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20 Years of GSM and SMS

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the grudgingly-admit-sms-is-useful dept.

Cellphones 157

udas writes "Two thirds of the world's population, 4 billion people, use cell phones today, and all of them have access to SMS. Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSM), set up in 1982, created the GSM standard, leading to a unified, open, standard-based mobile network. SMS, up to 160 7-bit character messages sent over control channels (when they aren't busy), was part of the original GSM specification itself. The first GSM handsts were approved for sale in May 1992. But it was not until 1996, when pay-as-you-go SIM cards showed up, and the kids got their hands on it, that SMS gained popularity."

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ugly abomination (3, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926233)

ugly, overpriced abomination that should die, die, die.

Re:ugly abomination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926263)

Do you use it?

Re:ugly abomination (0, Troll)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926411)

ugly, overpriced abomination that should die, die, die.

Why kill it? It's one more tax on idiocy. Idiots are paying our providers.

I don't want it to stop. I want more idiot taxes! Install blackjack on all mobiles.

Re:ugly abomination (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926681)

Unfortunately, our providers have generally realized that taxing idiots to pay for lobbyists and generate profits is substantially more lucrative than taxing idiots to pay for infrastructure upgrades...

Re:ugly abomination (5, Insightful)

Valacity (2634575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926755)

ugly, overpriced abomination that should die, die, die.

Why kill it? It's one more tax on idiocy. Idiots are paying our providers.

Oh yes, because everyone else is an idiot. It's good we have Thansin, who is not an idiot, because what would we do otherwise.

Look, not everything is priced at the lowest point compared to other services like the internet. Yes, per megabyte price for SMS is huge. But who the fuck tries to transfer data with it anyway? On top of that most people have unlimited SMS with their plans now. Even without that SMS price isn't that high and it was very convenient.

By the way, SMS was also developed by Nokia engineers, accidentally actually. Just shows how much groundwork Nokia has done for mobiles and that they actually deserve every patent they have (most of which they've given for free use anyway).

Re:ugly abomination (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927187)

I send 10-20 texts a month. At$.25 a text it costs me no more than $5 extra.

Unlimited texts start at $20 a month for AT&T.

no most people don't pay for it.

Re:ugly abomination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927445)

STARTS AT?? WOW.. Comes as standard in the UK.. Don't think you can get non-unlimited TXT anymore. and my tariff starts at £10 ($16.13). That's with Data and Free calls too. (Not much data, and not many free minutes, but more than I use in a month). I do send almost 1500'ish txt a month though. Much easier when you don't have to worry about what type of phone the person on the other end has or there technical skill with that phone. Everyone has SMS.

Re:ugly abomination (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927725)

ugly, overpriced abomination that should die, die, die.

Why kill it? It's one more tax on idiocy. Idiots are paying our providers.

Oh yes, because everyone else is an idiot. It's good we have Thansin, who is not an idiot, because what would we do otherwise. Look, not everything is priced at the lowest point compared to other services like the internet. Yes, per megabyte price for SMS is huge. But who the fuck tries to transfer data with it anyway? On top of that most people have unlimited SMS with their plans now. Even without that SMS price isn't that high and it was very convenient. By the way, SMS was also developed by Nokia engineers, accidentally actually. Just shows how much groundwork Nokia has done for mobiles and that they actually deserve every patent they have (most of which they've given for free use anyway).

The real problem is that the providers aren't really happy just charging high fees to the people that "don't know better" as the GP thinks (with his non-idiot intellect,) instead they use it (like someone else mentioned) to get enough laws and regulations in their favor that they make everyone an idiot, stringing together enough fees and tiers and contracts that there is basically no escape except to "settle" on some compromise between quality, ease of use, and cost. But God bless the free market for providing us with the opportunity to choose and lose!

Re:ugly abomination (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928877)

I use Smozzy from time to time for little things, and revel in the absurdity if it.

Re:ugly abomination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928905)

Fine. I guess you've never had $50 in also carte text charges in a single month and a carrier who refused to sell you a text plan.

I, on the other hand, have.

Re:ugly abomination (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926437)

ugly, overpriced abomination that should die, die, die.

But enough about cowboy Neil

Re:ugly abomination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928087)

are you sure it wasn't a comment about cmdrtaco

Re:ugly abomination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927447)

yes die die die. bring on IP pure systems so the monopolies can do the way of the dinosaurs.

