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  1. FUSIBLE's Avatar
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    Default Report: AT&T Sacrifices 2G for 3G, Tells Customers to Get a New Phone

    Own a RAZR (or a Blackberry or 2G iPhone) and are on AT&T's network? A new plan to boost 3G may mean you're out of luck. AT&T's suggestion --get a new phone.




    AT&T's service reps reportedly tell iPhone 2G customers to leave AT&T, unlock their phones.

    With the launch of the iPhone, people began to experience problems with AT&T's 3G service. Calls were dropped and data transfers were often unpleasantly slow. While the problems were eventually tracked down to the iPhone 3G's chipset requesting to much bandwidth, many customers demanded AT&T upgrade its 3G network to be on par with Verizon Wireless and Sprint's offerings.

    According to a report by Open for Business, AT&T has finally yielded to those demands, but its way of boosting 3G may anger some of its other customers. AT&T will be sacrificing its 2G network, according to the report, in order to try to boost its 3G signals. The effect will be many customers will get fewer bars in more places.

    For those with first generation iPhones, who paid the steep initial cost, the move may be perceived as a particularly cruel blow to early adopters. Some point out that Dallas-based AT&T continues to sell many first generation iPhones today.

    Cell phones work by transmitting signals on radio bands. AT&T previously had used the 850 MHz band, due to its robust signal, including superior indoor reception. According to the report, AT&T plans to shift these transmitters to the weaker 1900 MHz band used by its 3G phones. The shift will occur in some, but not all areas.

    This would in effect downgrade the service on not only the first-generation iPhone, but also most AT&T offered BlackBerry and RAZR phones. OFB says it confirms that AT&T has already implemented this change in several locations, based on its testing with multiple devices in St. Louis, MO.

    OFB contacted AT&T and reports that AT&T technicians all had the same suggestion -- buy a new phone that supports 3G. For first-generation iPhone owners, this is particularly disturbing as they will not only have to buy a new phone, after paying so much for the first one, but would also have to pay an increased monthly service rate of $10 for data and $5 for text messaging if they switch to the new one.

    The shift cuts the service quality of over half the phones offered on AT&T's site. AT&T’s technical support is offering a one-time $200 credit, to those who specially request it, as a solution to the problem.

    According to OFB at least one service technician suggested that iPhone 2G owners terminate their AT&T contract. The technician suggested that users follow the steps detailed online to unlock the phone and use it on a competitor's network.

    AT&T’s executive director of analyst relations, Mark Siegel claims that AT&T is not asking anyone to upgrade to 2G. And despite AT&T technicians speaking to the contrary, he says AT&T "categorically" denies telling anyone to switch from 2G to 3G iPhones. Apple could not be reached for comments on these developments.

    With AT&T preparing to roll out its new 4G LTE network next year as an upgrade from 3G, the new report raises troubling questions. Rather than spending money to upgrade its network with more transmitters, will AT&T simply cut the service quality of 3G customers, and cut 2G quality even further?


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  2. ace587's Avatar
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    im surprised this was posted late. The article has been bashed my many forums including howardforums as being pointless.
    US and UK Blackberry User
  3. trbutler's Avatar
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    Hello everyone,
    I'm Timothy Butler, the author of the story being discussed. I extended this invitation over at Howard Forums and thought I would do so here as well. I wanted to extend an invitation to everyone skeptical of the story to write me (using the address at the bottom of the article, tbutler@ofb.biz) with your questions or concerns and I would be happy to back up our claims.

    I can assure you our claims are not baseless and, if anything, the comments we've received since the article went up have included further confirmation of our claims.

    Best,
    Tim
  4. gaganchow's Avatar
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    Default AT&T Bandwidths

    Quote Originally Posted by trbutler View Post
    Hello everyone,
    I'm Timothy Butler, the author of the story being discussed. I extended this invitation over at Howard Forums and thought I would do so here as well. I wanted to extend an invitation to everyone skeptical of the story to write me (using the address at the bottom of the article, tbutler@ofb.biz) with your questions or concerns and I would be happy to back up our claims.

