Cell data rules, scary

Motorola_Cell_Modem_c_Panbo

My latest PMY electronics column, “Connected Cruising”, is now online and here’s a full size version of the screen shot I used to illustrate a successful online cell phone venture using Motorola’s Phone Tools software. A PMY forum comment from Robert Stronger adds some interesting detail to this story:

1. My Verizon EVDO service was fast and nicely supported live steaming quotes and slingbox tv for me last winter anchored in Boot Key Hbr and environs. Unfortunately Verizon sent me a data service termination letter because my 11 gigabytes usage in January exceeded their tolerance level for my ‘unlimited’ data service plan. Slingmedia really uses the gigs.
2. Fortunately that sent me to ATT Cingular where my new Cingular 8525 GSM phone has even faster data service and unlike Verizon evdo the gsm service supports simultaneous voice and data – very important when on board and your mobile phone is tethered to your laptop all day and night doing data duty. ATT, at least for now, is very tolerant of heavy usage.
3. The gsm service also works nicely in many other countries like the Bahamas where they have recently upgraded. But be careful of overseas data charges. Crossing the gulf stream I got great service out of US cell towers and first night in Bimini lazy and watched ’24’ via Slingmedia on my laptop only to discover the next day it had cost me several hundred dollars in data charges with Batelco – all without any notification that I was connected to Batelco. Net net, the ATT HSDPA service with the 8525 phone is real fast and cost effective in the USA but maybe real fast and real expensive elswhere.

I knew that the cellular companies had quite restrictive rules about “unlimited” data plans, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a boater being booted. Here’s some snippets from Cingular’s contract (though apparently not excercised yet): 

PROHIBITED USES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, USING SERVICES: (I) WITH SERVER DEVICES OR WITH HOST COMPUTER APPLICATIONS, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WEB CAMERA POSTS OR BROADCASTS, CONTINUOUS JPEG FILE TRANSFERS, AUTOMATIC DATA FEEDS, TELEMETRY APPLICATIONS, PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) FILE SHARING, AUTOMATED FUNCTIONS OR ANY OTHER MACHINE-TO-MACHINE APPLICATIONS; …UNLIMITED PLANS CANNOT BE USED FOR UPLOADING, DOWNLOADING OR STREAMING OF VIDEO CONTENT (E.G. MOVIES, TV), MUSIC OR GAMES. FURTHERMORE, UNLIMITED PLANS (EXCEPT FOR DATACONNECT AND BLACKBERRY TETHERED) CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY APPLICATIONS THAT TETHER THE DEVICE (THROUGH USE OF, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, CONNECTION KITS, OTHER PHONE/PDA-TO-COMPUTER ACCESSORIES, BLUETOOTH® OR ANY OTHER WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY) TO LAPTOPS, PCS, OR OTHER EQUIPMENT FOR ANY PURPOSE.



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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

5 Responses

  1. Rand says:

    AT&T is forgiving to a point. If they see it looks like your pulling down laptop type data quantities they’l want you to get a laptop conect plan for that 8525.

  2. coderpunk says:

    So the real question is when is the FCC / whoever going to stop these unlimited-but plans from being called unlimited?
    Words mean things, and unlimited is pretty clear — at least to most users of the English language.
    .cp

  3. Bill says:

    There is a big thread about this issue over at http://www.evdoforums.com. Apparently it all depends on what market you are in. If you are in a ‘busy’ area. Also, apparently, Sprint EVDO does not have these restrictions and is welcoming, with open arms, anyone terminated by Verizon for overusage.

  4. From my experience with Cingular/AT&T, the moment you have to get one of their new SIM’s (for 3G devices or new accounts) they have a way to stop the “tethering”. This happened to me when I got a new 3G phone and had to get a new SIM in order to allow the faster connection. It took 2 days for everyone to figure out that I now needed their “tethering” plan (extra $20/month) which allowed me to connect my PC to the phone at 3G speeds.

  5. Thanks for the detailed post on this…
    I’ve been wanting to comment on this too, having just read something the other day about capping of download rates. I didn’t get that they were terminating users altogether on Verizon though. This reminds me of what HughesNet, the former DirecWay does on two-way broadband satellite.
    Also no doubt you’ve read or heard about the Sprint terminating 1000 customers of their wireless service for complaining too much or asking for support too much.

    Alan Spicer
    http://www.marinetelecom.net

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