Tag Archives: verizon

Do You Have a Broadband Choice?

Usually when an ISP is discussed, it is directly related to how fast their speeds are or how good their customer service may be. I often see someone get angry with their provider and Tweet out that they are planning a switch to someone new. We take for granted the fact that there are many choices and options out there, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when there are no choices? How is it possible that in this day and age there are still fairly large cities with a monopoly in place?

Look at Indianapolis, for example. It’s not a small town… we’re talking a population of 829,718. This is the eleventh largest city in the United States according to the 2010 census, yet my assistant Kat has spent hours attempting to find alternatives to Bright House and AT&T. There is nothing there, unless they want to fork over $200.00 per month for a T1 line. She’d absolutely love to have one of those, but like most of you out there – it’s not in her budget. I find it incredulous that in today’s cutthroat ISP market there is nothing else there for her to choose from.

Indy isn’t alone, either. There are large cities all across this fair country of ours who have to deal with utility monopolies. Most of the time, this is in the form of electricity and natural gas providers. Living here in Seattle, I guess I simply didn’t realize that there are still places where you are stuck with one company for your high-speed Internet service, as well.

I know that Kat and others like her should be grateful to have access to a broadband connection at all, and I know that she is. There are still millions of people in this country alone who don’t even have that option, and that’s something that the FCC is trying to address. This rant is more aimed at the fact that we shouldn’t have to deal with such monopolies in 2011, no matter what form it takes.

Are you on a proverbial desert island when it comes to choices for your ISP or other utility services? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Will You Be Switching from AT&T to Verizon?

Up until today, AT&T had an exclusive lock on the iPhone. Now that it is available on the Verizon network, people are wondering whether or not they should be changing providers. When King5 news came to my house earlier today, Dad and I sat down with the reporter to talk about all of these types of questions.

Dad had a heck of a time choosing a cell phone for himself. He wanted a smartphone, but had no idea what exactly he needed. He checked out several different models, and did end up settling on an iPhone 4. Now, he’s wondering if he should be switching to Verizon.

Dad lives in an area where AT&T works well. Why on Earth would he pay those cancellation fees to make a switch? If you are happy with AT&T at this time, there’s no reason to be changing anything. Don’t break your contract. The phones themselves really aren’t any different.

When looking for a phone for yourself, keep my Dad’s advice in mind: “Why buy a Cadillac when a Chevy will do?” If you don’t NEED bells and whistles, then don’t pay for them.

Verizon iPhone Pre-Orders to Start February 3rd

Verizon is offering existing customers a chance to buy the Verizon iPhone on February 3rd, a week before the general public. According to an email received by MacRumors, Verizon will begin pre-order sales at 3am Eastern on February 3rd. The email also indicates that the pre-sale inventory is limited, so when that inventory is depleted, customers will have to wait until the February 10th public launch date.

Make sure you have your My Verizon self-serve account set-up online. Orders can only be placed through your my Verizon account. On February 3rd at 3am EST, Verizon Wireless will allow our current customers to order upgrades or new lines to their accounts through your My Verizon online account (make sure you have registered before the 3rd).

Verizon is allowing certain existing AT&T customers to trade in their current iPhone for credit towards a new Verizon iPhone 4. Depending on which model you have, you could receive up to $360.00 in credits.

Are you planning to make a switch to Verizon?

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Verizon and the Perfect iPhone Commercial

And so it begins… the first Verizon iPhone commercial has been unleashed on the world. Whether or not you are a fan of the beloved Apple device hitting Verizon’s markets, you have to admit that this commercial is a damn good one. Its sheer simplicity is perfection.

The scene is set with a simple clock showing a time of 11:59. You can hear the ticking in the background as different clocks are shown, all with different times on them. Someone’s fingers are tapping a desk impatiently. These elements together perfectly set you up for the big moment…

That moment comes when the proverbial clock strikes twelve. We see a pretty girl break out into a huge smile, but there is no party. There are no fireworks, streamers or confetti. Verizon Wireless simply says:

To our millions of customers who never stopped believing this day would come – thank you.

Simplicity can be powerful, folks. Keep that in mind.

Bring Your Phone Number to Google Voice – for a Fee

You will soon be able to port your current telephone number over to your Google Voice account – for a small fee, that is. For the nominal cost of twenty bucks (payable via Google Checkout), you can terminate your current service plan – and likely rack up some early termination fees. Think about it, though… you’ll never ever lose your current number! Is that worth paying out a few extra (hundred) dollars in the form of those cancellation fees when you look at the grand scheme of things?

Photo credit to Engadget.

