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Verizon's new brochure, includes 4 different "Myths about the iPhone" in which it blasts the iPhones pricing and service quality.  (Source: Verizon via Engadget)

A Swedish newspaper's tech staff submitted their iPhone to meticulous testing, and the iPhone was revealed to have sufficient hardware quality, falling just short of its Nokia competitor.  (Source: EVA WIESELGREN/ Göteborgs-Posten)
Verizon's attacking Apple's hot seller, but are its claims justified?

The iPhone is a hot seller and fashionable buy.  When the original version debuted last year, it received critical acclaim for its style and functionality, even earning TIME magazine's invention of the year award.  This year the iPhone launched its second incarnation, this time bringing 3G to the table.  While sales have been strong as ever, there have been a growing number of complaints.

Some of the complaints cited case defects, but the majority took issue with poor call quality and reception that many users were receiving.  Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to sources at Apple, dismissed the complaints saying only about 2 percent of users, or about 60,000 people, were affected.  Apple silently rolled out a fix, which it hopes to remedy some of the 3G problems.

Verizon has caught onto some of the virulence towards the iPhone and is using it in an upcoming campaign against the phone.  Internal brochures were leaked which blast the iPhone on its 3G abilities and on a variety of issues.

According to Verizon, the problem isn't the phone or chipset, but rather the network.  They say that AT&T, who carries the iPhone in the U.S., has poor 3G coverage, with only 40 to 50 percent of people in the U.S. living in covered areas.  They say their own high-speed EVDO Rev A network covers more than 80 percent of Americans.  They claim to have derived these metrics from the coverage charts available on both companies website.

The attack doesn't end there.  Verizon points out that while the iPhone's hardware price is $200 less than before; the service price is $240 higher, leaving the customer paying $40 more.  This criticism is indeed entirely accurate, though some customers would argue the inclusion of 3G and other features warrants the increase.

Verizon also attacks the fact the iPhone only offers PIX with email, that the iPhone can't download music over 3G, and that its GPS does not feature audible turn-by-turn directions.  While these are rather objective "wish-list" sort of criticisms, it does raise another valid point when it indicates that unlimited texting has been dropped from the now higher priced service plan.  In order to get unlimited texting, iPhone customers must pay an addition $20 a month, bringing the total service plan for data-only to $50 a month.

Amidst the Verizon attacks, interesting news came in about the iPhone 3G's signal quality.  The report, from Göteborgs-Posten, a Swedish newspaper, says that their independent testing has shown the iPhone's signal quality to be just slightly lower than a competitive offering, but not grossly below it in quality. 

The newspaper tested the iPhone and the Sony Ericsson P1.  They used a special noise free test chamber in which the mobile communicates with a simulated base station.  The test chamber was manufactured by Swedish company Bluetest, which provides services to Motorola, Nokia, and others.  They found, after testing, that the iPhone was only about 2 dB less sensitive than the Nokia smart phone. 

Magnus Franzén, an antenna engineer with an M.Sc. in Engineering Physics states, "The values are completely normal."

Bluetest's CEO Mats Andersson, added, "It is not much. At a difference of 4-6 dB one might start to wonder if there is anything wrong."

The testing is extremely expensive, but Bluetest is working with the newspaper to provide more tests.  The GP encourages readers to send in their problematic iPhones, to test if perhaps the problems, while not across the board, are modeled to certain batches of hardware.  The jury is still out on problems of this nature.

While the testing somewhat vindicates the iPhone's 3G abilities, it does little to dispel Verizon's claims.  Verizon's attacks only target Apple's hardware's signal quality second hand, by saying it made the mistake of choosing a poor carrier for its service, and thus is unable to provide good call quality.  AT&T has thus far had no comment and has not yet clearly contradicted or denied these claims.



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Pretty funny actually
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Pretty funny actually
By solgae1784 on 8/26/2008 1:50:20 PM , Rating: 5
While it was my dearest wish for iPhone to end up with Verizon, it's very unlikely that it is going to happen. iPhone needs to be in various countries, not just US. How many countries use the same CDMA network as Verizon here in US?

Software is another problem. Verizon requires phones to use their own propriety software so they can slap in and try to make customers pay for their services, like VZ Navigator or V CAST music/videos. Apple has their own software that does GPS, music, and videos. Apple would probably never give in to Verizon's propriety software into their phone, nor would Verizon like to have phone manufacturers to provide their own services.

