Which are Hot, Which are Not? It’s a Confusing & Cluttered Cellular World. Get the Buzz

Very recently we have seen more choices afforded to the cell phone customers. Initially cell phone customers were comprised of the elite few who absolutely had to have communications in their car for professional reasons such as Ceo’s, executives, the rich and famous, limo drivers, government vehicles and more.  The first customers actually used a mobile operator to place the call and the per minute cost, well let’s say that if any cell company asked for even a tenth of this, they would be laughed out of the industry by today’s standards.

The industry has changed drastically, and the choice on service for consumers has also become a buyers market for sure.  Back in the 1980’s it was hard to find a source to purchase or obtain service. Most major metro areas had only 1 to 2 service provider choices. Cell One and Ameritech were the prime example of the 2 choices that were provided.  Many rural areas had nothing to do with this form of communication at all.  This form of connecting with people, was still thought of as a business type of communications.  Locations generally had hours of operation in alignment with business hours and typically were open only Monday through Friday from 8am until 6pm with Saturdays and Sundays closed.  The target market in the United States was not meant to be your average person. Sorry soccer Moms, “texting teens” and “I’m just board with driving, and I need to talk about nothing to everyone” consumers!   Back in the day a fast credit check typically took 3 hours to 24 hours and you had to disclose your mortgage, income, debt, what you ate for breakfast favorite color, who you liked…ok a little extreme at the end.  You get the idea.

The original services used a technology known as “analog” service and the original digital service came later after several failed attempts.  Approx. 95% of service today is digital.  Also it became apparent that as the technology evolved, your phone may not do work well, if at all, as you traveled out of your home carrier’s network area.  And if it did work, some services such as text messaging, voice mail notification, and data would not work at all, until you returned back to one of your carriers ‘home towers”  Some additional surprises were also in store for you when you got your next cell phone bill.  Depending on where you “roamed” you could have been charged as much as $10 a day just to turn the phone on and some per minute charges were steep at $3.00 per minute.  Wow!  That’s like buying a premium latte very single minute you talked. That’s one heck of a buzz! LOL.

Ok, enough of the past.  What is happening now? Some of the latest advances in wireless are not just limited to wireless.  Ok, a glance that doesn’t make any sense so let’s break that one down.  We now have different mediums of communicating, the internet, landline, (Yeah remember the home phone?   Hello Sarah, get me Aunt Bee.  REF:  The Andy Griffith Show.  Ok not that far back), and cellular. Now the three shall never meet. NOT TRUE!   Most recently the internet has become the “highay” for a service called VOIP, or “Voice Over IP”.  One of the most known companies using this is a company called Vonage.  Basically this is a service of utilizing the internet to carry regular phone calls. It has it’s pluses and minuses.  The plus side is that it is extremely inexpensive to carry phone calls this way, just by the very nature by which the Internet works. A minus is that it does rely on a reliable fast internet connection for it to operate correctly.  So what does this have to do with cellular? Well in the last year a company called T-Mobile, a cell company, introduced a service called T-Mobile hot spot. It initially used T-Mobile phones that were Wi-Fi enabled.  When initiating the call from home and connecting the the wi-fi unit, the call would actually use the internet and not the towers.  This actually ahd two advantages.   One advantage was that the signal was 100% pure and not relying on tower strength, and two that the call was unlimited calling without using any7 of the subscribers minutes.  You had to have two things for this to work.  A T-Mobile cell phone that was Wi-Fi capable and the Hot Spot service from T-Mobile for about $10 a month.  The advantage was evident for subscribers that had signal issues at their home.  It also allowed connections from sub basements that usually would be a challenge.  This was the very first form of cellphone landline service.   The next landline service to be launched by T-Mobile was the T-Mobile @home service.  Like the HotSpot service it also used the internet.  However, unlike the hotspot service you do not need a Wi-Fi enabled phone.  As a matter of fact, you do not use the cell phone at all.  T-Mobile provides you with a router made by Linksys.  You plug in the router into your internet service provider and the other end into your computer.  Also you use your existing cordless phone and you now have VOIP service for about $10 a month.  Unlimited nationwide service traveling straight over your Internet.  Most recently Verizon Wireless has also introduced their version of this cellphone landline service as well.   It is called ‘The Hub” and not only does the same thing as the T-Mobile service, but goes beyond with other data resources that can be forwarded to other Verizon Wireless subscribers.  So the recipe is take cell service, mix in land line service and bake it through the internet to serve up a tasty dish that enhances all of our lives!

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