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Mobile Data Plan Comparisons for Smartphones

There seems to be a whole lot of confusion out there about the various rates for data communications for cell phones. I know I've been confused whenever I've tried to tackle the issue of which providers offer what kinds of services for how much. They just don't make it very easy to get a quick idea of what they offer. Part of the problem is that carriers actually separate data in different ways for different niche markets. You have one type of data that is geared towards their premier youth market that conentrates on text or multimedia messages, browsing WAP sites, and downloading ringtones. Then there is the corporate market that concerns itself primarily with email. Finally, there's the market for the general internet geek power user where the data is about whatever the phone will let you do, be that instant message, browse the web, check email, stream audio or video, telnet into a shell account, whatever. This last market is the one I'm in and the one that I'll gear this article towards. Of course I'm not as silly as the marketers are that believe that any of these market segments are at all concrete. There are people who aren't necessarily "power users" but just want to be able to be "online" all the time to check email and instant message and browse the web. They aren't necessarily geeks, and they could very well even be some of the youngest customers out there.

Personally, since I bought a T-Mobile Sidekick back in 2002, I have left the older more specifically mobile-phone related data service of ringtones and WAP behind. Viewing WAP sites or email on a 3-line display without images was just painful! Maybe back in 1983 it would have been nice great, but not in this century! Now, smartphones like the Sidekick, the Treo, and PocketPC phones make it possible to have a much more computer-like experience, albeit on a much smaller screen.

I myself am a T-Mobile customer, and have been for several years, but, while I think T-Mobile has some good deals in terms of rates, I always want to be knowledgeable about what the other carriers out there have to offer. I thought I'd make a real concerted effort at actually figuring out what the various U.S. carriers offer at least in terms of a full data service. It wasn't easy! I don't know if most of the carriers feel like their audience won't understand anything technical so they don't really share specifics about their data plans, or if they are incapable of describing the offerings in plain English instead of marketing-speak which requires clarification, or what. But I had to spend most of my day searching for the real information on various message boards about mobile phones and technology, and even then there seems to be a fair amount of confusion about what the real deal is.

So, anyway, here is an attempt to summarize the data plans for various carriers here in the U.S. A couple of quick notes first:

  • I did not look at Nextel for a few reasons. One is that they will be merging with Sprint. Secondly, the only real data-oriented phone they carry is the Blackberry (no Treos, no PocketPC). Third, they are somewhat of a minor player compared to the other big carriers.
  • I'm also not going to cover the menagerie of different data services that are not just plain old Internet connectivity (i.e. corporate email packages, video messaging, etc.).
  • Finally, all of the prices I list are in addition to any voice plan. In a few instances one can just by the data service and then regular phone calls are charged on a per-minute basis, but most of the plans require you to buy a voice plan for $20 or more, which includes at least some free minutes.

U.S. Mobile Data Rates (c. May, 2005)

GSM Carriers

T-MobileTmobile's data offerings are initially pretty understandable. You have basically 3 types of offerings:

"Unlimited T-Zones" at $5/month

"Unlimited T-Zones Pro" at $10/month

"T-Mobile Internet" at either $20 or $30 depending on whether you also subscribe to a voice plan or do not, respectively.

T-Mobile Internet is what I currently have with my Treo 600. It offers full Internet connectivity.

T-Zones, on the other hand, is less clear. It's supposed to be T-Mobile's plan for mobile, text-based, websites that use WAP, and the PRO version adds WAP access to a corporate email account. The trick is that these services also have allowed some people to have the equivelent of the $20 plan. However, T-Mobile has started to crack down on this usage by closing the tcpip ports that enable the web browsing, emailing, instant messaging, etc. that are available on the $20 plan. In some areas you may still be able to take advantage of this oversite, but it seems these are becoming fewer and fewer.

AT&T Wireless

Before they recently merged with Cingular, AT&T was offering an unlimited data plan called "Ulimited Mmode" for $25/month. Currently, AT&T customers are not being forced into Cingular voice or data plans, but are able to keep their existing plans. New customers, though, or even AT&T customers who want to change their plans, only get to choose from Cingular plans.

