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SMS vs. E-mail?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the the-war-of-convenient-messaging dept.

Handhelds 203

Chase asks: "I have a Motorola I85s (Java phones rock!). The issue I've run into is that from what I've been able to find out, most phones overseas (I'm in the US) support SMS to send text messages between mobile devices. Also alot of two-way devices are now popping up in the US. Nextel (my service provider) only lets me use SMS to other Nextel customers. Their two messaging service is e-mail based. So I end up using a web site to send SMS messages to my friends overseas but we'd really like to send directly each others phones. Is this just a problem with Nextel or do all mobile phone companies in the US have this issue? Are most of the current crop of two-way devices coming out in the US email based, SMS, or something else?"

"All of you anti-Microsoft people would probably like to know that if you have Nextels national plan and a I85s you get the ability to send and recieve from a Hotmail or MSN account for free. I'm paying $5 a month for the regular email support. I read something about MSN only supporting non-standard protocols for email, do we also have to worry about Microsoft messing with moble messaging? (and yes, I have a Passport option on my phone)"

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Open protocol service forthcoming. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115148)

Hey, I'm the lead developer on a project called MobileIM( www.mobileim.com )that is attempting to integrate exactly these two dissimilar means of sending messages - we use the open source Jabber Server( www.jabber.org )internally for interoperability with ICQ, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc, and we liked it so much that we're going to be using the protocol for our mobile and desktop clients too, which will be forthcoming shortly.

Right now we're doing a lot of research into establishing a virtual SMSC via the SMPP protocol so we can have a direct SMS-to-SMTP adaptor, so if you're really interested in this topic, check out our news site occasionally in the next few months, we might have something interesting someday. =)

Re:Wired News has an article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115149)

if($SenseOfHumour == 0 && $foreigners > 0):
$troll = 1;
$status = "attack on sense of nationalism";
printf($country."trash" . $USNukeArsenal $randmSocalisticInsult);
while ($foreigners == 0) {
printf("Buy Coke!");
printf("Buy HotDogs!");
printf("Buy Donuts!");
printf("Watch TV!");

SMS/email connectivity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115150)

The Software Labs [softwarelabs.com] has a product called PageAbility which has been bridging this gap for several years. Though it's not the best solution, by far, it does work fairly well if you have a MS Windows system which can be left on all day.

Hardware is always a problem, due to the fact that once it's been distributed, there's virtually no way to revamp the entire system. Of course, many phones can be programmed remotely, but major investments must be made in order to get the back end to deal as well.

Therefore, we're left to stop-gap solutions. Thanks, big multi-national mega-conglomerate corporations!

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115151)

I guess... but if the US govt really wanted the free market run free they would make the spectrum less 'regulated', the amount of stuff allocated for military apps is ridiculous, it seems they just hang onto the frequencies for the sake of it, this is the reason the 3G auctions will be so long coming, there's one almighty battle going on with the Pentagon regarding the spectrum. Everyone else got their auctions over with over 18 months ago.

If we get off our military peddle stall for a second and take a look around, how come other countries can manage a modern fighting force without requiring huge soaves of spectrum being allocated to military use? The Brits have a decent Navy and Army, yet their spectrum isn't ruled by the forces. If our forces are more technologically advanced at least in theory we should only require slim spectrum allocations, certainly no more than other countries.

I don't think you can really blame Europe for US domestic problems. In fact, if the EU started complaining US frequency allocations within the USA, you think they would be given a warm welcome? I can just imagine how /. would take to this. I don't think we can really point fingers at the Europeans here.

Re:GSM vs. TDMA vs. CDMA (1)

chap (676) | more than 12 years ago | (#115152)

To be specific PCS is a term that refers to the 1900MHz wireless band, no matter the protocol used on that band. Sprint uses CDMA on the PCS band while AT&T amoung others use TDMA on the PCS band.


Re:Nokia 8890 (1)

The Qube (749) | more than 12 years ago | (#115153)

All three of the mobile service providers in Australia (Telstra, Optus & Vodafone) use GSM900. There are some 1800 cells in CBD areas in major cities though.

One.Tel, which built its network using GSM1800 only, went out of business few weeks ago and was shut down completely. Telstra ended up taking most of the home and mobile customers.


Re:Similar in the UK several years ago (1)

mabs (2595) | more than 12 years ago | (#115155)

They (the mobile phone providers) were told they had to here in Australia :)

Re:European phones ... (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 12 years ago | (#115159)

Next to that it's also nice to know that you can send from one country to another one without one single interaction. I send regulary from Belgium to the Netherlands and from the Netherlands (while on a belgium subscription) to the Netherlands and to Belgium :)

Almost all of the cellular phone operators have deals with (almost all) international operators (roaming). You can call almost at local charges if you are calling in the same (roaming) charges.

Some even provide a server that you can roam in the United States without changing your phone (if your phone is having US std's of'course, else you'll need to get one with a SIM card :))

Freaker / TuC

Re:GSM in the US (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 12 years ago | (#115162)

Yeah, what the Hell's up with Austin? I was just down there last week and thought it was supposed to be a big tech town. Well, my hotel had ethernet connections, but my phone bill's going to be obnoxious this month because of all the roaming Verizon calls I was making. Oh well, the bars/music were still great, anyway...


Re:Inertia (1)

DamnYankee (18417) | more than 12 years ago | (#115163)

...Sometimes it hurts to be first...

Hmmm...so that's why Russia never made it to the moon.

What does that say about the US mobile infrastructure then?

I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "I drank what?"

Re:column A or B? (1)

Amanset (18568) | more than 12 years ago | (#115165)

Hey, if you gave me a choice between dinky text messages and a cable modem for 30$ a month, I'll take the cable modem. The US is far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of high speed internet.

Minor point, but at my apartment in Stockholm (Sweden) I can get cable internet via UPC for 229 SEK/Month (approximately 23 USD) and ADSL via Telia for 330 SEK/Month (approximately 33 USD).

Oh - and we get "dinky" text messaging.

Also you can now get GPRS (always on, internet connected 2.5G mobile).

What was your point again?

Retarded anyway (1)

andri (23774) | more than 12 years ago | (#115167)

Mobile services in US are quite retarded anyway - different standards, even GSM standard is different from European; different networks incompatible, no decent mobile phones (Nokia 62xx series that is)...

Well, in some things US lags way behind, and unfortunately this has shown no signs of getting better. Makes me happy to live in Europe :)

Re:GSM/USA - I thought it actually worked (1)

Marton (24416) | more than 12 years ago | (#115168)

Just buy a tri-band phone instead of renting one next time you're overseas.

Last time I've been there I picked up an Ericsson thingy for about $400, it works on 900 & 1800 MHz as well as on the 1900 MHz standard in the US.

I inserted my European SIM card, and was able to use the phone in New York, Detroit & Vegas - pretty much everywhere I've been on that trip.

The only downside was people who didn't know I was overseas, calling me at 7 fucking am in the morning. Oh yeah, and then there was the phone bill, about $2 per minute with those stupid roaming charges.

Re:US has problems (1)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 12 years ago | (#115170)

Yup, I was in Norway last year from Ireland and both the pre-paid and account SIM cards I brought with my phone worked perfectly, SMS and all. It really is sweet (and seeing as I was in Amsterdamn for around an hour at the stopover it's nice to see GSM "working" - switching the network display as it goes through countries).

I figure until GSM becomes more widespread in the US they won't get a decent and quick SMS. I have read however that it is becoming more widespread in the North East (New York, Mass., etc., ).

I think the US get better pricing deals though - around $50 a month for 1500mins of calls I heard from some services.

Re:GSM (1)

curtisg (63391) | more than 12 years ago | (#115175)

The parts of Cingular that were Pacific Bell Wireless in California and Nevada are GSM based. The BellSouth parts are TDMA.

