference this will make in the US market where there is already an incredlibly small choice of carriers compared to most other markets. How many of those little 'city-wide' or 'statewide' local carriers really still exist in the US? Most seem to have been swallowed up by AT&T (if GSM) or Verizon or Sprint (if CDMA).

Normally the US leans away from regulating such things and forcing businesses to make agreements with each other. So it says a lot about the lack of competition in the US cellular market that they are considering such a move. By comparison, here in Australia (which is an "OMG socialist' country by comparison to the US) doesn't force carriers to have roaming agreements (even though as a whole there is much more government regulation of industry here than in the US). But we have at least 6 or 7 major nationwide carriers here, so roaming isn't really even necessary in the first place.

I visit the US regularly (am there for several months a year) and the state of the mobile telephony and ISP industries in the US is frankly, awful. Australia is generally way more expensive in most areas of life ... but not in Internet/phone. In Australia I can pick from 30+ ISPs and a dozen cellular carriers (all GSM) at any point and most offer contract-free service. In the US most places have 1 choice of cable ISP, 1 choice of DSL ISP, and maybe 2 or 3 cellular networks (which aren't even interoperable with each other, i.e. once you pick a GSM/CDMA phone you are stuck with those carriers).

So here's hoping this opens the door for some smaller carriers in the US to increase their market share and get some competition back into the market. It's sorely needed.

Re:LOLWUT?! (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 years ago | (#35754812)

In Australia, my Swedish phone "just works". It also "just works" in... let's see... Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, UK, Latvia, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Cambodia, ...

Come to think of it, my phone "just works" even in (*gasp*) COMMUNIST CHINA (*gasp*).

But not in the US.

Re:LOLWUT?! (2)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 3 years ago | (#35757784)

Except your ISPs suck where it counts. We may pay more, but generally ISP data usage is unlimited. There are a few ISPs that feel it is better to rape the consumer than to upgrade their network, and therefore they impose limits. But when I can spend $70 and get a 25/25 fiber link with no caps, I feel I am better off than Australia with their caps.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35768002)

The caps historically exist due to the fact that we are in the unique situation of being an English-speaking island located on the other side of the world from where 99% of English content is hosted (i.e. North America and the UK). The vast majority of standard traffic in Australia is thus to/from distant international locations. This contrasts with the US/Canada, where most traffic is domestic, meaning a much greater proportion of traffic stays within your ISP's network or the networks of those that your ISP has peering agreements with. It also contrasts with places like Japan and Korea, which again have mostly domestic traffic due to the fact they are using a 'local' language.

Each ISP in Australia therefore has to buy a fair chunk of ~expensive~ reserved capacity on the couple of undersea cables that link us to the rest of the world. If they didn't, the bandwidth use (particularly P2P) would be so great as to quickly saturate the amount of undersea capacity that ISP has purchased. This means they would have to buy more (did I mention it was expensive?). Which would rapidly also reach saturation.

But having explained ~why~ the caps have existed here, I should also point out that they are becoming less and less relevant, simply due to how large they are becoming. You can get residential plans with caps of 1TB and upwards now. This is so large that it may as well be unlimited. And, if that still isn't enough, there are some genuinely unlimited plans around too (these have only popped up in the last year or two). But regardless, for 99.9% of people caps aren't an issue, as they never use anywhere close to that much (and if they do, then just upgrade to the next plan up). For instance, I have a 300 GB cap which I never even use half of in a given month. But even if I did, I'd just pay the extra $10 a month to upgrade to the 600 GB cap...

I should also point out that US ISPs indirectly 'cap' you by artificially limiting speeds. E.g. they'll charge you some amount for DSL capped at 3 Mbps, a different amount for it capped at 6 Mbps, etc. This in practice sets a limit on the impact you can have on the network at any given time. Download caps achieve essentially the same thing, just amortised over time. But in Australia, since downloads are metered, they don't really give a crap how fast you connect. DSL is sold by the amount of download cap, not the line speed. The line speed you get is simply "the highest your modem can negotiate with the DSLAM over your particular phone line" (which is up to 24 Mbps if your line is short and in good condition). Which I kinda prefer - I'm no huge downloader but when I do want to get something, I want to get it fast. Less stuff, but quicker quicker, rather than more stuff, but slower.