Cingular

Cingular, the other main GSM carrier in the U.S., has an even more confusing data plan offering - at least via the information on their website. They break data into three parts, one for Blackberries, one for PC's and one for PDA's. Their Blackberry plans include a 4MB plan for $39.99 and unlimited plan for $49.99. Their PC plans (used with a card that fits in your laptop) consist of the following:

$19.99 for 5MB
$29.99 for 10MB
$39.99 for 20MB
$49.99 for 40MB
$59.99 for 60MB
$79.99 for unlimited data

Finally, the PDA plans consist of the following:

$19.99 for 5MB

$29.99 for 10MB
$39.99 for 20MB
$44.99 for unlimited data

So where do phones come in? Well, in the case of a "PDA-phone" like the Treo 600 or 650, or the Siemens SX66, you can opt from one of the PDA plans above. But there is yet another type of plan that is only shown if you buy a non-PDA phone online. This additional set of data options are called "Media Basic," "Media Works," and "Media Net." While these options are not shown online when buying a non-PDA phone (and perhaps not offered at Cingular stores as an option), they can be utilized whatever data-capable phone you get (with the possible exception of Blackberries since these have their own plans). Here's a breakdown of these plans:

Media Basic: 500KB of data plus 200 SMS messages and 40 MMS messages for $9.99
Media Works: 3MB of data plus 1000 SMS messages and unlimited MMS for $19.99
MediaNet:
$4.99 for 500KB
$9.99 for 3MB
$19.99 for 8MB
$24.99 for unlimited data

Confused yet? So can you get an identical unlimited data plan from Cingular under the psuedonym "MediaNet" simply by asking for it at $15 less per month than the price that Cingular would otherwise have you pay on their PDA plan (if you have a PDA-like phone)? Well, yes and no. Apparently there is a real difference in that you cannot do VPN connections (secured connections used primarily to access corporate email that's behind a company firewall) on the MediaNet plans, but you can do this with the PDA plans.

CDMA Carriers

Verizon Wireless

Verizon offers a $49/month data plan if you don't get a voiceplan with it (you can still pay per-minute charges for the phone), or $45/month for the same unlimted if you subscribe to one of their voiceplans that come with free minutes (the cheapest being $39.99/month). Also there is a $29.99/month data plan for 5MB per month plan.

Sprint PCSSprint rounds out the four major players in the U.S. market. It is, like Verizon, a CDMA provider. It seems that Sprint offers an unlimited data plan for only $15/month called the Sprint Vision Premium Pack.


Who's the winner?

PRICE: in terms of price, T-Mobile wins for GSM (probably, now that Cingular's $20 plan looks expired), Sprint wins for CDMA, and is also the cheapest overall if you don't care what type of communications protocol the carrier uses.

OTHER: There are of course other factors that enter into the decision other than price. Coverage, quality of service, support, and speed are all factors that you should take into consideration. Support and Quality of service can be pretty subjective, though, based on individual experiences, individual stores or regions of the country that may have better support than others, etc. I can't imagine making a suggestion in that regard without some seriously large studies to back me up! But speed and coverage a lot easier to look at.

But first a quick aside to explain the current and future protocols being used to send all this data back and forth:

  • CDMA currently uses a Data protocol called "1xRTT" which supposedly can clock around 144kbps, or about 2.5 times that of a dial-up connection. The next version of CDMA Data will use a protocol with the moniker "EV-DO" which is capable of much faster average speeds of 300-500Kbps with bursts as high as 2.4Mbps. GSM carriers have been using
  • GSM uses a protocol called GPRS, which is generally a lot slower at only 30-70Kbps, or approximately dial-up speeds. It's follow-up technology is called "EDGE" and is 2-4 times faster than its predecessor at 100-200 Kbps, but still not nearly as fast as EV-DO.

