Tag Archives | Verizon Wireless

Consumers Say Verizon iPhone Drops Fewer Calls

If the latest survey from ChangeWave Research is any indication, the theory that the Verizon iPhone would be more reliable than AT&T’s iPhone is more than just a theory. That said, consumers still seem to be as satisfied with the iPhone 4 on AT&T as they do on Verizon.

82 percent of iPhone 4 owners on Verizon are satisfied with the device versus 80 percent on AT&T. Conversely, 18 percent are dissatisfied with the iPhone 4 on AT&T, and 16 percent on Verizon. Not much of a difference, and within the margin of error.

There are definitely areas where the two carriers diverge, though, most notably in dropped calls.

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Verizon’s First LTE Hotspot Goes on Sale

Ready for some 4G hotspot goodness? Verizon has begun selling its Samsung LTE router on its website, available for $99.99 after a $50 online instant rebate and with a two-year service plan. The device is 3G backwards-compatible, so in areas where Verizon’s LTE network is not available yet you’ll still have data access.

Up to five devices can share a connection using the MiFi-like device, and it supports 802.11b,g, and n. It’s also VPN capable.

The unit is not the first to allow the sharing of Verizon LTE data connections via Wi-Fi–that honor goes to the HTC Thunderbolt. However, in order to use the data feature you’re going to need to have a plan that supports it, increasing the monthly cost of ownership.

Of course, the price of admission onto Verizon’s LTE towers isn’t cheap. The Samsung hotspot requires a data plan at $50/mo, which gives you 5GB of bandwidth each month. But if you’re truly using this as a hotspot, that cost spread out over several devices sounds more reasonable.

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Why Wireless Carriers Both Promote and Dread 4G

Here at the CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse says that with the planned summer launch of HTC’s 3D EVO and 4G EVO tablet, Sprint will have 22 4G devices, more than any of its rivals. Verizon says it will bring its 4G LTE network to 147 markets by year’s end, while AT&T is simultaneously building out its HSPA network while preparing to launch its LTE network later this year.

No question, 4G is the next mobile battleground for what shapes up to be a smaller field of national carriers. But at a day of sessions on the subject (sponsored by Fierce Wireless, which among other things publishes a first-rate daily newsletter on the wireless industry), the dominant theme seemed to be that the carriers may not be ready to deal with the enormous bandwidth demands their fast devices and networks will inevitably produce.

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Verizon Wireless Doesn’t Want Sprint

So is Verizon going to react to AT&T’s T-Mobile bid by snapping up Sprint? Apparently not.

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A Brief History of the Rise and Fall of Telephone Competition in the US, 1982-2011

So much for quiet Sundays. AT&T announced today that it’s agreed to acquire T-Mobile US from Deutsche Telekom, a merger which, if completed, will make it by far the country’s biggest wireless phone company. It’ll also leave us with three national carriers: AT&T, archrival Verizon Wireless, and the much smaller Sprint.

I’m not an expert on the dynamics of the telecommunications industry, but Om Malik’s thoughts–that this is bad news for everybody except AT&T and T-Mobile shareholders–do a good job of summarizing the pessimistic view I’m instinctively inclined to tak. In the US, T-Mobile was a scrappy underdog that did shocking things like reduce monthly bills once a customer had completed a contract for a subsidized phone. It’s tough to imagine that T-Mobile’s personality will rub off on AT&T rather than the other way around.

Of course, AT&T does its best to make the case that this is good news: If the merger goes through, it will have more wireless spectrum to work with, and says it will bring LTE to former T-Mobile customers. And the company argues both that (A) there’s still plenty of competition, between national and regional wireless companies, and (B) past mergers have been good for consumers. Which is, I guess, the argument you’d expect from a company named AT&T.

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Verizon's iPhone Honeymoon Ends: Tiered Data Plans This Summer

As expected, Verizon will phase out the unlimited data plans currently available to iPhone customers, instead opting for a tiered data plan structure. The change will come around the time of the new iPhone on the carrier, expected this summer. The comments were made by Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo at a tech investor conference sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

Interestingly enough, Shammo did not mince words when she spoke about the introduction of a new iPhone model. Verizon fully expects a backlash from customers under contract with an iPhone model that was made obsolete within months of its release. In addition, the new iPhone wouldn’t be financially beneficial to the carrier: margins would be much less.

