Category Archives: AT&T

AT&T and Verizon Delay 5G Rollout Due to FAA’s Airline Safety Concerns

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., agreed to delay their planned December 5 rollout of a new 5G frequency band so they can work with the Federal Aviation Administration to address concerns about potential interference with key cockpit safety systems, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Verge reported that AT&T and Verizon planned to light up new 5G networks that use so-called “C-band” frequencies on December 5th. That rollout will now be delayed until at least January 5th, the companies said Thursday.

Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) posted a “Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin”. The subject was “Risk of Potential Adverse Effects on Radio Altimeters”. In short, the FAA wants radio altimeter manufactures to submit receiver RF selectivity, interference, and tolerance masks, and baseline operational specifications for each model number in production or still in use, and approximate numbers of each radio altimeter model currently in service in the United States.

The FAA also wants radio altimeter manufacturers to test each of their models to determine the susceptibility to interference from fundamental emissions in 3700-3800 MHz, which “is available for wireless broadband in December of 2021”, and the full 3700-3980 Mhz band which will become available later.

In addition, the FAA has a list of requests for aircraft manufacturers, operators, and pilots, regarding the 5G frequency band that AT&T and Verizon want to use.

According to The Verge, AT&T said it is working with the FAA and FCC to better understand that aviation industry’s concerns. In a statement provided to The Verge, “It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data. That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate co-existence issues exist.”

Verizon provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “We appreciate the FCC’s work in its discussions with the FAA and others to ensure a data-driven analysis that will again demonstrate that 5G operations in this band pose no risk to flight safety.”

I get the feeling that AT&T and Verizon are frustrated that they cannot roll out their 5G frequency band just yet. According to the Wall Street Journal, telecom industry officials don’t feel the need for more safeguards, saying that available evidence doesn’t show that the proposed 5G signals will interfere with flight equipment. Cellphone carries outside of the United States are using the that 5G frequency.

AT&T Launches Stream Saver for Mobile Data Customers

AT&T logoEveryone wants more data. Especially mobile users. The obvious solution would be for telcos to just give everyone unlimited data. But, they’re not ready to do that just yet. That’s why AT&T launched its new Stream Saver program for mobile video:

Stream Saver allows you to watch more video on your wireless devices while using less data by streaming content that it recognizes as video at Standard Definition quality, similar to DVD, (about 480p), so you can enjoy more of what you love on your smartphone or tablet. You will have control over which lines on your account use Stream Saver and can turn it off or on at any time once AT&T activates it.

(Why anyone would turn Stream Saver off is beyond me.) Stream Saver is automatically available for most AT&T customers:

Stream Saver will be added to existing and new customers on many of our postpaid rate plans that include data. It will be included on AT&T Unlimited Plus, Mobile Share Advantage, Mobile Share Value, and Mobile Share plans, the prior AT&T Unlimited Plan, the AT&T 1GB Tablet Plan, AT&T 1GB Car Plan, our Unlimited Data plan, and other select plans. Some specific plans such as select connected vehicles are not eligible.

AT&T also notes that Stream Saver will be available to GoPhone users with existing data plans. However, the service may not be available on all business accounts.

Stream Save is available at no extra cost to customers. I’m guessing AT&T implemented this plan in reaction to aggressive freebies offered by competitors like T-Mobile. I also wonder if Stream Saver allows AT&T to shape this video-based data in some way that makes it more efficient on their end. Either way, if you’re an AT&T mobile customer, you can now watch the latest season of your favorite TV show without it eating thru your data plan.

I Just Wanted To Give You My Money, T-Mobile…

T-mobile logoI’ve been in the market for a couple of smartphones. Specifically, one iPhone 6 Plus for myself and one iPhone 6 for my wife (and fellow GNC contributor) Jen. I was all set to purchase the new phones from T-Mobile earlier this week. But the utter failure of T-Mobile’s website lead me to buying from a competitor instead.

When I logged on to the T-Mobile site, I was immediately greeted with this message:

T-Mobile website browser warning


I was using the latest version of Safari on an iMac running the latest version of OS X. And yeah, I get it. Safari is often a bit of a thorn in the side of web developers. But, come on. It’s 2015. Macs are everywhere and many Mac users (including me) prefer to use Safari. Upon seeing this message, I knew I was in for trouble. But I carried on, anyway. I closed the browser warning message and clicked the “Shop” link at the top of the T-Mobile site.

