TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: America the Worst For Cell Rates and Plans

Re: America the Worst For Cell Rates and Plans

Tony P. (
Sun, 30 Jan 2005 17:09:35 -0500

In article <>, erobins@withheld

> Please mask my email address.

> Each system has its pluses and minuses. In Europe the caller pays
> means that everyone gives out their cell number because it costs them
> nothing to receive calls. Market penetration is over 75% in most
> countries, and 100% in major areas like Paris. The market penetration
> is much lower in the states. If the European system were inferior, why
> wouldn't it be less popular? If the American system is so wonderful
> why are there far fewer cell phones than here in Europe? Why is the
> European market so much larger?

Probably because the U.S. has a better wired infrastructure than many
parts of Europe.

> In Paris I can use my cell phone in the subway and in most tunnels.
> Can you do that in New York? Of course, not. I can use my phone on
> high speed trains (oh yes, European trains are superior, too). Skiers
> in the Alps can call, too, very useful in case of an emergency. In the
> states, coverage is very spotty indeed. I can use my cell phone
> anywhere in London or Paris. Alas, this isn't true in New York City.

From my little world there isn't anywhere I can't get signal, including
the bowels of the Rhode Island State House behind layers of brick,
marble and steel.

The biggest problem we face here is denial of service because a site is

> Worse, there are several different systems in the states. If you
> decide to change from Sprint to Cingular you have to get a new
> phone. In Europe all I need do is insert the new sim into my phone,
> which is not locked to a single carrier, as in the states.

That's because Europe embraced GSM and the SIM. That runs totally
anathema to U.S. carriers.

> In the states people carry a pager and a cell phone, which is more
> costly, and a nuisance to boot. One receives a message on ones pager,
> then one turns on the cell phone and makes the call. Isn't that silly?

All I carry is a cell phone. It does email, text messaging etc.

> If callee pays were the norm for landline phones Bell Telephone would
> never have reached the 100% market penetration it did. There would be
> phone books either. The European system employs a distinct area code
> for cell phones so there is no confusion. Not so in the states. If I
> call a 305 or a 917 area code I don't know if it is a cell phone or a
> landline one.

This is one area in which I think the U.S. dropped the ball but number
portability will force a new look at rate centers, etc. As it is now, my
local area is the entire area of North America including Canada. Not bad
for $24.99 a month for VoIP.

But all of this has the incumbent carriers worried. The regulatory
structure that they brought upon themselves will be what puts the final
nail in their coffin.

Even now, once mighty AT&T is going to be absorbed by one of its Baby
Bell's, SBC.

> There are now plans here in Europe where calls are free in the evening
> and weekends, or to close friends or relatives, the same as in the
> states.

That's true -- mobile to mobile never has to travel to the PSTN, while
nights and weekends just use excess capacity available at those times.
As I stated earlier, during the day there are times when I just can
NOT place a call with my cell.

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