Re:phone email (1)

panZ (67763) | more than 12 years ago | (#115176)

Cingular (formerly PacBell PCS in my area) also supplies every phone with this type of email address but they also send SMS outside of their network. I'm able to SMS my friends who use the SprintPCS network and friends in Europe with my 300 free messages/mo. Oh, and my unlimited nights and weekends, no long distance in the US and free US roaming is much cheaper and more convienient than that "pay as originator of call" system they use in Europe IMHO.

SMS in Sweden... (1)

_GNU_ (81313) | more than 12 years ago | (#115178)

I almost use SMS more than IRC or ICQ sometimes, or use SMS to get people to get on IRC or ICQ ;)
But email... I use that to get forgotten passwords mailed, pretty much :P

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

ahde (95143) | more than 12 years ago | (#115182)

your 8290 is huge! Go to japan. Three years ago they were smaller (and with 8 bit color screens)

GSM! (1)

Korgan (101803) | more than 12 years ago | (#115185)

European, many Asian (not all), and nearly all of Australasia are using this great standard known as GSM (and GSM2 and GPRS are coming soon to a quality vendor near you).

The great thing about GSM is that I can use my GSM phone in nearly every part of the world I go to. Most countries have standardised on the bands used and so its a breeze to travel with. The only time a tri-band phone is needed is when you head for the US.

I have no problems with GSM and although there are some limitations, they're really not anything worth complaining about. I can send SMS messages to my friends in Australia, England, Germany and they can reply. Why would I want anything else?

In New Zealand we really only have two providers. Telecom NZ [telecom.co.nz] and Vodafone [vodafone.co.nz]. Telecom NZ has lost huge market share to Vodafone because the corporates want to be able to use their phone from anywhere, without a hassle. Telecom only allows you to go to Sydney from NZ if you want to use international roaming. The are about to roll out CDMA (end of July) but even that only increases the roaming capabilities marginally. With so many using GSM already, GPRS is going to have a much larger market share than CDMA.

Its great when friends come over from the UK because before they even get through customs (but after they're off the plane) we can be talking away, making sure someone is there to collect them. If it wasn't for GSM, this would be nearly impossible.

GSM is the most widely used network in the world. I have always lamented the fact that if I want to go to the US or Canada, I have to make special arrangements, rent a phone and probably lose a lot of functionality. I have never been able to understand why it is that Americans can't just bite the ego bullet and accept something that was not developed by the US and use something the majority of the rest of the world is very much enjoying. Surely the frequencies used is not the issue... However it would be a lot better if there was a global standard, instead of the US and the Rest.

Why always screw it up for the consumer? (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 12 years ago | (#115187)

Take a look at europe, the mobile industry work great. I can SMS to anyone I want that has a mobile, and the other way around. I can use the same phone with any carrier, even go to another carriers pre paid services. In other words, the US carriers suck ass. Isn't it time this is sorted out? And not only that, look at regions for DVDs... I let it as an exercise for the readers of slashdot to complete my list.

I recommend that everyone complain, time for the people to sue MPAA, carriers, spammers, telemarketers, and everyone else who only makes our lives less enjoyable...

Re:International Compatibility... (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 12 years ago | (#115188)

Well... There *are* a standard.
But that's european, so why should US companies bother about them, right? ;-)

Re:Existing email providers on cell phones (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 12 years ago | (#115189)

That's no worry anyway, since I can send and recieve E-mail through SMS.
And since my SMS adress is my mobile-phone number, I can switch to a phone that supports the "final" standard when it comes and keep my adress/phone number.
(I the new phone doesn't change the cardstandard too...)

Re:GSM (1)

Vendekkai (121853) | more than 12 years ago | (#115196)

Not true. In GSM networks, SMS travels on the signalling channel, not the voice channels. Therefore, it is usually billed as a "flagfall" or per SMS. And since SMS is restricted to 160 chars per message, it is not really possible to bill by volume.

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 12 years ago | (#115197)

They have one. It's called the Nokia 8890. Sleek and silver, with an indigo backlight.

I think they came out with them in the US a few months ago. Before their release, this guy I knew spent $800 to ebay one from Hong Kong.

Re:Nokia 8890 (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 12 years ago | (#115198)

Whoops. You're right.

Heh, hope my friend doesn't find out he just got screwed out of $800

Re:GSM vs. TDMA vs. CDMA (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 12 years ago | (#115199)

PCS is NOT GSM at 1900 MHz. PCS (Personal Communication Services) is the generic FCC term for digital wireless telecom services.

Sprint, uses CDMA, as do Verizon, Qwest, Cricket, etc, making it the #1 cell protocl in the USA by number of subscribers. Europe uses GSM, as do a few providers in the USA, and soon (not soon enough) AT&T.

SMS explained (1)

Combuchan (123208) | more than 12 years ago | (#115200)

SMS is cellular protocol dependent. Nextel uses the iDen protocol, VoiceStream, et. al. use the GSM protocol, AT&T uses TDMA. Different cell protocols are one barrier, another is multiple systems provided by multiple companies.

So ... SMS pretty much has to be delivered via email here. According to page 7 of this pdf [nextel.com], your phone's email is tendigits@messaging.nextel.com. On page 42 of this other i85-specific PDF [nextel.com] this details sending email from a Nextel phone.

42. The answer to everything

Just ask your european counterparts what their phone's email addresses are. If their phones don't have the feature, the problem, for the very first time, is their technological inadequacies.

And I don't even have Nextel. I have AT&T!

Re:US has problems (1)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 12 years ago | (#115201)

I think the US has problems in its wireless industry because our ground telephone system is so solid.

This must be some new use of the word `think' I was not previously aware of.

I've seen all kinds of reasons proposed of thr US lag in mobile telecoms, but they all basicly boil down to the existing US telecoms companies not wanting it to take off and no one else getting the funding together to challenge them.

With a side issue, perhaps, of the low US popuation density.

Re:column A or B? (1)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 12 years ago | (#115202)

Hey, if you gave me a choice between dinky text messages and a cable modem for 30$ a month, I'll take the cable modem.

So far as I know no one has a cable modem small enough to fit in my shirt pocket, and pulling that cable around would be such a drag.

SMS internationally (1)

nzkoz (139612) | more than 12 years ago | (#115210)

Here in NZ(new zealand) we have two companies doing mobile phone services.

Vodafone NZ (relative newcomer) runs a GSM based network and their SMS service works with almost every other service on earth! However......

Telecom NZ (incumbent former state monopoly) runs some old hack of a system and their SMS is a bit of a shambles:

  • Only some of their phones support it
  • You can SMS Vodafone Phones but they can't reply or tell who it's from.
  • You can't SMS internationally.

So here it really depends on your provider. Either the Clunky old tech monopoly or the High tech new-comer

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

marm (144733) | more than 12 years ago | (#115211)

I just wish Nokia would get their act together and make a triband GSM900/1800/1900 phone.

Why not just buy a Motorola? I'm pretty much ecstatic with my now-rather-bashed-up Timeport 250, it does everything that I require of it and plenty more (functionally it's approximately equivalent to a Nokia 6210, slightly larger, but slightly lighter) and it's tri-band (does GSM900/1800/1900). In the UK it's going for the same price as the 6210 (between free and about 60UKP depending on which contract/network you get it on).

Re:US has problems (1)

marm (144733) | more than 12 years ago | (#115212)

I think the US get better pricing deals though - around $50 a month for 1500mins of calls I heard from some services.

This would be true if it weren't for the other thing that cripples the US mobile telephony market - this ridiculous idea that you pay (or use up your free airtime) to receive calls! So, all the US airtime packages seem attractive... until you realise that you're actually not getting to use all those airtime minutes to make calls yourself.