Call me crazy, but isn’t this a good reason why Verizon should have just waited a few months to prevent pissed-off customers? Then again, I guess they must have seen something in their customer base that told them the benefits of releasing the phone outweighed the negatives–and certainly what we’ve seen from actual numbers show that there was definitely a pent-up demand for Apple’s iconic device.


Since When is One Million Phones Sold Bad? When You're Verizon

I’m amazed with some in the tech blogosphere who consistently harp on Verizon for its “poor” sales of the iPhone 4, even as the company disclosed over the weekend that over one million units had been sold. Quite a bit of bloviating occurred in the hours and days after the launch occurred, as the anticipated iLines never occurred.

Verizon Wireless chief Dan Mead noted that six in ten iPhones were preordered, a possible explanation for the light lines. Add to this that the iPhone 4 is now an aging device–eight months old–and the carrier’s numbers seem respectable.

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Xoom, Xoom, Xoom: A Q&A on the First Android 3.0 Honeycomb Tablet

Motorola’s Xoom goes on sale at Verizon stores tomorrow. I wrote a formal review of it for TIME.com, but there’s a lot to say. So here’s a longer look. You don’t mind if I do it in FAQ form, do you?

I don’t want to read 2,000 words about the Xoom. Is there any way I can convince you to give me the bottom line right now?

For you, anything. Overall, I like it quite a bit–it’s the first iPad rival from a big company that deserves to be taken seriously, period. (Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has its charms, but tablets running a version of Android prior to 3.0 Honeycomb are pseudotablets as far as I’m concerned.)

But Motorola is shipping a product that’s not yet quite all it’s going to be: The 4G capability is coming along via a free upgrade, Flash is a few weeks away, and the MicroSD card slot doesn’t yet work. And I found Honeycomb a touch on the quirky, apparently buggy side. With Apple announcing the new iPad in a week and the BlackBerry PlayBook supposedly nearly here, I’d wait a bit longer before buying any tablet–unless you’re comfortable with the concept of buying what’s essentially a Xoom .9 when you really want a Xoom 1.1.

Isn’t the real question “Would you buy this instead of an iPad?”

I guess so, but given that a new iPad is coming along next week and numerous other tablets will arrive soon thereafter, it’s a question with a short shelf life. Like I say, the Xoom as it’s shipping is cool but slightly incomplete. But once it does 4G, that capability alone could sway some folks to buy it instead of an iPad–assuming that the next iPad doesn’t do 4G.

Here’s the real question, which is unanswerable at the moment: “Would you buy the iPad 2 we don’t know enough about yet or the Xoom once it’s more complete or the BlackBerry PlayBook or the HP TouchPad or some underdog tablet?” Unless I was in a tearing hurry, I’d keep my money in my pocket and wait until the market settles down at least a tad.

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Dear Tablet Industry: The Opportunity to Beat the iPad on Price is Still Wide Open

That leaked Best Buy ad spoke the truth: The Verizon 3G/4G version of Motorola’s upcoming Xoom tablet is an $800 product (or, if you want to be precise, a $799 one). Motorola says a Wi-Fi-only one will go for around $600.

With both versions, an analysis of the specs you get for the money you plunk down makes the prices look…well, not nutso: The Xoom is a fancier piece of hardware than the iPad in multiple respects. But the fact remains that tablet shoppers will get to choose between an iPad that starts at $499 and has an extremely deep selection of apps and content and a Xoom that starts at $100 more and is just getting started on the apps/content front. In other words, it’s Apple that appeals to price-conscious folks. That’s an utter reversal of what seemed to be an eternal verity of tech: Apple makes high-end products but doesn’t attempt to appeal to bargain hunters.

I know there are such things as low-cost Android tablets; Archos is probably the best-known maker of them.  So far, though, most of the great big companies that are taking on the iPad don’t seem to be interested in competing for the business of the teeming masses of folks for whom even $499 may sound like a stretch. The one exception: RIM, which will apparently start the PlayBook at $499. (The PlayBook has a 7″ display versus the iPad’s 9.7-incher, but otherwise looks like it’ll be a beefy piece of hardware for the price.)

When the iPad was announced more than a year ago with its $499 pricetag, I assumed we’d shortly see iPad-esque devices from other major manufacturers that undercut it by $100 or more. Hasn’t happened yet; still seems like a big opportunity to me if it can be done while still eking out a profit. I’m beginning to wonder if the first big-name $399 tablet could end up being…an iPad.