Friday, May 22, 2009

More wireless commercials to be fair.

We received a number of submissions of funny commercials from people touting their wireless carriers, so to be fair we added these commercials for AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. So the wireless funny commercial competitition begins. Select your favorite.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Does it pay to buy a Netbook?

A netbook is a small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet. The netbook is designed for limited uses such as web browsing and e-mailing, netbooks rely heavily on the Internet and wifi for remote access to applications and are targeted increasingly at users who require a less powerful computer, most netbooks are priced in the $300 to $600 range at full retail.

In recent months, major wireless carriers are facing a slow down in wireless growth and are now subsizing inexpensive netbooks for for future growth. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are selling HP netbooks for as low as $199 with a two year wireless data contract at $40 per month or $59.99 per month. AT&T subscribers who sign up for a two year service agreement can purchase an Acer netbook for as little as $50, but they must agree to a $60 a month for 5 gigabytes of wireless service.

The carriers want to sell the netbooks the same way AT&T sells Apple's iPhone, by subsidizing the device and re-cooping the costs with contracts for wireless data plans. Business Week reported that AT&T announced that by midsummer it would broaden its own netbook experiment to all its stores nationwide, offering Dell, Acer, or Lenovo products. Using a subsized netbook and wireless plan averages $ 1,500 over the course of a two year agreement.

Verizon is selling the HP Mini 1151NR netbook equipped with the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1GB of RAM, an 80GB HDD, two USB 2.0 ports, 802.11b/g, SD slot, 10.1 inch screen and Windows XP and of course a 3G EVDO card. You should note that all netbooks miss a DVD drive and have limited storage, so for heavy users they miss the mark.

The average low end laptop typically costs between $ 350 and $ 499. We recently found a full featured Compaq Presario laptop CQ60Z on the website on sale for $ 399, the laptop came with 2.1GHz AMD Sempron SI-42, 1GB of RAM, 160 GB of HDD, 15.6 inch HD Display, 801.11/b/g, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, LAN port, external monitor port, SD/MS/PRO/MMC/XD slot, and Windows Vista Home Basic SP1 (32-bit).

The return on investment for a netbook would be based on how you plan on using the device. A road warrior who travels may consider a netbook, but can easily miss the features of a notebook. A light user who does not want to carry a large laptop would be the best candidate for a netbook. It is a matter of choice, yes. Is it practical, no.

With wifi now available at most hotels, airports, and shops it has become easier to connect to the web and Internet. Many broadband carriers, like Cablevision and Verizon will be offering wifi in thier coverage areas See More The expense for a carrier subsidized netbook becomes less of a value play and more of the cool device to have and an expensive proposition. Our opinion is stick with a laptop or notebook.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Sprint commercial featuring Palm Pre

I know everyone is asking, when is the launch date of the Palm Pre? I can only say its coming any day now. Someone just sent me a link to a funny Sprint commercial featuring a Palm Pre at the end of the commercial, so I would be safe to bet my money the smartphone is coming sooner than later.

Sprint is betting big money on the Palm Pre to take subscribers away from the AT&T and the iphone. The web has some significant positive press and reports, and based on what I see on the Palm website, this phone could potentially make a big impact.

We can only wait and see what happens with the launch of the Pre, but based on the Sprint stock's performance this quarter from a measly $ 2.50 a share on Feb 12th to $ 5.33 on May 12th, a 213% rise that most people are betting that this smartdevice could actually do the trick and kick off a comeback.

Take a look at the video, dust off your sleeping bag and prepare to wait on the line in front of the Sprint store.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Can the iPhone hurt AT&T?

The success of the iPhone has helped AT&T move to the top of the list for wireless carriers by selling millions of Apple's cool iPhone smartphone devices. The new revenue has added billions of dollars to AT&T's revenue and has helped the carrier rack millions in profit.

Can there be trouble selling so many I-Phones? The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that the I-Phone is putting a strain on the AT&T Wireless network. The iPhone itself is the most expensive device for AT&T, due to the rich revenue sharing contract with Apple. Add in the equipment subsidies on the initial purchase price and the tack on the cost to operate the data network for such a bandwidth intensive smartdevice, this all adds up to a questionable ROI for AT&T.