Re:ugly abomination (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928603)

I'm on Boost Mobile. How is unlimited talk, text, long distance, 411, roaming, internet, and email for $45 overpriced? Back in the landline days twenty years ago when long distance calls were expensive most of my pohone bills were higher than my cell bill is now (and I no longer have a landline).

Still alive (-1, Flamebait)

GioMac (862536) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926237)

Worst mobile standard ever.

Re:Still alive (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926355)

GSM is far better than that crappy American CDMA trash!

Re:Still alive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927135)

Which must be why when GSM went 3G and beyond, they pretty much dumped everything from GSM (Like that craptacular TDMA scheme) and copied the many things that CDMA got right, huh?

About the only thing that GSM got right was that SIMs are manditory, rather than optional like in CDMA.

Re:Still alive (4, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928257)

I'd say GSM has a number of features that are far useful for a clued customer than CDMA. Of course, in theory the differences will go away when companies move to LTE and one stream for communications (as opposed to separated voice/data.) A couple points:

Yes, I can keep my Internet connection going while using my BT headpiece and talking with a friend. Very simple, but CDMA, you talk, or use the packet radio; not both.

If the device is unlocked, I can used whatever the heck I feel like on a GSM network. Switching between my iPhone and Android phone is just a SIM card swap away. With CDMA companies, I have to call them and plead for them to switch the number to that phone, and IIRC, unless you bought the device from that provider, they will laugh in your face.

The US CDMA standard is a crippled implementation. Everywhere else in the world, the CDMA standard uses R/UIM cards. This allows people to use whatever cell phone they want, just like with GSM (provided the phone is unlocked.) This also prevents phones from other countries being used in the US.

I like GSM for the ability to use an unlocked phone I bought anywhere in the world in the US. The phone may crawl along at EDGE speed, but at least it can be used, unlike CDMA phones which have to be tossed, if one wants to change providers.

Re:Still alive (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926369)

Worst mobile standard ever.

Hmm. The "two yogurts and a string" standard is pretty weak too.

20 years later... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926247)

And they still charge over $1000/MB for SMS.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926399)

2012
Still not using Whatsapp

I seriously hope you guys don't do that.

Re:20 years later... (3, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926527)

There is about 15 different companies offering their own messaging systems "for free" - some even offering VOIP calls.

These insidious packages take a copy of all your friends as well and match you up against them, awful things - also never is everyone you know on it, ever.
I hate to yet again give Apple credit but building the imessage system into the iphone is brilliant and I sincerely hope Google copy the concept with far far better Google talk integration into the Android OS (frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't been patched in NOW)

Nice of the 3'rd parties to offer this but I'm just not interested unless it's seamless (which, to my knowledge imessage is? if it can imessage, it will - if not, defaults to SMS, seamlessly, right?)

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926783)

I hate to yet again give Apple credit but building the imessage system into the iphone is brilliant and I sincerely hope Google copy the concept with far far better Google talk integration into the Android OS (frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't been patched in NOW)

Em, you know Google Talk has been in Android since the beginning, right? It's maybe missing from Android phones you have seen due to carrier 'customisations', but it is in the default set of apps. And it does video and voice messaging. SMS is dead.

I personally don't know anyone that uses any apple messaging things, so I don't know how it compares. You're right about Whatsapp though, evil app for stupid people who actually think it sends SMSes for free.

Re:20 years later... (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927389)

Google talk does not work seamlessly as default when it detects someone online.,
The SMS messaging app and the chat / talk app are 2 different entities and not working 'smartly'

Re:20 years later... (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926817)

I hate to yet again give Apple credit but building the imessage system into the iphone is brilliant and I sincerely hope Google copy the concept with far far better Google talk integration into the Android OS (frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't been patched in NOW)

The reason SMS remains popular is because it just works. I can text someone in Kansas or Kenya and the message gets there, whatever brand of phone the end user is holding.

Why credit Apple for another move at vendor lock-in. Apple have enough sway with their iPhone that they could have made their messaging system an open and interoperable standard.

