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  1.    #1  
    hey folks.

    i'm currently a VS customer, but with a regular phone.

    my service comittment is over and i'm dying for a 270. i'm planning to dump my current contract and start a new one with a new treo.

    i'd like to be able to use the treo for applications other than surf/email. do i need one of those istream add on packages?

    everyone seems to be talking about dialing out with the treo to make data calls... lots of talk about using a regular dialup isp. do you all have istream packages?

    also, the istream packages all talk about billing per MB, but i've read about folks mentioning data *minutes* on their bills.

    what's going on here?

    /chris
  2. rfg17's Avatar
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    #2  
    Originally posted by chrisinboston
    i'd like to be able to use the treo for applications other than surf/email. do i need one of those istream add on packages?

    everyone seems to be talking about dialing out with the treo to make data calls... lots of talk about using a regular dialup isp. do you all have istream packages?

    also, the istream packages all talk about billing per MB, but i've read about folks mentioning data *minutes* on their bills.

    what's going on here?

    /chris
    I'm currently a VS customer in the Boston area with a Treo 180.
    The Treos do not yet have GPRS support, so all data calls are circuit switched, meaning you must dial an ISP and run PPP over the dialup to surf, get email, or any other data application, except SMS which uses a separate channel. Dialup data calls are billed by the minute, just like voice calls.

    Istream is the VS GPRS data service. It is billed by the MB and does not require a separate dialup (it's always on). Presumably, when Handspring releases GPRS support for the Treo, you will need to add Istream service to use the network, but right now you just sign up for one of the voice packages, like GetMore or GetMore Plus.
  3.    #3  
    Originally posted by rfg17

    Dialup data calls are billed by the minute, just like voice calls.
    thanks.

    so is it itemized separately on the bill? if so how many "data minutes" do i get? or is it just billed as a voice call, meaning i can get 3000 data/voice minutes for $60 these days?

    istream=gprs=not available yet?

    dialup data is roughly 14Kb/second?

    gprs much faster?

    when gprs comes out, i'll still have the option of dialing at 14Kb/s?

    what's with the isdn number people keep mentioning? is it just another isp, so if i've already got one, i don't need to worry about it?

    thanks again.

    /chris
  4. rfg17's Avatar
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    #4  
    Originally posted by chrisinboston


    thanks.

    so is it itemized separately on the bill? if so how many "data minutes" do i get? or is it just billed as a voice call, meaning i can get 3000 data/voice minutes for $60 these days?


    No, they are not itemized separately. Although the call detail has a code for data calls (I believe it's 'E'). There is some controversy over whether they are included in the "free weekend minutes" or not. But, yes, you get combined data/voice minutes.



    istream=gprs=not available yet?


    Right. My guess is that Handspring is waiting for GPRS to be more widely available/reliable through both the VS and Cingular networks before rolling it out. I imagine that GPRS is not going to be the panacea everyone on this board seems to think it will be.


    dialup data is roughly 14Kb/second?


    No, it's probably more like 9600b. Though, to be honest, I haven't found it that limiting. I don't do that much browsing, though.


    gprs much faster?


    No. GPRS will probably be around 28Kb, so it will be faster, but not like a cable modem.


    when gprs comes out, i'll still have the option of dialing at 14Kb/s?


    No. My guess is that any data calls will be routed over the GPRS network.


    what's with the isdn number people keep mentioning? is it just another isp, so if i've already got one, i don't need to worry about it?


    Correct. It's just another ISP number.
  5.    #5  
    thanks for your help, rfg

    i feel like i'm in the office supply commercial, where i mumble some random question, and poof! an expert shows up to explain everything.

    i'm ordering the treo today

    /chris
  6. #6  
    ISDN may be like another ISP but if it is the only way you can get data it is crucial. I live in Florida and have not been able to log onto my Verizon ISP or the Handsprings ISP earthlink.

    I have dealt with VS and they say they are having a data problem and not sure when it will be rectified. In the meantime I am using VS ISDN to connect.
  7. #7  
    Although we know very little about how the GPRS will really function in practive, I'm fairly certain that

    1) it's faster than 28kbps, closer to 56k

    2) it's not required. If you want to dial into an ISP and waste your minutes, you can, and if you want to connect to the GPRS network, you can do that do. If installing the GPRS upgrade prevents me from dialing an ISP like I currently do, then I'm not going to upgrade.

    As for Voicestream's plans, don't get iStream since as mentioned, you can't use it until the GPRS upgrade comes out for the Treo. Data minutes, in my experience, are billed just like weekday voice calls, and are tagged as data calls on your statement. The best way to make sure you don't go over your plan is to get Cell Plan Tracker for your Treo when you get it, which will track data calls and calculate them according to a configured plan.
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  8. rfg17's Avatar
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    #8  
    Originally posted by GregGaub
    Although we know very little about how the GPRS will really function in practive, I'm fairly certain that

    1) it's faster than 28kbps, closer to 56k

    2) it's not required. If you want to dial into an ISP and waste your minutes, you can, and if you want to connect to the GPRS network, you can do that do. If installing the GPRS upgrade prevents me from dialing an ISP like I currently do, then I'm not going to upgrade.