In contrast, because of the call-originator-pays system that the rest of the world uses, pre-pay packages are viable and attractive. Having bought a phone (in the UK the cheapest pre-pay packages are now around 70 UKP or about $100 US) the user pays nothing ever again, as long as they only receive calls and SMS's. If the user wishes to make calls or send an SMS they buy in advance airtime cards from practically any shop, or via plastic over the phone. Of course, you don't get any free minutes, but calls are not necessarily expensive either with this system - the best on offer is I think 2p (about 3 cents) a minute off-peak (7pm-7am weekdays and all day weekends) and 10p (about 14 cents) a minute at peak time (all other times). SMS's are charged at a flat rate of 10p each. You can now even do international roaming with pre-pay phones.

If you want to understand why mobile phones have taken off in Europe in such a huge way compared with the US, then this is one of the major pieces of the puzzle. Before pre-pay packages became available in late 1998, around 20% of UK adults had a mobile phone and growth was slow (a few percent a year). Everything else was the same it is now - GSM was the standard and there was around 98% coverage of the UK population. Fast forward 3 years after the introduction of pre-pay packages and the market penetration is now 75% and growth is finally levelling off after a totally explosive period - the market has nearly become saturated. Pretty much everyone who wants a mobile phone has one.

What I find most interesting is that SMS was only a minor feature of GSM phones before pre-pay became available - people used it, but not very widely. Initially, mobile phone networks priced the call costs of pre-pay phones very high to offset the fact that they were not getting a monthly service fee. Thus, SMS suddenly became all-important as a way for pre-pay users to save money. Now pre-pay call charges are much more reasonable, but SMS is now ubiquitous.

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

marm (144733) | more than 12 years ago | (#115213)

Well I'll agree to disagree about the user interface - I can't stand the Nokia interface personally, but horses for courses. As for tiny, you might be interested in the Motorola v50 then, which is about the same size and weight (79g IIRC) as an 8210 but with a clamshell design so it fits your face better when it's flipped open (expands to twice the size :) Oh, and it's tri-band :p

Why use a phone for text messages? (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 12 years ago | (#115215)

If you want good quality message service from a phone company on a cellphone, you are probably not looking in the right direction.

Buy a RIM blackberry pager (availiable in many different service provider flavours, mine's a Rogers/AT&T model -- I think AOL does one). It has more service range, its cheaper to operate, easier to type on (actually, easier to type on than anything its size, IMHO), and smaller than any cellphone I've ever seen (I'm talking about the 950 model here).

For me, I've found the coverage area for the pager exceeds what I'm used to getting with a cellphone.

It is designed to send/receive emails (not phone calls), so the interface is good. I can understand why you would hate having to send emails on a phone. If you get one of these I'm certain you'll see that email is the way to go. :-)

International Compatibility... (1)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 12 years ago | (#115218)

Until they [the service providers] decide to come up with some standard messaging protocals, you are pretty much screwed.


Sega Master System vs. e-mail (1)

bk1e (176877) | more than 12 years ago | (#115219)

Well, next time you hit "send" on your mail program, think about this: right now, you could be playing Phantasy Star, Thunderblade, or even Shinobi, instead! That's right. Shinobi. Classic side-scrolling shuriken-throwing ninja action. Right there on your Sega Master System. Aww yeah.

Now consider e-mail again. Think of all the spam you get, all the e-mail viruses, the chain letters, the Nigerian bank scams, the oversized attachments that take forever to download. Think of HTML mail. Free web mail services vanishing, your e-mail address with them. What a pain in the ass.

Clear winner: SMS.

SMS Programs (1)

aTMsA (188604) | more than 12 years ago | (#115221)

The web pages that you use to send SMS messages have to pay a fee to the telco to send them, and usually they recover that cost with banners or a subscription system or whatever, so, in principle, if you wanted a program to send SMS you would have to pay a company for proxying that message to the phone network.
I say in princple because there are programs(well, at least there is one i know) that connect to these public SMS senders and use them to send your messages, so you don't have to put up with banners, or using a bloated browser. Of course, that, while being legal, isn't very welcome by the portals that offer the SMS messaging service, that change the forms used to send it every now and then, fortunately the program has an update feature and uses various servers, so you can send SMS all the time.

Oh yeah, the link:

http://almorox.net/azrael/index2.html (WinSMS) [almorox.net]

The program is written primarily for spanish users, but it can send to international numbers too(Well at least it works for civilized places--places with GSM network). I'm sure there are programs of this kind out there, so search Google.

Re:International Compatibility... (1)

wierdo (201021) | more than 12 years ago | (#115229)

Until they [the service providers] decide to come up with some standard messaging protocals, you are pretty much screwed.

The protocol used to communicate between the handset and the MTSO is irrelevant. The only thing that matters (as in GSM) is whether there is a messaging gateway between the networks.

I used to have a phone on one of AT&T's "affiliated" networks. I could send my phone messages through AT&T or through my own provider, and vice versa. I can only assume this is because AT&T and my provider had a gateway (probably funded by AT&T so it's subscribers could recieve messages while in my provider's area).


Care about freedom?

Re:US has problems (1)

wierdo (201021) | more than 12 years ago | (#115230)

This would be true if it weren't for the other thing that cripples the US mobile telephony market - this ridiculous idea that you pay (or use up your free airtime) to receive calls! So, all the US airtime packages seem attractive... until you realise that you're actually not getting to use all those airtime minutes to make calls yourself.

The idea is not ridiculous. It is a natural extension of the way the land-line telephones work here. It is a simple extension of the philosophy that those who see the benifit should pay for it. If you choose to "go mobile," you pay for that choice. Those who call you do not. Besides, we're not paying for someone else to call us, we're paying for the finite resource of spectrum we are using.


Care about freedom?

Re:SMS explained (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 12 years ago | (#115236)

I haven't got email on the phone, but I can recieve faxes, get faxes via voicmail, and read my regular email via WAP.

That I don't have mobile email does not mean nobody can get it - Telenor customers can have a mobile email address, which is or something. Works like a charm.

Re:SMS explained (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 12 years ago | (#115237)

damn html code filter.... I used brackets for the example...
I meant that the mobile email address is:

or something like that.

Re:US has problems (1)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 12 years ago | (#115241)

you're kidding me, right? i just returned from England and was laughing at all the stupid cell phones the english are carrying around. looks like the US 4 years ago!

Re:Similar in the UK several years ago (1)

krispi (227500) | more than 12 years ago | (#115242)

It was also the same in Australia until late '99. At the time we had three networks who decided to go for a similar agreement. There are ways around this. I use a Nokia so i'm not sure what the setting on your phone is called, but you need to change your mailbox number. You can usually find out numbers around the place and you need to change it for each carrier you want to send to. You could find out the mailbox number by asking a friend who is on that network.

Microsoft??? (1)

haukex (229058) | more than 12 years ago | (#115243)

"...do we also have to worry about Microsoft messing with moble messaging?"

I don't see how Microsoft fits in on this issue, probably because it isn't clear what "email-based" actually means. AFAIK SMSs are recieved and sent by the mobile phone companies' SMS servers to and from the phones and among each other (yeah, that's probably a *really* simplified version of how it actually works ;) so they never even see the light of the Internet.

If you mean services that route your emails to your cell phone (which have to be provided by the people running your email account - BTW, often done by hooking a cell phone to the server that is used to send the SMS, pretty cool hack), and services that send your SMSs as emails (normally your cell phone company), then you shouldn't be worried. As long as MS doesn't take over the cell phone company it can be done completely independent of them ;-)

Re:SMS internationally (1)

fleps (241451) | more than 12 years ago | (#115244)

that's because your house is too _brown_. No wonder Mr Vodafone won't go near it.