Re:20 years later... (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927181)

Apple deserve credit because their system works /seamlessly/ instantly with any other iphone (I wouldn't be surprised if it works on tablets but I don't know for sure)

The key word here is seamlessly, utterly seamlessly. Therefore you will get 'free' SMS the second you use the App as long as the recipient is on an iphone. It's built in to the OS, nothing more to do.

Hence, Google should be copying this, Google chat like integration - they've already done some work as I've now noticed in one of the newer Android builds that as I scroll through my contacts, some have the green dot representing being online on google chat (talk) - it just needs to default to messaging them off the bat.

Google could then release Google chat for ios, allowing people to receive messages there, although I'm skeptical Apple would allow it.

Re:20 years later... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927365)

Apple deserve credit because their system works /seamlessly/ instantly with any other iphone

The problem is that you totally ignored what he said: it doesn't work with any other phones out there at all.

SMS works on my dumbphone and I'm not about to buy an iPhone when I don't need it.

--
BMO

Re:20 years later... (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927461)

I know it's limited to Apple devices so that's what? 30% of all SMS's people do are now free? Not bad for a piece of software added to your phone.

You can't expect them to do this for everyone, it's not a simple to impliment. I'd be happy with 2 standards, 1 iphone, 1 android - from there consumers will whine enough that we'll eventually get interpolation like we did when SMS didn't go from carrier to carrier.

At least it's a partial standard.

Re:20 years later... (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927593)

See, this is the thing...

A partial standard, using your definition of one, isn't an actual standard at all.

--
BMO

Re:20 years later... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928723)

The problem is that you totally ignored what he said: it doesn't work with any other phones out there at all.

Because that's wrong. It works fine with any other phone out there.

Suppose Alice has an iPhone, Bob has an iPhone, and Carol has a dumbphone.

Alice taps Bob in the contacts list, types a message, it goes out via iMessage, and Bob gets it. Bob replies, it goes out via iMessage, and Alice gets it. Alice taps Carol in the same contacts list, types a message, it goes out via SMS and Carol gets it. Carol replies, it goes out via SMS, and Alice gets it.

Alice doesn't have to do anything, and probably doesn't even know who has an iPhone and who doesn't.

If Bob swaps his number to an Android phone next month, when Alice taps Bob in the contacts list and types a message, it goes out via SMS and Bob gets it. Bob replies, it goes out via SMS, and Alice gets it. Again, Alice probably doesn't notice a difference.

You've probably gotten messages from people using iPhones on your dumbphone and never even realized it.

Re:20 years later... (1)

seinman (463076) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928859)

Alice will notice the difference. The text balloons for SMS messages are green, and they're blue for iMessages. It also says "Text message" or "iMessage" in the text box before you start typing your message to indicate how the message will be sent.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928921)

Alice will notice the difference. The text balloons for SMS messages are green, and they're blue for iMessages. It also says "Text message" or "iMessage" in the text box before you start typing your message to indicate how the message will be sent.

I think you overestimate how much Alice would care. The indicators are there if you look for them, but pretty easy to miss if you don't. I'd bet 80% of iPhone users think "iMessage" is just Apple's cutesey name for SMS.

Re:20 years later... (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928839)

Apple deserve credit because their system works /seamlessly/ instantly with any other iphone (I wouldn't be surprised if it works on tablets but I don't know for sure)

It does work, the tablet (or ipod touch) user needs to be on Messages (Messages is the app, iMessage the protocol) with their AppleID. iPhones can be 'on iMessage' with either their number (which is automatic) and/or their AppleID.

Apple does deserve credit for this. It's transparent. It doesn't prevent users from messaging other platforms - the same app will SMS you just as easily, though with carrier SMS charges. This is done with no setup - the device just detects if your target is available for iMessage or falls back to SMS. But you gain an advantage when your target has an iOS5 device, not sure how that's very evil.

The ones that should be scared are the folks at RIM. The one 'killer app' that many people still buy BlackBerries for is non-SMS-charging-BBM. Its hard to set up, and you need to type in a cryptic Hex number to find someone. If there are cheaper iPhones that do free messaging, or if Android gets an easy to use messenger like iMessage, BlackBerry is even further toast.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927193)

I hate to yet again give Apple credit but building the imessage system into the iphone is brilliant and I sincerely hope Google copy the concept with far far better Google talk integration into the Android OS (frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't been patched in NOW)

The reason SMS remains popular is because it just works. I can text someone in Kansas or Kenya and the message gets there, whatever brand of phone the end user is holding.