Why even mention about these "next generation" protocols in a piece about the current state of things? Because some of these providers actually have next-generation networks at least partially in place and as well are starting to sell a few phones that can actually utilize these faster speeds (most importantly "PDA Phones" or "Smarphones" like the Treo 650). There are of course other protocols being developed and even implemented (UMTS and WCDMA) but these have yet to really be offered to customers in the U.S. although they have in other countries.

So, lets go over what the current state of things is regarding data speeds for the various carriers:

U.S. Mobile Data Speeds and Coverage (c. May, 2005)

GSM Carriers

T-MobileT-Mobile has said that they will be building out their EDGE network in 2005, starting to offer it in select metro areas. I have indeed tested my connection in the DC area and found that EDGE is available here, at least in some spots. I have also heard of reports that it is available in New York City and Atlanta. T-Mobile also has a new map that lets you get a graphical representation of their coverage down to the street level, although it says nothing about GPRS vs. EDGE.
CingularCingular (this applies to AT&T customers as well) already has a national EDGE network built out with great coverage seen in this map.

CDMA Carriers

Verizon has been working on building out it's EV-DO network for a year or two and apparently has around 20 metro areas supported so far: http://www.evdo-coverage.com/evdo-umts-hsdpa-coverage-map.html

However, at the moment, there seems to be some confusion as to whether EV-DO will work with any handset that supports it. This PC Magazine Article seems to indicate that only laptop cards and a few Verizon, EV-DO is not available on any phone that is supposed to support EV-DO out of the box, but rather only via their laptop card and a few select Verizon handsets that are not PDA-like phones and so are locked down in terms of what they can connect to and how. So until there's some additional confirmation (say from folks who buy the Verizon version of the Treo 650 which is supposed to be out any day now), you might want to hold off if this speed issue is the main thing attracting you to Verizon.

Sprint has announced they will be building out an EV-DO network in 2005, apparently starting with a number of unnamed metro areas. Sprint contends the roll-out will be fast due to working out an easy upgrade path from current equipment, although they only announced in December that a contract had been signed with equipment makers. Sprint's EV-DO page currently says that the roll-out will begin mid-2005. Sprint has an interactive map of where its cell towers are, but doesn't really distinguish between what kinds of service those towers provide. There is no word either whether Sprint's version of EV-DO will work with any old EV-DO-capable PDA/Smartphone, so again we will have to wait and see...

So, who's the winner now? Well, if speed is your main concern, than probably Verizon's EV-DO would win at this moment if you happen to live in one of those metro areas. Of course Verizon's unlimited data plan is the highest of all the carriers at $45 (or $50 without a voiceplan). If you are looking at only GSM carriers (and many users will only look at GSM phones due to their ability to work internationally and for the convenience of SIM cards), than it's a tough call. On the one hand Cingular beats T-Mobile hands down in terms of its very built-out EDGE network. But when it comes to price, it's a little less clear, due to Cingular's mixed up data policy. It may cost you the same, but it also may cost you double of what T-Mobile costs (and maybe more if you can take advantage of the $5-10 T-Zones plans, although that's become unlikely). However, Cingular's $39.99 gets you an extensive higher-speed EDGE network, so some for whom speed is key, will gladly pay the premium of an additional $20 per month for a doubling to quadrupling of data speeds. This difference, though, will continue to erode as Tmobile adds more coverage for EDGE (which is already available in some areas).

As I wrote, these things are not simple and they aren't cut and dry. As well they are a moving target. While T-Mobile may look like not the best bet right now, in six months who knows, maybe they'll surprise everyone and build out a lot of their network very quickly and give Cingular a real run for their money. Likewise, maybe they will close the loophole of their T-Zones and Cingular will cut back their data rates and make them more comprehensible (one basic all-you-can-eat plan) and will become much more competitive with T-Mobile. At least for February of 2005, this is the best snapshot of the various choices one has for mobile data connectivity. It will definitely be interesting to see how this changes over the coming months and years! I will try to keep these charts updated as new information becomes available on new plans, new coverage, etc. Of course if you find any inaccuracies in what I've written, feel free to enlighten us!