The feature is still being tested and isn’t quite available to everyone as of yet. According to an official statement from Google, “We’re continually testing new features to enhance the user experience. For a limited amount of time, we’re making the Google Voice number porting process available to users. We don’t have any additional details to share at this time, but plan to offer this feature to all users in the near future.”

I find it ironic that Google is making it easy for AT&T haters (such as MG Sigler) an easy way out. I know many of you are planning to suck up those fees and cancel your current contracts in favor of Verizon’s iPhone. By using the new port feature on Google Voice, you won’t lose your current number – and can have calls to it forwarded to your new device. How handy is that? MG has already done it, and I think many more will follow suit.

If you already have a Google Voice number that you regularly use, this newly ported number will wipe that out (though you’ll have access to both for 90 days as you transition). And yes, you will still need another service plan from another carrier that you can then forward your old number to — Google is still not a carrier (at least not yet). So be careful.

What are your thoughts? Do you plan to port an existing number over to Google Voice? Are you jumping onto the Verizon bandwagon? Is your head stuck in the wrong Cloud – not allowing you to see the potential beauty in what Google is trying to do?

The Cost of the Verizon iPhone

This is a guest post written by my assistant, Kat Armstrong.

Earlier today, I happened to read a post on the Business Insider. The article discussed the fact that Verizon is ending its credit program for current customers. Up until January 16th, current customers can receive a $100.00 credit towards a new phone if they renew their contract when their two-year period is up. Theoretically, this means that they could apply that credit towards an iPhone and have it cost only $99.00. But is that actually true?

A few moments ago, I was chatting with a regular community member named Carlton Pecot. Carlton is a long-time Verizon customer who happens to have a contract coming up for renewal. Like many of you, he is excited at the prospect of owning an iPhone at long last. He called Verizon today to ask about pricing and such, so that he and his girlfriend (they are on a shared plan) can make their final decisions about the handset.

Needless to say, Carlton is extremely upset after speaking with a rep at great length. He was told more than once that he can not receive any special pricing or discounts when upgrading to an iPhone. The Verizon rep informed our friend that the $299 pricing ONLY applies to NEW CONTRACT CUSTOMERS. Carlton was told that current customers who upgrade to the new iPhone will have to pay $499 – even if they sign a new two-year contract.

This is in direct contrast to what is being said on numerous blogs and websites right now, and it’s frankly quite disturbing. Is this rep completely out of the loop and circulating somewhere in outer space? It’s impossible to know for sure, and I have a feeling that’s the way it will be spun. However, Carlton made sure to ask more than once for the rep to verify what he had said regarding the actual cost of the Verizon iPhone for current customers.

On the Verizon site, it specifically states that “When purchasing iPhone at the 2 year promotional price a new agreement is required. However, you will also have the option to purchase iPhone at full retail price, which will not require you to sign a long-term agreement.” That makes it sound as though current customers who sign a new two-year contract can take advantage of the promotional price. That is not what was told to Carlton, though… repeatedly.

If this is true, it stinks to high Heaven. If a current customer in good standing is up for renewal, they should get the same pricing on phones as someone who starts a new contract… just as we do on AT&T. This smacks of trying to gouge more money out of good people (loyal customers!) who have been impatiently waiting to renew until they could get an iPhone.

In my opinion, this shouldn’t be about new customers. It should be about new contracts. A “renewed” contract IS a new contract, folks. Why are existing customers being treated differently than new ones?

What are your thoughts? Could this particular rep have everything completely wrong, or is something not quite right here?

Update

As I said earlier in this post, it’s entirely possible that this lone rep is seriously misguided. Where, though, did they get the information they were tossing out to their customer? It had to come from somewhere! One of Chris’ Twitter followers said that he was given opposite information today by Verizon, with them telling him he can use his “New Every Two” credit towards the iPhone.

I still maintain that something smells fishy here, folks. It could be that not every Verizon employee has the proper information. That itself is a problem in and of itself. Whatever the case may be, someone needs to figure out what they’re doing and pass those important facts along to all of their reps.

Upcoming Android Additions

Mog is a premium music service that lets you pay $10 a month to stream an unlimited number of songs to your computer and your mobile devices. The service will even let you download entire albums to your phone and save them. Ustream is a service which allows you to view live video streams – or stream a show of your own with just a few mouse clicks. The two companies do very different things, but they have one very important thing in common as of today: both will be automatically bundled onto 4G Verizon Android devices.