Why credit Apple for another move at vendor lock-in. Apple have enough sway with their iPhone that they could have made their messaging system an open and interoperable standard.

That's the nice thing about iMessage: it'll fall back to SMS if the recipient doesn't have an Apple device. If you trade your iPhone in for an Android phone, my iMessages to you become regular SMS messages with no intervention on my part.

It still just works.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927729)

I've never used SMS. What happens when you text someone whose phone doesn't support texting? Do you get a bounce message back like with email?

Re:20 years later... (1)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927887)

It's true that SMS "just works" now. But that is only a recent development.

5 or 6 years ago - SMS across a national boundary was a lottery. It might work, it might not, and you'd have no way of knowing when, or even if, your message was delivered. This was particularly the case with the US, where SMS was particularly unreliable.

Even SMS between individual networks within a country wasn't always as reliable as you might have expected.

Re:20 years later... (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928513)

SMS has been working in pretty much everywhere BUT the USA pretty well. I remember back in 1999 sending messages to people abroad, and getting messages sent back.

Now here in the UK we have even had SMS on our landline (send and receive) for over 5 years..... most DECT cordless phones support the scheme well.

Re:20 years later... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927997)

That's the theory. When I was in China (using a Chinese number) one of my friends in Australia could reliably text me. Other texts from Australia were haphazard. Texts from the UK never arrived. However, I could text other countries reliably. When I was in Bolivia (using a Bolivian number) nobody outside of Bolivia managed to text me and I couldn't text them. A friend in Bolivia using a British number received every text from the UK about fifty times. In both cases domestic texting was flawless.

International texting should just work but, in my experience, it usually doesn't in poorer countries.

Re:20 years later... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926819)

Correct about iMessage. However, the goal was to allow iPhone users to decrease their text message plan and AT&T once again screwed it's customers and made it unlimited only.

Re:20 years later... (2)

tom229 (1640685) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927897)

I love apple fanbois. How is a shitty and extremely late implementation of BBM "brilliant"?

Re:20 years later... (1)

King-Raz (51985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926449)

Depends on your plan. Like many others, I get unlimited SMS as part of my monthly subscription.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926697)

Yeah really. Who still pays for SMS?

Re:20 years later... (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926841)

The majority of people with a prepaid plan are paying 20 cents per message in the US - to send and receive.

Everyone else is paying too, the cost is just bundled into a big monthly so you can't identify what any one part of it costs. That makes it much harder to shop around for other deals that might leave you better off, since you're likely to seek the safety of unlimited everything rather than buying what you need.

Re:20 years later... (1)

oshkrozz (1051896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927331)

Yes unlike this chart, it is very hard to figure out the cost of your plan .. I know charts can be very confusing http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?item=prepayItem&action=viewPrepayOverview [verizonwireless.com] Or this one from ATT http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-plans/pyg-cell-phone-plans.jsp?wtSlotClick=1-007FTV-0-2&_requestid=186952 [att.com] Or this one from Team Mobile http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/pay-as-you-go-plans [t-mobile.com] You do not have to pay .20 per txt and it is very easy to figure out the plan that works best for you (well I guess since many in the USA by the time they get to HS can not balance a checkbook so basic addition and subtraction is elusive it really is not so easy) ... I can not find an actual study that has the number of people that take the very basic most expensive prepay option as you claim (ie 20c per txt or 25c/min) since an average phone call takes more then 3 min based at least on this article not just because I felt it was true (ie $1 on the perpay) http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_length_of_a_phone_call [answers.com] With prepay you have to use up the funds you put on your phone it almost doesn't make sense to do the 100% pay as you go option unless you know that on any given day you will never make a call more then 3 min long and the phone is really just for emergencies (not 911 emergencies) and even then if you get the 100/year plan (that is less then 10/month for the not so math inclined) and the $2/day option the most you will pay on any given day you use the phone is $2 the least is 0 and each txt is .02 so you are better off sending a txt message then making a call if you can. Yes you do need some basic math and to pay attention to what you do.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928135)

Why would you pay to receive a message? That is just absurd,

Re:20 years later... (5, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926673)

"'SMS is the closest thing to pure profit ever invented" - Sir Chris Gent, founder of Vodafone.
(from here [thisismoney.co.uk] )

Re:20 years later... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927617)

"'SMS is the closest thing to pure profit ever invented" - Sir Chris Gent, founder of Vodafone. (from here [thisismoney.co.uk] )

And to think, the only thing you have to do to avoid the SMS charge is use the phone as a PHONE and call the person you wanted to communicate with. And yet somehow the texting option is more popular despite the constantly increasing cost...