A remember when... (1)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 12 years ago | (#115245)

I remember a day when the technology-Haves would encounter a question to which they had not the answer. Having not the answer, they would seek to find out. They'd search the Usenet archive. Query Y!, or Google. In short, they'd do some fucking work to figure shit out.

But now, we just Ask Slashdot. And the second post will point you towards an article you'd have found had you bothered to look. Ahh well. At least it wasn't a story about Anime.

Why SMS is so popular ... (1)

mattscape (264484) | more than 12 years ago | (#115248)

... or what is the youth doing in the US ?
I think the main reason why SMS is so popular in Germany (propably rest of europe and aisa too) is that teens hang out allday long writing sms. But other as wired wrote it's not a money reason. A usual sms costs 0,40 DM where as a minute phonecall costs the same. The reasons are more teenager based. Writing is more like chatting. You have a certain "distance" between the chatters and you can write things more easily ("Why didn't you go out with me last night?")
So the main sms boom is caused by teens. When you drive bus, walk through the city or sit in a pub (yes teens are allowed) you can seen them hanging over their cellphone writing sms.
So what are the US teens doing ?

Works (1)

mwillems (266506) | more than 12 years ago | (#115249)

I am a Canadian resident who has an account with FIDO, the Canadian GSM provider. I have a Motorola 3-band phone - use it worldwide (UK, Hong Kong, Holland, India, Australia, USA, etc). And SMS does usually work - over the past year it has gone from about 60% working in different countries (receiving as well as sending) to about 80%. So the providers are clearly working on interoperability. Michael

Nokia 8890 (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115251)

The 8890 is only dual band - 900/1900MHz. I considered it, but it was cheaper to buy two phones and switch the SIM when I'm visiting home (Australia).

BTW you can buy them new and unlocked (ie usable on any GSM network) from Melon Telecoms [melontelecom.com] for $549.99 (the cheapest I've seen).

Re:Nokia 8890 (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115252)

My Australian SIM is with Telstra, and I did notice a little Telstra GSM1800 activity in the Melbourne CBD, as well as the recently deceased One.Tel. I just object to spending that kind of money on a phone which STILL doesn't support all the GSM standards, when Motorola (whose phones I hate) has been doing it for a couple of years.

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115253)

Nokia have the best user interfaces, and the smallest phones. My 8290 (8210 equiv) is TINY! I've always found Motorolas to have a cumbersome user interface, and the L series is much bigger than an 82x0.

Re:GSM (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115254)

VoiceStream and Cingular, the GSM carriers in the US are reasonably clueful. I'm with Cingular and they seem to have their act together. I can SMS some Australian networks, and inbound international roaming works pretty well.

But I think the cross-carrier SMS situation will remain pretty bad. There's very little incentive for the networks to work together when it's all of their interests to keep their solutions proprietory.

Re:Retarded anyway (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115255)

There are Nokia GSM1900 models to match most GSM900/1800 models, although they're usually about 9-12 months behind the European release. I'm very happy with my GSM1900 Nokia 8290 with Cingular.

I just wish Nokia would get their act together and make a triband GSM900/1800/1900 phone. With GSM800 on the horizon, perhaps a quadband?

Re:GSM (1)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115256)

Not correct - What used to be Bellsouth DCS in NC, SC, FL, etc is now Cingular GSM. I'm in NC with Cingular and I have a GSM phone. Cingular's TDMA market is in the midwest, I believe.

Re:GSM vs. TDMA vs. CDMA (1)

NZKiwi (317525) | more than 12 years ago | (#115258)

What do I need SMS for??? Everyone I communicate with regularly has e-mail day and night.

Yep, and when you're meeting one of them in town in an incredibly noisy place (busy street, subway, nightclub etc) rendering the voice side of your phone useless - how do you find them when you or they have missed the rendevous? You can't just rush home and email them.

This is where SMS works extremely well.

Re:Inertia (1)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 12 years ago | (#115262)

No, the takeup of Email has nothing to do with SMS popularity. EMail generally means finding somewhere to hookup to the Internet. WAP doesn't reall seem to cut the ice here so mobile Email is relatively painful. The business that SMS displaces si actually the pager. Pagers other than for certain special purpose uses (i.e. news pagers) are largely dead in most of Europe

SMS is extremely cheap from the network viewpoint It is as portable as the mobile telephone and it works better than voice when the coverage is poor or the network is congested. An example of this is the use of SMS for rescue calls, one the other side of the world.

My kids have mobiles and a fairly tight allowance for calls (intentionally so, otherwise they would bankrupt me!!!). This is not atypical of the situation with other teenagers. SMS stretches their budget and allows them to use the network in a more efficient way than with voice. The pricing scheme is such that they pay much more per network packet with SMS than with voice.

This is why I disagree with you about first the Email question and then the network economics question.

Re:column A or B? (1)

ChaseTec (447725) | more than 12 years ago | (#115264)

We also seem to be ahead in terms of bad service. My cable modem has been almost nonfunctional for 3 months now. And it's not hard to find other people that have had longer outages.

Re:Microsoft??? (1)

jrp2 (458093) | more than 12 years ago | (#115270)

I don't see how Microsoft fits in on this issue," snip,"As long as MS doesn't take over the cell phone company it can be done completely independent of them ;-)".

Be warned, they are working on it. See:
http://www.microsoft.com/MOBILE/pocketpc/columns/C TIA1jd.asp
or just hit their site and search for "Stinger"

Re:Wired News has an article... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115275)

SMS doesn't take up any 'airtime' as such, since it doesn't even use the voice channel and therefore it's basically impossible to bill per minute (it only takes a slit second to send anyway).

SMS uses the control channel, this layer is normally used to alert your phone to an incoming call, exchange public keys and hand you over to different cell sites etc, your GSM phone is always locked onto this channel when it's switched on.

SMS was originally created so operators could send new settings to phones, it's still used for this purpose and you can also send new ringtones and logo's via SMS.

I can remember when SMS was a little known feature in GSM phones, operators never even charged for texting until about 1996 when they started to hit critical mass and take off in a big way. You might be mistaken in thinking this was all planned, however SMS was an obscure technical feature that took the operators by surprise, it's one of those unexpected applications never planned for.

I hear the ICQ developers took their inspiration from SMS, which is fitting since you can do SMS to ICQ in both directions now.

Re:Wired News has an article... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#115276)

Ahh... but this is the thing with mobiles in Europe, the whole local/national scheme goes out the window, it doesn't matter if you call a landline next to you or some phone box 500 miles away in Scotland, it's the same charge (quite a reasonable one too).

Since mobiles by their very nature roaming across huge distances you can't penalise the caller or the recipient on distances or location. In fact, apart from specialist call-back cards I've never seen recipients paying for incoming calls. (what an odd scheme of things).

It's a similar thing with international calls too since cell phones have their own location independent area codes (for instance all mobiles begin with 07xxx in the UK), it's the same across Europe.

Say I call my brother's cell phone in France from the UK, it's the same charge if I call him in Switzerland or Germany. I don't have to dial different country codes for each country (how am I meant to know what country he's in without speaking to him, or even know he's abroad? catch 22) so you just dial the same number you do in the UK, and if the cell is roaming in France it gets patched over to their GSM network.

In fact, many of the web to SMS gateways take advantage of this unified network, the messages goes to an Eastern European nation then is injected onto the GSM network and finds its way to the UK or France etc. Companies buy huge SMS quotas from an operator in Prague for example.

As for the call allowances, we get those too, certain tariffs [orange.co.uk] include 10-20 txt messages a day and 50 minutes of free talk time per day for instance, and free access to voice mail etc. Then there's the "pay as you go" phones that incur no monthly fees, but you pay more for the calls.