    1) Remains to be seen. My point is that its not >100kb. (In my experience its really hard in practice to tell 28Kb from 38Kb, they're both slower than you'd like.)

    2) Not quite. Just as today you make a data call and it silently uses one of the data channels, when you're configured for GPRS protocols ALL of your data (other than SMS) will go that route. I suspect the delay in releasing GPRS support has to do with the fact that once you're configured to use it, all data goes that route and there's not an easy fallback. Since GPRS availability is pretty spotty right now, this isn't going to lead to a happy user experience.
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by rfg17

    2) Not quite. Just as today you make a data call and it silently uses one of the data channels, when you're configured for GPRS protocols ALL of your data (other than SMS) will go that route. I suspect the delay in releasing GPRS support has to do with the fact that once you're configured to use it, all data goes that route and there's not an easy fallback. Since GPRS availability is pretty spotty right now, this isn't going to lead to a happy user experience.
    Is this just what you believe to be true, or do you have some facts or documentation that you can point to? I'm curious to know what led you to believe that circuit switched calls will no longer be an option just because GPRS connections have been added to the mix. Please provide links.

    -Greg
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    #10  
    Originally posted by GregGaub


    Is this just what you believe to be true, or do you have some facts or documentation that you can point to? I'm curious to know what led you to believe that circuit switched calls will no longer be an option just because GPRS connections have been added to the mix. Please provide links.

    -Greg
    It's an educated guess based on familiarity with the Wavecom WISMO3 module used in the Treo. It can be operated in either GSM Circuit Switched data mode or GPRS mode. Usually, the way these things work is you get one or the other but not both. (see the Wavecom website www.wavecom.com)
  11. #11  
    Well, I know they can't be used at the same time. I don't expect to have a GPRS connection running, and then dial into my ISP. What I do expect is to be able to turn on and off the GPRS connection at will, separate and apart from the mobile phone itself. I also expect that when the GPRS connection is NOT active, that I'll be able to call my ISP and use plan minutes instead.

    I was unable to find anything helpful on wavecom's site, but I don't really feel like hunting and pecking my way down to some obscure spec sheet or FAQ. Feel free to provide more specific information if you have it. Otherwise, I'll wait until the GPRS update comes out, and make sure it will function as I expect it to before I install it.

    I have no intention of losing my ability to dial into my ISP, even if it means not having the "always on" and per-meg charges that people seem to be so looking forward to. The VoiceStream iStream plans are not particularly compelling for their megabyte limitations and high prices.
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  12. rfg17's Avatar
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    #12  
    Originally posted by GregGaub

    I have no intention of losing my ability to dial into my ISP, even if it means not having the "always on" and per-meg charges that people seem to be so looking forward to. The VoiceStream iStream plans are not particularly compelling for their megabyte limitations and high prices.
    I agree, which is why I said earlier that GPRS may not be the panacea everyone is making it out to be. My guess is that it will not be that much faster (5-10X) than circuit based data services, coverage will be spotty, and it will be expensive. The "always on" feature with something approaching push email is what I am looking for, but with the problems we've been experiencing with VS circuit switched data service lately, my expectations are not high.
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by rfg17


    It's an educated guess based on familiarity with the Wavecom WISMO3 module used in the Treo. It can be operated in either GSM Circuit Switched data mode or GPRS mode. Usually, the way these things work is you get one or the other but not both. (see the Wavecom website www.wavecom.com)
    No. Use of the Wavecom GPRS functionality does not inhibit existing circuit switched functionality:

    (a) Existing voice functionality uses the circuit switched mode (with call type 'voice' and a voice codec of course).

    (b) Globally, there is heavy use of the GSM data (and fax) circuit switching capabilities in Europe and Asia. Disabling circuit switched data would render the Treo useless to many users. Whilst many networks now have GPRS support there are still too many issues for widespread GPRS use (eg. roaming).

    There are two issues holding back the Treo GPRS update:

    (i) Reworking Palm OS code to support GPRS data connections - possibly including background connection support necessary for "mostly always on" GPRS functionality. I suspect that this work would have been completed months ago.

    (ii) GSM carrier support. Whilst many carriers allow the use of any GSM handset (meeting GSM standards) for voice the same is not currently true for GSM/GPRS handsets and GPRS data. Handspring are probably waiting for streamlined GPRS data approvals and/or support in the major GSM markets before releasing the update.

    If they release it early they'll just create a support headache and a few thousand dissatisfied customers.

    Having said that ... personally I think they should offer an "early adopter" release for the maniacs amongst us in Europe and Asia to start testing it.

    Regards,
    David

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