    I can assure you our claims are not baseless and, if anything, the comments we've received since the article went up have included further confirmation of our claims.

    Best,
    Tim
    AT&T under the Cingular registry with the FCC owns, operates and maintains cellular transmission towers and repeaters throughout North America. When referencing the United States, AT&T operates a vast infrastructure that supports GSM communication devices as well as 2G & 3G bandwidths. To get technical, GSM bandwidths consist of 850mHz, 900, 1800 & 1900. Most tri-band devices utilizing a SIM card operate on these bandwidths as do the quad-band devices. To get even more technical, enhanced data services are offered on the second generation network otherwise known as 2G and AT&T calls it the EDGE network. The latest advertised craze allowing even faster transmission speeds on the third generation network otherwise known as 3G. More devices being introduced on the market can send/receive data while transmitting voice and other data signals such as SMS transmissions. Now most people have know idea how this works and nor do most of them care. The technical acronym that allows this to happen is HSDPA/UMTS operating over the 2100mHz bandwidth.

    So what does all this jargon even mean and how does it relate to the report that AT&T will sacrifice lower bandwidth services to enhance their 3G networks?

    Well I have no idea but did stay at a Holiday Inn last night so will take an educated guess - OK?

    You see, numerous smaller cellular carriers, vast government communication systems and gps based locators NOT using satellite require the bandwidths that AT&T maintains. Just a brief example: numerous county-wide enhanced 9-1-1 systems better known as E911 use the lower bandwidths and a technology utilizing cellular tower triangulation to pinpoint the location of emergency callers. Its kind of like a lo-jack system for cellular phones but obviously works differently than the proprietary system established.

    Most people are also unaware that vast utility companies use the aforementioned bandwidths to monitor their infrastructure in real time.

    Law enforcement mobile data terminals (mdt's) also rely on this system. MDT's are in police vehicles that allow officers to perform extensive checks on a person's credentials instantly.

    My point of all this is companies such as AT&T are required to maintain these towers for obvious reasons. The real problem is the bandwidth being tied up with too many users.

    After the attacks on this country on September 11, the cellular communications system in the New York metro market failed because of excessive use, not because of physical damage. That is why all devices sold in the US as of 2003 are required to adhere to the priority protocol mandated by the Federal Government which allows officials to limit the use of devices in a general or specific area based on specific circumstances.

    I have not discussed other factors such as data compression and how this relates to their EDGE network. I'll have to save that for another time and place. Devices such as RIM Blackberries, Palm Treos, Windows Mobile etc. use a form of data compression on the EDGE networks to allow for faster transmission speeds while preserving the bandwidth. The original IPhone 2G does not do this. Perhaps this is a reason why AT&T would eventually like to phase out the original IPhones even though they still carry them.

    So, to wrap it up, if AT&T can promote 3G devices to help clear traffic on the lower bandwidths while still making a decent profit in the grand scheme, they will certainly continue to do so.
  5. W33dLuva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trbutler View Post
    Hello everyone,
    I'm Timothy Butler, the author of the story being discussed. I extended this invitation over at Howard Forums and thought I would do so here as well. I wanted to extend an invitation to everyone skeptical of the story to write me (using the address at the bottom of the article, tbutler@ofb.biz) with your questions or concerns and I would be happy to back up our claims.

    I can assure you our claims are not baseless and, if anything, the comments we've received since the article went up have included further confirmation of our claims.

    Best,
    Tim
    Hi tim...... Quick question....ummmm why is AT&T so gay??? I mean let's take a look at them over the last 7 years. They were bought by Cingular. At which point they told me I would have to buy new Cingular phones. Then they bought Cingular. Then they released the original iphone. It sucked. So they said hey how can we rip people off even more? They released iphone3G. It sucks. So they released the 3G Bold. It sucks. Now they're gonna **** off MILLIONS of customers like me who don't give a crap about 3G and use EDGE. I'm actually glad.... I hope they lose a buncha customers. I hate AT&T more than I hate terrorists, nothing would please me more than to watch them sink. However, that won't happen until I finish writing this bug that can cripple an entire cellular network in less than an hour. Mwwwwaaaahhahahahaha. Ahem. Anyway, what kind of idiots are running AT&T? The same old *** idiots from 20 years ago? Time to retire you old farts- let the smart young people run the company- AT&T might become one of the networks people like(yeah right).

