GPRS

I finally got around to connecting to the Internet through my GSM phone. My phone is a Motorola V200 and my service is through Cingular, but through a corporate account (so it's really AT&T; still).

Here's my wvdial.conf:

[Dialer Defaults] Modem = /dev/ttyACM0 Baud = 460800 Init1 = ATH Init2 = ATE1 Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,IP,proxy,0.0.0.0,0,0 Phone = *99***1# Username = guest Password = guest

I have several sites to thank for the info but primarily this one and the ones that it links to.

We had a guy from one of the big cellular carriers at a lecture for the College of Engineering a while back. One of the things he talked about was how great their data capabilities were and how strange they thought it was that more people didn't use that service. While it's true that there are some huge advantages to using GPRS (very wide availability, exceptional roaming) it costs way too much. But perhaps more important than the cost is the pricing model. Cellular providers still charge per-kilobyte.

There are a few problems with this pricing model.

  1. The user doesn't have much control over what bits will come back down the pipe at him, or up the pipe from him for that matter. With worms on the Internet and long flash banner ads on the Web this is even more true.

  2. The average user doesn't know what it is, or at least doesn't have a sense of what the scale is. This is closely related to the first problem.

  3. It's not what we're used to. I'll grant that people are used to paying by the minute for their cellular voice service but nobody (nobody sane in the US at least) is paying for Internet service per-minute or per-kilobyte.

A flat monthly rate competetive with traditional broadband would work better but to get people to actually use it it would have to cost less than broadband. Why? Because it's slower. I care more about speed than I do about mobility and I'll bet you do too. Why? Because you can't type (or mouse) while driving, or walking, or otherwise being "mobile".

Yes, I know you shouldn't be talking on a phone while driving either but at least it doesn't demand both your hands and your eyes.

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