From there, I selected a silver iPhone 6 Plus and continued on thru the rate-plan selection process, which went OK. Then, I went to add the second phone and that’s when the process started to fail. When the iPhone 6 screen loaded, it never gave me an option to buy the phone. I was stuck. I went back to my shopping cart to try and resume the process, and after much lag I was eventually given a “Processing Error” page that told me something had gone wrong, to wait a few minutes and try again.

So, I waited a few minutes and tried again with no luck. I waited a few more minutes and made another attempt. Still nothing. I’m not sure how many times I repeated this process before I started getting frustrated. I imagine at this point, most people would’ve given up. I guess I’m stricken with some sort of weird combination of patience and stubbornness. But, the thing is, I really wanted to buy these iPhones from T-Mobile.

Continue reading I Just Wanted To Give You My Money, T-Mobile…

Get a New Device Every Year with AT&T Next

AT&T logoAT&T is offering something new. It is called AT&T Next. At first glance, it looks like a way for AT&T customers to get a new smartphone or tablet every 12 months. It seems they are trying to attract people who strongly feel that they must have the newest, hottest, version of technology as soon as it comes out. Of course, these types of offers always have fine print that you should read.

Some key points are:
* Requires 20 month 0% APR installment agreement and qualifying credit.
* Requires you to get wireless service (voice & data for smartphones/data for tablets)
* If you cancel before the 12 months is up you must pay the remaining balance on the device.
* You must select a device from their list of qualifying devices.
* You cannot upgrade until after you have paid a minimum of 12 installment payments.
* You cannot upgrade unless your device is in good and functional condition.
* You have to purchase a new device/wireless agreement and service plan when you upgrade a device.
* There is a $35.00 restocking fee for smartphones, or a 10% restocking fee for tablets that are returned.

I can see where AT&T Next would be interesting for people who want to stick with AT&T for more than one year. You will have a monthly installment payment added to your bill for 12 months. If you decide to keep the device, the installment payments will end after 20 months. It is kind of like renting your tablet or smartphone instead of buying it (or like doing a rent-to-own type of thing).

On the other hand, I can see some problems. If the newest version of a smartphone or tablet hits the market before your 12 months are over, you are still going to have to wait before you can upgrade to it. That may annoy some people who chose AT&T Next because they thought it would put the newest devices in their hands immediately.

Frontline Airs Exposé on Cell Tower Deaths

Before you get too excited about the whole cellular radiation debate, which is mostly debunked by the way, this in-depth report was about tower workers falling to their deaths due to poor regulation of safety issues while climbing these monstrous metal towers (climbers are 10 times more likely to die than construction workers).  Frontline aired the show on PBS May 22nd and the entire episode is now available for streaming on their web site.

To nobody’s surprise all of the cell companies refused comment during the show.  In fact, we learned that virtually none of them have even been fined by OSHA for any of the accidents.  They are above responsibility thanks to layers of protection they have put between themselves and the actual contractors who do the dirty work.  Incidentally, many of those workers make around $10 per hour to climb hundreds of feet, mostly unprotected because that allows them to climb faster and get more jobs done.  One of the worst offenders turns out to be AT&T, who pushed hard for fast work to be done during their iPhone expansion.

While one retired AT&T executive did talk with the show, the other interviews are with contract companies and the actual workers.  You can watch chapter 1 of the episode in the embedded video below.  A word of warning – there are a few graphic images of bodies laying at the base of towers.

Watch Cell Tower Deaths on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

AT&T Taking A Shot At Ad-Supported Free Wi-Fi

For the price of watching an ad every 40 minutes, AT&T wants to give you free Wi-Fi (in the Dallas-Fort Worth Int'l Airport...for now)

AT&T is taking a shot at free, ad-supported Wi-Fi for travelers spending time at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. reported earlier this month that AT&T will provide free wireless network access starting in September of this year to the nearly 60 million travelers that pass through DFW each year that are willing to suffer a 30-second video ad for every 40 minutes of Wi-Fi usage.

According to, the specifics of the deal are still a bit sketchy. The type of devices this service will be made available to will likely depend on whether the actual ad can be served to that device – for example, a laptop, smart phone, or tablet.

The question then becomes, as proposes as well, if this is a successful venture for AT&T, then how could they leverage the strength of their existing Wi-Fi hotspot infrastructure across the country to build out this ad-supported network.

Personally, I would sit through a short ad every 40 minutes for free Wi-Fi. If the only other alternative is paying exorbitant rates to connect my laptop or device to the Internet, I would suffer a lot more advertising than that.

Also, think about this as an opportunity for advertisers – plenty of services and products would do well to reach thousands of people sitting in airport terminals. If managed right and fully scaled, AT&T could generate some significant ad revenue from this.

Image: Airport Terminal Computer from BigStock Photo