Anyway the point I was really trying to make was that yes, the caps exist and yes, they suck in some ways. But I'd still prefer the situation here vs. the US. Faster speeds, greater ISP choice and the caps are rapidly becoming a non-issue unless you are downloading over 1 TB a month (in which case you really should be looking at a business plan!). There's only one major ISP currently offering genuine unlimited ... but I feel that will change in the coming few years as more new undersea cable projects are finished.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35768036)

Oh and btw, I agree that if you can spend $70 for unlimited 25/25 fibre, that is freaking awesome. But you're lucky to get that - most places in the US can't. I have a place in the US, in a major city, and can't get more than 6 Mbps/768 kbps DSL for any price.

Seems like if you're on the eastern or western seaboards or a couple of other lucky places, you can get FiOS or some other equivalent. But there are huge portions of the country where you can't get anything better than standard DSL or cable.

FCC is not picking its battles. (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#35753100)

This is stupid. it's clearly a case where capitalism should find an equilibrium between absurdly good coverage, cost and cosnumer demand.

they shul dbe putting all their eggs in the net neutrality basket.

the only use of this is a gambit to give this chit up to get something else. more likely they will just piss off some libetarian congressman and rue the day,

Re:FCC is not picking its battles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35758376)

Capitalism did find an equilibrium after many years of the major players being left alone and unregulated. Not sure why you think the equilibrium it has to find is one you like.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35754414)

And to the GSM carriers out there: "What other GSM providers?" Isn't AT&T about to have a monopoly in that?

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 years ago | (#35760758)

For all intents and purposes, AT&T has that monopoly now. It will only fail to have it if stopped. The default, and most likely, outcome is the merger will continue. Given the latest from Congress, if the merger fails there will be a bill targeting the FCC's ruling which disclaims their ability to regulate in this area. If there is a suit path available, or a barely reasonable facsimile thereof, expect it to be litigated to the Supreme Court, where the merger will be upheld.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 3 years ago | (#35752992)

I think the idea is that this could enable phones that are compatible with multiple technologies. I think this is particularly geared towards LTE which AT&T and Verizon are moving to for 4G (T-mobile as well, and Sprint is the odd one out). Of course, the carriers could always block them since that's how things work in American Telecommunications. In the end, it's very likely that this will have no positive benefit for the consumer and carriers will just use it as an excuse to jack up rates... but let's see. The FCC, at the very least, has intentions of standing up for the consumer. In practice though, they hardly ever get it right.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | about 3 years ago | (#35754112)

The FCC, at the very least, has intentions of standing up for the consumer. In practice though, they hardly ever get it right.

Well, thankfully, the FCC created all those rules that gave us mobile data access in the first place. It wasn't so long ago that all I had was a big beige brick phone that didn't even text, so I'm grateful that they finally required phone manufacturers to make smartphones, and cellular providers to sell them and support them with data networks. If it weren't for that, how I would I be able to watch cats that hiccup and fart at the same time while I'm on the train, or alert everyone who knows me to the fact that I'm grabbing dinner at Jack in the Box again, in realtime?

Whether the FCC gets it right or not isn't important. What matters is that the decisions are made by people who have our Best Interests at heart, not people who are just going to make money off us. I mean seriously, why be protected from bad decisions when we could be protected from profit-generating ones?

Re:LOLWUT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753278)

Not all of the coverage AT&T or Verizon has is their own towers either. There are other GSM carriers and other CDMA carriers that both use, or both could use to fill in gaps. The same goes for the small guys who use AT&T or Verizon.

Re:LOLWUT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753582)

I'm not sure about the other carriers, but Sprint already gives you free data roaming on their default plans. Such an agreement wouldn't affect them at all.

Re:LOLWUT?! (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 years ago | (#35754886)

HO work well in Europe. Maybe US should upgrade their networks to standards used elsewhere.

I suppose now I am deemed a socialist or even a commie. I hope marines are not on their way....

today's reality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752640)

'Our regulations must reflect today's reality and not make artificial distinctions between voice and data telecommunications.'

Then can you guys do something about the ridiculous text messaging fees? I shouldn't have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a minuscule amount of data.

Re:today's reality? (1)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 3 years ago | (#35752852)

'Our regulations must reflect today's reality and not make artificial distinctions between voice and data telecommunications.'

Then can you guys do something about the ridiculous text messaging fees? I shouldn't have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a minuscule amount of data.

In all reality text messages should be considered part of your data plan, shoot even with a 2 GB monthly cap *cough* at&t *cough*.

Lets see about the math of that-

Average Text message of 140 characters = 140 Bytes
2 GB = 2,147,483,648 bytes

so if you were to use your entire data plan you could send / receive on average approximately 15,339,169 text messages per month.