UPDATE (April 28, 2005): Recently I discoverd that low and behold I had EDGE via my Tmobile account! So I felt that an update to this entry was in order. I went ahead and updated the data speed table above to reflect this and some additional information about Sprint's EV-DO roll-out, and also provided links to a couple of new coverage maps. I've also reworked the last couple of paragraphs in the text to reflect some of this news as well.

UPDATE (May 3, 2005): There's been some talk over at Treocentral about data rates and using some of the information, I did some more digging and was able to update the tables above, specifically the section on Cingular data rates as well as Verizon's data speeds and coverage.

posted Friday, 4 February 2005

A visitor made this comment,
Cingular is now showing that MediaWorks for new subscribers is limited to 3MB/month.

Buyer beware! its a changing landscape.

John

comment added :: 4th February 2005, 12:08 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
John, not sure where you are seeing 3MB/month. When I see the page where you pick the various options, it lists MEdia Basic for $7.99, MEdia Works for $19.99, MEdia Net (500KB) for $2.99 and MEdia Net (2MB) for $9.99. Clicking on MEdia Works brings me to a chart that shows it to include unlimited "Wireless Internet Express" and no mention of 3MB anywhere. But again, seeing as different zip codes produce different results, you may be seeing something that I'm not...

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 4th February 2005, 12:18 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Nice job on the comparison!

I still say T-Mo rocks.

Alli

comment added :: 4th February 2005, 12:56 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi -

Thanks for the great article. I think everything is correct, except for your statement:

"Of course Verizon's unlimited data plan is the highest of all the carriers at a whopping $79.99!"

I think you meant to say Cingular, not Verizon.

Cheers!

Sean

comment added :: 4th February 2005, 14:28 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Thanks Sean, but no, I did mean Verizon, except I got the number wrong, thanks for catching that - it should be $49.99!

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 4th February 2005, 14:37 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Levi,

Great, and informative article. I used to have full internet access through T-mo using the T-Zones for $5. But they recently turned it off. I wasn't using it much, as I only used internet occasionally, and even then one or two sites. But I guess they realized that it was open in my area, and have now turned it off. So, even the desert states are now being turned off.... :-(

Colin

comment added :: 5th February 2005, 13:25 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Thanks, Colin. I've made a bunch of updates in regards to T-Zones and T-Mobile, rewriting a few sections of the article. This is one of those pieces that I think will be continually updated, and probably rewritten as a part of that and hopefully will end up being a better and petter article for that...

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 5th February 2005, 14:43 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
If you look hard enough, Cingular does have a $19.99 unlimited data plan. I spoke with one rep that told me about it. The next week another rep did not. In a store they did not. I was however able to sign up for it upgrading to the Treo 650 gsm. The have too man plans and rates. Confusing, but if you want a GSM Treo 650 you have no choice.

[email protected]

comment added :: 8th February 2005, 14:50 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Well, I agree with you. They have too many plans and rates! But you do have another option for GSM in the U.S. - T-Mobile. They don't have EDGE yet, but you can get a Treo 650 GSM unlocked (as I just ordered), and use it with either Cingular or T-Mobile. I'm considering moving to Cingular due to EDGE, but I really hope someone figures out which plans are available at some point. Or maybe we'll continue to have this confusion, and after I sign up I will just keep trying different ways of getting a $20 unlimited plan - going to Cingular stores, calling them up, calling them up and talking to a DIFFERENT rep, etc. It's a ridiculous situation...

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 8th February 2005, 15:14 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I ordered my Treo 650 from Cingular on 2/3 and it showed up on 2/4 (kudos to Cingular for that). I can't remember where I read it, but it seemed like there was a difference between being a new customer or an existing customer as to what they offered you for data service. I was offered and signed up for the 19.99 Media works with unlimited data. The service is explained at this url:

https://www.cingular.com/media/media_purchase

There is a similar url ending with media_net_purchase that the main website feeds you to. I understand the confusion, I'm just glad I was able to stumble through it myself. Good luck.