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  6. scotts11's Avatar
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    well, not starting an argument....that is what T-Mobile is right now..they released 3g last year which is about 3 years behind everyone else. Virgin Mobile could have set up a better 3g network than them....moving past that, AT&T hasnt been the best over the past years and i would know i work for them and have had their service.

    AT&T isnt degrading the service of EDGE, they are only setting up new towers that are UMTS only. I had a chance to talk to a network engineer the other night and he said that 3G is going to be implemented rather quickly now to help with the poor service most of the 3g phones are getting, EDGE will still work but not be expanded. As the CEO stated last year, "we want to make all of our phones 3G by the end of the summer.." They were slightly off. This is why the 8900 will not be picked up by AT&T but the 3G curve will be, i think its called the 9300 or something to that affect. The 9000 series phones will be 3G. Once again W33dluva not a direct attack on you, just stating a few points
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  7. CharlieV#AC's Avatar
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    What happened to analog phones? I don't think this is a big deal. Everyone who didn't get an original iPhone thinks those who did paid too much. So, they gripe about the non-replaceable battery. They gripe when the price goes down. Then they gripe when a new phone is introduced for less money. Now they want 2G to continue in perpetuity? I have 2G blackberries. I guess I can't identify with the phone love that causes real outrage at every slight. Te With 4G on the horizon, is it any surprise that 2.5G is on the chopping block?

    In any case, none of these reports indicate an immediate phase out. Large infrastructure companies and millions of individuals who rely on 2G but don't have iPhones have a stake in the matter, too. But in the end, if past technology really does interfere with the future, then off with its head!

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  8. trbutler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotts11
    AT&T isnt degrading the service of EDGE, they are only setting up new towers that are UMTS only.
    That would be nice; my information from AT&T technicians says otherwise. But, it depends on the region, etc.

    I have 2G blackberries. I guess I can't identify with the phone love that causes real outrage at every slight.
    I think the big thing is most people think their phones should work for at least two years, if not longer. When suddenly people start finding their $600 phone no longer has a network supporting it in this or that place they spend a lot of their time (home or office, for example), that isn't going to be greeted by people with limited budgets as great news. I've been hearing from IT administrators, for example, who are not happy to hear about this news when they've deployed dozens or hundreds of 2G Blackberries.

    AT&T needs to transition its phones first, then its network after giving people enough time to move up to new phones (presumably two years after they quit advertising 2G phones like the existing BlackBerry Curve).

    -Tim
  9. notex's Avatar
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    I've just returned from our local WalMart and was told by the girls working the cell phone booth that all their AT&T phones on display were 3-g. So I said that wasn't true as they had a Blackberry 8310 and Pearl on display, neither one of which were 3-g compatible. They claimed that since WalMart only sold AT&T 3-g Sims cards to go with their phones this would make them all 3-g phones.
    I find this very hard to believe and told them that the phone first had to be 3-g compatible.
    Who is correct because they were adamant that the 3-g Sims card would make any phone a 3-g phone and are telling their customers that.
  10. gaganchow's Avatar
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    The ability to transmit & receive data is based on the device's configuration. That is why some phones are tri-band capable & others are quad-band. The SIM card marked with the 3G logo are designed to be registered on a 3G network but do work on the lower bands as well. Older SIM cards register on 2G bands & lower. You can use a SIM card marked with a 3G logo in a device not equiped to transmit over 3G bands and it should work just fine. If you use a 3G device with an older SIM card, it should still work but all of the features may not work or may not work properly. To answer your original question, the ability to transmit & receive on a 3G bandidth is determined by the device.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
  11. ninja please's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W33dLuva View Post
    Hi tim...... Quick question....ummmm blahblahblahimanidiotetc
    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    you need to lay off the herb, chief.

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