Now if you were to send those same text messages over AT&T's standard text message rate of $0.20 per message your bill assuming you didn't have unlimited texting would cost you $3,067,833.80 per month.

yea that is not the slightest bit excessive, guess that is why we have those unlimited texting plans. Although if you did this much texting they would probably kick you off of their network. Or more likely start instituting text caps to their unlimited texting plans like they did to their data plans.

Re:today's reality? (1)

satsuke (263225) | about 3 years ago | (#35752892)

.. SMS messages are not like standard data .. while the payload might be 160 bytes of text, the overhead and the delivery mechanism involved is much different than your average TCP session.

Primarily because those text messages have to locate the mobile with a page on the paging channel before sending the actual text itself. Paging channel requires SS7 messages to an HLR, MSC, SMSC and some other machines that do functions other than just text.

Sending 15 million SMS to one mobile would 1. tax the MSC pretty heavily (mobile switching center) and 2. probably get the originating node blocked at the intercarrier connection point pretty quickly.

Re:today's reality? (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 years ago | (#35753482)

.. SMS messages are not like standard data .. while the payload might be 160 bytes of text, the overhead and the delivery mechanism involved is much different than your average TCP session.

No... they're not like standard data. They're more like the overhead involved in connecting a phone call.

When was the last time you saw a mobile carrier charging you $0.10 or $0.20 per mobile-to-mobile call to connect the call? Oh right... they don't... because it costs less than $0.01 per call to do that; you could make 100 calls in a day, and they probably won't care. Now calls you make to subscribers of other telephone companies, meaning the provider of the person you called gets to collect the few-cents per-call fee for terminating the call (Carrier Access Billing), might be a problem.

I wouldn't claim an individual SMS messages is as cheap for the carrier as an IP packet.

It may have more parity with the cost of transmitting an e-mail message through a mail server.

"15 million SMS to one mobile" is totally unrealistic -- it would hurt the MSC just in the same manner as it would hurt a mail server if a user suddenly sent 15 million e-mails..... I believe the term for that is called spamming

Re:today's reality? (1)

satsuke (263225) | about 3 years ago | (#35765260)

The 15 million was from the OP statement of equating data to equivelent text messages.

I wasn't really addressing what the carriers charge for SMS .. they will charge what the market will bear and the market bears around $20USD per month for unlimited SMS service on a contract plan. My main point was that while SMS might be cheap to provide .. it is not entirely without cost.

The paging channel is a finite resource and ramping up the number of sms pages like the OP implied would qualify as a mass calling event like any other (new years, mothers day, natural disaster).

Re:today's reality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752904)

Since we have unlimited texting and limited data, how about TCP over SMS? =)

Re:today's reality? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 3 years ago | (#35753196)

They charge you so damn much because
 
a) they are trying to switch you to their unlimited plan (fixed income)
b) punishing you for using a metered service instead of fixed monthly rate billing

Re:today's reality? (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 3 years ago | (#35762780)

My family of five sends about 6000 texts per month. For that, we pay $20 for unlimited texting. If you're too stupid to get that from your carrier, you deserve to get hit with all those extra charges.

In that case... (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35752648)

...the FCC can start by abolishing all policies, abandoning all stances and cancelling all position papers that distinguish between a voice network and the Internet. That includes imposing any regulations from regular phone services, such as common carrier constraints, monitoring constraints, price gouging constraints and peering obligations.

Re:In that case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752890)

... and this sounds bad to you how?
Are you arguing for the user / consumer or the stockholder of AT&T/Verizon?

Re:In that case... (2)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35754198)

It doesn't sound bad, it sounds abusable. Whenever there's two conflicting policies over nominally the same thing (since speech is digitized, is it a voice network or a data network?), the companies most in need of enforcing it are the companies most likely to weasel-word their way out.

I'd love it if sharing happened. Actual, true, bi-directional sharing. AT&T didn't get where they were, though, by sharing, playing nice, playing by the rules, or playing anything but the customer and the FCC for fools.

True, as noted by another poster, it's a good decision rather than the "best possible" decision. My fear is that the very same forces that make the "best possible" decision impossible will now use what should be a good decision to cripple smaller competitors in favour of those who can afford to buy the odd politician or three.

It's a tough call - as always. When do you push for more and when do you accept the compromise? I don't pretend to know enough about the current dynamics to say that holding out would certainly be better, and I'm no Tea Partier, insisting on my way or the highway. What I am is fearful of is that in the current climate these decisions are getting made more with an eye to power-plays in Congress and the White House than to the consumer.

Re:In that case... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#35757090)

I'd love it if sharing happened. Actual, true, bi-directional sharing. AT&T didn't get where they were, though, by sharing, playing nice, playing by the rules, or playing anything but the customer and the FCC for fools.

