Is Verizon’s grass greener for iPhone users?

Marco Arment on life with Verizon:

It’s easy to think that the grass is always greener away from AT&T, but keep in mind that these are cellular carriers: massive oligopolists that don’t give a s*** about us. Their phones are ARPU vending machines, first and foremost, not communication tools. Cellular carriers are only a small step above cable and phone companies in the contempt and disregard they show for their customers.

This sums up my thoughts on wireless phone companies.  I don’t think I could have said it any better.

(h/t Daring Fireball)

The Google Voice iPhone app saga goes to the FCC [Updated]

USA Today is reporting (via MacRumors) that comments are being filed with the FCC regarding Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice app in the iPhone App Store.  Apparently, Apple is not the only company facing questions.  Google may have some questions to answer on the related subject of the crippled version of Skype on their Android operating system.

Why: Consumers who use Android, the Google-developed operating system for wireless devices, can’t use Skype, a leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. A pioneer in free Internet calling, Skype allows you to talk as long as you want without draining cellphone minutes.

Android users get Skype Lite, a watered-down version of the original that routes calls over traditional phone networks — not the Internet. As a result, long-distance calls are still cheap or free, but cellphone minutes are gobbled up every time a Skype Lite call is made…

…Google’s explanation would seem to suggest that T-Mobile requested the block on Skype, but the carrier says that’s not the case. “T-Mobile has not asked Google to block that service,” says spokesman Joe Farren, referring to original Skype [sic]. — USA Today

In both of these cases, it is clear that neither the carriers nor OS providers want to take the blame.  Maybe the FCC can break this problem open and make progress, but as stated before, “consider me skeptical.”

UPDATE: Apple says it acted alone in rejecting the app.  Something still smells fishy here, but if this is the case, bad Apple!

Out with the Old, in with the New AT&T

Outside of my normal obsessions, I’m also strangely fascinated with marketing, branding and advertising campaigns. When SBC bought AT&T, rebranded itself with the latter, and then bought BellSouth, I was very curious to see how they would fold all of these brands, which include Cingular Wireless, into one 150-year-old name. You’ve probably noticed that they’ve beaten us over head to make clear that “Cingular is the New AT&T.” Thankfully it appears that they are ready to move into a new phase of the marketing transition. A recent article on Fortune Magazine’s site gives a bit of a back story on the transition and sheds some light on the SBC’s decision making process. It’s an interesting read, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Meet the new AT&T