By John Dodge
Posting in Cities
Just when most of us have yet to spring for pricey 3G mobile wireless, Sprint starts advertising 4G service in Baltimore with more cities "soon" to follow. When it comes to mobile broadband for PCs, speed isn't my problem. I can get by fine with 3G for most of what I do.
Just when most of us have yet to spring for pricey 3G mobile wireless, Sprint starts advertising 4G service in Baltimore with more cities "soon" to follow.
When it comes to mobile broadband for PCs, speed isn't my problem. I can get by fine with 3G for most of what I do. My problem is the high price of 3G. They're all, save one in this example, $60 a month with a two year service commitment.
My fervent hope is that 4G (or market saturation) will knock down the price of 3G from its high perch although I am not hopeful given so-called competition in this space shows no price differentiation. Perhaps mobile broadband doesn't fit the technical definition of collusion which is "secret agreement for treacherous purposes." When I studied economics in college, collusion usually meant price fixing and this sure feels like that.
Obviously, I knew there would be a follow-on to 3G which in my testing bumps along at scarcely more than one megabit per second (mbps). That's adequate for email and other less intense apps and it is slow, but I'd gladly pay $30-35 a month for it. But $60? No way.
Enter 4G which promises mobile wireless speeds of 100 mbps or greater. For now Sprint is promising average speeds of 2-4 mbps with bursts up to 12 mbps which is about the same as the land line cable many of us have. But Sprint's service is $80 a month for unlimited 4G and 5GB of 3G.
Sprint's 4G (which is WIMAX technology, a cousin of WIFI) only works at the moment in Baltimore although Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle should be up before year's end with Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington slated for next year, according to EnGadget.
AT&T said in February it would begin trials next year of the its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network as it tries to squeeze more out its 3G network. Meanwhile, Verizon is forging ahead with trials this year and a scheduled launch of its 4G LTE network planned for the end of 2010.
Why doesn't one of these carriers, say mine which is Verizon, drop the 3G price $10-$20, watch its subscriptions go through the roof and make the rest follow. I'd much prefer that to pronouncements about how much they spend on their 4G networks to warm us up for yet another stiff monthly tithing? 3G market saturation can't happen fast enough.
Jul 21, 2009
U.S. flounders in the Bandwidth Backwaters: Air, Land or by Sea. The problem is not how many G's you get at what price; the problem is that the glass is only half full. Now we're hearing about Fiber Optic Internet -- technology that is only 40 years old. Hell, my question is how will they make fiber optic slow.
part of the problem with the cost is due to people like my friend. He is one of two people in the entire state that is licensed and certified and has the security clearance to work on the cell towers (setup new ones, install upgrades, and basically work on the computers that reside at the tower) when they call for him to work on a tower they offer about $60/hr plus millage if it exceeds 50 miles. he will counter and tell them he want $300/hr minimum 8 hours in 4 hour blocks (8, 12, 16, 20hrs...) and millage for every mile he has to drive. because he knows if they are calling him, then no one else is able to do it. Additionally they take 8-10 months to get him a check, another reason why he asks for so much. But, its people like that, that cause the prices to go up, he just increased their budget for getting this one task done by almost 1000%. And they always pay it, and the next time they call the same process happens again (I guess in hopes he might except the lower amount by accident).
In Germany I have prepaid wiireless 3G. Cost $30 per month 10gb download at 3.3 Mh, after 10gb it goes down to isdn speed. Other providers do $22 for 5gb- Or $15 for 500mb. No obligation, no contract, stop for 2 months when I go on vacation, resume at will. So, that means either you in the US are getting royally screwed or relief is just around the corner. I believe the later. Until recently the situation was similar here until the food discounters got into a prepaid mobile phone service price war. It'll probably happen in the US soon.
Pricey only when consumers pay it. Look what Metro PCS is doing to cellphone pricing. Wagner's $45 per month for his blackberry service may seem like cheap right now, but it's going to get a lot cheaper. It won't be long and he will complain if the bill goes over $25. I can remember when it used to cost over a $1 to call California long distance. Now its free. The prices will stay up only as long as people pay the price.
... are all that unreasonable. My BlackBerry Unlimited Data Plan through VZW costs me $45 per month (w/BES). Unlimited Broadband for the home (~10 Mbps) costs arount $35 per month. While DSL (~2 Mbps) costds around $25 per month. With a 3G celluar data plan, one doesn't need the broadband connection at home nor does one need the Blackberry data plan. In fact, with Skype, one doesn't even need a VZW voice plan so, all-in-all, it seems to me that 3G data plan pricing is really a break-even proposition for the clever road warrior.
The carriers often complain about the cost of providing this service. B.S.!!! Wireless service is nothing compared to land line, and for a very simple reason. No last mile copper to support. Instead of supporting each and every household, they only have a much smaller number of highly controlled cell towers to maintain. This reduces the cost of the support and infrastructure tremendously. So, wireless data is dirt cheap to provide. Their $60 cost, for limited service of 5 gig in most cases, is pure cash in their pockets. I might pay $40 for 3G at most, but only with zero byte limitations, or at least something much more reasonable like 50 gig or so. I think they should offer 2G for $10 a month unlimited. I usually get around 400Kb/sec on 2G in my area. And, you know, for basic web surfing that's really fast enough.
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