Amen to that. AT&T has more power in the courts than the competitors, so they will simply share more poorly than they will and get away with it, and anyone without an AT&T contract will have crap[pier] service. Ma Bell got the ill communication.

Re:In that case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752940)

yeah... lets bash them for making a good decision, because they didn't make the "best" possible decision(which would never fly politically)
I think you are letting the "better" interfere with the "good"

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.
The better is the enemy of the good.
La Bégueule (1772)

From: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire

Re:In that case... (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 3 years ago | (#35763004)

The problem is that currently there is still a difference between the voice network and the data network. The data network just takes up multiple fixed-size voice channels to transfer data. This is off course changing with 3G/4G where voice will also be packetized but there is still a historical reason for it to be different. The pricing difference however is based on corporate greed and the fact that regulations were effectively abolished when AT&T was split up.

No artificial distinctions, BS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752728)

Why do cellular providers get to make artificial distinction within the data service.

Email to you phone included in data plan.
Phone mobile hotspot so your laptop can get email... EXTRA $$$

It's all just 1s and 0s, so stop dicking us with "unlimited" data plans that have limits and advertised service speeds that are far from approachable.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (5, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 3 years ago | (#35752952)

Why do cellular providers get to make artificial distinction within the data service.

Email to you phone included in data plan. Phone mobile hotspot so your laptop can get email... EXTRA $$$

It's all just 1s and 0s, so stop dicking us with "unlimited" data plans that have limits and advertised service speeds that are far from approachable.

Well, my T-Mobile plan is pretty good. I have a 5 Gig "cap", which isn't a hard cap, it just means that I get throttled if I go over it. I don't, however, ever lose connectivity or get extra charges. I pay for HSUPA speeds, and I actually get about 7-8 mbits/sec out of it (that's using a USB tether to my laptop and running a bunch of speedtests, including broadbandreports.com.) I have a G2, and I track my usage (T-Mobile's site gives you that info as well, and they match up pretty well) and I've never gone above about 1.5 gigs in a month. That's just me ... obviously your mileage will vary. I can tether and use VoIP software without getting yelled at (or charged.) And yes, I'm thoroughly pissed off at AT&T for screwing up a good thing by buying my provider. Fuckers.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35753698)

Yep - T-Mobile is awesome if you're in an area where they have coverage. I dread to think what will happen once the AT&T acquisition really kicks in.

Sadly when I'm in the US I'm mostly in Wisconsin, which other than in Milwaukee, has no T-Mobile service. Have to use AT&T. I'm not American but I visit and pop a local SIM in my (unlocked) GSM phone when I do ... and would much prefer to use T-Mobile over AT&T if I could.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

socsoc (1116769) | about 3 years ago | (#35754016)

That's weird. My AT&T service works elsewhere than Milwaukee.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35754526)

That's precisely what I'm saying. AT&T works elsewhere. T-Mobile, at least according to the coverage map on their website, has no coverage north of MKE/MSN. Certainly none in Green Bay/Fox River Valley area where I am most of the time. So sadly, I am stuck using AT&T when I'd prefer T-Mobile.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 3 years ago | (#35769156)

That's precisely what I'm saying. AT&T works elsewhere. T-Mobile, at least according to the coverage map on their website, has no coverage north of MKE/MSN. Certainly none in Green Bay/Fox River Valley area where I am most of the time. So sadly, I am stuck using AT&T when I'd prefer T-Mobile.

T-Mobile plan (for which I pay $65/month for what I listed above) also includes unlimited voice roaming AND unlimited data roaming. Coverage maps be damned, and that's a good part of why I hate this impending merger. T-Mobile was offering a good nationwide service at a reasonable price, and I know I'm going to lose that. "Good for consumers" my ass.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 years ago | (#35757054)

My guess is that AT&T will keep T-Mobile as a "competitor." That way they can have two parts of the market. Just like Tracfone and NET10. They're both owned by Tracfone - and have entirely different charge schemes.

Re:No artificial distinctions, BS! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 3 years ago | (#35769168)

My guess is that AT&T will keep T-Mobile as a "competitor." That way they can have two parts of the market. Just like Tracfone and NET10. They're both owned by Tracfone - and have entirely different charge schemes.

Which is hysterical in its own right. "Owning" a "competitor". Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.

Really though, what it comes down to is that they want to position themselves to serve different markets, have brand recognition for different types of service, and that's one way to do it.

