May 4, 2007

PSTN Killer Coming Soon

Filed under: Networking — pj @ 12:00 am

The local phone companies were right to panic about cell phones and VOIP. It looks like T-Mobile will be the first to offer the service that will fundamentally change telephone service in millions of homes. I don’t care what the lame survey survey says:  When people have this service, they will stop using their home phones. One day, they’ll get the home phone bill, realize they haven’t use the home phone in months (except to talk to telemarketers) and have it disconnected. This process will take time – lots of people are in multi-year cell phone contracts and, at least in my area, the local phone company has cleverly tied DSL service to having a local phone service.

I am surprised that flat rate carrier, MetroPCS, doesn’t already offer this service (if only to offload their cell network!), but I’m not suprised to see T-Mobile offer it first. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T get a lot of highly profitable income from local phone lines.

T-Mobile could jump into commercial service as well by having your cell phone become an an office phone extension (only when you are in the office, of course!) when it detects your corporate WLAN.

2 Responses to “PSTN Killer Coming Soon”

  1. Paul Tezza says:

    I’m all for it, but I did read a beta tester who also said that the phone kept dropping his calls – which the article hinted at towards the very end. Anyways, where does WiMax fit into this picture. That’s supposed to be what Sprint is testing out right now. And I know that Intel has promised to start bundeling it in with their chips… But another alternative is to just drop your landline all together and save $30 a month if that’s what you’re after.

  2. pj says:

    As with any wireless technology, there are going to be problems. The most basic problem will be WiFi coverage – getting even coverage throughout your house might not be as easy as just plugging in an a $20 access point into your cable modem. But this brings up one of the two points why a WiFi hand off will be better than current cell service:

    - I can control WiFi coverage by adding inexpensive WiFi equipment
    - Calls through the WiFi network would not eat into my peak minutes

    I didn’t read about this, but it is also my hope that calls over WiFi will simply sound better. My cell phone quality is better than no cell phone at all, but nothing like the quality of a land line or typical VOIP call.

    30 mile coverage with WiMax ( sounds great, but Sprint has had a ton of problems with their wireless Internet service. Some form of Sprint wireless Internet access has been available in some cities for years now, but it’s never been good enough to get significant market penetration (or even for Sprint to offer the service in all their metro markets). My guess is that any type of radio that can transmit for miles will be expensive and relatively hard to buy.

    WiFi is inexpensive and readily available. It also has a short range. This sounds like a problem, but, remember, everybody in a wireless coverage area sharing the same frequencies has to share the same bandwidth. That’s a big reason why modern cell phones are a lot less powerful than the old “bag phones”. The cell carriers needed to squeeze more phone calls on the same frequencies in to the same geographic area, so they made the phone transmitters weaker and put the cell towers closer together. With WiFi, each house in my neighborhood can have its own 100Mbps LAN.

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