A new visitor

comment added :: 8th February 2005, 18:15 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I just signed up for Cingular after being with TMOBILE for 5 years. I loved the customer service but the slow data speeds were killing me. I wanted EDGE so cingular was a good choice. I signed up for unlimited data for 39.99 with text, picture message. TMOBILE raised their unlimited data plan to 29.99 so for another 10 bucks I get edge. I will miss TMOBILE.

Hector

comment added :: 8th February 2005, 22:17 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
I think I am lucky I didn't made a switch to Cing
40k GPRS is slow, but still fine for pda and streaming radio (up to 32k)
Cing's TOS is vague and changing too often
I use around 200-400MB, still $19.99 flat rate

mingkee

comment added :: 9th February 2005, 20:13 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
I agree that currently Cingular's data plan seems to be the most confused of all the carriers. Hopefully they will get wind of this in their corporate headquarters as more and more mainstream media covers it and maybe they will actually do something to clarify the situation. Let's hope, anyway!

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 10th February 2005, 09:17 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Let me start with an apology that I'm relatively new to data rate plans and protocols. I'm looking to get a new Treo 650 which means I'm limited to either Cingular or Sprint.
From reading your explanation (excellent by the way), it would appear that Sprint really has the best deal. They are currently using 1xRTT which is 2 to 4 times faster than GPRS and almost as fast as EDGE. When they upgrade to EV-DO, they'll blow away EDGE. As far as the price, from speaking to a Sprint rep, they quoted $15 for unlimited data plan and $5 more for additional phones. So if you get a family plan, let's say with (2) phones, you can get unlimited data plan for both phones for just $20! Best deal, I think.

newbie

comment added :: 11th February 2005, 19:26 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Hey there. $20 for two (or $25 for three) phones for unlimited data is indeed a great deal, and it's true that CDMA data speeds are faster than their GSM counterparts. That doesn't automatically make it an easy decision. GSM has other advantages, which I've mentioned, like the ability to take the phone with you outside the U.S., to switch phones without having to bother with the carrier, etc. These may not matter to you - they don't matter to a lot of people. But I'm just saying that there are advantages and disadvantages outside of just the data rates and prices, even though that's what this entry is about. Of course, if you are ONLY buying the phone for the data, then of course, that IS the only thing to consider. Some people just buy a phone like a Treo or a Sidekick for its data connectivity, and they use a seperate phone for voice.

One slight clarification, which you may or may not realize, but your message left it out. You do have another choice in carriers for a Treo 650. T-Mobile is another GSM provider, and you can buy an unlocked Treo 650 from PalmOne which will work with either Cingular OR T-Mobile. Of course, you won't be able to take advantage of of the rebates that come with signing up with a new provider, since T-Mobile doesn't offer the Treo 650 yet, but that is another choice. Also, as I mentioned, T-Mobile doesn't have EDGE yet, although that will change supposedly this year...

Visit me @ https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com

comment added :: 11th February 2005, 20:55 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Great article...is it just me or does it seem that this rate choosing game is getting way too complex? Whew, and I thought choosing the right airline fare was hard.

Michael Parekh [[email protected]]

comment added :: 6th March 2005, 15:44 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
As far as your infor on data plans, does the Sprint Vision plan cover when you use you PDA ex: Treo 600 as a modem. They had told me at Sprint it wouldn't and that I had to get a "data plan" much like the type they have for their wifi cards accounts. If I can use my Treo as a modem on my lap top / PC with just the vision plan then why did they tell me I couldn't. As far as your infor, thanks so much. But let me know if you research was based just on using your PDA / cell phone as a web browser or did it also refer to using programs such as PdaNet / modem programs. Thanks for your time.

