Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
The folks at Consumer Affairs received a nastygram from Verizon Wireless, and serve them, sucka: Verizon cancels Consumer Affairs EVDO account! This is just too good. I and many others have written over the last year about how Verizon Wireless’s Unlmited BroadbandAccess is not equal to unlimited broadband access. Rather, they define legitimate use of their service as email, Web browsing, and intranet applications. Everything else is expressly forbidden in their contract. I call this metered service. They’ve also had a variety of documents leaked and letters posted by recipients that show that 10 gigabytes (GB) of usage per month is considered highly excessive no matter what you’re doing.
Consumer Affairs was told in a “terse” letter something we’ve read elsewhere before: “We … found that your usage over the past 30 days exceeded 10 Gigabytes. … This level of usage is so extraordinarily high that it could only have been attained by activities, such as streaming and/or downloading movies and video, prohibited by the terms and conditions.”
As TechDirt points out, Verizon Wireless spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson delivers the money shot: “It’s very clear in all the legal materials we put out…It’s unlimited amounts of data for certain types of data,” he said.
Woo! Consumer Affairs, you have now been served! Woo!
And they bust some moves. They maintained an access log using Verizon’s own software that showed 2 GB of usage over the last year. And they do the math. 10 GB over 30 days being 40 times average use means that an average user downloads 8.3 MB per day, “less than 12 seconds of constant downloading at the service’s average speed.” They did get that wrong. It’s actually two minutes. (If you average 400 to 700 Kbps you get 550 Kbps—kilobits per second. 8.3 MB times eight bits per byte divided by 550 Kbps gets you 120 seconds.)
Further, a second Consumer Affairs EVDO card has seen quite high use during business travel, and that account was not canceled.
Verizon Wireless gets the last shot. “Nelson said the service, which Verizon introduced in Fall 2003, can be hindered if one person downloads too much….’The wireless spectrum is a limited and finite service,’ he said.”
Fascinating. I don’t recall seeing that phrase in the ads that tell us why EVDO is better than Wi-Fi. (Some Wi-Fi hotspot operators impose monthly limits, too, and when they do, they’re often in the 10 GB range!)
I’m not alone in laughing at this situation. Not because I take delight in tweaking Verizon Wireless. They’ve built a good and reliable service that whenever I’ve tested it has worked extremely well. And they get rave reviews for the ubiquity, the consistent speed, and the cost relative to utility.
No, the reason I and others point fingers and say, “HAW haw” is that Verizon Wireless oversells this service in its marketing, as TechDIrt also notes. Of course, spectrum is finite. Of course, they have to limit usage. Of course, some users could spoil it for everyone. But that only comes out in the pinch.
The inroads that Clearwire might make in part of this market may have to do with not supporting legacy applications, and being able to use the aspect of OFDMA in mobile WiMax that allows per-user provisioning on dynamic basis (offering dedicated capacity over short periods of time). I know that Clearwire has limited coverage area and limited bandwidth; I know that Sprint Nextel has a whole lot more. There’s nothing specifically superior in mobile WiMax than EVDO or UMTS/HSDPA. Rather, it’s unencumbered, and will be built with robust backhaul and robust expectations.
Everyone knew the day would come: Verizon is testing Nortel ‘s EVDO Rev. A equipment, which would be a relatively simple upgrade from the Rev. 0 gear that they and Sprint Nextel use today. Rev. A dramatically boosts total and expected individual user uplink rates from what is often 50 to 150 Kbps today to a raw rate of 1.8 Mbps that’s expected to offer 150 to 250 Kbps on a typical basis to each user. Downlink speeds jump, too, from about 2 Mbps to 3.1 Mbps peak rate, which should translate to 500 to 800 Kbps for an individual user routinely.
Sprint had said they would start the move to Rev. A next year. Nortel stated that Verizon would begin the upgrade in third quarter of 2006! Yes, uplink speeds matter, and this is another clear sign of the consumer-as-producer economy, in which people creating—taking digital photographs, for one—need more upstream bandwidth.
Not to be too graphic, but there’s a saying about eating one’s own dog food in the computer biz: Perhaps the saying is in all businesses, even the dog-food industry, but it means that in order to understand one’s customer, a firm must require its own employees, including executives, uses the firm’s products. Microsoft runs on Windows and Office, occasionally to the chagrin of employees who are required to beta test and get work done.
Cingular has just installed its UMTS/HSDPA network in San Antonio, the headquarters of SBC-cum-AT&T, which owns 60 percent of the cell operator and would like to acquire the remaining 40 percent as part of a BellSouth acquisition.
RCR News reports that Cingular will invest $346m in its 3G network in 2006, about $156m of which will cover San Antonio and the southern part of the state. Cingular plans to expand HSDPA to the top 100 US markets in 2006, to provide effective competition with Verizon and Sprint.