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  1. #1
    Brandt Redd Guest

    Default Have ordered AT&T PocketNet Service

    We at are evauating wireless services and I have just placed an order for AT&T's new PocketNet Service.

    The good stuff:
    * Wireless internet access ranges from free for the basic plan to $14.99/month for the premium plan. This is in addition to any of AT&T's voice plans. (E.g. 49.95/month OneRate)
    * Usage is unlimited.
    * The Mitsubishi T250 phone combines analog cellular (AMPS), two bands of TDMA digital voice, and CDPD data into a little handheld device.
    * The phone has an embedded 10-line browser that supporting WML (WAP) and HDML (a reduced wireless form of HTML).
    * You can plug the T250 into your notebook and get 19.2Kbps internet access.

    The bad stuff:
    * CDPD is not as broadly deployed as we would all like.
    * Hidden in the fine print is the fact that AT&T charges 5 cents per kilobyte for internet access from the notebook. (Access from the phone is unlimited but notebook usage charges could add up fast!)

    More info is at

    I'll post more information after I've had a chance to try it out.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default AT&T & Verizon Wireless both "supporting CDPD"

    Greetings Brandt,

    RW: Thanks for letting us know that you have taken the plunge and ordered the PocketNet & CDPD service. A couple of heads-up for you:

    BR: You can plug the T250 into your notebook and get 19.2Kbps internet access.

    RW: Actually, CDPD is similar to cable TV in that the rate of service you can expect is entirely dependent upon how many other users are using the network when you are using it. 19.2Kbps is the rated top maximum speed, but there are very few areas in the USA where the actual thru-put will exceed 14.4Kbps. In fact, many areas can only support a thru-put of about 8-10Kbps.

    RW: The bit of "good news" is that despite much evidence to the contrary, (eg: some local telecos have been known to remove the CDPD hardware to gain sprectrum for better ROI services) I recently attended a press briefing in Austin, TX at which the senior managers for AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless both stated a public commitment to support CDPD for the next few years.

    BR: The bad stuff: * CDPD is not as broadly deployed as we would all like. * Hidden in the fine print is the fact that AT&T charges
    5 cents per kilobyte for internet access from the notebook. (Access from the phone is unlimited but notebook usage charges
    could add up fast!)

    RW: Please give us some updates on your billing and service as they develop!

    Thanks for the posting!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default "Wireless Web" or WWW?


    What did the AT&T folks tell you about accessing the Web? It may be a misunderstanding on my part, but it certainly seems like the PocketNet service is based on the assumption that you will only be downloading information from the AT&T's approved "wireless web" providers.


  4. #4
    Brandt Redd Guest

    Default 5 cents and wap browsing

    Sorry about the long delay before my reply. I've been sidetracked onto another project but I'll be back onto wireless before long.

    Here's what I've discovered so far:

    I really like the Mitsubishi T250. It has enough screen real estate to do some real work but it's not much bigger than my Nokia.

    After some practice the T9 text entry method is reasonable for short messages. I've sent and received eMail messages while sitting in the doctor's office.

    I ordered the $15/month premium package. This is only $15 on top of any of the standard AT&T voice packages. In addition to unlimited "wireless web" access which you get with the basic package this gives you an eMail account (accessible by the phone or via a standard browser) and it allows you to browse any web site, many of which offer their information in WML (part of the WAP standard) markup. This browsing of the entire web is still unlimited so long as you use the phone and not an attached computer.

    Theoretically, their proxy server can translate HTML pages on the web into the WML markup used by these phones. Practically speaking I have only found a few HTML pages that are viewable. But the WML pages are very useful.

    The standard sites that they provide offer good utility. I have located restaurants in my area, looked up door-to-door driving directions, gotten airline flight schedules, read the latest news, looked up stock quotes, etc.

    I haven't yet received the cable that links the phone to a computer. Once I discovered the 5 cent charge in the fine print we have reduced the priority of that evaluation. Instead we will probably be getting an Aircard 300 with the fixed-rate AT&T service. The catch there is that if you roam outside AT&Ts coverage the 5 cent rate returns.