Bert [[email protected]]

comment added :: 30th March 2005, 01:11 GMT-05
Rhin0dad made this comment,
After reading the blog, I have to agree with Bert that Sprint would be the choice. I've been a Sprint user for a number of years and coverage was always adequate but improved greatly when I changed cell phones. I upgraded to Sanyo just because of the reviews of their reception performance, but my new Treo beats them cold. My only disappointment was the fact that I lost the ability to hook my laptop to the Treo. My Sanyo would connect with software that was available from Sprint, but there was nothing for the Treo. After some searching I found Pda/Net and the problem was solved. (It was through them that I found this blog) That was why the Sprint rep said Bert couldn't connect. It wasn't from Sprint, duh. So the final tally is: A) Base phone plan (your choice) B) PCS Vision with unlimited data $15.00 C) Pda/Net for $34.00 (one-time charge to puchase this excellent software) and all the benefits of reliable (relatively) 100 to 145 kps connections seems to be tough to beat. It just took a little getting used to not using broadband BUT didn't have to lug the cord. Thanx for the research though, it let me know I made the right choice.
comment added :: 23rd April 2005, 00:46 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
good article -- where in DC are you getting EDGE ?

(downtown, WH -- any locations that you're certain had EDGE)

and is there any indicator on the 650 that confirms it ??

Thanks !

barye

comment added :: 3rd May 2005, 15:16 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
There's no indicator that I know of, although maybe some programmer will come out with one! You just have to test your download speed via http://www.broadbandreports.com/mspeed. If you're getting more than say 60kbps via some of the larger files, than you have EDGE. I know I get this speed around Fort Belvoir and Vienna, but I haven't tested it in many places yet...
comment added :: 3rd May 2005, 15:51 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
Great Article, Levi

I think some of the users who wrote back went into the same confusion that you mentioned, -- the difference between "cool browsing tool" to complete internet support.

I am planning to use my new mobile data plan for serious contingencies like stock market trading as my broker provides this service. All I need is a WAP 2.0 phone that can support https:// protocol. Treo seems to be too expensive for me.. any suggestions on which other phones/plans may be suitable for "complete" internet connectivity?

Thanks
-Ram

Ram [[email protected]]

comment added :: 4th May 2005, 19:45 GMT-05
A visitor made this comment,
This has been very helpful. I'm interested in the 650 and want to know expenses to expect regarding phone/internet/e-mail.

PH

comment added :: 20th May 2005, 13:31 GMT-05
Richard made this comment,
I'm more than a little envious to hear that in the U.S. you can get a ~$20 'all you can eat' data tariff. This is by far the biggest hidden costs of owning a smart phone... & quite possibly the networks dirtiest secret.

In the UK, network providers will happily sell you a smartphone that boasts "Full Internet Access Anywhere" (for £300 plus a £25 12 month contract). Unfortunately they then provide no realistic way of actually using these phones for that purpose.

In contrast to the US we have no such thing as an unlimited data tariff. When you consider a single ebay search can use 150kb, charges on top of the monthly tariff will range from:

O2 = £2.35 per MB. (40p per page) Virgin = £5.00 per KB (80p per page) T-Mobile = 7.50 per MB (£1.25 per page)

Only Orange have anything even approaching a usable per MB rate, £8 for a 10MB bundle with: 0.80p per MB out of bundle. (13p per page)

I have just moved to Orange as my last O2 bill included £57 worth of data usage. It's a shame the UK networks aren't addressing this market as competitively as in the US. It is almost certainly the market the next generation will be most interested in.

comment added :: 11th July 2005, 07:31 GMT-05
Meanpooh made this comment,
Id just like to say, I have a Treo 600 using PDA net 2.51. I can browse the web on my notebook, on my desktop (during broadband outages) and check email. I have Sprint service with the Vision plan. I didnt know about the business connection plans they had. I guess I lucked out and saved a lot!
comment added :: 11th August 2005, 12:44 GMT-05
ebayfan414 made this comment,
Firstly, I want to say thanks for the great article. I just bought a Treo 600, and I was so confused with all of the data plans and services and prices. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, I am on a trial with T-mobile right now, testing out the $30 unlimited per month plan. I figured I would test out the different plans from different companies before I commited, since everything was so unclear. This article helped a little. It seems as if right now Sprint has the best plan, as I'm not concerned with being able to travel internationally. My main concern is speed and pricing. I just had a question, though. The Treo 600 that I purchased is an unlocked GSM. Does that mean that I'm able to subscribe to a cdma company like Sprint? Or do these unlocked GSM phones only use GSM services? (Please forgive me; I'm new to this kind of stuff. I don't know too much about cdma and GSM.)

