Cingular price increase

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Ned

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For those of you, like us, that are on the old AT&T Digital One Rate cellular plan, check your latest bill for the new $4.99 "TDMA/ANALOG NTWK CHG".  This makes our bill now $72.76 for 450 minutes/month, and is about $28 more than our Verizon AC II plan.  Over the past few years, we've found fewer areas with Cingular and no Verizon coverage, so this may well be the event that causes us to drop our Cingular cellular service.  Their GSM service, which is the only option available to us from Cingular, just doesn't compare.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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With the major cell providers so competitive, it seems strange that their price is so far out of line. I wonder if that charge is a ploy to help force people off the old AT&T TDMA  and/or analog system?  All the cell carriers are trying to go to "digital onl"  (no analog phones).  Are they charging you because you have an old TDMA phone or becasue it's a tri-mode phone?

I don't understand your comment about the GSM service. Are you saying their GSM coverage is poor? Or is it something else that "doesn't compare"?  [That's not a challenge to your statement - I'm just trying to get a clearer picture of the problem]
 

Tom

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RV Roamer said:
I wonder if that charge is a ploy to help force people off the old AT&T TDMA  and/or analog system?

I suspect that's probably the case Gary. Prior to leaving on our recent UK trip, I called Cingular to activate worldwide roaming on our AT&T multi-band phone. They did it, but the customer service gal said "oh, you're one of our blue customers, did you come over from AT&T?" It sure felt like I was in a group of customers they wanted to either dump or comvert.

Following the trip I cancelled the service because we've found very few, if any, places that our t-mobile phones didn't work and the AT&T/Cingular phone did. They offered me an opportunity to "upgrade", which meant buying a new phone and getting on a new rate plan. I asked if this really meant switching to Cingular's network and the guy said "yes, that's really it".
 

Ned

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Yes, they want to get rid of the old analog/TDMA phones, that's why they called it the "TDMA/ANALOG NTWK CHG".  Cingular is GSM only and we are the step-children from the old AT&T TDMA system, plus we have the grandfathered DOR plan that lets us call anywhere we can get a signal with no roaming.  the new $5 charge may backfire.  Rather than forcing people to switch to GSM, they will look for competitive services.

The GSM network just doesn't compare in coverage to VZW's CDMA network, so there is no advantage to switching our Cingular service to that network.  We would rather have both phones on VZW and save the $28.  For those few areas where VZW doesn't work, we always have Skuype :)
 

AlGriefer

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I think what's happening is the general push by the cellular companies to free up the old analog bands for other uses.  The have to show the FCC that the usage doesn't warrant continuing the service so they make it a self-fulfilling prophesy by charging extra for the older service.

I'd bet that within the next two years, we'll see a whole new service using that band!

Al
 

Ned

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The cellular companies are allowed to drop their analog coverage after February 18, 2008 (see here).  They don't have to show the FCC anything, they already have their permission.  I can understand the desire to drop analog coverage, but why are they forcing us off of the existing TDMA network?  I don't understand this strategy.
 

AlGriefer

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Ned said:
The cellular companies are allowed to drop their analog coverage after February 18, 2008 (see here).? They don't have to show the FCC anything, they already have their permission.? I can understand the desire to drop analog coverage, but why are they forcing us off of the existing TDMA network?? I don't understand this strategy.

OK, hadn't been following it; I guess they already convinced the FCC.

On TDMA, perhaps it just the equipment maintenance cost or also reusing that bandwidth?  I don't know, but I expect that TDMA uses dedicated bandwidth where it's available?

Al
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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eneral push by the cellular companies to free up the old analog bands for other uses.

Al, there is no difference between cellular analog bands and digital bands. Both utilize the same 800 Mhz range, so there i snothing to free up for other uses.  The only difference is the communication protocol being used over those radio frequencies, i.e. AMPS for analog and GSM/TDMA/CDMA for digital service.  Terminating analog just gets rid of old equipment in the towers, equipment that is largely unused today.

You may be thinking of PCS, which is a digital only service and uses the 1900 MHz frequency band. PCS never had an analog variant.  Most modern cell phones handle PCS as well as cellular and it is transparent which one you are using at any moment. PCS digital uses the same digital protocols as cellular digiital.
 

AlGriefer

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RV Roamer said:
Al, there is no difference between cellular analog bands and digital bands. Both utilize the same 800 Mhz range, so there i snothing to free up for other uses.? The only difference is the communication protocol being used over those radio frequencies, i.e. AMPS for analog and GSM/TDMA/CDMA for digital service.? Terminating analog just gets rid of old equipment in the towers, equipment that is largely unused today.

You may be thinking of PCS, which is a digital only service and uses the 1900 MHz frequency band. PCS never had an analog variant.? Most modern cell phones handle PCS as well as cellular and it is transparent which one you are using at any moment. PCS digital uses the same digital protocols as cellular digiital.

Gary,

I think most of the GSM in the US is on the 1900 band and the 850 band which was originally AMPS is being changed to GSM, mostly by Cingular since they own a majority of the areas.  Particular frequencies at a specified location can be used for multiple types of transmission by the same company, but equipment needs to be upgraded for GSM and it's cheaper to put in GSM/EDGE/HSPD equipment rather than adding AMPS, CDMA, and TDMA to it.

I've been away from this for quite awhile so I may have some of the acronyms wrong.  :)

Al
 

Dave R

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We still encounter quite a few analog only areas as we travel. I hope this means they will be upgrading to digital.

Dave
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I think most of the GSM in the US is on the 1900 band and the 850 band which was originally AMPS is being changed to GSM, mostly by Cingular since they own a majority of the areas.

You really can't generalize like that Al, it depends on what region of the country you are talking about. The two frequency bands are separately licensed and local cell providers licensed whichever one they could get.  It had nothoing to do with digital, analog or GSM.

By far the most of the 1900 band licenses are owned by Sprint and they are CDMA. Verizon has some as well and is also CDMA. Cingular has some too and since the 1900 band is exclusively digital they are indeed GSM, because Cingular standardized on GSM shortly after Cingular was formed from a dozen disparate cell companies and all new Cingular equipment isince then has been GSM.  They were just beginning to make solid progress on the conversion of their older equipment when they bought AT&T Wireless and added a ton of AT&T licenses and towers to their stable. AT&T's network was almost exclusively 800 MHz and was TDMA digital as well as AMPS analog. What we are seeing now is the final step of integration of the AT&T network into Cingular - the conversion of all old ATT equipment to GSM, regardless of what frequency band it is on.
 
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