Not true actually (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 3 years ago | (#35753998)

Voice and data are not the same, they are not 0's and 1's as you say.
GSM carriers have what is called a link budget. Basically it is the amount of time slots available on any given channel. You can assign multiple voice calls to one channel simply by using an alternate time slot combination.
However, when on a PS call (packet switched), chances are you phone is at least a multislot class 10 or 12 device, which means that you are taking up 5 slots!
Thus, there is less room for another caller.
Or course networks will automatically reduce your slots to fit a new voice caller by design.
UMTS is similar in concept, though the mechanism is more complex than GSM.

Roaming is nothing compared to the rip off of txt messages. That is happening on the control plane, which are bit that must go to you phone anyhow. The actual cost really is as close to zero as one can get without being zero.

Actually, it is true (2)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 3 years ago | (#35755184)

Voice and data are indeed exactly the same. It's all binary on the T1 / E1 (or multiples thereof), the distinction is entirely arbitrary these days and your explanation is apples and apples (and a little bit wrong). Whatever your phone does in the local loop will almost always be converted to something else as soon as it hits the first junction box or cell site. That conversion is always in favor of the carrier, be it DCME or lossy encoding to increase capacity - this is how it has always been, the mindset is a hundred years old. Increasing capacity for voice is cheap and easy. The carriers are not complaining about this.

Along comes the internet, people want it on their phones, they want it on their laptops, in the car, motorbike, train, bus, everywhere. The carriers are definitely whining because they have to start aggregating T1's just to appease our need for bandwidth. We pay them, they make billion dollar profits, they use hardly any of that money for better infrastructure. Gravy train will not leave the station without some kicking and screaming along the way.

The problem has been solved already.

Remember this, the 'rip off txt messages' - that same concept extends to absolutely everything the carrier does. Everything.

"Don't snigga, nigga, the K K K is getting bigga (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35752898)

Subject says it all.

Not everyone's rich (2)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | about 3 years ago | (#35752990)

"What good is [a] smartphone if it can't be used when a subscriber is roaming across the country or even across the county?"

It's good for someone without $600+ a year to spend on mobile data. My Droid is quite happy with the phone unactivated and running off WiFi.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753070)

I'm not sure I get your point. Data plans are 29.99 and net you a capped 5gigs. Since you already are accustomed to using wifi I'm sure you don't actually need 5gigs for web surfing, facebook checking etc while not actually at home. Nor do you run the risk of a 600$ phone bill if you tell it not to use data while in roaming mode. In other words that 30 bucks a month gives you a lot of flexibility at low risk. some sort of peering agreement between providers would make this even better.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#35753078)

Virgin offers unlimited text and data plus 300 minutes a month for $300/year but 'suffers' from only using Sprint's network. For my wife's use this is a non-issue but I'm not sure I'd want it to be my only phone as we travel outside of their coverage map fairly regularly.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#35753080)

how do you make a call when you're no where near any open WIFI ? How do people call you?

oh, you must live in mom's basement, because that is the only way that makes sense.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | about 3 years ago | (#35753186)

On a non-smartphone cell without an expensive data plan.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | about 3 years ago | (#35753256)

Couldn't you just throw the SIM card in the Droid and set it to always default to WiFi? Same result, but it saves carrying two phones.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#35753406)

The Droid is a Verizon phone, which means no SIM. (Often, people condemn CDMA because it has no SIM. This is inaccurate; CDMA networks in other countries have SIM-equivalents. It's just Sprint and Verizon that won't do it.)

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753466)

The phone company can tell you're using a smartphone and in most instances will force you onto a dataplan.

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35756002)

T-Mobile doesn't do that. I've been using a jailbroken and unlocked iPhone for a couple of years on my US T-Mobile plan and they don't force you into a data plan. AT&T does do that, however.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35753706)

Huh ... you don't need WiFi (or cellular data for that matter) just to make a CALL. Nothing stops you throwing a 'smartphone' on a plan without cellular data and still using it to make calls and SMS. If you wanted to be doubly sure you weren't using cellular data then just turn that feature off (I'm assuming all smartphones can do this - the iPhone certainly has a 'Cellular Data ON/OFF' toggle so I'm sure most other phones do too.

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

socsoc (1116769) | about 3 years ago | (#35754058)

Until the phone company quickly realizes that you're on a smartphone and then here comes the mandatory data plan. They do know what device you use.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

xnpu (963139) | about 3 years ago | (#35754272)

Exactly. I would much rather see this legislated instead. Carriers should be forced to be device neutral. If I want to use a fancy smartphone as a dumb SMS terminal, that should be my decision, not theirs.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35754540)

Well I'm not American so I wasn't aware they did that. That's ridiculous. I buy a calling/data plan from my carrier, not my phone. What phone I choose to use on that plan is completely irrelevant and none of their business.

