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-   -   Cellphones and Other Wireless (http://www.lawtalkers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=513)

Alex_de_Large 03-31-2003 01:13 PM

GAIT mobile phones
 
Is anyone using Cingular's GAIT service on the East Coast? I am curious to hear how much GSM v. TDMA coverage there is. Also, which handset did you choose: Nokia 6340 v. SE T62u, and why?

Thanks,
AdL

tmplawyer 04-01-2003 12:21 PM

suggestions for new cell
 
does anyone have any suggestions on a new cell phone with att?

i am currently using a v60, which i find drops calls with a stunning frequency. i also had to have the antenna replaced once.

so, who has the new toy and what do you think of it?

thanks

tmp

woohah 04-01-2003 02:26 PM

it's not your phone; it's your service

at&t absolutely sucks. i get dropped calls all the time and their coverage area stinks. they're almost as bad as sprint. i would go with verizon.

Alex_de_Large 04-01-2003 03:38 PM

It really depends on your market. ATT is the best coverage in many markets, especially in the midwest and out West, yet it is pretty shitty in the Northeast corridor.

The V60 is a good phone, and Motorola is known for having some of the best RF handling handsets in the industry. If you waht advice on phones, check out Howard Chui's website and the Howard Forums .

Mmmm, Burger (C.J.) 04-01-2003 03:47 PM

Cellphones
 
Quote:

Originally posted by woohah
it's not your phone; it's your service

at&t absolutely sucks. i get dropped calls all the time and their coverage area stinks. they're almost as bad as sprint. i would go with verizon.

They all suck because consumers buy on the basis of minutes provided for the plan. How can one assess coverage until it's too late? Then you're stuck for a year, at least, because of contract, and you want to keep your number.

law2day 04-01-2003 04:11 PM

What2do?
 
Given that the phones and service all suck, but given that we all want a cool phone -- what is the final pick of folks. Who has the best service/coverage? What are the best phones?

I currently have ATT, which seems fine, but they are pushing me to move to the GSM network. I am concerned about coverage. Since my plan has expired, I could go anywhere, so I am open to any suggestions.

Mmmm, Burger (C.J.) 04-01-2003 04:21 PM

Re: What2do?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by law2day
Given that the phones and service all suck, but given that we all want a cool phone -- what is the final pick of folks. Who has the best service/coverage? What are the best phones?

I currently have ATT, which seems fine, but they are pushing me to move to the GSM network. I am concerned about coverage. Since my plan has expired, I could go anywhere, so I am open to any suggestions.

What's with AT&T and pushing GSM? The network's not as built out, but they charge the same rates. Plus, you can't roam with the GSM phones onto an analog network. The phones are cooler, however. You might see if they'll let you "try" the new network with a new phone for a couple of weeks, and see for yourself.

That said, Sprint has some pretty cool phones too. I really didn't have problems with reception/dropped calls when I used them (I have AT&T now). I did have issues with two things: 1) calls were mysteriously converted to "roaming" on the bill, even though I was in a digital coverage area. It was as if they programmed their phones to prefer to roam, so I had to turn off that feature. 2) Their customer service was incredibly unfriendly, if not rude, and did not honor their representations. That alone made me switch.

law2day 04-01-2003 05:33 PM

Re: What2do?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Mmmm, Burger (C.J.)
What's with AT&T and pushing GSM? The network's not as built out, but they charge the same rates. Plus, you can't roam with the GSM phones onto an analog network.
I don't even know if AT&T will sell you a non-GSM plan these days. Anyone out there on the AT&T GSM network and have an feedback as to coverage, quality, etc?

The real benefit to staying with AT&T is keeping my phone number -- I would switch, though, if convinced. All the services seem to price out pretty comparably, so it comes down to coverage, quality and reliability (not exactly the hallmarks of the cellular industry). Hmm, what is a consumer to do?