MOG will also be featured in Verizon’s V CAST app store, and users will be able to sign up for MOG accounts using Verizon carrier billing. By utilizing carrier billing, the companies are betting that more people will want to sign up for the service, since they won’t have to whip out their credit cards yet again. Additionally, having it bundled on the phone automatically will help make sure people use it… what better way is there to test out just how good that 4G connection really is than by downloading an entire music album with it?

The Ustream application will let you both broadcast and view live video streams. There will be integrated chat and social network integration for posting your videos to Facebook and Twitter. This will mean more exposure than ever for Ustream, a move that the company hopes will gain them more users. In a world of tough competition with other streaming applications, Ustream needs every advantage they can get. Making it simple to use on every Verizon 4G Android device is a great way to get a leg up on other similar services.

What are your thoughts? If you are a potential customer, are you happy to see these applications being included on your device without your asking for them?

Google, Verizon, and Net Neutrality


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A recent caller wanted to discuss an article he had read on Lockergnome. Written by none other than Ron Schenone, the piece talks about how Google and Verizon have been discussing paths they feel the Internet should take.

The proposal between the two companies is just that – a proposal. It’s not “a secret behind the door deal designed to sabotage net neutrality. But more like recommendations that could open the dialogue and provide congress with a direction to take and hopefully protect all consumers as well as service providers.”

A tiered Internet, controlled by just a few providers, is extremely dangerous in my opinion. It’s human nature to not want to be controlled. Information should be just as free from control. When we yield control of information to private services, I become greatly concerned.

Anyone who says they are for Net Neutrality is GOOD… it means simply being in favor of having open and equal access to everything by everyone. Google was for it at one point. Sadly, that seems to have changed.

When you restrict access to information, you begin to restrict our very lives and what we believe in. I feel it’s a violation of our own Bill of Rights. There has to be a means of checks and balances. As some countries have said, having Internet access could very well a RIGHT. Having access to that information is something that everyone should be blessed with.

What are your thoughts on Net Neutrality?

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No Verizon iPhone in the Near Future

There have been rumors running rampant about a possible Verizon iPhone for nearly as long as the iPhone itself has been on the market. Customers want it so badly they can taste it… and spread mis-information about the possibility. Today, we learned that there is definitely no merger between the two companies coming any time soon. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg stated that “We would love to carry it when we get there, but we have to earn it.”

Seidenberg does, however, allude to the possibility of something beautiful happening in the future, once Verizon’s 4G network is running smoothly. He feels that whenever Apple is ready to make a 4G iPhone, they will be ready to help unleash it upon the World. “I think 4G will accelerate the process,” he said, “and any other decisions Apple makes would be fine with us. Hopefully, at some point Apple will get with the program.”

Verizon isn’t getting an iPhone, but you can still get the best software and apps right on our site.

New Motorola Droid X and Samsung Vibrant Full of Bloatware

Recently, we discussed bloatware found on computers. Bloatware includes all of the unnecessarily pre-installed programs that come with your shiny new machine. They take up space and sit there trying to entice you into using them. Over the years, we’ve hardened ourselves to this problem and simply start removing stuff as soon as we hook up our new toy. We shouldn’t have to do this, no. It’s just an annoying fact of life. Sadly, it seems as though many smartphones are now following in their big brother’s footsteps.

The Motorola Droid X and the Samsung Vibrant (both just released today) come with some bloatware apps pre-installed. The problem is, though, that most of them are NOT able to be removed. The Droid X, for instance, sports a Blockbuster video app and a demo for an Electronic Arts game called Need for Speed: Shift. The Blockbuster app includes a store locator and a place where you can download mobile movies from their catalog. You cannot uninstall this app from your phone – you can only remove it from your home screen. The game gives you limited functionality and a nice, big button urging you to buy the full version. This app can be removed, thankfully. Skype is included on the phone and is another permanent fixture. A strange new “feature” called City ID is also included. It gives location information about a phone number on your incoming call screen. It will only work for fifteen days, and then you’ll have to pony up about two bucks per month to use it.

The Vibrant is no less guilty of feeding us bloated apps we don’t need. You’ll find the Avatar movie on your phone, just in case you want to watch it over and over. One cannot help but wonder how much they paid to have that handily included. Another app is a video channel named MobiTV, which is only free for the first month. Third, you’ll find The Sims 3: Collector’s Edition. And last – but likely least – is an OLD version of Amazon’s Kindle app. None of these four applications can be removed from the device.

To me, this is ludicrous. I should have the ability to choose what programs and applications I want on my devices. If you want to pre-load something, so be it. I’m used to that. But you damn well need to give me the ability to get rid of whatever it is I don’t want. Do you agree with me – or not?