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Recent News (from the "no wonder" smart phones are last on consumers' minds)

Survey finds cell phone frustrations By Reuters January 6, 2003, 8:40 PM PT U.S. cell phone users are frustrated by a host of service problems, including poor call quality, billing errors and difficulties placing calls to emergency services, a survey by Consumer Reports found. The influential magazine, published by not-for-profit group Consumers Union, said Monday that one-third of about 22,000 consumers it surveyed said they were considering changing their mobile provider, mainly because of service complaints. "The cell phone industry is great on gee-whiz gadgets and gizmos, but it's failing on the nuts and bolts of basic service that consumers need and depend on," Consumer Union Chief Executive James Guest said in a conference call Monday. Service shortfalls include the ability to successfully make a call without dead zones, busy signals or getting calls dropped, and the ability to reliably connect to 911 in an emergency

Wireless musings

We founded AirEight based on the following assumptions:

  1. Carriers will not dramatically improve the US wireless infrastructure over the next 12-18 months. A variety of reasons exist for this, including the restricted availability of capital to build out infrastructure. Despite the rollout of 2.5G and 3G technologies, for the foreseeable future, wireless applications must be designed for a low-bandwidth, high-latency, intermittently connected wireless environment. Developers who assume otherwise will fail.
  2. Corporations donít easily change habits (i.e., their business processes). A product or service that requires a corporation to change a habit requires a phenomenal reason for it to do so. Ultimately, such sea change products and services can be the most lucrative of all, but they are also the most difficult and expensive to execute.
  3. Consumers will rapidly adopt new devices offered by the carriers, both because they are itnerested in the new features and carriers will rapidly make previous handsets obsolete.

This recent bit of news has me concerned, but I believe our assumptions will prove true within the next six months.

Mobile Users Delay Handset Upgrades By Kristy Bassuener October 24, 2002 news@2 direct

Despite price declines for many wireless handsets, U.S. consumers are waiting to buy their next phone, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates. The firm found in its 2002 U.S. Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Study that the average subscriber owns a phone model for 18 months, compared with 16 months of use two years ago. The average price this year is about $75, compared with $100 in 1999, the study found. ''It's clear that wireless service carriers are using mobile phones as an enticement to increase consumer traffic by applying discounts either through rebates or free limited time offers,'' says Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power. ''The problem with this strategy is that in most cases, the handsets being offered for discount are older models, which typically do not have the latest technological advancements or design features.'' The study also ranks mobile phone brands for consumer satisfaction. Sanyo had the highest overall satisfaction index score, followed by a tie between Motorola and Samsung, with Kyocera coming in third.

My current favorite device: The Sony Ericsson P 800

QUALCOMM Congratulates Monet Mobile on Launch of First Commercial CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Network in the United States Tuesday October 29, 1:30 pm ET -
Network Creates Foundation for Wireless Replacement of Traditional Broadband Services - DULUTH, Minn., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM - News), pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, congratulates Monet Mobile, a Seattle-based wireless Internet Service Provider, on its launch of the first commercial CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network in the United States. The third-generation (3G), high-speed data network was launched in a "wire-cutting" ceremony held today in Duluth, Minn. More...