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  1. DHart's Avatar
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       #1  
    Let the fun begin. Talk amongst yourselves.

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    Wi-Fi? Why not?

    Wireless phone companies need to embrace a new wave of Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones - even though it risks their core business revenue, says Fortune's Stephanie Mehta.

    By Stephanie Mehta, Fortune senior writer

    September 28 2006: 11:26 AM EDT

    NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Wi-Fi phones were the talk of the town this week.
    Executives of Nokia (Charts), the Finnish cell-phone giant, were in New York promoting a couple of fancy gadgets that they're billing as "multimedia computers" (don't call 'em phones) that have built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
    French wireless operator Orange unveiled its ulink service, which offers its Parisian customers unlimited local calls on a Wi-Fi phone. And The Wall Street Journal reported that T-Mobile is getting ready to offer new cellphones that work on a traditional cellular network as well as T-Mobile-operated Wi-Fi hotspots housed in Starbucks cafés and other locations.

    If they're smart, the other U.S. wireless companies will follow T-Mobile's lead and start their own dual-mode wireless services. This is more controversial than it sounds. If the carriers offer Wi-Fi/cellular service, phone calls, text messages and data downloads that take place when a user is near a Wi-Fi "hot spot," they would essentially be free (or subject to a flat monthly fee).

    Only the calls, messages and Internet surfing on-the-go - or away from hotspots - would be subject to the wireless operator's normal pricing structure. In short, if they started offering dual-mode services, the phone companies would risk siphoning revenue from their core wireless businesses.
    Still there are plenty of good reasons big wireless operators Sprint (Charts) - and Verizon (Charts) and AT&T's Cingular, in particular - should start pushing Wi-Fi phones and service:

    Competition. If T-Mobile starts offering fickle wireless customers an opportunity to make super cheap calls and surf their phones for next to nothing, the company, owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom (Charts), could end up stealing customers from its bigger rivals. Rather than trying to retain and woo consumers with more gimmicky price cuts (10,000 free weekend minutes!) the other carriers should match T-Mobile's offer. That's because...

    Wi-Fi phones will drive adoption of data services. Right now, data represents a measly 10 percent of total wireless revenue in the United States even though the carriers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading their networks for broadband applications such as real-time games and video clips.
    The problem is that some consumers are reluctant to pay an extra $15 a month or more for service they're not sure they'll use - and some customers don't even know that there are special games and shows, dubbed "mobisodes," tailored especially for their wireless phones.
    But if they could try a bunch of those services for cheap or for free while sitting at a hot spot (which, by the way, may offer higher speeds than the cellular network, and thus, a better surfing experience) they might get hooked, and pay up for the privilege of accessing their favorite games or applications when they're roaming off the Wi-Fi network, too. And if wireless data takes off...

    Wi-Fi can help wireless carriers manage their networks. Today, data traffic takes up so little of the wireless telcos' networks that the quality of those systems remains pretty high. But once consumers do start using their cell phones to ship videos and other bandwidth-intensive files, watch out.
    "When people want to do heavy downloads and streaming, let's hope they use Wi-Fi or they'll bring the network down," Martin Varsavsky, founder of FON, an international Wi-Fi community backed by Skype and Google (Charts), told an audience at Nokia's product launch this week. "Mobile operators will hate Wi-Fi, and then they will love Wi-Fi."

    Wi-Fi phones will boost DSL sales. Wi-Fi, remember, basically is a wireless extension of a broadband connection into a home or business. To take advantage of a Wi-Fi enabled phone while I'm at home, I would need to have a broadband connection, typically a cable modem or DSL line.
    Verizon and AT&T (Charts), Cingular's parent, face fierce competition from cable operators such as Comcast and Cablevision, which now sell land-line phone service in addition to broadband connections. Verizon and AT&T could entice customers away from cable modems by bundling Wi-Fi phones with DSL services.
    Sure, the telcos would forgo revenue from their traditional land-line service, but a growing number of customers today just want broadband and wireless service anyway. Why not make it easy for them to buy that combination from the phone company?
    Of course, there are lots of kinks that still need to be worked out before Wi-Fi/cellular service takes off. At the Nokia event, journalist and blogger Om Malik chided the wireless industry for the clumsiness of the current Wi-Fi phone experience. If you take a Wi-Fi phone to a Starbucks hotspot today, for example, you need go through a cumbersome log in process.
    And the traditional wireless operators understandably are concerned about the quality of their customers' experience, and they have little or no control over problems that might occur if a user is trying to make a voice call via, say, a hotel's Wi-Fi service. But with more hotspot-ready cellphones coming out in the coming year, it may be only a matter of time before consumers aren't just talking about Wi-Fi phones but talking on them.
  2. d1hamby's Avatar
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    #2  
    Wi-Fi? Why? Since you already have a cell tower with streaming data at 2Mbps, why do you need Wi-Fi? Most cellular companies sell their network card to get on the internet.