Also, a suggestion to people out there who want to connect their Treos to their computer and use the internet on there; like someone before me said, you should definitely get the PDAnet software. I'm just using the trial right now, and it's great!

-Eli

comment added :: 19th August 2005, 05:10 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
Eli, GSM and CDMA are two different and completely incompatible technologies. Generally speaking, a phone is either CDMA or GSM and will not work with the other technology. I say "generally speaking" because I think I've heard of some company coming out with a phone that employed both, but such a device is an extreme oddity in this market, if it actually exists yet as a product. So your choices with your current phone in the U.S. is Tmobile or Cingular.

Thanks for the recommendation for PDAnet. If you have a Treo 650, you can also use bluetooth to connect to your laptop without third party software - although some carriers crippled that capability initially and it may still be crippled for some carriers - can't recal which right now...

comment added :: 19th August 2005, 08:48 GMT-05 :: https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com
Jacque made this comment,
With Verizon, you do not have to sign up for a data plan at all. All you have to do is set it up on your computer to "dial up" using instructions found online, and all you are charged is air time. This means unlimited nights and weekend usage, and then just not going overboard during peak hours, so there are no extra charges.

I also have a cingular phone (verizon is work) and I have chosen not to use my bluetooth connection through cingular, since that would result in additional charges because it is rated by MB used.

I would have to say FREE is better than paying for anything and when I logged on earlier today for the first time my signal was 115kbps, so that is not too bad!

comment added :: 22nd August 2005, 02:43 GMT-05
ebayfan414 made this comment,
Hi- at the top of the article it mentions that you can ask for the "MediaNet" plan from cingular and it's a data plan. However, I upgraded my 600 to a 650, and was going to sign up for that plan with Cingular, but I jusr recently called Cingular, and they told me that the MediaNet plan is not for Treos; it's a net plan for a cell phone....like for checking the weather, news, sports scores, movies, etc. I was disappointed, because I was going to do that plan, but oh well. I called up a few Cingulars just to double check, because sometimes they don't know what they are talking about, but they all said that the MediaNet doesn't work with Treos. Just wanted to let you guys know that. -Eli
comment added :: 25th September 2005, 03:40 GMT-05
Levi Wallach made this comment,
ebayfan, just tell them you want it anyway, or don't tell them you have a Treo. From what others have said, it will work. Just because a few Cingular reps told you it won't doesn't mean it won't, it just means that's the party line. Until someone confirms that it doesn't work by testing it, don't believe it.
comment added :: 25th September 2005, 07:10 GMT-05 :: https://twelveblackcodemonkeys.com
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(Free) Wireless Internet Via Your 3G Cell Phone
Excerpt: A LawTech Guru feature article by Jeffrey BeardWi-Fi broadband is really great, isn't it? Except when there's not a hotspot around when you need one. Or when you find it, but can't get on. What do you do on commuter trains? I've recently revisited an
Blog: LAWTECH GURU BLOG by Jeff Beard
Date: Sunday, 20 March 2005 01:09 AM
Article Compares the Wireless Data Plans from the Major U.S Mobile Carriers
Excerpt: Levi Wallach published a good comparison of wireless data plans from the major U.S. mobile phone carriers. If you want to know what the cost and features of the wireless data offerings from T-Mobile, Cingular / AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless,...
Blog: Operation Gadget
Date: Monday, 14 February 2005 08:17 PM

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  • Updated: 19 Dec 2005
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