    We are also exploring Go America but they limit you to provided applications (which include a web browser, eMail etc.). Since we want to do things like VPN tunnelling into our Network Operations Center we would violate that provision.

    More in the future.

  5. #5
    Brandt Redd Guest

    Default Report on a Summer with AT&T Pocketnet

    Here's an update on using the Mitsubishi T250 for a summer on AT&T Pocketnet.

    We did a lot of travelling this summer which gave me a chance to try out the phone in a lot of different places.

    First off: With the exception of a couple of non-coverage places in remote Utah this phone has never failed to obtain Voice coverage. Three of its four modes are voice (analog and two digital modes) and it always seems to find something to connect with. This includes a remote spot at camping with the scouts at 9500 feet Uintah mountains fifteen miles from any paved roads. At Lake Powell in Southern Utah I had to climb up to the canyon rim but then had an excellent (Digital!) connection.

    However, I could only get CDPD data coverage in relatively large communities. In Utah, CDPD coverage extends from Springville (five miles to the south of me) up to my parent's home in Logan (150 miles to the north). This covers about 95% of the population of the state but less than 10% of the area. Travelling to Southern Idaho and in various rural parts of Utah there was no data coverage.

    We flew back to Boston and spent a week in Maine and New Hampshire. Data coverage worked well in and around Boston but in the rest of New England there was only voice coverage.

    Regarding the data service itself, it's pretty nice. I can receive and send eMail, read the latest news and do most of the other advertised things. However, I'm still not ready to entrust stock trades or e-commerce orders to this thing.

    Overall, it's a useful device for traveling executives because there is good coverage in Metro US. But the coverage doesn't offer dashboarders what we're looking for.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Great Field Report -- Kudos!

    Road Greetings Brandt!

    The more things change the more Dashboarders have to keep looking. Look at the posting 09/27 from Terry -- who thought he was seeing a new product called Starband.

    The most interesting aspect of your field trials (to me) was the difficulty in reaching CDPD. That digital over-lay transponding equipment was built on many of the analog towers and I find it weird that you had so little success.

    Your tests seem to belie and over-rule the ardent marketing of both Verizon and AT&T about continuing to support CDPD on the networks.

    Looking forward to more news as the Systems get more tweaking.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default News about pricing?

    Brandt, The other aspect of this I was hoping you could comment on was the amount of the billing and how well or poorly the costs matched your expectations given the marketing information provided at the execution of your contract.


  8. #8
    imported_Brandt Redd Guest

    Default Pricing and expectations

    Sorry about the slow response.

    Billing / pricing should be exactly what I expected. Basically, AT&T Pocketnet piggybacks on their regular One Rate plan. If you have a web-equipped phone there is no charge for basic PocketNet access. I opted for the premium plan which includes eMail and the ability to access any URL on the web (though it's only really effective with wireless-adapted sites). The premium plan is a flat $15/month on top of the One-Rate plan.

    All of AT&T's PocketNet plans are unlimited use. The only semi-hidden usage-based charge comes if you use the phone as a wireless data modem for your laptop computer. Since this is billed at 5 cents per MB, I have chosen not to even try it.

    Regarding CDPD coverage: Even though the concept originated on the analog towers, I have never found CDPD coverage without digital voice. So CDPD coverage seems to be a subset of digital voice coverage. To their credit, AT&T and the other CDPD carriers focus their coverage claims on how well they cover _populated_ areas. In Utah, they've done pretty well in covering the population centers. For example, Logan, UT is our most northern city of any substantial size. I can get PocketNet coverage there but my wife's Sprint phone does not work for anything.

    Trouble is, the scenic areas where I spent my summer aren't populated.

    While I'm giving an update: I have just started reading George Gilder's new book _Telecosm_. This is a fascinating treatise on where communication is headed in both the wireless and wired world. Gilder has an almost unequalled ability to take scientific developments and project their social impact.


  9. #9
    SK Guest


  10. #10
    imported_SK Guest

    Default CDPD

    I've just read the posts to this thread, and want to note that GoAmerica offers unlimited CDPD service for $59 a month.


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