Re:US has problems (2)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 12 years ago | (#115277)

As an American, I just can't get my head around this idea that each outgoing call on a landline phone has a separate charge, and as other posts said, this is what makes such a huge difference between the two systems.

Having said that, I used to call my friend in the Netherlands on her cellphone, but then my long distance company changed the rate. If I were calling a landline Dutch phone I would pay 11cents per minute, but a Dutch cellphone cost 55cents per minute. It was a great transatlantic deal until they raises rates for cellphones. I stopped calling her because that was dumb.

While she didn't pay anything to receive calls, outgoing calls were outrageously priced imho. Sprint PCS offers the following right now--3000 minutes for $50. Outgoing/incoming/long distance. At best, my landline phone could have 4.5cents interstate long distance--but if all 3000 minutes were used for outgoing long distance--well that's about two cents a minute. You can't beat the outgoing rate, and in fact, I use my cell for long distance service exclusively, opting not to have it on my landline phone (which would be irrelevant if it were not for my fax machine.)

SMS is cute and all...but I don't see what the purpose is given this system. That (and not to start a flame war) I am one of those who subscribes to the idea that CDMA and TDMA is superior technology to GSM. I used to have a GSM phone (Aerial) and I have been much happier with CDMA.

European phones ... (2)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 12 years ago | (#115278)

I am living in Belgium and franky, I can't find any better instant-message thing than SMS.

It's fast, a maximum of 160chars can be typed in, with nokia phone's you can send pictures together with the message, if the receiver's phone is on you see a "delivered" message (when option is on), if unreacheable the receiver will receive the message if his phone has been turned on inside 24hrs.

  • It's even easy you can send addresscards, phonenr's, details and more over SMS ...
  • If I need to tell somebody I'll be later for an appointment I just send a SMS and done :)
  • If the servers in the company are down, I receive a SMS message, same with UPS failures.
  • These days there are even infoservices sending you SMS about latest news, speeding cars, stocks, ...
  • New mail received? Very easy to see the subject coming via SMS :)

Some webbased services (alike MTN (SMS) [mtnsms.co.za] and others) offer (10) SMS's for per day, from the phone to another phone we pay 5Bef (for about 10 cents), in holland the double.

We use short internet terms like LOL, :), BRB and stuff ... Some people even chat over SMS ...

Freaker / TuC

Provider - Provider agreements (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 12 years ago | (#115285)

Even if you have a GSM phone, there is no guarantee that your SMS message will reach the destination. I have a connection with Fido, here in Canada, and I tried sending an SMS (or text-message as they call it in Europe) to a friend in the UK and after contacting them via e-mail found they never received. It turns out that my friend couldn't receive the SMS, because she was with Orange, and Fido ( aka Microcell) only has agreements with Vodaphone and BTcellnet in the UK.

Useless tidbit: Text messaging is all the rage in Europe and a lot of phones come with a preset selection of messages you can send, in addition to those you can write yourself.

BTW a good site for discussing cellphones and the various providers, for those of you in North America is http://www.howardforums.com/ [howardforums.com].

Re:US has problems (2)

Amanset (18568) | more than 12 years ago | (#115287)

It is a simple extension of the philosophy that those who see the benifit should pay for it. If you choose to "go mobile," you pay for that choice.

Alternatively, shouldn't the caller pay to call the person on the mobile, as they are seeing the benefit of being able to call them when they are away from a landline?

TCS' MDC (2)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 12 years ago | (#115288)

The company that I work for Telecommunication Systems Inc. (TCS) has an SMPP (short message packet protocol) to e-mail gateway product that we sell to carriers and businesses to cure this problem. Inter carrier messaging is cool stuff.

Re:SMS internationally (2)

WasterDave (20047) | more than 12 years ago | (#115289)

Vodafone NZ (relative newcomer) runs a GSM based network and their SMS service works with almost every other service on earth!

Unless you live at my house, in which case only Telecom's network gets any coverage. Bit of a no-brainer at that point.

Dave :)

column A or B? (2)

ywwg (20925) | more than 12 years ago | (#115290)

Hey, if you gave me a choice between dinky text messages and a cable modem for 30$ a month, I'll take the cable modem. The US is far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of high speed internet. In Australia you get dialup or nothing. You would have to pay hundreds a month even for iDSL.

Just Use AIM (2)

linmanux (23400) | more than 12 years ago | (#115291)

I also use nextel for my cell phone, and I find the quickest way to message people is Aol Instant Messenger. I have instructions at my site [yvanovich.com] on setting up any wap phone to use AIM. Apparently, AOL doesn't want you to know how to do it, forcing you to use their partners cell phone service.

Re:Change ... (2)

Marton (24416) | more than 12 years ago | (#115292)

Unfiltered SMS centers RULE. Nothing beats a free SMS. (Well, a free lunch would, but there's no such thing.)

A Google search on "free sms center numbers" yields an amazing result: a page titled "Free SMS Center numbers". Haven't tried the numbers, but at least one should work.

Re:Wired News has an article... (2)

t-man (25246) | more than 12 years ago | (#115293)

The article is not entirely accurate. In some European countries you do pay per-minute for voice calls (as opposed to the claim in the article), and per-message for SMS. I pay ~13.5 cents per minute for voice calls and ~11 cents for one SMS message sent. That much is true that the reciever (call or message) doesn't pay anything. Heck, some advertising campaigns even promise to pay the reciever!

Re:SMS explained (2)

ajs75 (45831) | more than 12 years ago | (#115303)

Nextel, and most other providers that provide packetized data services as well as SMS services, use an IMG (Internet Message Gateway) to broker communications between the SMS servers and the Internet. (IMGs also provide a bunch of other services including two-way SMS messaging.) Sending an email to 10digits@messaging.nextel.com will result, as previously posted, in a message being delivered via SMS to your phone as opposed to straight email through the MSN Hotmail service. This message will appear in your SMS inbox and not your email inbox. Remember that this SMS, even though delivered via email (sort of) is subject to the character length limitations of any other SMS regardless of origination. When sending to somebody else, in Europe, for example, you may be sending to their packet data/wireless data service email address or to the email address associated with their SMS service. You may want to check with them as to which services they have and the message length limitations associated with each. The inability to send SMs between different service providers is the result of both different cellular technologies being used and the fact that providers really don't have links between their respective SMS servers. You can count on IMGs and email psuedonyms to bridge this gap for some time to come.

SMS Carriers and why. (2)

Macfox (50100) | more than 12 years ago | (#115304)

Having worked in the SMS field for some years, this is nothing new. This is one of the biggest gripes about short messaging.

Most carriers around the world restrict where you can send SMS for one of two reasons.

Cost - Carriers make more profit from local SMS, as it costs them nothing. Where international SMS is dependent on the price negotiated with the destination carrier. Since SMS pricing is generally flat rate, regardless of the destination, it's in the carrier best interest to only promote local SMS.

SPAM - This is the biggest problem and why inter-carrier SMS is only supported by a handful of carriers.

In the early days many carriers supported the inter-carrier SMS, but with the falling prices of bulk SMS in the European countries, SPAMers spoiled it for the masses. Even the great South African carrier, MTN(http://www.mtnsms.com/), had it's agreements revoked.

Carriers are reluctant to open the floodgates to foreign SMS. If your carrier wants to allow you to send SMS to carrier X, then carrier X would expect that their customers be able to do the reverse. Carrier's hate not having complete control over their network and thus prefer not to support inter-carrier SMS where their jurisdiction over SPAMers is in doubt.

Here in Australia, we've only had agreements in place for local SMS for about 9 months, allowing any Aussie GSM user SMS access to the 4 major networks. This is great, but the carriers only support the boring standard text messaging. Many of the powerful SMS features (Class 2 and 3 messaging) are blocked at the gateways.