While I think Verizon has the superior network over any carrier in the US, their software practices and equipment unfortunately, are not.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By Solandri on 8/26/2008 2:48:48 PM , Rating: 4
CDMA (the technology, not the network) is what AT&T and GSM uses for their 3G network. GSM uses TDMA for voice. TDMA users use all their allocated bandwidth regardless of whether they're transmitting speech or silence, which is OK for a low-bandwidth application like voice. CDMA users only use bandwidth if they're actually transmitting info. So CDMA just crushes TDMA for data applications. GSM had to graft on a CDMA-technology based network in order to provide 3G speeds - their 3G phones currently have to have hardware which supports both TDMA (voice) and CDMA (data). The successor to GSM is supposed to be all-CDMA.

So technology-wise, CDMA is the clear winner. It's just that the GSM folks couldn't stomach admitting the CDMA networks in the U.S. were right about its superiority, so they went and made their own CDMA standard calling it UMTS. (To be fair, UMTS uses wideband CDMA to eek out more performance over the regular CDMA used in the U.S. And I think using a SIM card makes a helluva lot more sense than the vendor lock-in practiced by Verizon and Sprint. So I applaud the GSM folks for maintaining the SIM card concept.)


RE: Pretty funny actually
By TechXYZ on 8/26/2008 3:12:19 PM , Rating: 3
I remember reading somewhere that the main reason for GSM growth over CDMA, especially in third world countries. Has nothing to do with the technology per say but, the huge royalties paid to Qualcomm for use of CDMA.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By Solandri on 8/26/2008 4:27:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that's a big problem too. I dunno how Qualcomm got those patents, considering the military has been code-division multiplexing transmissions since WWII.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By sprockkets on 8/26/2008 9:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
Has something to do with making it work for cell phones :)

When Qualcomm first introduced it, most thought it was going to be too expensive, or quite simply impossible to make.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By TechXYZ on 8/27/2008 11:27:14 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think I remember it had something do do with size and production. The military could not shrink it, so they contracted it out to some contractors. Qualcomm was the only one able to shrink it to fit in a headset. If my memory is good, could be confusing some of it.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By Chaser on 8/27/2008 7:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think I've seen better flawed conclusions since my college philosophy class.

Is there a source that shows that "the tecnological winner" results in a verifiably better user experience comparing cellular voice and data?

GSM is an international standard and U.S. GSM phones can work in places like the Carribean and Europe whereas the technologically superior CDMA Verizon/Sprint becomes a paperweight once it leaves the U.S. I guess I'll stick with the inferior system.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 3:09:31 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon I believe has plans to support Android phones.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By UNCjigga on 8/26/2008 6:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
Not true--Verizon hasn't officially taken any position either way on Android. However, they have joined the LinMo foundation. Currently LinMo is found on feature phones, but the next OS should offer more smartphone-type functionality to compete with Android, RIM, Apple, Symbian, Windows etc.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By Omega215D on 8/26/2008 4:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
My Motorola Z6c has both US CDMA bands and overseas GSM bands on the chipset. If it truly needs to be international for business use they should get chipsets that can do both technologies.

Another thing is that LG and Samsung aren't tightly locked down to Verizon's interface and can be gotten rid of easily. Motorola on the other hand is pretty much Verizon's b**ch but the new Moto phones seem to be following the LG route but who knows. I also have the LG Voyager and Samsung Flipshot which I was able to transfer my media without any hassle.

Lastly phones made by other manufacturers for ATT and T-Mobile also put their own services into the phones so if you want ringtones, navigation etc you have to go through the phone company as with someone I know who has the Nokia N95 not all the features were available since it was an unlocked phone running on T-Mobile. Only Apple is the one that is different probably due to the contract.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 4:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
I use a data cable and software to put my own ringtones on my LG enV.


RE: Pretty funny actually
By AlexWade on 8/26/08, Rating: -1
Can't deny...
By atwood7fan on 8/26/2008 1:36:02 PM , Rating: 2
The AT&T service is what is keeping me from getting an iPhone. Where I live at least, AT&T has terrible coverage and constantly drops calls while I never have said problems with my Verizon phone.

Maybe someday Apple will see the light...




RE: Can't deny...
By KnightCG on 8/26/2008 1:52:16 PM , Rating: 3
I recently got the iPhone in spite of AT&T, but I can wholeheartedly confirm that AT&T's service blows. Dropped calls, interference, etc. that were never a problem w/ Verizon. The iPhone is definitely a sweet toy, but whether or not it's worth the hassle remains to be seen.


RE: Can't deny...
By Spivonious on 8/26/2008 2:11:40 PM , Rating: 3
It's just the opposite here. It just shows how much connection quality is dependent on location.


RE: Can't deny...
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 3:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
Same. I'd have considered an iPhone on Verizon.

To speak about Verizon's service, a coworker today showed me his new Voyager. He has the TV service on it(via EVDO) and I have to say, I was freakin impressed. The video was clear and unbroken in reception. The audio was great. I seriously might sign up for the service myself. I've got an enV that I think is capable of the TV service. And I get a 20% discount on Verizon through work that's currently saving me $10 a month.


