Our Own Take on Things
Now we'd like to present some myths of our own, for your consideration. Myth 1: Anyone under 30 gives a damn about minutes. Fact: SMS rul3z, voice dr00lz!
Or at least that's what Morgan Stanley's research department says. [PDF download
] It might be a bit biased considering the author of this particular report is 15 though. As usual, the USA lags behind in adoption of new trends, but we believe the massive advantages SMS based communication provides make its dominance over voice inevitable.
Consider: SMS does not require real-time attention, it can be deferred until the end of the current task or longer if necessary, reducing workflow interruption. It does not require the phone to be held while receiving information, or headphones or a headset to be worn at all, freeing up a hand in some cases and the sense of hearing in all cases.
Multiple non-unified (i.e. not a conference call or group chat) conversations can be multithreaded by the user seamlessly to individual participants, allowing for multiple simultaneous conversations that take advantage of the half duplex nature of the interaction to fill pauses with other conversation threads, similar to Intel's Hyper-Threading. It's also more reliable in poor network conditions and uses less bandwidth. Finally, it is easier to keep a record or history than voice, reducing errors. Myth 2: ASCII in an SMS is 61 million times more valuable than ASCII in an email. Fact: Electrons are Identical Particles
- They are all the same
, whether they describe an SMS, email, image, sound, or 3D object. Just because you place a 160 character limit on the message length doesn't make it more valuable. Supply and demand don't quite work with character counts. But the charges for the services disagree
International calls over Skype or other VOIP services versus international cellphone call rates are another example. One which was covered in the 2003 OECD report
Mr. McAdam mentioned earlier. Myth 3: "Unlimited" means 5GB and only programs we like. Fact: un⋅lim⋅it⋅ed –adjective 1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade. 2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies. 3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.
Anyone who thinks 4G is going to bring HD video and rainbows and unicorns over every cellphone hasn't looked at data prices lately. For example, all four national US providers offer "unlimited" and by that we mean "5GB and no tethering with USB or Bluetooth to get data to your laptop" for about $60/month. If you need more, will they sell you another 5GB for $60? Nope, prices vary a bit, from $50/GB on Verizon Wireless
to $200/GB on T-Mobile
, to $490/GB on AT&T network
, and the crown of "Champion of Data Plan rip-off" goes to Sprint for its "Simply" $1000/GB
If you really think the US is leading the charge in mobile broadband, we recommend the OECD report [PDF download link] "MOBILE BROADBAND: PRICING AND SERVICES"
dated June 30, 2009. Unfortunately it too is a bit dated, since the data was collected in October of 2008, and since then all the "unlimited" data offerings in the USA have redefined the word unlimited as 5GB and not a byte more! Myth 4: Data coming through the phone via a cable or Wi-Fi signal costs more. Fact: Only if the phone has been crippled by your service provider.
If you actually want that data on a computer via your phone, Verizon adds another $30
, AT&T will give it to you in most of their 5GB plans unless you have an iPhone, in which case you're stuck. But they may have mercy on us in September and charge us a "mere" $55 [over the cost of data] for the privilege of teethering
. T-Mobile USA doesn't seem to like tethering, at all. In fact they had Google take the application to fix that down
. Sprint seems to charge about $15/month to tether, unless you're not a crackberry junkie and have got something like that fancy Palm Pre or you use the $99/month "Simply Everything" plan. In which case tethering adds another $50
. Which is simply not everything, is it?
And tethering doesn't mean with a wire, Bluetooth can be used too. That is if your phone hasn't been castrated to stop you from doing things like putting your mp3s on for free
instead of buying them at ridiculous rates from your phone company, or getting your photos off the phone and onto your computer.
USA is "the land of the free". But if we would ask telecom operators about that one, they would probably put an asterisk to it and add numerous disclaimers about "free" not exactly being free, but rather shorten your lifespan, abilities to compete on markets etc. Or just tell you that USA is "land of the free", but only if you pay an additional $50/month.
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