(From my perspective as a non-USian, at least ... hell I've had my current phone on 3 different carriers just within the last year).

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 3 years ago | (#35762238)

Well I'm not American so I wasn't aware [US telecom carriers mandate data plans for smartphone terminals, rather than being terminal-agnostic]. That's ridiculous. I buy a calling/data plan from my carrier, not my phone. What phone I choose to use on that plan is completely irrelevant and none of their business.

That's because the US laws are set up to encourage telecom cartels.

On one hand they keep hands off the contractual arrangements between the carriers and customers, on the stated theory that competition will drive the carriers to voluntarily write reasonable contracts.

On the other hand other regulations - especially those on access to radio bandwidth and the subsidized legacy landline infrastructure and rights-of-way - have had the effect of drastically limiting the number of competitors in any given area and erected barriers to entry for new competitors.

When the number of effective competitors is limited to two or so, while barriers to entry avoid "virtual competitors" - the risk that somebody will start up a new venture and undercut the existing players - market forces DON'T drive prices down and service up. Instead they encourage defacto price fixing and cartel formation - driven solely by market signals without need for any collusion.

The cartel-forming economics was built into the original cellular phone bandwidth allocation, where "competition" was deemed to be TWO carriers in any area and only two band slots were allocated. This has since been relaxed. But with the expiration of the antitrust barriers to the reformation of the national "phone companies" and their reconstitution (ala Terminator II in the case of the Bell system), a new competitor must be able to deploy nationally, simultaneously, to be an competitive with the incumbents.

After the "dot-com bust", where too many companies deployed simultaneously with "needs to get most of the traffic" business plans and the resulting shakeout cost investors billions, new players have difficulty getting investment capital with a "start a price war" business plan.

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35760708)

"Nothing stops you throwing a 'smartphone' on a plan without cellular data and still using it to make calls and SMS."

You would think that wouldn't you... If you live in the US, try contacting your provider and asking that question. It is perfectly possible, but the unfortunate reality is that the companies will not allow it.

Not only that, but if you take a phone that THEY consider a smartphone and just throw your sim card in it, they will automatically detect what kind of phone you just connected to their network and change your plan to a smartphone plan without telling you.

How do I know?
I had a blackberry pearl that I used to develop apps for but had no use for the data plan. All of a sudden about a year and a half ago, they put that policy into place. I had to fight with them every few months because they kept changing my plan to the smartphone plan without telling me then they would swear it wouldn't work without the data plan. Low and behold, it worked when I yelled loud enough to get them to turn it off. ;) After a while I got sick of the fighting and just bought an unlocked Non-smartphone. I will not be with AT&T when my contract is up.

I now have a perfectly functional blackberry pearl which I purchased from ATT before this was in place that I am not allowed to use any more.

Sounds like smartphones need ... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 3 years ago | (#35762386)

"Nothing stops you throwing a 'smartphone' on a plan without cellular data and still using it to make calls and SMS." ... if you [use] a phone that THEY consider a smartphone [...] they will automatically detect what kind of phone you [are using] and change your plan to a smartphone plan without telling you.

Sounds like smartphones need a "user agent switcher" feature, to let them masquerade as dumb phones when using no-data calling plans.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 3 years ago | (#35753426)

I can afford a good Verizon plan (and given their coverage quality at my workplace, I'd be insane to go to AT&T, regardless of how good they may be elsewhere), but you're right on the money. If my phone wasn't my primary business contact, dropping over $100/mo for a portable data device would be idiotic. As it is, it's just moderately stupid.

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753784)

I'd avoid paying $40/mo. for metroPCS which entitles you for unlimited minutes nationwide as well as text messages and certain internet usage. This isn't reverse psychology, I'm dead serious. They claim it's pay-as-you-go but it isn't, you're locked into contract so if you decide not to pay for a month or maybe until the day before their billing cycle ends, you just paid $40 for one day. Additionally every call you make will eventually be disconnected and if you have to make calls and be on hold, expect to be on hold forever as you will get disconnected before you reach anyone. Customer support with metro? Almost non-existent. They don't provide customer support from their website, only a number that you can call from your ACTIVE phone, and if your phone isn't active you can't pay your bill through your phone, and have to jump through hoops to avoid paying the monthly payment fee. Oh right, you can reach customer service but their phone number is blacklisted from their site so you have to search google to find the right one and press # repeatedly to reach a human being. I can go on and on and say how bad this service is but I will leave the final con of going the cheap rout by saying that if you get in an emergency and need to call 9-1-1, you might be out of luck because if you're not just in the right spot of your house or outside somewhere, you will get disconnected or not be able to get through. IMO paying $43 for 450minutes with verizon guarantees you excellent customer service, coverage, and nothing else, but it's a significant improvement, sadly :(

Re:Not everyone's rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35754298)

Then this has nothing to do with you. No one here is interested in how poor you are. There is no need for you to share.

