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Clarification on CDPD

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Clarification on CDPD Powered By Docstoc
					May 7, 2003
                                                                                                        Clarification on CDPD
Southwest Airlines and My New Phone
                                                                                                        In the last newsletter, I mentioned our new study
With the slow demise of customer service at American Airlines and their seemingly ever increasing       looking at the wireless & mobile opportunities in the
prices, I have been flying Southwest more often recently than I have in the past. While their           Public Safety space, and talked about the fact that
service is generally equivalent to getting on a bus, their charges are significantly lower. Yes, they   CDPD was going away. What I actually said was
lack a few things I need, like some legroom and power at the seats for my laptop. But overall
                                                                                                         “since AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless, the
they do pretty well.
                                                                                                        principal operators of the networks, have decided to
                                                                                                        decommission CDPD, users must find alternative
Last week I finally activated my new handset – games, camera, polyphonic sound, great screen –
the works. First thing I did was to download a new screen saver (Enterprise NCC1701-D) followed         solutions.”
by the game Tetris. Both work well on the device – Tetris is the ideal game for this size of device –
easy to play, addictive, requires minimal controls and little processor or memory space.                After a couple of conversations with Verizon
                                                                                                        Wireless Analyst Relations, we decided some
One of the neatest features from my perspective is the ability to turn off the phone and still be       clarification is necessary: according to Verizon
able to play games and take photos. In the ‘airplane mode’, the handset is really just a
                                                                                                        Wireless Analyst Relations, Verizon Wireless have
GameBoy or a digital camera.
                                                                                                        announced in an S-1 filing that they will be phasing
                                                                                                        out CDPD in 2005.
The next day I was off to Las Vegas for the annual Rural Cellular Association convention, via
Southwest Airlines. After takeoff, I whip out my new handset and start playing Tetris, with the
handset in airplane mode and a nice big message ‘Phone Off’ across the top of the screen.               I also contacted AT&T Wireless for clarification on
                                                                                                        their date of CDPD demise. Current plans are to
The flight attendant was not happy. Not happy at all. In fact, she was in a bad mood anyway             cease CDPD operations on June 30, 2004.
since the plane took off and really had not smiled at anyone. I guess she had not been the
Southwest Airlines Happy School recently – most of their flight attendants are so perky you
sometimes want to smack ‘em!                                                                            And of course, both companies stressed that they
                                                                                                        are working with clients to help them move to the
After she had cooled down enough to understand what I was saying (“The phone IS off”), she              operators’ respective networks as seamlessly as
explained that the flight attendant manual says that no power may be going through a mobile             possible.
handset. Period. “So turn it off. NOW!”
                                                                                                        By the way, if you would like a prospectus for the
I took a hint and pulled out my laptop (with 802.11 card and data modem card), threw in a CD            new Public Safety Study, just reply to this email.
and worked while listening to the new Fleetwood Mac album. Yes, I left the PC cards in their slots
and powered up. The plane took an immediate dive to the left, flipped over, and went screaming
to the ground, as the pilot lost control due to interference from my RF devices. I made the last        Thanks!
part up.


You see the irony of course – Southwest would not let me use my phone/camera/game consol
because it looks like a phone. But I was able to use my PC/game console/wireless data device
because it looks like a laptop.

Further into the flight, I started a conversation with one of the other flight attendants and asked
him about my phone. He was a smart kid and well up on technology. He knew about the airplane
mode, as well as 802.11, wireless data, PDAs, cameras, etc. He was about 22. The other flight
attendant was too old to understand our conversation – about 35.

He agreed that the rules have not kept up with the technology and that it is getting hard to tell
what device is able to connect wirelessly and potentially interfere with the planes systems. I
                                                                                                        Read on…
                                                                                                        If you have questions on this subject or on the
asked how they decide what is allowed and what is not – if it has a visible antenna, it may not be      wireless & mobile industry at large, please contact
powered up in flight. So a handset is out. But a PDA with an 802.11 card is fine. Or a digital          us at questions@igillottresearch.com - we look
camera with an embedded data modem is OK. But not one of the Handspring Treo PDA/phone                  forward to hearing from you.
devices – they know about those.
                                                                                                        Subscription Information
After I got home, I was discussing this situation with a friend who told me that the new Boeing in-     This is a free newsletter we provide on a regular
flight Internet service uses 802.11 to connect between the passenger’s laptop and the plane’s           basis to anyone interested in the wireless & mobile
satellite link. Wires are too heavy apparently. So much for interference…                               communications industry. If you know someone
                                                                                                        who would benefit from receiving Opinion…, please
A final note: I did call Southwest Airlines Customer Service and logged a complaint. I pointed out      forward to this issue and copy
how silly the rule was. They said it was the FAA, not them. So I asked them to call the FAA. Why        subscribe@igillottresearch.com. To unsubscribe,
don’t we start a little campaign here? Everyone call their favourite airline and complain they          please send an email to
cannot use their handset in airplane mode, which is silly. We can get the rule changed. SAS has         unsubscribe@igillottresearch.com.
just changed their rules in Europe to allow such handsets, so it can be done. Write away!
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