Thursday, April 18, 2013

Too Much 3G?

It seems like just a few months ago everyone was screaming for 3G.   Our 3G Coverage Comparison Page is still one of our most popular.  Now we all want 4G, and the carriers are doing their best to provide a nice increase in price.  Where does that leave all that 3G coverage?

The carriers have found a robust wholesale market for all that 'excess' coverage, providing service to Straight Talk, Page Plus, SIMple Mobile and a host of other cellular re-sellers or MVNO's.  I read each day about the fears in forums that Straight Talk and the like just might become too popular, and the major carriers will throttle them back from their Unlimited Talk & Data.  In some areas that may be the case, but in the Big Picture, these carriers are trying real hard to move us up to 4G, which, for the most part, is on a separate network,  different spectrum, or, at least, separate channels.  That means they are also freeing up all that 3G capacity they have been building.

The Big 4 will not admit they have a surplus of anything while they are pleading with the Feds to provide more spectrum.  Truly, most of us are demanding more and more bandwidth through our phone, but that also leaves a gap for those of us whose needs are bit more modest.  3G is good for me...for now...and there are a lot of us who will benefit from everyone else moving up.  5G (or LTE+, or whatever is next) is coming and my current phone can already access 4G, I'm just waiting for everyone else to move out of my way.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mohave Wireless Gives Up

Mohave Wireless in Northwest Arizona has been acquired by Verizon Wireless.  Our only real surprise is that this transaction took so long.  This is a relatively large hole in Verizon's cellular coverage with a very busy I-40 corridor and a popular resort area, Lake Havasu City.  Verizon has owned a small part of Mohave for many years so there has always been a favorable roaming agreement between the two.

Mohave has a very good wireless network in the area and their customers may not notice any improvements.  Since they already have good roaming abilities and a wide selection of handsets, we predict services will slowly become more expensive for Mohave customers who may also lose bundle discounts with their Frontier wireline service.  The good news is that we expect the network will soon be converted to all 3G, with 4G coming as well.

There are 2 groups who will gain significantly with this transaction: Verizon's own prepaid users and those MVNO customers who either have no service in the area or pay roaming charges.  The largest of these services include Page Plus and Straight Talk CDMA users.

OK, now here is our 'boo-hoo, there goes another carrier' routine.  It's sad to see another carrier disappear, but in Mohave's case, we now have the ability to switch from our old Verizon postpaid phone to Page Plus, or even better, switch from a Straight Talk GSM phone to one of their CDMA phones.  In this case it's nice to be outside looking in.