RE: Can't deny...
By Myrandex on 8/26/2008 3:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
I love my AT&T service on my HTC Kaiser / AT&T Tilt. The 3G service is pretty fast too and I get great 3G coverage as well. My call quality goes up in a 3G area as well. And I can download Apps & S/w to my phone. And hell I can just say that I can do everything on that Vzn chart plus more. Nothing is locked down and my phone is worldwide compatible, plus it uses a sim chip compared to stupid Vzn, Sprint, and other CDMA phones. Great reception, good battery life, great performance (with my phone tweaked out to the max), is what I want and what I have with AT&T.
Jason


To be fair..
By sgw2n5 on 8/26/2008 1:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
It really depends on where you live. I've had cingular/ATT for years and have never once had a dropped call and the clarity is superb. I'd imagine that the same is true for their 3G service.

I wouldn't mind having and iphone, but i'm not going to spend $1800 per year on a freakin phone, even though i can afford it. I've got much better things (computer upgrades) to spend that kind of cash on per year.

Whatever flops your mop I suppose...




RE: To be fair..
By chick0n on 8/26/2008 1:51:09 PM , Rating: 1
rofl ?

I dont know where you live, you probably live right next to the cell tower or something.

but if they (AT&T) cant do New York City right (where I live and I HAVE AT&T, which I regret for almost a year, damn contract), I doubt they work anywhere else.

Another thing is that, again, iPhone is nothing but a piece of overpriced garbage. period.

For the first time, Verizon's claim is actually true.


RE: To be fair..
By ArcticNight on 8/26/2008 2:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have had the same experience as the original poster... I too find AT&T coverage to be excellent. I live in upstate NY and travel from Albany to Buffalo regularly. My service with AT&T has never let me down and signal strength is always excellent, even in the hill-towns.

Furthermore, when even at one or two bars, call quality is exceptional as compared to VZW.

It may be the case that coverage in the rest of the country stinks when it comes to AT&T, I don't know, but as for me, I have no complaints about AT&T coverage where I am and where I travel.


RE: To be fair..
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 3:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
I've had my LG enV only showing 1 bar of EVDO coverage (none of standard service) and not had the call drop or suffered any problem with reception. As long as I can make the call, I keep the call.


RE: To be fair..
By Chaser on 8/27/2008 7:52:09 AM , Rating: 2
Spoken like a true and experienced Iphone owner.


RE: To be fair..
By amdwilliam1985 on 8/26/2008 2:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agreed with you on the cost of iphone. There is no way I'm paying that much for a phone(phone + service). I too would rather put that money into computer upgrades.


By siderst on 8/26/2008 2:09:26 PM , Rating: 3
So if the iPhone antenna is 2 decibels worse wouldn't that mean its 66% worse? I'm by no means an expert but a 2 db loss in antenna performance is significant.




By nafhan on 8/26/2008 2:25:06 PM , Rating: 1
actually, it's a little more confusing than that :)

1 Bel would be 10 times more, 2 Bel 20. 3 dB just about doubles the power level. As quite often happens, Wikipedia has a handy chart:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel#Reckoning


By nafhan on 8/26/2008 2:26:22 PM , Rating: 1
ack, 2 Bel would be 100 times... logarithmic scales are confusing.


By Shadowself on 8/26/2008 2:47:46 PM , Rating: 3
Can't anyone get this right?

2 dB less is

10^(-2/10)

or a factor of

0.6309573

Thus if your signal strength is normally a "100" then at 2 dB less your signal strength is "63.09573".

If your signal is 2 dB more it is

10^(2/10) or a factor of

1.58489

Thus if your signal strength is normally a "100" then at 2 dB more your signal strength is "158.489".

The term dB is almost always used as a "power" term. It almost never is used as voltage, field strength or anything else.


By Spivonious on 8/26/2008 4:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, that explains the "deci" part of it.

I was close though ;)


Verizon VS AT&T
By ArcticNight on 8/26/2008 2:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
I for one am glad to see AT&T get the exclusive on the iPhone. It is my opinion that the AT&T service where I live is as good as, if not better than, VZW. In no way does this mean that it is true everywhere, but it has been my experience.

I have never liked the business practices of VZW. It is one of the main reasons I chose AT&T as a carrier. VZW seems to nickle and dime their customers on every option and for those they can't control, they simply neuter from the phone.

Another big reason to choose AT&T, for me, was the rollover minutes option. VZW plans are comparable, in cost to AT&T, but with rollover minutes, I never really concern myself with going over my minutes limit in an given month, therefore, overall cost is simply lower when it comes to service.