On top of this the carriers have agreed not sell any bulk SMS products with inter-carrier SMS facilities. This is good in the sense that it will prevent SPAMers, but on the down side, it puts bulk SMS out of reach to the small developer. (Where I fit in)

In short, you have very little hope in convincing your carrier to allow inter-carrier SMS by yourself. Your best bet is to rally up other subscribers and put pressure on them that way. This is how it was achieved in Australia. (See your US eqivalent of www.tio.com.au for help).


SMS is good stuff (2)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 12 years ago | (#115305)

I have a Siemens M20 GSM modem hooked up to my Linux box, which lets me do all sorts of nifty stuff, like run SMS mailing lists and other services, run programs on my machine in response to an SMS message, play-by-SMS games, recieve SMS alerts etc.

at NZ$0.20 a message (sender pays), it can get expensive with heavy use, but is not cost-prohibitive with moderate use.

Re:Wired News has an article... (2)

inburito (89603) | more than 12 years ago | (#115310)

Yeah.. Leave it to the americans to have a distorted world view... But honestly, I've never heard of any other place than US where you pay for airtime instead of only originating calls/min.

All of europe to my knowledge pays normally per minute in the originating end and per message for sms(it takes like what, umm.. 0.5sec to send the sms?). I think that in Russia you have to pay for receiving calls too but most of the countries(unless you're roaming) offer free receiving.

In my opinion US system is screwed up. You get a ton of minutes you can only use at certain times of day or certain days and have to pay for all of them even if you end up using none.. Paying for what you actually use and getting free receiving makes much more sense(unless you really use all of your monthly quota up every month).

GSM vs. TDMA vs. CDMA (2)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 12 years ago | (#115312)

We have GSM in the US. It's called PCS. PCS is GSM at 1920mHz, whereas GSM in Europe and elsewhere, runs at 800-900mHz, which is where TDMA is in the U.S.

I worked for an RF consulting company that helped launch Sprint's PCS system. Part of the software I wrote interpreted low-level messaging (this is basically the protocol that the phone uses to speak to the base station). The protocol is identical to GSM. In fact, all my code was based on GSM documentation and standards, simply modified for frequency.

Not that this is particularly important to the question at hand.

CDMA provides better quality of service and a higher traffic load at the same bandwidth, as TDMA or GSM/PCS. While the protocols are completely different, it has little to do with SMS. SMS has little to do with the phone protocol, at least from my knowledge. It would seem to have more to do with the switch at the provider. Therefore, I can't see why protocol (i.e. TDMA, CDMA, GSM, PCS) would have anything to do with it.

I would hazard a guess that the reason for the lack of adoption in the States has more to do with a lack of demand than anything else. I have SMS MT (mobile terminated) service, but I rarely use it, and if I had SMS MO (mobile originated), I doubt I'd use it much either.

Everyone I know, in the U.S. (and I'm speaking of friends, family, etc), have e-mail (let me clarify that I realize not every U.S. citizen has e-mail, I'm just speaking of people I know personally), and because e-mail is so prevalent and available here, I think people have little use for SMS. I have e-mail at home, and I have it at work. What do I need SMS for??? Everyone I communicate with regularly has e-mail day and night.

Even internationally, most of my friends in other countries, are more likely to have e-mail than a cell phone, let alone a cell phone with SMS. I think it's just a general difference between North America and the rest of the world.

Inertia (2)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 12 years ago | (#115316)

Sometimes it hurts to be first...

In North America, Most people who have cell phones also have email. As a result, it's generally been easier to get messages off of the web. That's been "good enough" for most customers, so there hasn't been much of a push to get SMS running in competition to the already(baarely) working setup.

In Europe and (more so) developing countries, fewer people had email and SMS was built into the phones -- Guess which came first.

It should also be noted that the popularity of SMS came as a big surprise to the cell companies. They originally marketed it as a cheap add-on to cell service, but then found that income from SMS started to rival voice. This is probably why it is so well developed out there. This leads to the marketing barrier -- Convincing the marketing types at the various companies to support something that's supposed to save the customers money (i.e. cut their profits) is not an easy sell. When GSM came out, there wasn't much of a voice market out there, so there wasn't a voice market to 'lose'. This made sms a no-loss propsition... an added feature to get people 'in' to the market. In North America, on the other hand, (analog) voice was already entrenched. In this domain, text messaging feels more like competition to the already entrenched voice market.

So here in North America, the pricing scheme never really favored text messaging, and it's been much more of a hack, so it hasn't caught on.Having half a dozen incompatible protocols/providers as opposed to one or two doesn't help much, either.

Traveling with Cingular Wireless GSM phone (2)

krokodil (110356) | more than 12 years ago | (#115317)

I am using one of (very few) US GSM providers (Cyngular). While visiting France, I can send and receive SMS messages to my wifes phone in US.

The problem with Cingular is their support. It sucks! They have only 800 number, which could not
be called directly from outside US. They have support email address, but I never received responce to messages sent there. Finally I managed
to call their 800 number via calling card, just to hear message that I am calling from number
outside of their service zone, and they could not help me. Of course, recommeneded way to call customer support (*666 from cell phone) does not work in europe.

Taking in account that their roaming charges
outside US are $2.50/minute I just bought in France pre-paid GSM card and using while I am here.

Also, to be able to use their service outside US you need to call them and ask to activate "international roaming".

Do not forget that most of US GSM phones are using
different frequency than one in use in Europe and will not work there. You need dual or tripple band phone.

suncom (2)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 12 years ago | (#115318)

i can only speak of suncom. their SMS only talks to other suncom phones but as far as cost goes they have an unlimited monthly plan for only 49.95 which I'm thinking is not a bad deal considering that when i had a 5 hour plan before i would routinely go over my limit and end up paying monstrously for extra minutes. I figure if i can get dsl i might as well have a cell with unlimited minutes for the same price. plus the g/f uses the same company and we short message all day long.

Fuck SMS (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#115320)

I use a RIM BlackBerry, which sends and recieves standard SMTP email. That means that any piece of software that does a 20 year old messaging standard automagically works. Which means I can send and receive messages to/from all my servers, monitoring software, etc etc. Without needing to use extra programs, SMTP to SMS gateways, or anything. Nice.

Re:Retarded anyway (2)

marm (144733) | more than 12 years ago | (#115321)

Alas, the developers of GSM chose almost the worst frequency they could have, and then chose to blame the US for the incompatibility. Hrmph.

Perhaps if the American government and the major American telcos had actually consulted with and helped create the global standard way back in the late 80's rather than adopting the attitude that

  • nothing created in cooperation by a committee could possibly work well technically or be marketable, and
  • a home-grown solution over which they have total control must be better, and
  • allowing multiple standards to compete would be better because eventually the strongest system would win anyway, due to free-market forces
then your wish might have come true and GSM might truly be the global standard.

This is somewhat off-topic, but the comparison between the US mobile telephony market and the market in the rest of the world (and particularly Europe) is one of my favourite examples of why a free market is not always advantageous - the imposition of the GSM standard upon the fledgling European mobile phone companies has been a license for them to print money, at the same time as achieving massive customer satisfaction, whilst the freer, no-government-imposed-standard US market has floundered.

RECEIVE money by receiveing mobile calls! (2)

pesc (147035) | more than 12 years ago | (#115322)

Is it true that you have to pay to receive mobile calls in the US? This seems very short-sighted. Don't the operators want to create more traffic?

In Sweden there are several operators that give the receive a few cents per minute when they receive a mobile call!

This is very popular, especially with teenagers. And it certainly helps generating more traffic (and profit) for the mobile operators.

phone email (2)

wishus (174405) | more than 12 years ago | (#115323)

If your phone is capable of sending and receiving email, just use that instead of SMS. With my AT&T phone, I can SMS other AT&T customers, but for everyone else I just email them from my phone. The phone (Nokia 8260) makes little distinction.

