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The W - Internet & Computers - How fast is mobile internet compared to landline?
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samoflange
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Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.27
I've been getting more interested in owning one of those fancy internet phones. The biggest issue for me is that I think it's sort of silly to pay for an internet connection at home in addition to whatever sort of data plan is required for such a phone.

Currently I have cable internet at home and T-mobile pay-as-you-go with the cheapest, barebones phones they have. I pay 55$ per month for the internet connection at home and 200$ per year for phone service for my wife and I (we don't use many minutes).

I've been reading about "tethering" where you can access the internet with your laptop through your cell phone's connection. I'm wondering exactly how fast this connection can get. I don't have cable TV so I use my internet at home to watch Hulu and TV network sites. Is the connection through the cell phone good enough for that or am I thinking of a setup that is still a few years away?



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Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.68
I have no idea about speeds, but if you're watching lots of hulu with it it's probably not going to work. The largest cell phone data plan I've seen is 5 GB per month (and then something like $.05 per MB after that).
Here's an article that summarizes the top 4 carriers thoughts on tethering. It provides links to their respective data plans.
http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/carriers-split-support-tethering/2009-12-02

If you can find some sort of unlimited data plan that accepts tethering, maybe that will work. No idea if such a thing is possible.
samoflange
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Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.27
I watch approx 3-4 hours of Hulu per week. No idea what the translates to in terms of bandwidth.

So, there aren't any unlimited data plans out there yet? Or at least any that support tethering. I guess they will come eventually so the idea will be put on hold for a few years.

(edited by samoflange on 24.5.10 1112)


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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.08
    Originally posted by samoflange
    So, there aren't any unlimited data plans out there yet? Or at least any that support tethering. I guess they will come eventually so the idea will be put on hold for a few years.


The iPhone through AT&T has an unlimited data plan. The problem is that you'll be with AT&T - I cannot express the conflict I have with absolutely loving my iPhone, and absolutely despising the current service of AT&T. (They've also just significantly raised their early termination fee). You also cannot tether with an iPhone (unless you jailbreak it).

I can't speak for Verizon phones in terms of the data or voice service (both on which I am willing bet are better than AT&T), but I can't imagine being satisfied with *just* a data plan as my main source of connectivity, even with tethering.



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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.01
T-Mobile has an unlimited plan in Seattle for around $70. You get minutes, texts, and data unlimited.

Sprint had an ad for this at some point, no?




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Since: 9.12.01
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.68
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    T-Mobile has an unlimited plan in Seattle for around $70. You get minutes, texts, and data unlimited.
You sure don't want to try to tether with it, though.



Jericholic53
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Since: 18.3.03
From: Honolulu, HI

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.14
    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    T-Mobile has an unlimited plan in Seattle for around $70. You get minutes, texts, and data unlimited.

    Sprint had an ad for this at some point, no?


Sprint has the "Simply Everything" plans. I believe the cheapest is $69.99 with unlimited texts, unlimited data, and unlimited calls to any mobile number on any carrier.

The upcoming Evo 4G on Sprint also has the ability to turn your phone into a wifi hot spot (which is much easier than dealing with tethering). This is an even greater boon if you have Clea/Clearwire/Wimax in your city as the Evo 4G actually has wimax capabilities, and thus your connection speeds will be much faster than just 3G alone.

The Palm Pre+ also can become a wifi hotspot. This feature is free on Verizon. The Verizon plans of course are much more expensive for smartphones, but do all sport "unlimited" data. (In actuality I believe there is a monthly 5GB cap on data.)

(edited by Jericholic53 on 28.5.10 2159)


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Since: 11.12.01

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.91
I don't know if you're still thinking about it, but apparently AT&T changed their plan today.

http://gizmodo.com/5553418/att-just-killed-unlimited-wireless-data-and-screwed-everybody-in-the-process
JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.23


Love their title, but I don't see how that is the case. I just bought an iPhone yesterday, and signed up for the $30/month unlimited data plan. I went back to the store today to ask them about this, and they said I can change to one of the newer plans any time. They also said that if a person was going to do any intense data usage that they should switch the phone to WiFi mode, and that using WiFi mode DOESN'T accumulate data toward the "data usage" limit.

According to the article I read on this, 65% of AT&T users will fall under the $15/month plan, while only 2% of their users are such heavy users that the 2 GB limit for $25/month wouldn't be enough. Me? I'd just as soon pay for only what I use.



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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.08
    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    They also said that if a person was going to do any intense data usage that they should switch the phone to WiFi mode, and that using WiFi mode DOESN'T accumulate data toward the "data usage" limit.


Provided you have access to a Wi-Fi connection - which means you (or someone NEAR you) is paying for Cable/DSL. Anyone using this as their primary access to the internet may not have that luxury.

On the surface, this is a pretty crappy transition. If you say you're going to offer unlimited data service, then anything less than that is not going to be viewed well. And the whole tethering plan looks like a bad deal. Charging $20 more just to tether a device to your phone while not adding additional data to the plan does not seem worth it to me (and I think that might be the point).

But AT&T's service is TERRIBLE, and they had to do SOMETHING. This only really penalizes those who are the real bandwidth hogs. In the life of my iPhone (about 18 months), I've transferred about 2.7GB - which means I could probably save $15 a month and go with 200MB/month data plan and not come close to maxing out. The people who will take the largest hit are those streaming Pandora or other audio over the 3G network, as one hour of audio at 64kbs is about 28MB. If you love streaming audio over your 3G network, you may have to consider the 2GB plan. I would also imagine that Pandora and other services will offer lower quality streams as well.

AT&T is also testing some free WI-FI hotspots to mobile users in NYC (cnn.com), with the hope that this might relieve the congestion on their mobile network - and they may try it in other cities.

(edited by Leroy on 2.6.10 1507)

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Jericholic53
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Since: 18.3.03
From: Honolulu, HI

Since last post: 319 days
Last activity: 4 hours
#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.14
People are overreacting. The market is reaching a saturation point of both devices and bandwidth. Phone price points are all screwed up (thanks $99 iphone) and the rapidly growing smartphone market, and thus proliferation of "always connected" devices will lead to greater strains on all networks. Hence the beginnings of wimax and lte enabled phones over the next few years.

For a phone (even an iphone), with push sync, maps usage, and heavy web browsing you probably still won't crack the 2GB/month mark. If you are a *heavy* user (8hrs+ a day) of constant streaming services like pandora or last.fm on your phone you may get close. The upcoming "multitasking" API's in iphone os 4.0 will also have implications since instant messaging,voip, clients, and location services are now allowed to run in the background and/or simultaneously. People should just look at their previous month's bill and it will be pretty indicative of if this bandwidth cap affects you or not.

If you are on an ipad, however, 2GB can more easily be achieved (eg. watching video on the ABC or Netflix app, viewing "full" webpages instead of the mobile versions). However, I would argue that most people are using their ipad in locations where there is wifi, and the 3G data component is primarily used when traveling between these different locales. I don't have an ipad so I couldn't tell you if its radio stack automatically utilizes wifi before cellular data if both are present, but I would venture to guess that that is the case. If the ipad uses wifi+3g simultaneously (for whatever reason) then you'd have to manually turn off 3G to avoid overages.



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