As for the iPhone, I have had both models and although they are excellent reliable, devices, I prefer the BlackBerry for it's functionality over the iPhone. I am currently biding my time with the iPhone, waiting for the BlackBerry Bold to arrive at AT&T.

Say what you will about the service at VZW or AT&T but it really does depend on where you live and what you want out of your phone service.




RE: Verizon VS AT&T
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 3:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have a contract that costs less and that gives me the minutes I actually use so I don't build up hundreds or thousands of rollover minutes that expire after a year.

I've got the lowest Verizon plan out there and have yet to go over. Honestly I wish Verizon offered an even cheaper plan with less minutes. Nearly all my calls are in-network or on the weekends as my whole family and nearly all my friends have Verizon.


RE: Verizon VS AT&T
By vapore0n on 8/26/2008 3:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
... like asking cable companies to charge for the channels you watch or need. That's witchcraft right there.


RE: Verizon VS AT&T
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 4:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I know....would be nice though right?


RE: Verizon VS AT&T
By Chaser on 8/27/2008 7:57:41 AM , Rating: 2
And I'd rather have the option to keep any of my unused montlhy minutes that I occasionally -and I am sure any user my- accumulate. But with AT&T it's my choice rather than other services that take and erase any remaining minutes each month.


Sour Grapes
By psychobriggsy on 8/26/2008 2:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Verizon points out that while the iPhone's hardware price is $200 less than before; the service price is $240 higher, leaving the customer paying $40 more.


Also it's a year later, so don't forget to add on inflation!

Not that I could ever justify spending so much on a mobile phone, my usage simply isn't a suitable match. Would I actually use the iPhone to surf the web? No, not really. However I do text and (in the US, not the UK) the lack of texts in the basic plan is a deal breaker, and it would make most Europeans incredulous.

Still, if I had to choose a high-end fancy phone, it would be the iPhone. Windows Mobile would drive me mad (a previous job involved a lot of Windows Mobile 2005 work), and Symbian would be via Nokia's slow-ass S60 platform on their dodgy unreliable phones.




RE: Sour Grapes
By robinthakur on 8/27/2008 5:01:44 AM , Rating: 2
LOL I hear you on the windows mobile. I only owned one WIMO phone and would never consider owning another in this lifetime. Fiddly, bulky, poorly designed and not very good as phones. Ironically, given the nature of this topic, with my old HTC TYTN I virtually never turned on the 3G the whole life of the contract as making phone calls with it switched on was an exercise in absolute pain. It would drop virtually every call, and that's not an exaggeration. In the same location, my iPhone works perfectly on 3G, though on a different network (02 now v Vodafone before). The iPhone is a fairly cheap option for me amongst the other decent phones like the N96, Samsung Tocco etc, as i'd pay the same in tarrif charges anyway.

The texting policy of AT&T in the US would indeed make most europeans incredulous who use the service a whole lot more. In the UK on O2 you get alot more texts as standard for iPhone, though I can't speak for the rest of Europe's carriers.


By obeseotron on 8/27/2008 9:30:52 AM , Rating: 3
I can tell you that in my little backwater town (New York City) AT&T's service is absolutely awful. I drop calls outside of work all the time, and that's about half a block from Times f'n Square. If you're in a car or an above ground subway in the boroughs, Safari is basically unusable, you have to find a spot with good reception and not move for the 2 minutes or so it takes a site to load on EDGE. My friends with the 3G usually leave it off because they can't reliably make or receive phone calls with it enabled. And forget about maintaining a call in an elevator (CDMA phones have no problem with this).

As much as AT&T sucks, Apple has really dropped the QA ball. Firmware 2.0 was fine, but these "bug fixes" have basically broken my phone. First 2.01 caused all my apps to uninstall because of some DRM problem (yay for DRM on FREE apps) and now with 2.02, apps won't launch at all. Many of the iPhone users I work with have the same issue on both 2.5G and 3G phones. MobileMe is even worse.




Umm typo?
By voodooboy on 8/26/2008 5:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The newspaper tested the iPhone and the Sony Ericsson P1 . They used a special noise free test chamber in which the mobile communicates with a simulated base station. The test chamber was manufactured by Swedish company Bluetest, which provides services to Motorola, Nokia, and others. They found, after testing, that the iPhone was only about 2 dB less sensitive than the Nokia smart phone .


So ummm, Nokia makes the Sony Ericsson P1 now? :D




Is this the best you can do Verizon
By Chaser on 8/27/2008 8:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
Love or hate the Iphone its sales numbers are a huge success that makes Verizon, Sprint and Tmobile mouth's water. So far the so called "Iphone Killers" have flopped. Verizon's own Dare is a pathetic joke. So since Verizon and its partner's can't develop a reasonably competing product they resort to this inaccurate smear campaign instead. WTG Verizon!




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