Working Man 04-01-2003 05:50 PM

You can soon switch carriers without changing your number
 
Starting in November, U.S. regulators will enforce a rule that requires wireless operators to offer "number portability," the ability to switch carriers without making consumers give up their telephone number. :therock:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...pluggedin_dc_1

Mmmm, Burger (C.J.) 04-01-2003 06:09 PM

You can soon switch carriers without changing your number
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Working Man
Starting in November, U.S. regulators will enforce a rule that requires wireless operators to offer "number portability," the ability to switch carriers without making consumers give up their telephone number. :therock:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...pluggedin_dc_1

Of course, that regulation was supposed to go into effect a couple of years ago, and then was postponed until last november. The cell companies, natch, are scared shitless that people will switch constantly, while at the same time arguing that the lack of portability is not really a barrier to switching anyway, since 35% of people switch each year.

I would put the odds at only about 50% that the regulation actually takes effect this year.

Flinty_McFlint 04-01-2003 06:25 PM

Re: What2do?
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Mmmm, Burger (C.J.)
What's with AT&T and pushing GSM? The network's not as built out, but they charge the same rates. Plus, you can't roam with the GSM phones onto an analog network. The phones are cooler, however. You might see if they'll let you "try" the new network with a new phone for a couple of weeks, and see for yourself.

That said, Sprint has some pretty cool phones too. I really didn't have problems with reception/dropped calls when I used them (I have AT&T now). I did have issues with two things: 1) calls were mysteriously converted to "roaming" on the bill, even though I was in a digital coverage area. It was as if they programmed their phones to prefer to roam, so I had to turn off that feature. 2) Their customer service was incredibly unfriendly, if not rude, and did not honor their representations. That alone made me switch.


The other "good" thing about Sprint is that they'll give away the store to keep you as a subscriber. I was on contract and was thinking of getting a new phone/carrier. I read on a different forum (anandtech hot deals forum) that if you call Sprint and say you want to cancel your service, you get transferred to their retention department. I did that, and wound up with a credit of $150, more anytime minutes than I can use, web access, etc. etc. at $29.99 a month. I then went to the Sprint store and got a $299 phone on sale for $50 (Sanyo 4900). I haven't paid a phone bill in 4 months now and I still have credit left. Also, you can call their automated customer support and ask for credit for dropped calls, and they credit your bill the value of a minute's call at the highest rate. I do that once a month while driving home and it takes another $6 off my monthly bill.

Man, I'm a cheap bastard.

Flinty

Tyrone Slothrop 04-03-2003 03:03 PM

Blackberries
 
Article from law.com about Dewey Ballantine & Blackberries:

BlackBerrys Bear Fruit for Dewey Ballantine

Eva Steiner
Law Technology News
04-03-2003

Dewey Ballantine's 600-plus lawyers represent clients throughout the world, so our attorneys are often on the road. With e-mail playing an ever-greater role in client-attorney communications, a few years ago we began researching ways to improve our lawyers' remote access to e-mail.

Dewey Ballantine is a general practice firm, with offices in New York; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Palo Alto, Calif.; Houston; Austin, Texas; London; Budapest; Prague; Frankfurt; Warsaw and Hong Kong.

Historically, our lawyers relied on laptop PCs and dial-up modems to retrieve e-mail messages and attachments. But mobile access via laptop was complicated because it involved many components: hardware, software, modem, telephone line, etc. Because the laptop connection wasn't wireless, it required a telephone connection, which could be problematic.

We first tried a two-way paging device, but the staff disliked the device because the screen and the keyboard were too small. We knew some firms were using Research in Motion's BlackBerry, but at the time, it worked only with Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange and we are a Lotus Notes shop. The BlackBerry for Notes device did become available through Motient as an e-link, but we eliminated that option because we were concerned that our messages would not be secure if they were residing on someone else's server.

THE BLACKBERRY PILOT PROGRAM

When RIM first began to offer its BlackBerry Enterprise Server software with Notes support we launched a pilot program with 10 lawyers. In April 2001, we purchased the BES software and 20 devices from Motient. We installed the BES software on a Compaq Proliant DL380G2 with 1 GB of RAM and opened the SMTP gateway port to ensure access to the firewall.

At the start, we had minor problems because the BES software was new and had some bugs. However, problems were quickly resolved with new service packs, and once installed, our environment became stable.

The response from the lawyers in the pilot program was positive, so in May 2001, we began to roll out the device to more users. Almost immediately, the lawyers began to request the ability to read and print e-mail attachments; something that the BlackBerry alone cannot do. We asked Motient and RIM to recommend e-mail attachment programs, and they referred us to Itrezzo, Astata Corp. and Onset Technology.