IPhone users download games, videos and other internet content at three to four times the rate of other PDA users, according to independent studies. A popular game Myst, uses 727 megabytes of data to download. Currently, AT&T charges IPhone subscribers the same data rate of $30 per month for mobile web access as all other customers, aside from restricting activities, like file sharing, AT&T does not restrict how much data can be downloaded using an iPhone, making the iphone a costly device to operate on its network.

As the number of I-Phone customers grows combined with the resulting growth in internet mobile web downloads (over 1 billion as of April 2009) will begin to cause extensive strain on AT&T's core data network. AT&T will have to expand its network and add capacity to support the data consumption of its iPhone users.

In the race to compete for subscribers, the question "is this subscriber profitable" has now been lost in the shuffle. How does AT&T re-coop investments made to support these customers? AT&T will be further pressured to compete with Verizon and Sprint as they all make large capital investments for 4G technologies and attempt to increase capacity tenfold. Who pays for this capacity? The current data pricing structure will have to increase in the near term to support its growth in data.

AT&T currently offers unlimited data plans to customers because most wireless users prefer a fixed cost model and many users would reconsider purchasing a phone in which they have to monitor their usage to avoid hefty charges. A price increase on unlimited data plans might also cause strain on churn, as there is heavy competition these days and smaller competitors like Sprint that have the Palm Pre as an alternative to the iphone and that can lure customers away.

Apple and AT&T are rumored to be nearing a contract expiration date and AT&T is reportably expected to reduce the cost of its contract by $10 each month to hang on to the exclusive agreement with Apple, so more bad news for AT&T. From this perspective, AT&T may have bitten off more than it could chew and only time will tell if the iphone helped or hurt AT&T.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Verizon to launch WiFi Hot Spot Router and Free WiFi Service

Verizon Wireless is ready to launch a Wi-Fi enabled hot spot device called the MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. The carrier, which used to advertise the benefits of its mobile data network over Wi-Fi, plans to start selling a Wi-Fi-enabled device that lets customers share Internet connectivity.

The device lets customers share Internet connectivity as long as one person is hooked up to the Verizon 3G network. The device acts as a personal Wi-Fi cloud, accommodating up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including notebooks, netbooks, cameras, gaming devices or portable media/MP3 players. The device is small enough to fit in a pocket, and it weighs just over 2 ounces, according to a Verizon spokeswoman. It includes integrated internal CDMA and Wi-Fi antennas, security and authentication. When one device is connected through Wi-Fi, the MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.
The MiFi 2200 will go on sale on May 17 for $99.99 after a $50 rebate and new two-year agreement. Price plans range from $40 a month to $60 a month. Customers also can get a day pass for $15 when the device is purchased at full retail price without a monthly service plan.
Verizon Communications Inc. is also planning to offer free Wi-Fi access at hotspots to subscribers to its home broadband services, according to informed sources. The company is in talks with Boingo, a startup that counts former EarthLink founder Sky Dayton as chairman, to deliver the access. Discussions are in the early stages, and Verizon is uncertain about particulars like whether users would have free access only in their regions or nationwide. The service may launch as soon as the summer, according to reports.

The move comes as more users are turning to mobile devices like cell phones and laptops to connect to the Internet. Some Verizon rivals, meanwhile, already provide subscribers to their home broadband services free access at wifi hot spots. AT&T Inc., the country’s second largest cell phone company, offers broadband subscribers free wifi access at hotspots. Cable operator Cablevision Systems Corp. rolled out a wifi network available for free to broadband subscribers in its Long Island, NY footprint last year.

Boingo’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots – which includes more than 100,000 locations around the world – will be available to both Verizon FiOS and DSL broadband subscribers. Boingo charges users $9.95 a month for access at North American hotspots, such as airports, cafes and restaurants. Verizon would likely offer Boingo service to its DSL and FiOS subscribers. Verizon and Boingo would not comment on the potential partnership.