Re:20 years later... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927857)

That article is over four years old and even then is citing an old quote. The world has moved on quite a bit since then and as others have said, pretty much everyone in Europe at least gets unlimited texts or at least an awful lot in their bundle. I get 300mins, 1,000 texts and unlimited data plus a free Android phone (list price £450 when I signed up) for £18 a month on a 2 year contract.

Re:20 years later... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928111)

(list price £450 when I signed up) for £18 a month on a 2 year contract.

Um, I think it's safe to assume that the list price is completely made up or inflated to make it seem like you're getting a great deal.

Re:20 years later... (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928653)

It was an HTC Desire - Even now 2 years on you can pay £350 to £420 for one in the UK if you buy it as PAYG even though it's an older phone

Re:20 years later... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927901)

There's something to be said for asynchronous communication. Case in point - you're reading this at your leisure, at some point in time after I posted it, rather than reading reading it live as I type.

Re:20 years later... (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927119)

You should not use SMS to transfer data. It was never the purpose of SMS. The product sold with SMS is ubiquity. It's the guaranteed lowest common denominator . I can bet you in 5 years my mom will not have a data service on her mobile. But she'll have SMS. That's what I pay for, otherwise I would have just mailed her. This is also the reason why nobody switched in great numbers to Skype for voice calls even when ITZ FRE3 ONE1!!!. It's hardly ubiquitous. Additionally in many territories, data based services

Re:20 years later... (3, Interesting)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927337)

Repeat after me: prices are set by supply and demand, not by cost.

The minimum costs of providing labor are extremely low, yet workers keep insisting on making a profit instead of working at indentured servitude rates.

Re:20 years later... (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928947)

The GSM standards body has never charged anyone for an SMS.

You're conflating use of a standard with service providers who sell use of that standard.

To be honest, I can't believe the US providers who even charge for receipt of SMSs still get away with such absurd pricing. No carrier in any european country I've heard of has ever even thought of such a stupid and dangerous charging scheme. Nor could they now, as nobody would be stupid enough to chose them as a provider.

In most countries in europe, it seems that you get about 200 free per month even on the cheapest network packages. PAYG is a different market clearly, but even then the last PAYG I used was either 2p or 3p per SMS, about 5 years ago.

The charge (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926283)

What does the typical person pay per month?

Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926317)

...and Steve Jobs invented it too!!

all on GSM? (1)

shortscruffydave (638529) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926379)

"Two thirds of the world's population, 4 billion people, use cell phones today, and all of them have access to SMS" Are they really all using the GSM standard, which provides SMS? I thought that in some developing countries, there were still analogue (i.e. pre-GSM) networks in use?

Re:all on GSM? (5, Informative)

Hian Bosu (61229) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926397)

Not really, most developing countries bypass the entire analogue mobile stage and go straight to digital.

Re:all on GSM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926465)

Indeed, sort of like how they tend to bypass landlines completely as the infrastructure for basic cell service is easier to set up in those types of places. As well as easier to maintain.

Re:all on GSM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926455)

I thought the US was one of the last countries on earth to get rid of analog back in 2008. While most developing countries never introduced analog and went straight to GSM.

Re:all on GSM? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926479)

GSM is nearly ubiquitous in developing countries. I've been to a significant number of 3rd world (and 2nd) and GSM has been the prevailing standard with an occasional CDMA set showing up.

Re:all on GSM? (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926685)

I think they didn't even consider starting mobile networks until the richer countries were going digital. When you're building from scratch, it makes sense to use newer technology. It may even be cheaper.

Re:all on GSM? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927681)

For large areas in many developing countries it's the only option you have on telephony, as they never had wired networks installed. After all installing a wired network costs a lot more than building up a wireless network (saves digging up every single street to every single home to get a cable in the ground). Their major cities may have a wired network, but the countryside not.