The email address of my phone is 214xxxxxxx@mobile.att.net where the x's are my phone number. Sprint (I believe) is similar - so instead of SMSing 214xxxxxxx just email the associated phone address (which, I think, makes AT&T SMS me your message).


Re:Retarded anyway (2)

wierdo (201021) | more than 12 years ago | (#115326)

Mobile services in US are quite retarded anyway - different standards, even GSM standard is different from European; different networks incompatible, no decent mobile phones (Nokia 62xx series that is)...

Perhaps if Europeans who developed GSM had not chosen a frequency which was at the time, and will be for a good while longer, in use in the US by the US Military, and instead chosen a frequency with the input of the FCC, which all countries had free, we could enjoy GSM at the same frequency as they are in Europe. Alas, the developers of GSM chose almost the worst frequency they could have, and then chose to blame the US for the incompatibility. Hrmph.


Care about freedom?

US has problems (2)

Crizp (216129) | more than 12 years ago | (#115328)

...supposed leaders of the digital era...

Hell, in Europe every country I know of have agreed that GSM should be standard a long time ago (now there's 3d and 4th generation networks developing, I know that).

All users of GSM phones in Europe can send SMS messages to / from each other, regardless of operator and country. Most telco networks have deals in all other european countries, so if I (a Norwegian) decide to go to Sweden, or the Netherlands, roaming is no problem. When I got to the netherlands, I just selected KPN as the provider and it was all good, I could call everywhere I wanted.

The only problems are with those who use pre-paid subscriptions, in Norway at least they can't use the phone abroad.

The US is really lagging behind in cellphone network technology. But I also understand it's going to cost a lot of money to upgrade the network since you have quite a big country and a lot of different operators :)

Re:US has problems (2)

Eslyjah (245320) | more than 12 years ago | (#115330)

I think the US has problems in its wireless industry because our ground telephone system is so solid. For a long time, Europe's telephone network lagged behind in system stability and in price, and therefore, there was an incentive for a thriving mobile industry to take root. In the US, there isn't nearly the same incentive, although when I hear about all the cool stuff you can do on a wireless phone in Europe and Japan, I turn a bright shade of green...

Interopability Coming? (2)

_newwave_ (265061) | more than 12 years ago | (#115331)

Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia have created Wireless Village [wireless-village.org], an initiative to create standards for instant messaging interopability. I wouldn't keep my fingers crossed for this to come to fruition in current devices any time soon (before 2005) though.

Re:Wired News has an article... (2)

blang (450736) | more than 12 years ago | (#115333)


U.S is entering the wireless world with a disadvantage. I always thought that paying for airtime was a ridicolous idea.

The U.S. telco giants all aim at achieving world dominance and monopoly. Those very goals is the reason that they will achieve neither, and that they will be midgets standing in the way of innovation.

Existing email providers on cell phones (2)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 12 years ago | (#115334)

I find using an existing email provider on my cell phone is the easiest way to send "instant messenges". Yahoo has a cell phone portal that is quick, efficient and appears on most services. I recently started using it with my Sprint PCS phone and it works great as messages appear immediately -- plus, you're using an existing standard and won't have to worry if SMS doesn't become the "final" standard.

Re:GSM in the US (3)

DamnYankee (18417) | more than 12 years ago | (#115335)

...a side effect of the sheer size of our country...

Oh, horse puckey! There are something like 385 million Europeans in Western Europe alone, all sectioned off into fiercely competing bureaucracies. The fact that even Europe can manage a unified mobile voice platform complete with transparent roaming, global text messaging, and standard frequencies is a testament to the power of government sponsored infrastructure building. The US is so far behind because private industry will always build proprietary systems where it can.

I am by no means a communist (or even socialist) but empirical evidence proves that private industry will not build open, interoperable standards and systems! It's just not in its interest to do so.

I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "I drank what?"

It's a technical issue (3)

he-sk (103163) | more than 12 years ago | (#115340)

It's normal that you can only send SMS in your own network. You are only able to send SMS to other networks, if your network has a gateway service to forward the SMS transparently. Granted, this is pretty usual in Germany, which is why I can SMS all my friends, whether the have D1, D2, E1, E2, and what-not.

However, my sister now has a cell phone provider from Moscow, and while my dad (a D2 customer) can send her an SMS, I (a E1 customer) cannot. Turns out that D2 gateways to my sister's provider and E1 does not. :(

Re:Mobile Phone pricing in the US is just ridiculo (3)

wierdo (201021) | more than 12 years ago | (#115341)

In Australia I was paying about US$5 per month for a mobile phone, not paying to receive calls and paying about US$0.25/min for outgoing calls. Given that I don't use the phone that much I was more than happy with that price. I could go anywhere in Australia with that phone and have coverage - all for that one price. I took that phone to Italy and STILL had coverage without even talking to a company in Italy.

You can do that here, just buy a pre-paid phone, and occasional pre-paid cards. I believe you can have a phone on AT&T's network for as little as $24.95 every three months. I believe that's for the 30 minute cards. I will grant you that we can't roam to Europe, which kind of sucks, but I'd wager that most people in the US with cellphones don't ever leave the US anyway, it's not like Europe, where most of the countries are larger than our average-sized states.

If you find land-line billing complex, you must have trouble grasping flat rate pricing (unless you're in California, Chicago, NYC, or one of the other areas without flat-rate calling) It's very simple. If you call someone within your free calling area, it costs you no more, if you call past that, but within your state, it will cost whatever your "in-state" long distance carrier charges you, as per your agreement with them. If you call out of state, it will cost you whatever price you have negotiated with your "in country" long distance carrier. If for whatever reason, you'd prefer to use an alternative carrier to your normal one, use a 101-xxxx code and dial up the carrier you like. Not too hard.

Where I live, the price of my land line is based on the number of subscriber lines that are within my local calling area. In Arkansas, there are three ranges of numbers. My area was recently re-classified by the PUC as being in the highest group. I still pay only $17/mo for the line (not counting tax and FCC fees, which bring it to $21/mo)

If you have questions about your telephone bill, you might try calling your telco's customer service number. I'm sure they would be happy to explain the charges you are paying (with the exception of the FCC fees, which the tier 1 support folks have problems grasping).

The point of this whole thing is simply to point out that we are not being screwed, as we don't pay per minute to call our ISP, or anyone else in the same city (and usually several neighboring ones as well). For those of us who use our phones (both mobile and land line) the US system is a much better deal. BTW, if you want a cellphone for emergency use only, just buy some old analog phone. Federal law mandates that all wireless carriers allow 911 access, for no charge, to all phones capable of operating with that carrier's signal. If, however, you want to talk, you do have to pay, although there may be some CPP plans in larger cities of the US of which I'm not aware.


Care about freedom?

Re:Wired News has an article... (3)

wierdo (201021) | more than 12 years ago | (#115342)

In my opinion US system is screwed up. You get a ton of minutes you can only use at certain times of day or certain days and have to pay for all of them even if you end up using none.. Paying for what you actually use and getting free receiving makes much more sense(unless you really use all of your monthly quota up every month).

Apparently, you don't grok the advantages of not having to pay for local land-line calls. In certain cities or states, there are, but in most of the US, it's a flat rate for anywhere within a fairly wide (usually) calling area, and only if you place a long-distance call do you pay per minute. Due to this, along with the lack of mobile phones being in their own area codes, makes it nearly impossible to come up with a plan to implement calling party pays.

