Making Use of Wideband Voice Right Now!: Vonage Mobile

VonageMobileDevices Some time ago I was a Vonage customer. We had a Vonage line for my home office to compliment the POTS line that service the house. Our only internet access was via DSL over that POTS line.

We haven’t had a POTS line here since 2004.

While Vonage was a pioneer in what we now call-over-the-top internet telephony, for most of its existence the companies primary means of delivering service was by way of an “analog telephony adapter” or ATA. An ATA provides the RJ-11 connection required to connect to a traditional telephone.

Service providers using ATAs are essentially emulating the PSTN. It makes perfect sense since they want to offer an easy, drop-in replacement for traditional phone service. The advantage that they sell is simply that they’re cheaper. Most care little for esoterica like HDVoice.

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It’s Time For Wireless Carriers to Get Real Or Get Lost

Mobile-company-logos This past week I spent a few days in Milwaukee WI. If Boston is Bean-town then Milwaukee is quite likely Beer-town. I actually drove past the Pabst Brewery. I didn’t know that they still made Pabst, or that anyone would actually drink the stuff. I took it to be like Lone Star in Texas, just something to offer the tourists.

Initial impression of the suds aside, I saw something in Milwaukee that gave me pause. I saw the signs, and they were worrying.

To be more specific I saw a few of the newer T-Mobile billboards. I still mostly like T-Mobile. And heck, Carly-of-the-patterned-magenta-dresses is certainly easy on the eyes, so billboards should be a good thing…but these were cause for concern.

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T-Mobile Officially Acknowledges HSPA+ Issue With 4G HTC Handsets

Earlier today T-Mobile staff started a new thread in their support forum polling users for reports of unusually short battery life starting over the past week.

Hello everyone,
A small group of T-Mobile customers are noticing battery drain. As of around July 28, 2011, their phones haven’t been holding their charge as well as they used to.

We’re working aggressively to resolve this issue, but if a you find that the battery drains more quickly than it has in the recent past (starting around July 28th), or phone is not holding a charge like it was, please reply here with the following information:

Device Make & Model
Start date on the issue
Where are you located (Market, City, State)?
Are you in a 2G, 3G or 4G area?
When battery indicator shows ‘No Power’ does the device still work or is the power drained?
Does “3G only mode” improve the battery drain issue?

Thank you to everyone for helping us out with your examples!

As of this moment 80 people have responded, including myself.

It’s curious that they refer to “3G only mode” as the G2 at least doesn’t have such a mode. The related setting in my G2 is labeled as “Use only 2G networks.”

Sorry for the blurry photo. That’s what sometimes happens when I take a handheld shot and defeat the flash.

Like everyone else responding in the forum, we have found that enabling this setting drops the phone to the EDGE network, and restores battery life to an acceptable norm.

At least with this acknowledgement there can be the expectation of some action toward solving the issue. Maybe they can even inform their customer service staff, who have been handling the matter haphazardly for the past week.

T-Mobile Network HSPA+ Issue Plagues Users of HTC Handsets

T-Mobile-G2-Landscape-300 In the last week of July a number of T-Mobile subscribers began observing that the battery life of their HTC handsets had fallen away dramatically. Both my wife and I have the G2 (aka HTC Desire Z) and have found that typical battery life has dropped from 8-10 hours to less than 4 hours on a charge.

In fact, I noticed that the back cover of my G2 was warm to the touch even as the phone was sitting idle all morning. Even in a completely idle state the phone was drawing enough current to make the battery warm.

There’s a long thread about this issue in the T-Mobile support forums. Over the past few days others have noted the issue in various places, including; Phone Arena, T-MoNews & Phandroid.

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Gigi Sohn Of Public Knowledge On AT&T+T

Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn testifies on the AT&T-T-Mobile merger before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee on May 11, 2011. I caught a portion of the testimony via the web stream. You can find that C-SPAN coverage here.

I found that AT&T’s arguments for the merger were hollow at best, and deceptive at worst. I hope that the Congress will act via the DOJ where it seems unlikely that the FCC will see fit.

For more information, check out http://www.publicknowledge.org/tell-president-obama-stop-unthinkable-att-t-mo….

The End Of Wireless Tether For Android…For Some People

Yesterday Information Week ran a story entitled, “The End Of Wireless Tether For Android.” The story quite rightly describes how Google is responding to carrier requests to disable the distribution of free tethering apps via the official Android Marketplace.

According to the author,

“The wireless carriers would rather you pay a fee either for tethering plan or buy a device like a MiFi or USB dongle that will let your PC get online.”

..further…

“Take the example of AT&T. To require a data plan that is 80% more expensive than a non-tethering plan is a bit of a money grab. AT&T has data caps, so why do they care how you use it?”

I’ve long held that there’s a fundamental disconnect with how wireless data is handled. It should not matter what device I use, as long as I’m paying for the data. If I pay for 5 GB/month then why does the fact that I’m using a netbook, laptop, tablet or cell phone make any difference?

If I had a USB type interface I could well move it between a desktop, netbook, laptop and even some tablets. The carrier simply wouldn’t know anything beyond the amount of data consumed transferred. And why should they?

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