My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: AT&T overcharges for unlimited SMS again - Duke Energy's US$1 billion Investment in The Dead Zone

Monday, August 22, 2011

AT&T overcharges for unlimited SMS again - Duke Energy's US$1 billion Investment in The Dead Zone

No enjoyment and not sorrow
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Brings us farther than to-day

Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

Telecom Provider AT&T began officially selling LTE Modem dongles on Sunday August 22nd 2011AD as recorded in my blog article entitled “AT&T to debut LTE Modem Dongles on August 21 - A Foretaste of Katy Perry's Candyland”.

But on Thursday August 18th 2011AD, three (3) days prior, in a sign that Telecom Provider AT&T refuses to change, they decided to bill customers extra for the privilege of sending SMS (Short Messaging Service) or Text messages in the local American vernacular as stated in the article “AT&T tries to wring every last cent from SMS”, published August 18, 2011, 8:03am PT By Ryan Kim, GigaOM  and the article “AT&T planning shake-up of SMS plans next week”, published AUGUST 18, 2011 6:26 AM PDT By Don Reisinger , CNET News - The Digital Home.

When in fact, Telecom Providers in the US of A are poised to make billions from M2M Services in 2011AD as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled NFC and M2M – Cashless Society and the Internet of Things and my blog article entitled AT&T, NFC, and M2M - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things”.

Examples abound. Companies such as Duke Energy, which plan to invest US$1 billion connect their SmartGrid Infrastructure over US Telecom Providers Wireless Network as stated in the article “Duke Energy embraces cellular for smart grid”, published August 19, 2011, 12:16pm PT By Katie Fehrenbacher, GigaOM , a massive investment and the most extensive of its kind.

In a statement to the Charlotte Business Journal, Duke Energy’s Manager of Technology Development David Masters makes it clear that they have no intention of going into Telecoms, quote: “Duke Energy has no desire to be in the communications business. We need to harness already-existing expertise and capabilities that the cellular networks provide in designing, building, and maintaining the communications.”

As this infrastructure is mostly Residential, Commercial and Power Station smartmeters and smart monitoring equipment, it will involve sending discrete amounts of Data packets, possibly no larger than the size of an SMS related to readings such as timestamps, voltage readings, etc, all encrypted using 64-bit A5/1 Encryption inherent on GSM Voice Platforms or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) in the case of EV-DO.

Thus, it will mostly utilize the GSM Networks 2G Data Platform, mainly EDGE and GPRS or the CDMA networks EV-DO, not LTE and it is in keeping with Telecom Provider AT&T’s aim to increase its investment in M2M Services in 2011AD as stated in my Geezam Blog article entitled NFC and M2M – Cashless Society and the Internet of Things and my blog article entitled AT&T, NFC, and M2M - Cashless Society and the Internet of Things”.

Telecom Provider AT&T, one of the many Partner with Duke Energy in this massive infrastructural investment, can thus still continue making money from the old GSM Voice Platforms while subsidizing free access to the GPRS and EDGE 2G Data Networks even as the use of SMS on their 2G Network peaks as speculated in the article Has text messaging peaked?, published JUNE 10, 2011 8:45 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - THE DIGITAL HOME. Ditto to for Duke Energy’s other partner, Telecom Provider Verizon.

But instead of the GSM Voice channels being occupied by Human conversation, it will be occupied by Discrete Data traffic, effectively The Dead Zone (1983) as originally prognosticated in my blog article entitledTelecom Providers and SMS - The Dead Zone” and as now is facing Telecom Provider LIME as stated in my blog article entitledLIME look to the future with new Services - Video and Audio Friends with Benefits in the Dead Zone”.

Amusingly, this price increase from Telecom Provider AT&T comes into effect on Telecom Provider AT&T GSM Networks on Sunday August 22nd 2011AD, apparently as a counterweight to the launch of LTE as Telecom Provider AT&T attempts to continue making money from the Voice Network, which is seeing less and less traffic as noted in my blog article entitled “KDDI’s Broadband WiMax and Wi-Fi Municipal Network - Ruckus's Japanese Flight of the Navigator”.

The price increase is a move from US$10 for a bundle of one thousand (1000) text messages to US$20 effectively a doubling of the cost of SMS. This for a service that is worth only pennies or fractions of a dollar, based on calculations for the actual cost of CLARO OMG SMS Services provided by Telecom Providers CLARO for a one hundred (100) bundle.

In Jamaica, it works out to be JA$0.0048 for a single one hundred and twenty (120) character or nine hundred and eighty (980) bit SMS or JA$0.48 for a one hundred (100) bundle CLARO OMG per day, far cheaper than the JA$10 you have to expend to get the privilege of making your phone look like a Blackberry.

In the US of A, the situation facing the Americans is markedly different. With a near 50% uptake in smartphones among the American populace (as in Apple iPhones and Android phones….sorry no Blackberrys!) as stated in my blog article entitled “Apple + Android beat Nokia + RIM Globally - Regina Beaver's La Dolce Vita”, competition is fierce among Telecom Providers.

Thus, Telecom Provider are reduced to wooing customers form one Telecom Network to another based on attractive pricing in their two (2) year contract plans and the latest smartphones, with the feature phone market largely relegated to customers on thirty (30) day plans. These are the undecided who cannot afford smartphones Contracts yet desire to own a smartphone nonetheless.

For them, Apple may be planning a cheaper version of their Apple iPhone with no contract as prognosticated in my blog article entitled  “Apple and the Cloud Phone - Cheaper by the Dozen and Up in the Air” and my Geezam Blog article entitled “Towards a cheaper Apple iPhone – Batteries Not Included”.

Chinese online  payment service AliBaba also has plans up their sleeve for a Cloud-Based smartphone, specific to the Chinese market as stated in my blog article entitled AliBaba and the Cloud-Based Aliyun OS - Lady Gaga's Low-Cost smartphone” but may eventually wind up in the US of A as Wireless Broadband becomes more pervasive.

This as in the future, when both Voice and Data are on one common Data Platform, is exemplified by Telecom Provider Verizon VoLTE (Voice over LTE) as stated in my blog article entitled “Verizon's LTE Network and VoLTE - The Dead Zone meets The Machine Stops”.

It is this coming pervasiveness of Wireless Broadband that prompted me to declare that EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and GPRS (Global Packet Radio System) which are the 2G Data Platforms that are subsets of the GSM (Global System Mobile) Voice Platform or EV-DO on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) should be made free to the public to whet their appetite for Wireless Broadband Internet as stated in my blog article entitled “Telecom Provider LIME and M2M Services - Free SMS and EDGE for the Caribbean to Foster Regional Integration”.

This “free” usage of the slow speed EDGE and GPRS can be subsidized by the resale of the service to Third Party Companies as a M2M (Machine-2-Machine) Service to connect their devices to the Internet for communicating discrete Data over the Telecom Providers Network.

Telecom Provider AT&T, wheel and come again, as your SMS is overpriced in a Telecoms Infrastructure that is increasingly consuming more Wireless Broadband Data! 

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