International Cell Phone Network (cell min vs. unit)

It is 2009, and time to fix the problem of cell phone companies. It most likely needs no explanation, since everyone, and I mean everyone has been screwed by their cell phone company at least once, but more than likely multiple times. I’m not just talking about them doing something unfavorable directly, but indirectly as well. I will be more focused on indirectly here, but feel free to vent your direct instances in the comments below. 🙂 What do I mean by indirectly? How is that possible? Well, look at your bill, pretty high isn’t it? Doesn’t really seem to be a fair price does it, for what you are getting. I am kind of getting off on a tangent from what the overall point of this post is, but it ties into what I am going to expressing soon, I swear!

So as far as the “fairness” of bills go, I want to pick on a couple of sections in particular. Minutes, Data, ETF, and Text messages.

Ok, now lets get into it. It is now 2009, and cell phones are now the defacto standard for communication for a lot of people. More and more people are dropping land lines in favor of cell phones, for many reasons: cost, ease of use, and convenience. This is great except when you look at what you are getting for the price you are paying. It seems to me that every part of the cell phone market is advancing except the business model of the “providers”. (Well battery technology isn’t keeping up either, but we can talk about that another time.) I don’t think that you can argue that cell phone providers aren’t working together to keep profits at a maximum, with little care given to the consumer. Arguments can be made that the minutes are “fair” but when it comes to data (which as a user group has exploded in recent years) we are getting ripped off big time! Generally as much as $60 a month. Along with this $60/month, we used to get truly unlimited data, not bad right? Well now that we as consumers are actually using the data, there is now a cap of 5GB in most if not all cases, so they can tack on some of their outrageous overage fees on us, just like with minutes.

Lets also not forget the, what should be illegal, act of charging you a fee to stop doing business with their company!? Sure sounds like extortion to me! Ever heard of a protection racket? Exactly. You have to pay off a lot of people (lobby much?) to have the ability to charge customers a fee for wanting to leave your terrible company. The worst part about it, is that they all do it, and they are all for the most part, equally terrible. What makes it worse is that they seem to all be in communication with each other and appear to be price fixing, simply because they can. One company charges X for a service, the next week, the other company changes the same. Where is the competition? What happened to earning customers’ loyalty through great service, instead of an extortion fee?

Finally, and the reason behind this writing, we as people are becoming more international, we are finding the need to have our phone work wherever we are at any given moment in time. Between the grossly expensive “international plans” and poor interoperability between carriers, this is no easy task. I am proposing we change from the old model of minutes to a newer model that is more aligned with our global society: units. For this example I will say that my Home Zone is the United States. The system works like this:

You will have a designated “Home Zone” which is the country where you will be primarily using your phone. You will purchase a plan from your carrier, but instead of getting lets say 1000 minutes per month, you receive 1000 units. Now with that said, when you make a call in your Home Zone, you will be assessed 1 Unit for every minute of talk time. Fairly straight forward so far right? Here is where the magic happens. Keep in mind your Home Zone is the United States, now you want to go to London. Normally you would have to either pay outrageously expensive roaming charges OR with this new way of doing business you simply pay (in units) the rate (in units) for that country, or Zone. So for instance lets say there is an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom that when users come from the US to the UK, they will be assessed 1.5 Units/Min. Now, without any pain to the customer, all the customer has to do is travel to their destination, turn their phone on and make a call. Units will be deducted from their balance.

Worldwide, carriers already have agreements in place for roaming, so why not simplify the process for everyone? Now I know this would mean the poor phone companies, who are living in the past, would not be raping the profits that they are now, which is why this idea will never come to fruition. But just think of the possibilities of a truly worldwide cell phone network, the possibilities are endless.

I would love to hear any additions or comments you have about this idea. Throw them down below in the comments section.

