T-Mobile USA looking for a new bunkmate?

tmo-storefrontComing last place can get old after awhile. Perhaps that’s what’s fueling T-Mobile’s motivations to actively search for a new U.S. partner if reports from Reuters are to be believed. Currently ranked 4th out of the “Big 4″ US cellular providers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, & T-Mobile), T-Mobile has for some time now been trying to recoup lost ground and push itself ahead of it’s rivals. Part of pushing ahead is expanding the carriers rather weak coverage nationally speaking. Such adventures aren’t cheap mind you as the actual physical motions of adding towers and backhaul capacity are the most expensive upgrades carriers can make. If you’re thinking T-Mobile is looking to purchase another carrier and add to their coverage that quickly, you’ll be disappointed to know that’s not quite how it’s going down. They’re actually looking for another carrier to invest in their network with returns on investments the shining jewel of the partnership. So if T-Mobile really is trying to make new friends, where would they go?

A few possible options include AT&T (as they’re another GSM provider meaning minimal cross network issues), MetroPCS, and ClearWire. Chances of an AT&T partnership while easiest on paper are rather slim. The two largest GSM carriers collaborating has “anti-trust lawsuit” written all over it. Clearwire is…well…Clearwire. It’s pretty neutral. MetroPCS on the other hand while surprising because of their current adoption of CDMA technology isn’t that far from a T-Mo partnership. I mean, they use the 1700MHz band just like T-Mo uses for their 3G network. It is possible. But don’t forget, this isn’t exactly a “take over” partnership that T-Mobile seeks. They merely want someone else to finance a large sum of money now to rapidly build out their network.

Don’t expect anything to happen overnight though. Two unnamed Reuters sources who are familiar with the matter said that while they are anxious to expand the carriers coverage and form new partnerships, there isn’t a big rush and that they are “weighing all of their options”. Overnight success it is not. But further on down the road, T-Mobile could become quite the market dominator. Seem plausible?

Electronista > Reuters

NTT DoCoMo jumping 2G ship a little early. Set to abandon in March 2011. [Update]

Update: Got a couple dates mixed up. Sorry ’bout that.

Living in Japan presents itself with several pros and cons. On one hand, because the land of Japan is so small, the ever growing population is finding itself having to cram into tighter and tighter spaces. On the other hand, if you happen to care about mobile technology, Japan is a hot bed of activity. Part of that success is due in part to the close quarters. Further increasing in mobile technology is that a majority of the population lives on a small part of the overall land meaning cellular networks can upgrade large swaths of coverage area relatively quickly and cheaply when compared to U.S. counterparts.

Examples of this speedy rollout can be highlighted by detailing how Japan started their 3G rollout years before the U.S. and are planning to have a fairly extensive 4G network in place by December of 2010. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about 4G efforts stateside — they’re coming, but not near the speed or coverage area that Japanese 4G networks will be enjoying come this time next year.

This move to 4G and quick rollout of wireless technologies over all combined with rather swift uptake by the public meant Japan could flip the switch on 2G cellular networks as soon as December March 2011 — much sooner than the U.S. Perhaps they’re just sick and tired of 2G’s god awful everything and/or enough peoples have abandoned 2G use all together as NTT DoCoMo has announced that instead of December 2011, they will be killing 2G network support several months earlier with 2G network shut down coming as early as in March 2011. But what good is a 4G network without devices to take advantage of it? Check. DoCoMo is planning on releasing 4G data cards in late 2010 with 4G handsets to follow in early 2011.

Living in a country with considerably more land to cover, it’s hard to imagine a world without 2G here in the states as driving an hour or so from your house (in many instances even much less than that) results in your 3G coverage giving way to the antiquated 2G networks. Keep driving and you’ll eventually find a big, nasty network hole. Current U.S. network troubles aside, living in a more technologically advanced city and society is a tech lovers dream. How’s your stomach for sushi and your ability to decipher Japanese? I’ll be needing a roommate…

PhoneScoop > Yahoo

Phil Schiller Tim Cook off his rocker. Calls 1st gen iPhone best phone on the market…still [Update]

If you’ve been reading any of the Apple Earnings reports circulating this fine EST evening, you have no doubt seen some verbiage repeated highlighting ‘ol Philly Timmy boys comments regarding iPhones and the current smartphone market. In particular, Phil Schiller goes on to say that everything on the current market is several steps behind the iPhone….the 1st gen, EDGE-only version.

