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Ask the FCC to ensure companies don't block compatible phones when customers change companies

Discussion in 'alt.cellular.verizon' started by Robert M., Apr 9, 2004.

  1. Joseph

    Joseph Guest

    On 19 Apr 2004 08:29:02 GMT, hoch@exemplary.invalid (CharlesH) wrote:

    >How do they address this problem in the GSM world, where phones are pretty
    >much commodities separate from the provider? Is the GSM protocol THAT
    >standardized with no variation in features, that all providers are willing
    >to accept any brand GSM phone?


    Once a customer inserts their SIM (Subscriber Identity Module i.e. the
    smart card) into their device (phone or PDA) it's really irrelevant to
    the operator what they have. They can tell as the IMEI (equivalent to
    ESN on CDMA) is broadcast when they use the network, but AFAIK no GSM
    operator cares what you use on their network. The only part where you
    run into problems is some handsets come "hard coded" from the
    manufacturer with data settings that are meant for a specific carrier.
    If you want to use other data settings you're out of luck. If you get
    a generic version of the phone from a non-carrier the data settings
    will not be hard-coded so basically you can use them with any
    compatible network (must use the frequency in use in that area i.e.
    850/900/1800/1900 Mhz.)

    >Does the customer just expect to go to the
    >phone manufacturer if there is a problem or software updates are needed?


    If you did not get the phone from the carrier then yes you have to go
    to the manufacturer for repairs/warranty. As far as firmware updates
    it varies from carrier to carrier VoiceStream (now T-Mobile) used to
    do firmware updates in the company owned stores. They no longer do
    that and you have to ship your phone to the manufacturer if you need
    to have your firmware updated. I brought an older phone to a
    Canadian GSM provider (Fido) and they updated the firmware on a phone
    that I had (but didn't even buy from them) and they updated the
    firmware gratis (and I now have T9 predictive text on the older
    phone.) This is of course less of a problem with GSM in that you can
    use a spare phone or even a "loaner" from your carrier til your phone
    comes back from the service center rather than having the carrier
    program another phone.

    As far as "support" if you get a non-supported phone i.e. one that
    they don't presently carry or carry in the past you're basically on
    your own though I've found that if you have a "generic" problem they
    are likely able to coach you through solutions to problems.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    remove NONO from .NONOcom to reply
     



    › See More: Ask the FCC to ensure companies don't block compatible phones when customers change companies
  2. "Robert M." <rmarkoff@msn.com> wrote in message
    news:rmarkoff-3161DA.06021419042004@news02.east.earthlink.net...

    >
    > F.U.D.
    >
    > If you want to keep control of customers by not letting a Verizon work
    > on the Sprint network, you spread FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT.
    >
    > Some of us are old enough to remember 20 years ago when AT&T was
    > required to let you plug your own phone in without buying one of their
    > clunkers in. FUD was rampant. It'll destroy the network and worse was
    > heard.


    OK, Phil- in hopes of the outcome being a little different, I'm going to try
    a new direction- no insults and no comment on your post.

    A couple of these points have already been mentioned in this thread, others
    have not:

    1. Just because the underlying technology is the same, that does not make
    the phone completely compatible with another network.

    Yes, Verizon and Sprint use the same platform to deliver phone calls. But
    do they use the same technology for PTT? Picture sharing? And aren't these
    some of the technologies that make a phone 'expensive'? What is the sense
    of having a $500 phone that is only partially functional?

    2. This is not the only industry with exclusive hardware- its just the most
    visible.

    A quick personal story- A couple of years ago, I moved from Denver to
    Colorado Springs. While living in Denver, I bought cable boxes (instead of
    renting from the Cable company). They worked great. I move to Colorado
    Springs and end up with a different cable provider. Guess what? The boxes
    I had bought were incompatible with the new provider's network. Is this any
    different than the current conversation? How many other situations like
    this exist in today's world?

    3. If the hardware provided to access a network is sold under the premise
    that it is exclusive to that particular network, why is it the company's
    fault when a customer decides to voluntarily leave for another provider?

    It has been my experience that the exclusivity of a cellular phone to a
    particular provider is absolutely no secret to the consumer. In fact, most
    carriers are quick to point it out. Now, we do see posts in this very group
    asking about the compatibility of Non-Sprint phones on the PCS network. I
    contend that these posts are the result of a consumer that has not done the
    research necessary to be well informed. This is something I've commented on
    before, and is something that is not a problem that Corporate America is
    either responsible for or should have to address. As a society, we have
    become extremely lazy in using hard data to determine the best product for
    our needs, and tend to rely on the glitzy advertising of a product to
    determine what is best for us. How many posts have we seen in the cellular
    groups where a customer has purchased service with a provider and complains
    a month after the fact that they just realized the phone doesn't work from
    their home?

    4. If phones are allowed to go to other providers, questions and service
    for these phones become a nightmare.

    In the current environment, we enjoy a very high level of support for the
    phones we purchase. CS can answer functionality questions and even provide
    a relatively high level of troubleshooting (most of the time) when there is
    a problem. We can go to a local company-run Service Center to have the
    phone serviced, and can even get a loaner if the problem is serious. Where
    does this all go if companies are now allowing customers to bring a phone on
    the network that they are not familiar with? Are we expecting CSR's to be
    able to explain functionality and troubleshoot every phone on the market?
    If so, where do the companies get the technical information on phones that
    are manufactured by a company that they have no business relationship with?
    Where do the service centers get the technical tools to deal with the same
    phones? Are the manufacturers set up with sufficient support locations and
    personnel to handle this new role in the industry? Bottom line- the
    customer ends up having to take a lot more responsibility, and would
    ultimately be inconvenienced to a much greater degree in a wide open market.

    And Phil- you are right about your ATT statement- they screamed bloody hell
    about the situation. I have just one observation- ever notice that the
    wireline phones available today have exactly the same functionality and
    features that they had 20 years ago? Ever wonder why that is? Could it be
    because the technology stagnated due to the carrier having no incentive to
    develop new technology? Of course, the analogy doesn't translate real well,
    because we are comparing regional monopolies to a wide open market, but the
    fact still remains- in a market where the carrier does not control product
    development, the technology stagnated.
     

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