Even if it could be implemented, I would prefer the current system. I don't believe that others who are trying to reach my should have to pay for my own convienence. I pay for 550 minutes/mo with no roaming fees or long distance fees anywhere in the US, on any network with which my carrier has a roaming agreement (most of the carriers serving more than a single county, and at least one anywhere there is mobile phone service). I also get up to 200 text messages/e-mails for free each month. I am almost always within 25 minutes of my alotted 550, so the deal works well for me. I get the convienence of my phone, and having people willing to call that number to reach me, since they don't have to pay.

Many people argue that the lack of CPP in the US is causing less cellphone usage, but given how everyone I know who wants one has one, I don't really see how that can hold true. There is now even a carrier that gives you unlimited minutes for $29.95/mo, within your home area. Also, in the US, carriers are free to implement some sort of a CPP service, but there is apparently little demand for it.

People who choose to purchase blocks of Night & Weekend minutes usually do so because the rate is extremely cheap (thanks to the much lower usage during those hours), and that is when they do most of their calling. For people who use their phones during the day, they can also get a phone for $0.10/min or less for a "home area only" plan. It's really up to the individual. It is also possible, with most carriers to have either a small number of minutes or no minutes at all for a small monthly fee, but they charge you $0.40/min or so to use your phone.


Care about freedom?

Re:Retarded anyway (3)

anonymous cupboard (446159) | more than 12 years ago | (#115343)

No, the frequency isn't the problem. The issue is with receiver-pays and the lack of wide-area access to carrier without roaming. This scheme didn't just fail in the US, it failed in every country that they forced it on.

The point is that mobile numbers have a special area prefix, and then they are nationwide. The caller pays extra, but knows this because of the prefix. The receiver doesn't pay unless they are out of the country.

End result is that with the US-type system, private users like to keep their numbers quiet because of the cost issue whilst with the Europeanm type system, users often give out their mobile numbers in preference to their home numbers because of the ease of reachability.

This is an economics issue not a straight technical issue.

Re:GSM (4)

Kizeh (71312) | more than 12 years ago | (#115344)

There are a few GSM operators in the US. I am
currently using Voicestream, a couple of my
friends are with someone else, although I'm not
sure whom. With GTE, Aerial, AT&T, Alltel and others playing the musical chairs game with networks and names it gets rather hard to keep up.

In any event, both I and all my friends (with Voicestream and with an alternate carrier) were able to send and receive SMS messages to Finland (Radiolinja), and to each other. I think the situation isn't quite as bad as it seems.

Now if the US would just finally unbundle phones from ludicrously long-term contracts and let people actually pick the phones they want...

Similar in the UK several years ago (4)

stu_coates (156061) | more than 12 years ago | (#115345)

The UK had similar problems sending SMS messages between networks several years ago. Eventually all of the providers (4 networks in the UK) agreed to forward messages for each other. Most also have agreements with their 'roaming partners' to forward SMS's as well when you're out of the country.

Mobile Phone pricing in the US is just ridiculous (5)

throx (42621) | more than 12 years ago | (#115346)

Moving from Australia to the US has been a big surprise for me, given that the US is supposed to be benefitting from a more open market in telecommunications.

In Australia I was paying about US$5 per month for a mobile phone, not paying to receive calls and paying about US$0.25/min for outgoing calls. Given that I don't use the phone that much I was more than happy with that price. I could go anywhere in Australia with that phone and have coverage - all for that one price. I took that phone to Italy and STILL had coverage without even talking to a company in Italy.

Coming to the US, I find it impossible to get a phone for less than SIX TIMES that price, and find that I can't go to Europe or anywhere and expect to get coverage without getting a totally new phone. I even find that I have to pay for incoming calls. No way in hell I'm going to get a phone here from any company. I don't care - the telcos here just don't have any idea what is possible.

The "free market" has screwed people in the US so badly that they don't even notice it any more. Even the cost of land lines is higher, lower quality and so hideously complex in the billing that it is absolutely impossible to figure out who you are paying for what.

To any American who thinks they have it good, think again. The telcos are screwing you for at least 2 to 3 times what you would pay for a BETTER service in any other country.

Re:It's a technical issue (5)

hero_or_what (245446) | more than 12 years ago | (#115348)

To be precise, networks make use of something called as SMS center as the gateway. This element in the network acts as a router for all messages within the network. So, to send a message, a phone will first send it to the SMS center. The SMS center will then forward it to the recipient. Even if you are sending SMS within the network, it will still be routed via the SMS center.

The SMS center is addressed as just as any other cellphone in your network. You can find the number in the network settings of your phone.

Now, the interesting part. For GSM, the interface between the SMS center and the rest of the network is not standardized (GSM standards say that its 'out of scope'). That means your operators can choose whatever they want as the interface between the mobile network and the SMS center. Typically, this interface will be TCP/IP, or IPX or X.25 or SS7. Usually, the vendors who provide the equipment to the operators suggest an interface and the operators go along.

For U.S. based standards, there is a similar concept. Again, the interface can be TCP/IP or IPX or X.25 or SS7.

However, the standards for both GSM and the CDMA/TDMA/AMPS don't talk anything about how the SMS center should talk to the rest of the world. This means talking to some other SMS center of any other operator, or some server on the Internet is not 'in scope'. Since the standards don't talk of any such connectivity, the vendors (Big Guys like Nokia, Ericsson, Lucent, Nortel, Alcatel, Seimens, Motorola etc. ) don't have to build SMS centers with external interfaces to be standards compliant. For GSM, the internal interface to the network is a must but external is 'out of scope'. Typically, there is an extra charge for giving the external interface, and so many operators don't go for the equipment. That's why, many operators don't have external connectivity and you end up sending SMS to only people in your network. In the U.S. standards, SMS is a relatively new phenomenon. Many networks haven't had to upgrade to the latest specs, and so there isn't any SMS.

Taking this issue further, a lot of the GSM operators in Europe make money by allowing people to 'roam' between networks. Therefore, it makes business sense to provide connectivity (SMS/roaming). However, in the U.S. the operators make money mainly from airtime. So, there isn't much incentive to provide roaming or interconnectivity between networks. The end result, you are stuck with either not having SMS or only able to sent it within your network. As far as the rest of the world goes, the folks with GSM have SMS as per standards with external connectivity an optional feature, and the CDMA/TDMA folks depend on the 'age' of their networks.

GSM (5)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 12 years ago | (#115349)

All of Europe, Australia, and most of the rest of the world use GSM, which has had SMS as a standard feature since its inception. So pretty much every handset has had SMS MO (mobile originated) and MT (mobile terminated) support since the mid 90s.

When the networks first offered SMS MO in Australia there was no carrier interoperability - you could only SMS people with the same carrier. Eventually it became more and more popular and the carriers signed interconnect agreements. Some Austrlian networks can't SMS international networks but it all depends on their interconnect and roaming agreements.

The US, with its mix of different standards and extensive Analog network is a different story. CDMA and TDMA now have SMS MO support, but I don't believe SMS MO was part of the original implementation. So there isn't extensive SMS MO support in existing handsets. Some providers like Sprint are using WAP to implement SMS MO!

There isn't enough demand to warrant SMS interconnect agreements, there's no single standard, and from a marketing point of view it's almost a reason to stick with the same network as your friends. In Australia, your phone number prefix indicates that it's both a mobile phone, and which network you subscribe to. So before there was interconnect, you could still tell if you could SMS someone based on their phone number. In the US, it's not obvious from the phone number whether your SMS will make it to its recipient, or just end up in a black hole.

Finally, US cellphone airtime pricing is just time based - there isn't usually a flagfall for originating a call. So it's not really a cost saving to SMS someone instead of calling them, as it is in other parts of the world.

Things will get more consistent as Cingular and AT&T migrate to GSM, but until there are business reasons to support SMS interconnect, the networks in the US will be slow to move.
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