    The thing that needs to happen next is that the Global satellites need to be tied into the cell towers so you can get reception all over the world and in the stratosphere. Then you can get microwaves beamed back at the phones from the satellites to charge them.
  3. mmereos's Avatar
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    Why would anyone want to limit themselves, to having to drive to a location to use Internet on their Cell phones? I have a Verizon Phone with EVDO (Treo 700p) and it's excellent, I don't have to stop at a starbucks or other hot spot to get the information I need. I'm also a Cingular subscriber and am waiting for the next generation Treo that will support something faster then EDGE. I have no desire to own a phone with WI-FI, and personally could care less if WI-FI ever materializes in a cell phone. What I want is Broadband speeds on a cell phone that I can use everywhere; this is something WI-FI will not give us, any time in the near or far future. I think the prices of Cellular broadband will eventually drop when more and more people start to use it. Right now it's around $60 for people that have a current plan with either Sprint, or Verizon, is it worth it....Heck yeah. Because I don't have to drive to starbuck to used the internet. I also have EVDO that I use for my Laptop, and it's amazing how I never ever ever, have to use Internet that hotels provide every time I stay at a hotel. So do we need WI-FI? I really think NOT.

    Just my .02c
  4. #4  
    OK, this is a serious question.

    Is it still legal to run around and pick up unsecured wifi signal around the city?

    I listen to This Week in Tech alot and it's never clear to me if the american law maker has made up their mind in this issue.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by mmereos View Post
    Why would anyone want to limit themselves, to having to drive to a location to use Internet on their Cell phones? I have a Verizon Phone with EVDO (Treo 700p) and it's excellent, I don't have to stop at a starbucks or other hot spot to get the information I need. I'm also a Cingular subscriber and am waiting for the next generation Treo that will support something faster then EDGE. I have no desire to own a phone with WI-FI, and personally could care less if WI-FI ever materializes in a cell phone. What I want is Broadband speeds on a cell phone that I can use everywhere; this is something WI-FI will not give us, any time in the near or far future. I think the prices of Cellular broadband will eventually drop when more and more people start to use it. Right now it's around $60 for people that have a current plan with either Sprint, or Verizon, is it worth it....Heck yeah. Because I don't have to drive to starbuck to used the internet. I also have EVDO that I use for my Laptop, and it's amazing how I never ever ever, have to use Internet that hotels provide every time I stay at a hotel. So do we need WI-FI? I really think NOT.

    Just my .02c

    1. You don't live in Europe. They need it bad there. Data is REALLY high there.
    2. I want a choice of data connection, not be tied to one carrier.
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  6. #6  
    Why Wifi? (I have argued this a million times, and my point remains firm)

    Well, I am glad that you ask.

    I own a Treo 700p on Verizon. I currently am a student at Cal Poly. My cell phone is on a family plan. I do not have a data option enabled on my plan. Not to mention, there is absolutely *no* EVDO coverage here in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly has wireless internet access on campus in some areas (coverage is expanding).

    My current option for accessing the internet, without having to pay per kilobyte (which, is expensive), is to dial into my parents dsl account (with the dsl comes 20 free hours of dial up). So, I have dial up speed internet on my "3G" Treo.

    Currently I have a Palm WiFi SDIO card that I got two years ago for my Tungsten T3. It would nice to be able to have WiFi access so that I could use the internet without pulling from the dialup minute pool and my share of the family minutes. I am not taking the pay-per-kb method and I don't have an income at the moment to pay for a data plan.

    So, in short wifi = cheaper data for those with limited resources.

    I am very well aware that not everybody needs/wants wifi, or would have any practical use for it. That is why it should be at least an option (i.e. allow the WiFi card to work), so that those who don't want it don't have to pay the extra $$ and can stop complaining that it is a stupid useless feature, and those that do want/need it can have the option to go out and enable it (and so that those who need/want it don't have to keep arguing the same point over).
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by mmereos View Post
    Why would anyone want to limit themselves, to having to drive to a location to use Internet on their Cell phones? I have a Verizon Phone with EVDO (Treo 700p) and it's excellent, I don't have to stop at a starbucks or other hot spot to get the information I need. I'm also a Cingular subscriber and am waiting for the next generation Treo that will support something faster then EDGE. I have no desire to own a phone with WI-FI, and personally could care less if WI-FI ever materializes in a cell phone. What I want is Broadband speeds on a cell phone that I can use everywhere; this is something WI-FI will not give us, any time in the near or far future. I think the prices of Cellular broadband will eventually drop when more and more people start to use it. Right now it's around $60 for people that have a current plan with either Sprint, or Verizon, is it worth it....Heck yeah. Because I don't have to drive to starbuck to used the internet. I also have EVDO that I use for my Laptop, and it's amazing how I never ever ever, have to use Internet that hotels provide every time I stay at a hotel. So do we need WI-FI? I really think NOT.

