Open Mobile

Your Phone Is Political

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Shepard Smith dings AT&T

I love this bit of sarcasm from Shepard Smith: 

Editor-in-chief of social media site, Lance Ulanoff, sat down with Smith to discuss AT&T’s data service plan. “I’m not doing anything differently than I ever have, but now they’re going to charge me more for the same thing I’ve always been doing,” Smith said to Ulanoff. “Thanks, because you know what, you’re system is awesome. It really works great!” Smith jokingly said to AT&T.

He’s right. AT&T (and Verizon and others) continue to get away with charging us more and more for the same services. 

Isn’t it supposed to work the other way? Shouldn’t services get cheaper as more people use them and as technology improves? 

(Source: The Huffington Post)

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"A Nightmare For Carriers"


It certainly looks true that the iPhone is a “nightmare” for the carriers, as David Goldman of CNN Money suggests. But context is important. It’s a nightmare for their margins — it’s a dream from a product offering perspective.

A few other things here:

1) Boo-fucking-hoo. The carriers have raked consumers over the coals for years with things like SMS charges, which have a near-infinite margin.

2) This shows the position of power Apple has now. This is a direct result of going exclusive first with AT&T to ensure they got the deal they wanted. Once the iPhone took off and AT&T started stealing customers, it forced the other carriers to bend to the same deals. 

3) This shows why the carriers need Android and are willing to spend a lot to promote it. All the OEMs besides Samsung are basically getting dicked over when it comes to making money off of Android devices, but the same is not true of the carriers. They love it.

4) Sadly, this will still end with the consumers getting screwed. To be able to pay the Apple subsidy and maintain their huge margins, carriers are going to continue to raise rates and/or put in ridiculous restrictions like this

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Carrier IQ: (Some) Carriers Respond

Sprint, which has been spared the ire of users largely because it has so far retained its unlimited data plans, has installed Carrier IQ on more phones than other carriers.

Sprint is by far the biggest user of the software, admitting to installations on 26 million devices. Additionally, HTC has, for the first time, directly and publicly addressed the fact that Carrier IQ blames it for the insecure log files found on its devices — though not in a way that’s likely to satisfy unhappy users.

Meanwhile, Carrier IQ continues to play the, “it’s not us, it’s them” game, which is reasonable to extent. Carrier IQ builds the software; the carriers decide how to use it.


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We need to break open the mobile cartels

Verizon is obsessed with getting its piece of the pie, even it means blocking the most innovative aspects of its Android phones:

The Galaxy Nexus headed to Verizon Wireless in the next week or so won’t feature Google Wallet, even though it has the NFC chip to do so, we have learned. The app won’t be available in the Android Market for Verizon Galaxy Nexus users. Big Red simply blocked it.

Potentially disruptive technologies are being kept in check by Verizon and other companies that have been granted too much power as gatekeepers of innovation. It’s time we did something about it.