Possibly in some developing countries they have analogue networks, but that will be rare. Just like developed countries have upgraded their analogue networks by now; this is again relatively cheap to do compared to upgrading say copper to fibre.

Isn't everyone except the US GSM (3, Informative)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926529)

I mean, with probably a few exceptions?

I've always liked GSM because it is easy to swap out simcards, while CDMA seems to flash the information into the phone making it much harder to reuse...

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926591)

China and India, you know, about half the world

Japan and South Korea too

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926811)

Those countries are mixed, not predominately CDMA like the US is, AFAIK

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (2)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928425)

It's closer to 50/50 for GSM/CDMA in the USA. Verizon+Sprint =162 million CDMA subscribers.
AT&T+T-Mobile=137million GSM subscribers.

I suppose if you add in the smaller players (MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, Cricket, etc.) you do end up with a larger majority of CDMA.

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927177)

While these countries might not support traditional GSM, they have UMTS networks. So if your "GSM" is not more than 5 years old it might work (if it supports the frequencies in those countries).

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927409)

Sure, China Mobile has a CDMA network on the side... It serves a few percent of their customers. Everyone else is on China Mobile GSM.

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926677)

I seem to recall hearing a country or two besides the US that supports CDMA, but it's not really important enough for me to spend 30 seconds doing a Google search because, yes, for all practical purposes the entire rest of the world uses GSM. I've been a mobile phone user in the US for 20 years in various parts of the country and without veering off into a rant about carrier lock-in, I'll just say that both systems have their pros and cons. Generlly speaking, CDMA phones have almost always given me better call quality and my experience is that signal penetration into buildings is clearly better with CDMA. I'm currently in the NYC and for the past few weeks have been evaluating two phones side by side to see if I want to continue with Verizon (CDMA carrier) or switch to AT&T (GSM) and I honestly can't say that there's significant enough difference to really debate. I've been a Verizon customer for 12 years, but the two things that are pushing me to evaluate AT&T are that 1) Verizon won't replace my problematic phone because my contract is not up--it's cheaper to pay a cancellation fee and switch to AT&T and 2) I use the phone for work a lot and on CDMA it is not possible to be on a voice call and simultaneously connect to the internet. For a business phone I'm finding that a big limitation.

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927233)

Look up?
2 of 3 major Canadian carriers were CDMA outfits.

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926955)

Very much agree. It's pretty much the reason I stopped using Bell in Canada. They did (still do?) use CDMA technology. Which meant that when it came time to buy a new phone, even though I bought the phone outright from them, they charged me a $35 activation fee. If it was GSM, I could have just bought a phone anywhere, swapped out the SIM card and they couldn't say anything about it. Although I personally find that CDMA has better call quality, the fact that the network provider can charge you to switch phones is so ridiculous that I can deal with the difference in call quality.

Re:Isn't everyone except the US GSM (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928867)

Bell switched to GSM over a year ago. I doubt they'll drop the CDMA network as long as they can charge Verizon users massive roaming charges when they come to Canada, but they only sell GSM phones now.

Please ignore (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926593)

Testing if post as AC appears

Re:Please ignore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926959)

Sure

Not so popular in the US? (2)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926601)

I get the impression that sending a text is way more expensive in the US than elsewhere so hasn't really taken off the way it has elsewhere? I get 1,000 a month 'free' in my monthly payment. Most people I know are on unlimited. It's certainly not uncommon for people to get through 5,000+ a month. I really don't see the problem. It's cheap, simple and works. Sure you can use WhatsApp etc (free for how long?) but most people I know don't have it and won't installit because, well, they like SMS for reasons given.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926675)

It's incredibly popular in the US, every carrier offers unlimited messages and I don't think I could find a set-up that doesn't support it at all if I tried for weeks.

Most carriers also offer nation-wide or continent wide options, making the whole switching SIMs and managing different numbers thing seem like kind of a hassle rather than a feature if anyone were using it the way most Europeans I know do.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926763)

Clearly I was *totally* wrong so thanks for that. I'm now wondering where all the people I've seen on here complaining about the cost actually live!

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928447)

Except that most every carrier in the US charges $20/month extra for that unlimited SMS plan (or else $0.25 - $0.50 per text - sent or received! - with no plan). Yes, the other thing is that you pay equally to RECEIVE texts as to send them, even if they're spam.