Re:Not everyone's rich (3, Interesting)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 3 years ago | (#35756048)

Jesus I forget how much us carriers screw their customers. Mobile internet costs me £60 for the year (less than $100) here in the uk! Up to 5 GB per month with a gradually slower connection if you go over and no overage fees. We have real pay as you go options where you put credit on your phone and it only goes down if and when you use it. Or internet for only the days when you use it for £1/day (~$1.50). It's insane how much you guys are forced to pay. No charges for incoming calls or messages. The ability to switch between any network if you have an unlocked phone and at least 5 major carriers to choose from with many many resellers with their own deals. The legal requirement to be able to unlock your phone (for a fee) if you want. Seriously, how do you all let them get away with it? And now with the possibility (probability) that t-mobile and at&t will merge taking away the only large carrier that seemed to not completely screw over their customers.

Re:Not everyone's rich (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 3 years ago | (#35766090)

Tmobile isn't the decent carrier... It's only notable because they are att compatible. Sprint is the decent cell provider in the Us. With their prepaid services like boost mobile you can get unlimited voice text, and 3g data for 45$/mo. Virgin has some good deals too. And you can opt for a modest flat rate if your a lite user, and save tons. And everywhere I've tried, Sprint's network has been superior to Verizon, with far fewer dropped calls here in SoCal. Plus they've got nice cheap 4g service, and have much longer than the rest.

If nothing else, Sprint is forcing att & verizon to provide almost as reasonable prepaid plans.

god scaling back holy roaming empires? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753104)

enough's enough. did you read that fiction you (chosen ones) wrote to your 'flock'? now be held to it, to the letter, as just one of us unchosen.? chariots? honestly.

so, filling the 'gap', meeting the need etc... the genuine native american elders rising bird of prey leadership initiative (teepeeleaks etchings) leaves us fully enabled to live on the planet instead of against it/each other.

"Roaming" isn't what it used to be. (1)

Senes (928228) | about 3 years ago | (#35753158)

I've had roaming randomly kick in while I was sitting in front of my PC at home. If I didn't set it so my web access would be shut off whenever this happened, it would have shown up on my bill.

So if I own a phone company, can I just randomly flick switches that say people are roaming and then charge them an arm and a leg if they want to continue using the service they paid for? It used to be that you weren't roaming unless you actually left your service area; just like long distance calls over land lines.

Re:"Roaming" isn't what it used to be. (1)

xnpu (963139) | about 3 years ago | (#35754292)

Most phones allow you to turn roaming on and off, exactly for this reason. While roaming is more common when you leave a certain area it's certainly isn't (and never was) the only use case.

In our area for example there is a small provider which support multiple networks using a single sim, as a way to reduce cost and optimize reception. These sims are essentially continuously roaming.

Re:"Roaming" isn't what it used to be. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 3 years ago | (#35757096)

This is about roaming agreements between the carriers, not with their customers. The carriers charge an arm and leg for access to their network to outside carriers. Other carriers charge the same arm and leg amounts. If they're both big enough carriers, the charges equal out and your cell phone company can offer you "free" roaming. The little carriers have few towers to offer, so they simply have to pay obscene amounts to access the other cell networks. I believe that's where this FCC regulation is to kick in.

Pop (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | about 3 years ago | (#35753318)

It's nice that the FCC finally had its balls drop and started taking some advances in a (what I consider to be) better direction.

Now if we can only get Congress to stop screwing everything up by voting on issues they have no idea about that'd be amazing.

That and a more radical president.

Re:Pop (1)

srodden (949473) | about 3 years ago | (#35753420)

I think all presidents would like to be more radical. The problem is the more change you promote, the more opposition you have. Obama is promoting great change in some areas e.g. state supported health care and all the anti-radicals have come out screaming in opposition.

I'd love to get into politics and make some real change for the better. The problem is all the lunatics and vested interests that don't agree with my version of better. Inevitably what I managed to get put through would be a watered down and rather mediocre version of what is actually needed.