    Just my .02c
    Also, the difference between wifi and 3G. Take my point in my last post.

    The is absolutely no 3G coverage (EVDO and I am also going to assume UMTS since that isn't even in all of the big cities yet). So, can you really use 3G everywhere? No. If I don't have 3G coverage can I create it? No. If I don't have WiFi coverage but an Internet connection, can I create it? Yes.

    My point (for those that can afford the crazily high 3G data plans), WiFi fills that voids that 3G leaves open, and 3G gives you coverage everywhere else. For those that do not have a data plan (or cannot afford one), WiFi works perfect.

    Also, for those that are going to complain about EDGE, 3G in my posts is synonymous to EDGE. I believe that there is EDGE coverage in SLO (San Luis Obispo), but, a data fee is still required.
  8. #8  
    Why WiFi? Because you can surf the web at high speeds while on the phone

    Doesn't someone make a WiFi SDIO adapter/memory card? If I could get one that is at least 1GB I'd buy it when I switch to a WM5 phone. Then I could switch over whenever faster speeds were available and still be able to make phone calls. Couple that with remote access to my laptop and I won't need to lug it around everyday.
    The pic is of my 4-year old big boy with Benny the Bull at a Bulls game

    Baby girl due 5/22/08!
  9. emajy's Avatar
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    So I can leave the country with my CDMA Treo and still use internet and possibly VOIP in the future. I don't travel enough out of the US to need a GSM phone.
  10. mmereos's Avatar
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    I think people are missing my point here. A cell phone is something that is typically used everywhere, with cell phones you rarely have to use a payphone. So WIFI to me is like using a payphone, you have to go find a payphone and you are confined to that spot until you are finished with your phone call. With WIFI; be in a Starbucks with WIFI, or a friends house, or some other place, you are confined to that one location. So to me having WIFI in a mobile phone (TREO) is a complete waste. I bought a Treo so I can get faster internet while I'm on the road, and I know that I have to pay for it, it's just the nature of the industry. I’m waiting for the next TREO to be released that will allow me even faster Internet while I’m on the road. For it to have WIFI will be completely useless to me because when I’m on the road I already have my laptop and can go confine myself to a Starbucks/Kinkos/Airline club when I have time to check emails etc.
    If I had to pick between a data plan that costs $90 dollars a month so I can have faster Internet everywhere or paying $20 /month for a Tmobile hotspot account (which I also have) that I can only use at Kinkos, Starbucks and Airline Clubs, I would still prefer the $90 dollar cell phone plan for Data because with that I could at least surf the web pretty much anywhere I am.
    EVDO/3G/UMTS may not be available everywhere, but I will tell you it's been everywhere that I travel; and that's all over the Central and Eastern part of the US. Try finding a WIFI spot in the middle of IOWA; I had no problem getting EVDO where there wasn't a WIFI spot for 100 miles.
    Listening to someone say they are not paying for a data plan for a 500 dollar phone is like hearing someone that buys a satellite radio and not subscribing to it because they have to pay for the service. I remember when TIVO came out and I heard the same thing (I’m not going to pay 10 dollars a month for that!!!!)

    If WIFI becomes a technology that you can use everywhere (like while driving in your car) then I can see cell phone adoption.

    Kind regards

    Thanks
  11. #11  
    Why would you need data of any type while DRIVING?
    HP has officially ruined it's own platform and kicked webOS loyalists and early TouchPad adopters to the curb. You think after you drop it like a hot potato and mention it made no money and is costing you money, anyone else wants it??? Way to go HP!!

    And some people are fools to keep believing their hype. HP has shown they will throw webOS under the bus and people are still having faith in them??? News flash: if it's own company won't stand behind it, it's finished!
  12. mmereos's Avatar
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    Wow. Well let's say I'm not driving; I'm a passenger. Or let's say I'm driving and want to look something up really quickly, on answer/read an email. I use my cell phone while I'm driving. I also use the internet on my cell phone while I'm driving. I also use the internet on my cell phone while I'm not driving.

    Accident free for over 20 years: before the Internet and before Internet on a mobile :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Phone Diva View Post
    Why would you need data of any type while DRIVING?

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