Now I completely understand standing firm and representing your company, but blatantly tooting your own in such a way that makes you look like Steve Ballmer is pretty dumb if you ask me. And we all know how mentally “out there” the ‘Balms can be. A more accurate representation would have been “our current iPhone 3GS is perhaps a half step ahead of most everything else”. The Moto DROID meanwhile is by far the closest contender as of yet to come anywhere close to challenging any version of iPhone. Agree? (Can you tell I’m just a tad bit excited for DROID?) If Apple really wants to play this game of “we’re better than everyone…all of our hardware is superior” maybe they should stop…oh…you know artificially limiting their products’ abilities to even perform ancient tasks — iPhone 2G with no “official” MMS support, we’re looking at you. Of course, if you really want that, Google is your friend…

**Update: Well that’s embarrassing. Seems this post I made last night in a medicated, dreary eyed stooper failed to differentiate between “Phil Schiller” and “Tim Cook”. WTF? I don’t know either. Be kind. I’m sick.

LTE coming to Metro PCS late 2010…others to follow later.

cell-towerIf you have a need for speed and are already growing tired of constant wait times when loading pages over the ever increasingly saturated 3G arena, Metro PCS has some news that will wet your whistle and give you a second wind to ride out the waiting game that awaits you. Come late 2010, one to several quarters behind any other U.S. cellular provider, Metro PCS is planning to launch their first LTE capable handset on their new LTE network. The dual mode CDMA/LTE handset will reportedly be from Samsung beat many other players to market as Verizon won’t be joining the fun until early 2011 and AT&T once it gets its head out of the clouds sometime in 2012 if their network doesn’t implode by then.

Metro PCS meanwhile is playing a risky strategy by holding off on advancing to slower yet more readily available technologies such as CDMA EVDO Rev A and B right now in favor of bringing next gen 4G technology to market in the not too distant future ahead of many other carriers’ schedules. If they can pull it off with relatively minor snafus along the way, they will be in great shape to command a decent market share of 4G market share as by the time other players are just warming up, Metro PCS will be advancing to 2nd or 3rd base. 4G never seemed closer or more beautiful than now.

Some questions to ponder…

  • With LTE taking most of the media spotlight, does CDMA based 4G technology still have a chance or has GSM based 4G technology taken the cake?
  • does T-Mobile’s recent announcement of holding off on 4G technology in favor of further gleaning as much speed and efficiency from 3G and 3.5G technologies seem like the best idea or are they setting themselves up for another game of wireless catch-up? Not to mention, does this sound like a completely different tune than the one they were singing not too long ago…you know…the one about skipping HSPA+ and moving straight to 4G?

Source: GigaOhm, Image Source

BlackBerry Bold getting firmware update. Visual Voicemail, 2G/3G mode toggle ensue.

BlackBerry Bold users rejoice, this afternoon will bring good fortune to you and your beloved piece of Canadian born hardware. RIM announced earlier that an update to the BlackBerry Bold firmware will bring two pretty big updates with it along with the usual performance fixes and other general bug fixes. But we don’t care about those mundane bug fixes. Nooo sir (or mam). We care about the numero uno updates such as Visual Voicemail and 2G/3G mode selection…

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What is the next “feature craze” on mobile phones?

Look at the cellphone/smartphone/mobile device you are carrying around with you.  Take a second to think about every feature that it has and what it can do.  We take many mundane, simple features for granted every day such as MMS, Bluetooth, and now even WiFi and 3G.  Such features just a few short years ago were seen as “big ticket” items that many were willing to pay dearly for.  With each new revolution or advancement in mobile technology comes with it the attention of the devout few followers, those who love their gadgets so much they would tell little Jimmy that he will have to buy his own bike because papa is getting a new Blackberry.  Looking at your current phone, regardless of how new or old it is, as well as looking at what is in technology magazines and websites today as the up and coming mobile tech, what will be “the” next thing?

****This is by no means a scholarly level review of the history of the cellphone.  It is more of a trip down memory lane if you will…and maybe getting an answer as to what will be the next mobile craze****

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AT&T hates the country!

att_splash

Before I had my iPhone I was a happy T-Mobile customer for over 2 years.  When the iPhone 3g came along it interested me enough to make the jump.  For the most part I have been satisfied.  Where I live, AT&T has better coverage than TMO.  I also get 3g here with AT&T, a big plus.  When it came to more rural areas with TMO, it was pretty spotty (on a good day).  I usually would just shut my phone off because it was basically worthless.  AT&T has had better coverage in rural areas that I was previously left without a phone on TMO, however I’ll admit it’s still not as good as CDMA’s rural coverage.  You would think that those rural customers were an important asset to your business and that you would want to improve your rural coverage.  Well you thought wrong.  That is if you are AT&T. Read the rest of this entry »

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