Re:Pop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35754254)

Now if we can only get Congress to stop screwing everything up by voting on issues they have no idea about that'd be amazing.

The only way that happens is if we abolish Congress...

sigh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753362)

God forbid the consumers vote with their feet who are unhappy with bad roaming service.

Re:sigh.. (2)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35753914)

And go where? That's the point. The only way you can avoid this is by either not having a phone at all or restricting yourself to landlines. And if you're in public, good luck finding one of the increasingly hard to find pay phones.

Oil and Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35753794)

BB Worldphone aside how many devices are really capable of roaming from GSM to CDMA data networks anyway?

Seems like alot of hot air.

Arcteryx Jackets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35754614)

Arcteryx sale [arcteryxsjackets.com] is our website serve many people. The arcteryx outlet [arcteryxsjackets.com] is light but it is really warm. After you choose the arcteryx [arcteryxsjackets.com] , we will delivery it for you as soon as possible. The shipping fee is free.

YES! Thank God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35755494)

Its stupid that I get voice anywhere in the US, but only get Data in major metropolitian areas. My phone provider uses the same data technology as Verizon, and half the time when I am supposed to get coverage, I get Verizon Error messages. Granted, I knew this was the case when I ditched AT&T back in December, but the provider DID say that it offers data in many areas where they don't, and my phone goes to Data Roaming. This is a great ruling!

This is Theft (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | about 3 years ago | (#35756772)

At the end of the day this boils down to plain and simple theft. Verizon and AT&T (and their customers via bills) have put respectively very large capitol investments in their networks. Now they are being forced to allow other carriers who did not make these investments access to their private property. The cost of maintenance and other such elements will not be accurately passed on to these smaller carriers, and as a result Verizon and AT&T subscribers will pay more... If the government wants to compete in the wireless space so badly why don't they go build their own network funded by tax dollars, and then compete that way rather than stealing money from private industry. For the record.. I don't believe the government should be involved in any of this, and instead they should allow capitalism to work as intended.. If the space wasn't already so locked down (due to the less than open FCC control of spectrum and auctioning process) then we wouldn't have been in this non competitive environment in the first place.

Re:This is Theft (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35758574)

(tongue in cheek).

Of course its theft. The government stole our airwaves and gave them to AT&T and Verizon for a nominal fee.

Now, they are meekly asking AT&T and Verizon to let competitors use them at a profit to AT&T and Verizon. It seems like a pretty reasonable idea to account for a natural monopoly situation*. Of course, with these things, the devil is always in the details.

*There is a limited amount of frequency, so in the long run we're limited... whether we're anywhere near that or not is a different argument.

Re:This is Theft (1)

bjk002 (757977) | about 3 years ago | (#35758674)

Great idea!! Maybe the government can first get back the BILLIONS it gave Verizon and AT&T to lay all that infrastructure in the first place?!?

Go back to the capitalism alter and pray for intervention from the Koch brothers.

It is the people's bandwidth, clueless! (3, Interesting)

bussdriver (620565) | about 3 years ago | (#35759092)

How many people are going to feel bad for poor ATnT or Verizon? I don't know anybody who doesn't have some hate for ATnT.

I still find it amazing how well the corporate propaganda has worked to brainwash so many people into screwing themselves; I'm sure I'll be surprised if we ever find out how many fake online identities marketing firms are using to spew more BS.

To put this into proper perspective, traditional phone companies have had to share their networks for a long time without huge marketplace disasters, they simply get a small break using their own network and pay a small fee to use another's network. All the DSL and dial-up providers have been sharing networks in various ways thanks to the FCC requiring them to do so. Yes, the private monopolies would have banned dial-up internet providers if they could have. (AOL wouldn't have existed so 1 good thing would have come out of that.)

LIMITED RESOURCES:
It is OUR airwaves they buy monopolies on and our institutions manage them - if they do so poorly its because we the people are incompetent. We currently have a system which sells off bandwidth to the highest bidder and barely regulate the monopolistic usage; this is about as free-market as it can get without the costly chaos of letting anybody make radio noise. I suppose we should allow Verizon to install signal jamming devices or should we regulate that nobody can jam the competition? What constitutes jamming? Who decides? What if two providers bump heads over bandwidth-- the stronger signal and client hardware wins... a temporary battle...

People seem to forget that something as basic as FIRE and POLICE have been privatized in the past and that insanity resulted-- in something that is morally simplistic and necessary; yet they somehow other areas are going to be more civil and more effective by introducing free market anarchy??

Anarchy has a PR man and its the US Chamber of Commerce. "Free market" is just a PR creation.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...