Thanks everyone, enjoy your txt messages that are $1000’s/MB. 🙂

zBoost Dual Band YX510 PCS/CEL

Recently my girlfriend and I moved to a new house. Everything in the new house is perfect, except for 1 thing that is a huge pain in the ass. We get very little to no cell phone reception in the house 😦 Currently I have AT&T and she has T-mobile, both of which get the same weak signal. We refuse to have a “home phone” because they are completely pointless. Soon we will both be switching to the new iPhone 3G. Somehow we need to get signal into the house. The data connection isn’t as big of a deal because in the house we will have WiFi, but the voice is where the problem lies. After doing some research I came across what seems to be the only product in its category, the zBoost Dual Band YX510 PCS/CEL. Quite a name. This product is sold as a “signal booster.” Idea being you put the big antenna outside where there is signal, and put the receiver inside where it can pass the signal along to your cell phone. It comes in several models, the reason I chose this one is because it covers both the 800MHz and 1900MHz GSM frequencies that AT&T uses.Install:
The install went pretty smooth. In the box you get the following: (1) Receiver with antenna, (1) outdoor antenna, (1) power plug, (1) 30 ft piece of coax cable. We mounted the receiver in the living room (center of the house) and ran the coax along the baseboard and out the back door to the porch. We picked up (4) 2’ pieces of ¾" pipe and (3) ¾" joints. The antenna cable is run through the 8’ of pipe and mounted to the top of the pipe with the antenna. The base of the pipe is affixed to an umbrella stand, but can be attached to anything that will hold it up.

Everyday Use:
So, the first couple days it seemed to work pretty well. Before the zBoost, we had between 0 and 2 bars on our phones. After the install we were initially getting around 3 to 5 bars. All seemed to be well, but around day 3, all signal boosting seems to have faded away. I have moved the antenna to just about every possible location it would fit, but signal is still lacking. Unfortunately it looks like it may not be the miracle we were looking for.

Final Verdict:

I believe that the product does indeed work as advertised, but you have to remember that it doesn’t create signal, it merely take the existing signal you do have outside and passes that through to the inside of your house. In our case, I think the signal outside just isn’t strong enough. This of course means we are somewhat screwed in a day and age where your cell phone is your main form of communication. I refuse to get a “home phone” so I will be investigating some alternative ideas.


Link to Amazon product page: zBoost Dual Band YX510 PCS/CEL


Blackberry Pearl (8100) [red]

haha, what do you know, I am using a blackberry again! Who would of though 🙂 The reason for this switch on my business phone is the fact that the phone I was using before (Nokia N75) didn’t sync directly with entourage, it did it by synching entourage with iCal then syncing to the phone. This worked ok going from mac to phone, but the other way around it sucked. So with the addition of the new Pocketmac 4.0.20b that actually works with the new Blackberry 4.2 OS, i am back to blackberry for work….for now…..+The call quality on this phone is really good.+ The size of the phone is good also.

– I still completely hate the pearl keyboard, full keyboard is really the way to go.

Not sure about battery life yet……


Nokia N75

I received my Nokia N75 in the mail today, which takes over the role of the Blackberry 8700c in the phone testing slot. Review will be filled as soon as I get a chance to us it in real life. So far I am liking it a lot, of course it has its problems right out of the gate, but we can get into that later.So I am done with the phone, and overall it was a decent phone, good call quality, my one problem was no direct sync with Entourage on the mac. So off it goes. By the way. it’s on ebay right now 😉

Nokia 8800

so I tried out the Nokia 8800 for a week or so and overall it was at best, ok. The phone is very flashy with its shiny stainless steel case and sliding screen, but past that there was little too be excited about. The functionality of it past making calls was close to none. The buttons on the phone are far too small for texting as well. One other thing is the phones weight, it’s quite heavy due to the steel case. At first i liked that it had some weight to it, but towards the end of the week it was annoying that it felt heavier than my iPhone yet had nowhere near the functionality of the iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter) does. As a cool looking phone it’s pretty good, but as a phone I would want to use day in and day out, I think not. I will stick with smartphones.[rating:2]