Sometimes they bundle it in all-inclusive voice-SMS-data plans for like $99/month, but no, it's never free in the US.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926791)

I get the impression that sending a text is way more expensive in the US than elsewhere so hasn't really taken off the way it has elsewhere?

Its much more expensive and slower than making a voice call and harder to use than email because of the length limit. It only makes sense if you're in a no-talking but cellphone-ok environment (student in a lecture hall, etc) or if you're multi-tasking about ten conversations at the same time (teenage girl stereotype).

I find 5000 to be an unlikely exaggeration. Assuming 30 days per month and 8 hrs/day of sleep/shower/otherwise disconnected time per day, that's a constant load of one text message every six minutes. I do not believe your stereotypical median American can read that fast. 500/month, that is excessive yet believable, something like one per hour. I am basing this on theory, my experience is zero per hour because I don't text. I do a lot of email and web stuff, but not text.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (2)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926905)

Its much more expensive and slower than making a voice call and harder to use than email because of the length limit

Hang on, the other person said they're free/unlimited? As for speed etc, how long does it take, 5 seconds? What do you use them for? Everyone I know just uses them for small msgs i.e. 'I'm at the Theatre', 'OK, be there in 5', 'cool' etc. As for the size limit, That's pretty notional. Just type as much as you want, the phone carrier splits them up and puts them together again so the recipient just sees one message even if it's 500 chars long or whatever.

I find 5000 to be an unlikely exaggeration

Not so. My friend had a package with 5,000 texts a month and regular broke that so had to move to an unlimited package.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928609)

Hang on, the other person said they're free/unlimited?

The other person was wrong. They are only free when included in some all-inclusive voice/data plan, which usually runs about $99/month. Since it's usually possible to add an adequate amount of data to voice for about $20/month less than that (without SMS), it's not at all true that most phone subscribers have an SMS plan, or that it comes for free. (Note: since I don't typically watch video for hours on end or stream music all day long, I've never used more than about 25% of my available bandwidth on one of the lower-tier data plans despite tethering my laptop, especially because my phone uses local Wi-Fi at home and work.)

On the other hand, every SMS plan I know of offers unlimited messages.

My friend had a package with 5,000 texts a month and regular broke that so had to move to an unlimited package.

In the US they don't have limited SMS plans, it's either unlimited or nothing. Those with unlimited plans may be texting thousands per month, but those without, paying per text (sent or received) typically send very few. I don't have a plan, and rarely text, but haven't blocked SMS (which I did seriously consider, and I assume many people probably do, especially older people) because it's occasionally useful. The occasional spam which costs me $0.50 annoys me, but ultimately doesn't cost me very much (it's usually not more than about one per month).

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926915)

There are times when sending a text is more "appropriate" than calling. For example, if you're in a noisy environment and need to get someone's attention. Equally so, if you're in a very quiet environment and need to talk to some discretely.

Texts can be better than e-mails since they require the sender to be precise with his/her words and to be as short as possible.

That doesn't negate how expense texts really are verses how much they should be. Like many things, text fees are a fee of convenience, not of actual value. I'm pretty sure this is why the cost of texts haven't gone up in a while. I think the carriers don't want to rock the boat. Any increase is likely to result in more people seeking free alternatives.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927173)

Have you ever met a teenage girl?
Lately the boys are getting just as bad.
At high traffic times sending and receiving I have seen people go 4 or 5 texts a minute.
 

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

Solozerk (1003785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927441)

Same impression here - I pay 19.90 euros each month (in France) and I get unlimited calls (towards landlines and mobiles in 12+ countries), unlimited internet access (capped after a few GB, though), and unlimited SMS/MMS. The prices in the US seems completely crazy by comparison - and the same appears to be true of the Internet access prices there (especially given the apparent level of service quality which seems quite poor).
I wonder if someone tried to study the impact the availability/prices of mobile & internet connections to a modern society as a whole. Instinctively, I'd say that the more people have mobile handsets/internet access, the more productive and efficient the society is (just from the fact, for example, that people might learn usable skills and develop critical thinking by themselves thanks to the web). So in effect it might be a good idea to lower those prices through government control - but then again, this is the US so I guess AT&T, Verizon and so on are basically in charge of that and wouldn't let such a thing happen.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928415)

Be glad you have what you got. Here in the US, I'm paying $450/month (~346 Euros) for a basic internet service for my place and a smartphone plan with 5 gigs of data, unlimited texts, and 600 minutes. Switching providers is out of the question since the cable company is "meh" at best.