It turned out that Astata was going out of business, a fact that underscored the importance of working with a major company that was going to be around, financially stable and had a proven track record. Although we heard positive feedback about Itrezzo's product, we had questions about the company's financial health, and looked for a company that we were confident would develop and grow with us.

Overall, Onset Technology's METAmessage stood out. METAmessage for Wireless software helps users access and manage firm information. By expanding the capabilities of handheld devices, it decreases reliance on laptops and dial-up connections. Users can re-send attachments and other documents, as well as print them to any network printer or to a fax machine.

We checked out the product with some large New York firms who were using it and received feedback from users via LawNet listservs. The reports were strong.

INSTALLING AND INTEGRATING

But before we committed to a user pilot program for METAmessage, we tested it in our IT department and followed that test by establishing a few user accounts through Onset's ASP service. We liked the results so we decided to do a test pilot by putting METAmessage on a separate server and giving it to a few partners.

The lawyers were enthusiastic and reported that the software helped them read and print e-mail attachments in much the same way as they would from their desktops.

Dennis D'Alessandro, the firm's executive director, was an early adopter. "The ability to send an attachment to a fax machine and get a hard copy is invaluable when access to a PC or printer is not available," he observed.

We then purchased the METAmessage software, and Onset helped us install and integrate it into our network in just half a day. We installed the software on a Compaq DL380G2 with NT Version 4. The server has two 1.4GHz Pentium III processors and 1GB of RAM as well as three 36GB hard drives using RAID 5.

After Onset left, we began to integrate a fax line into the server, which caused a small roadblock because we weren't aware that the driver was not part of our Brooktrout fax card. It took us a few days of working intermittently to discover that we needed a specific driver from Onset. That resolved the issue immediately.

The next step was to add our users one by one. That required us to update each user's software (an upgrade done with a Picturetaker package and a customized .ini file for METAmessage) and put the METAmessage icon on the BlackBerry. Once that was accomplished, we visited each user for a few minutes to explain how to use the BlackBerry with METAmessage.

INTERNATIONAL SERVERS

The BlackBerry/METAmessage combination poses a logistical challenge when lawyers travel internationally. Because it resides on a single network, each user can only have one BlackBerry device active at any given time. Devices used in Europe, however, require a different configuration to accommodate the 3G wireless protocol.

We found that the easiest way to surmount this problem was to temporarily disable the BlackBerry device the lawyer uses in the United States and configure a separate BlackBerry for use in Europe.

This process also requires us to set up the user's profile on both the server that we run in the United States and the server in Europe (but they cannot be active simultaneously).

Just before the attorney arrives in Europe, we disable his or her local account in the United States and enable the one on the server in Europe, to insure proper receipt and delivery of messages. When the lawyer returns to the United States, we reverse the process. This is time-consuming because it is so individualized, but it's so important to our users that we invest the resources.

By the end of 2002, we had purchased about 300 BlackBerries and started using the system in our Hong Kong office. METAmessage has proven to be a quick-to-implement technology that works well with our existing messaging infrastructure across the globe.

We consider the project a success because the technology has facilitated better decision-making, improved communications, and helped with client relations.

THE FUTURE

Looking ahead this year, we're investigating the latest software offerings from Onset, especially the GetFile and GetData modules. GetFile helps users access case files and client data on our network. GetData helps users interact with document management systems by entering a query on their BlackBerry.

Eva Steiner is director of information technology for Dewey Ballantine and is based in New York.

doggie_doodie 04-04-2003 02:04 AM

I use t-mobile (f/k/a voicestream) and its pretty good, very few dropped calls. I am very pleased with it

A note, whatever plan you choose, if you travel by car you may want to check their coverage maps to make sure that have coverage between the cities you are driving to.

-dd

Mmmm, Burger (C.J.) 04-09-2003 09:45 AM

Number Portability
 
No surpises here: Cell phone cos. insist that competition is robust, so there's no need for number portability (i.e., taking your cell phone number with you when you change to another carrier).

Washington Post article

Mmmm, Burger (C.J.) 04-09-2003 06:05 PM

Murdoch buys DirecTV
 
Article

Hmmm . . . sure hope they don't get into spats about content.


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