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Cellphones Wireless Networking Hardware

AT&T Wireless Network Is Open Too 122

narramissic writes "Following last week's much-heralded announcement that Verizon Wireless would open up its network, AT&T is making it known that its wireless network is also open to outside devices. 'By its nature, GSM technology is open,' said Michael Coe, an AT&T spokesman. 'Customers could always use GSM phones not sold by AT&T on our network. We can't guarantee the performance of the device, of course.' AT&T will start to publicize that information through salespeople at AT&T stores, Ralph de la Vega, CEO of the company's wireless business, told USA Today."
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AT&T Wireless Network Is Open Too

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  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by explosivejared ( 1186049 ) <hagan,jared&gmail,com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:49PM (#21613869)
    For other devices, "we will unlock the device when customers fulfill their contract; we will also unlock the device if the customer pays full price for the device," he said. "The iPhone, however, is an exception. The iPhone is exclusive to AT&T in the U.S."

    Translation: Yeah, yeah openness or whatever the buzzword is, but we still gotta turn a profit. If it's any consolation I hear they are really easy to unlock on your own.

    I don't blame AT&T. Apple signed the agreement and now AT&T is due their profits. However, it is quite a marvel to see the dustorm Google kicked up. Competition, when you can get it, is a powerful thing.
  • I call bullsh*t (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gambit3 ( 463693 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:50PM (#21613881) Homepage Journal
    I couldn't even get a phone locked to the OLD ATT (ATT Blue, for those counting) unlocked by them to work on the NEW ATT (formerly called ATT Orange, or Cingular). It was a phone I bought FROM THEM, and that I'd been using for three years. I liked it. It had long battery life and was sturdy.

    I just wanted to change my plan (I was LONG out of contract) and to use the same phone with the new plan. They refused, and even told me to go to "one of those stores at the mall" and pay to have it unlocked. I very kindly told them what they could do with themselves, and switched carriers.

    Open my foot.
  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:56PM (#21613963) Journal

    My last two phones have been bought off of eBay, unlocked, with no branding or disabled features of any kind. Both worked without a hitch on AT&T (and Cingular, at that time), though I don't use data services, so I can't speak to that.

    As for the phones they sell you, I've heard that if you ask nicely, and have an account history with them, they will unlock your phone for a legitimate reason - e.g., if you are traveling overseas for a few months. Again, I didn't have to do this when I was abroad, since my phone was already unlocked.

  • by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @01:09PM (#21614127)
    I never really liked many of the phones that AT&T/Cingular/whatever sells in their stores. The last three or four phones I've owned I've always bought from places other than AT&T and I've never had any problems with them. One big reason I do this is because I want a GSM phone that will work outside the US. I recently went to New Zealand and Australia, and if I had an AT&T provided phone it wouldn't have worked down there. My current phone, a Motorola V360, worked great down there with local SIM cards I bought. I always make sure I get a quad-band GSM phone for this specific reason.

    The only real advantage to buying a phone from a carrier is that it'll come fully configured to operate on their network. When I buy non-branded phones I have to set them up myself. It's basically entering information for voicemil access, WAP gateway, and similar things. It's easy enough to find out most of this information though. Just do a quick Google search of your carrier & phone and you'll probably find numerous forum posts describing how to do it.
  • While AT&T allows any device to be used, they won't give you a break on the service price even though you they don't have to 'recoup the cost of the hardware'. When I went into an AT&T store two months ago they said that the only benefit I would see by purchasing my device elsewhere was to cut the contract length from 2 years to 1 year. If I use my own hardware, I don't see why they should need anything more than a valid credit card for which to reliably bill me for service. The telephone and cable companies don't require contracts for service!

    Of course, they also have prepaid plans, but a monthly plan with more peak minutes than I'd ever use is the only way to get the free nights/weekends that I do use.

    For the record, I ended up leaving Verizon for Unicel and love the service, the price, the plan features (free incoming calls and texts), and they don't do any locking of hardware at all. Now if only we can prevent Verizon from buying Unicel...
  • Re:I suppose... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @02:36PM (#21615377)

    Actually, what happens is carriers "certify" phones to work on their network. YOu may wonder why you can buy Model X of a phone, and find that it doesn't have features while other Model X's do. Some of these features include things like call timers (carriers disable them since they like to charge from the moment you hit Send, rather than the moment the call is actually connected), byte timers (carriers can charge for every byte, including OTA packet headers and such), button color (the Send and End keys *MUST* be of a certain shade of green and red...), and so on.

    I think I should point out again that in the rest of the world, carriers do not do this kind of stupid stuff.

    This is an example [], it's a mobile device designed entirely by a network operator. None of this slap-windows-mobile-on-it rubbish, this is a BREW based handset (running the MSM6280). All the features and functionality have been explicity detailed, designed and managed by O2 .. and guess what?

    • It has a fully functioning bluetooth stack so you can send and received any content you like
    • It even supports A2DP and AVRCP.
    • You can set any supported music file as a ringtone, you can bluetooth it off the device directly from the music player if you want
    • You can send and receive vcard and vcalendar files
    • You can access the device in mass storage mode and pull off your pictures or video, or put some on, or set them as a wallpaper
    • You can synchronise your contacts and calendar using the supplied software with Microsoft Outlook
    • It supports SyncML 1.1.2
    • It has a fully working Java runtime environment. You can download and install unsigned Java applications if you want.
    • It has a full XHTML browser which you can use to access the web.

    Only in the USA do carriers have such a massive control over their phones. This is a prime example of a device which could have been massively crippled from birth - but the operator deliberately chose not to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:01PM (#21616549)
    Get a prepaid phone. Transplant the SIM card from your prepaid phone to the phone you want to use.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.