I wish I got on when the telcos had unlimited data, but no cell company in the US allows for that these days, so you end up spending $50 if you want to transfer a DVD's worth of data.

Re:Not so popular in the US? (1)

xianzombie (123633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928815)

Hmm...basically we have a "family plan" with 2 phones on it. Both HTC Android devices, capable of 4g (but non existent). I'd much rather pay 19.90E.

Talk 1500 anytime minutes $ 110.00
Additional line charges (1 line) $ 19.99
Nights and weekends starting at 7pm
Any Mobile, AnytimeSM
Mobile to mobile
Allow International Calls (1 line)
Messages - Text, Pictures and Video
Unlimited Data - Web, email, TV, music, GPS and more
4G speeds in select cities
Premium Data $ 20.00
Total Equipment Protection (2 lines) $ 16.00
Plan charges $165.99 + Taxes and fees

Average total monthly bill $167.76

2012 - 1982 = 30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926715)

That is all.

Re:2012 - 1982 = 30 (1)

Scott64 (1181495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926889)

From the summary: "The first GSM handests were approved for sale in May 1992"

On the subject of old SIM cards... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926831)

Am I the only person who used to prefer when you could slot the entire credit card sized card into the phone without taking the battery out? It was so much friggin easier - I used to have 3 cards which I could swap around as and when needed and it literally took seconds to change. Ok , some smartphones have gone back to that and now have a SIM slot on the outside but most STILL require you to disassemble the phones first. Why??

Re:On the subject of old SIM cards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926919)

It makes it harder to defraud the phone company by swapping SIMs mid-call.

Re:On the subject of old SIM cards... (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926983)

Ok , some smartphones have gone back to that and now have a SIM slot on the outside but most STILL require you to disassemble the phones first. Why??

Because saying that space is at a premium in modern phones is a massive understatement. The space needed to accommodate what you describe, especially with a full-size SIM card just isn't available. As this [google.co.uk] image shows, the space devoted to even a micro-SIM is a significant fraction of what is available. The SIM holder is directly beneath the A4 chip and it's fairly plain to see why Apple are pushing to do away with physical SIMs altogether. FWIW I'm still against the idea, but I do see why they're so keen on it.

Re:On the subject of old SIM cards... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927737)

Most people will simply have two phones for two SIM cards. Swapping them out sucks, no matter how easy the process is. And there are quite some dual-SIM phones that allow you to have a second SIM (targeted at frequent travelers to have a home number and a foreign number, and save on roaming cost).

Re:On the subject of old SIM cards... (2)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927967)

I would rather have single phone with two SIM slots.

vs cdma & friends? gsm interference (1)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927059)

I hate it how gsm handsets interfere with computer speakers, you can always tell when someone carries a gsm instead of, say, cdma or its later incarnations. Its also silly to learn by the speakers noise you are going to get a call before the actual phone rings... And, have found gsm despite in theory being more rebust, struggles more in bad situation such as inside buildings.

A single operator in my country happens to service both cdma and gsm phones, with the latter being more heavily pushed. Perhaps it can simply accomodate more lines per cell?

I mentioned computer speakers but the noise made by gsm handsets actually affects most recording equipment, such as studio or even live tv broadcasts (ie, a guest in a show forgets to turn off the phone...), and you get to hear the familiar beep beep beep, beep beep beep; twaaaaaaaa twaaaaaa twaaaaa thing.

Not all of them have SMS. (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927833)

The people in Kashmir (India) do not have access to SMS.
It has something to do with terrorists I was told last autumn...
Just saying...

(and maybe there are others as well who are shut off)

The real problem (1)

tom229 (1640685) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927981)

Everyone's kind of missing the real problem here: monopolized industry. This is how they get away with gouging the customer with these dead paradigm technologies. SMS, long distance charges, roaming, and per MB billing all should be a thing of the past. The only reason they aren't is that, in an industry with little competition, the telecom cartel can pretty much do whatever they want.

_All_ users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928983)

It's not true that all cell phone users have access to SMS in Japan.
In fact, only recently SMS became an alternative to e-mail.

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