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Category Archives: Mobile

Mobile and Home Internet plans/bundles in France and in the US

As I have been travelling quite a bit between the US and France over the past few months, I have been dealing with different mobile plans in each country.

Each provider offering similar services, I decided to compare the best mobile plan I would select in each country. After being done with that, I went to do the same exercise for Internet Service Providers for home – comparison between the best triple-play home bundles.

The bottom comparison is on total pricing. The difference is significant given a multiple factor of 3.5x to 4.0x in favor to France. For similar services, a gap so wide is significant. Media and Internet are becoming a strong influence on our 21st century society; we even start having a dependency to it. A good service definitely has a bigger budget impact on US families than on French ones.

TMO_Free

TWC_Free

These 2 comparisons are not intended to criticize T-Mobile or TimeWarner Cable to be in favor of french company Free (Iliad); I am simply laying down the details of the offers and comparing them.

4G Global Standard and the current 4G fragmentation!

I always understood that 2G and 3G were fragmented between GSM and CDMA Standards. Another thing that I had understood was that the new 4G was built to be a new common standard – see both Charts above.

However, when you look closer to it, it can be confusing given all the bands there are for 4G…

Check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks North America and European carriers have different 4G bands.

Ok fine, it seems making things complicated but if ONE phone can work on all these bands, be it.

HOWEVER again, checking the top smartphones of the moment: Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 1020, none seem able to work on all global bands.

http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/specs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S4#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_G2#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Lumia_1020#Model_variants

So basically, when we travel to another continent and we pay the roaming fees, we will only be able to access 3G while in our home markets we would have 4G? Makes no sense to me.

Alright, so as I imagined, Qualcomm has a “Global Radio Chip in the making”: http://gigaom.com/2013/02/21/qualcomms-new-radio-chip-gets-us-one-step-closer-to-a-global-4g-phone/. Fine. But this will only come to market next year I suppose…

The point to this:

1) why fragment the markets with so many bands?

2) why can’t we have more global communication standards in our new world becoming so global?

3) why while we have been drawn for more than 2 years under 4G ads for carriers or phone makers, only now or next year there will be a global radio chip?

[UPDATE] November 10, 2013

A few days ago, I bought a Google Nexus 5 Smartphone. As for the iPhone 5S and for the explanation above, the Nexus 5 will have different models, 2 actually: 1) North America and 2) Europe / Rest of the World:

http://www.google.com/nexus/5/

NETWORKS
2G/3G/4G LTE

North America:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Rest of World:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
Still no news of the Qualcomm Global LTE radio chip.

Since this blog post and today’s update regarding the Nexus 5, I have discover this great presentation from Qualcomm on the Global LTE Segmentation, unfortunately a bit dated from 2012:
www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/4g-world-2012-global-multimode-carrier-aggregation.pdf

Switch from iOs to Android, big commitment issue?

It has been 25 months since I switched from an HTC Kaiser on Windows Mobile 6.5 to an iPhone 3GS. At the time I was not sure about the ‘all touch screen’ keyboard and the fact that iOS is close not allowing to install what ever I would find useful.
1 week after I never looked back. 

I started to like my new iPhone 3GS pretty quickly. It is a great phone, lighter than the Kaiser, thin and easy to hold, wide touch screen, smooth UI, etc…
I did not jump on the iPhone 4 last year as I had a 24 months contract and as I thought about taking the Android path as I am a big user of all Google services: gmail for personal emails, gmail for the email account linked to this blog, shared calendars with friends, Docs, gMaps, Translate, Google Voice while I was in the US (hopefully coming soon to Europe), Local. I am looking forward to having Navigation as well (why paying for TomTom when Google does it for free?). 

Last year, neither the Nexus S or Galaxy S made me switch. I always saw the iPhone 4 better than those 2. 

Now there is a whole new game: iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II / Google Nexus Prime. 

In my view the S II is above the 4S (it would need an entire post to explain why), while the Nexus Prime will be a beast putting the bar even higher (if GSM Arena leaks are true). I am just waiting for the 19th of October to be convinced. Google I know you can do it. 

Having said all this, this morning I kind of thought about Android: what if it feels too different from my easy to use iOS 4.2, what if even being ‘more open’ it takes me longer to get what I need done, what if I get confused with all these widget panels that are supposed to summarize the data I need from the Apps.
Then I thought about purchase decisions of the various smartphones: iOS vs. Android is like MACs vs. PCs or like… well that’s the point, nothing else. 

For most consumers thinking about switching from PCs to MACs, it has always been a problem of being used to PCs at home and at work. Switching to the Apple side is a drastic change.
Here I am now, facing the dilemma of switching from iOS to Android, fearing to be too used and dependent on iOS.
I thought about other consumption habits which would prevent to switch from one ‘platform’ to another. I don’t see any:

  • Cars: any car in any country is the same, your own habits don’t have to change. Automatic or Manual. You buy a new car or rent one, it is easy to manoeuvre, blinkers on the left, radio in the centre, etc… And it is not a question of brands despite strong oppositions: being used to a Mercedes, you’ll ride a BMW very easily. Same things with bikes, motorcycles, boats (motor or sails), etc…
  • Home Telephones: 12 keys, plus 1 red and 1 green. That’s all you need, in any country.
  • Radio / TV: looking for a radio station or a TV channel is pretty much the same from one equipment to another. Up and Down or 9 keys on the remote.
  • Lift, bus, taxi, subway: your own habits from France are going to be the same in Los Angeles or Berlin.
  • Kitchen: microwaves are the same everywhere, fridges as well, and ovens sort of the same.
  • Laundry: a washing machine, despite some being over sophisticated, are the same, fill in, powder/gel, program, on, 45 minutes, done.

 

I am pushing it strongly on some points on purpose. If you have a Sony Bravia TV and then want to switch to a Pioneer, or a Samsung washing machine to a Whirlpool, it is just a question of new specs, not habits. 

But when it comes to computers or smartphones, all of us are now divided in 2 groups. Switching from one side to the other means thinking about it soundly and changing a lots of things:

  • Interface habits such as shortcuts, layout, etc…
  • Re-buying softwares & apps
  • Change equipment and accessories

 

I might certainly get the Nexus Prime to try Android out as I always wanted. I will make my own judgments and then if I don’t like it, I’ll get an iPhone 5, which should be a major game changer given Apple’s usual product cycles.