Geoffrey S. Mendelson
gsm at mendelson.com
Thu Jul 19 00:19:32 CDT 2007
On Wed, Jul 18, 2007 at 10:32:20PM +0100, Mike Meredith wrote:
> The European cellphone market is considerably different to the US
> market so what little I know may not apply 'over there', but I don't
> believe the switch from analog to digital mobile phones was made to
> improve quality but to improve security and capacity ... I'm doubtful
> that analog cellphones could cope with the market size that exists now.
I've tried to keep my self out of this because I really don't
want to vent too much. The problem is the phones, not the service,
or it's the service and the phones.
The phones have gotten too small with the ear to mouth distance being too
close, the quality of the microphones and speakers deteriorating etc.
If you remember the Motorola "flip" phones, the ones that take the big
flat 6v batteries (DPC-500 and similar) are IMHO really good.
I had them in analog (AMPS) when I first got my cell phones in 1995
in the U.S. I was a late adopter, as by that time all three of us had
ham licenses and I carried an HT.
When I moved here (I continued) to use them. Here there were two companies,
one used NAMPS (analog) phones and they were fine. Even using the Narrow
bandwith option, which flopped in the U.S. due to fading and image
problems, they were good.
The other company used TDMA (D-AMPS) phones, overcommited their resources,
etc and I learned my first Hebrew jokes about their service.
Motorola used them for their testbed for their D-AMPS phones and failed
misserably. They had to rent a stadium and line the playing field with tables
to accomodate the people wanting microcode upgrades NOW!!!
I never used a Motorola flip on D-AMPS, but I had an Ericson which had come
from AT&T wirless who "upgraded" and sold the off cheap and they ended up
here. It worked perfectly fine, although the screen was small and hard to read.
I still have several of them in GSM 1900 for trips (which have never happened
for me) to the U.S., but other people have used them. I have one in GSM 900,
which works fine.
I also have two of the Mororola "flips" in GSM 900 and actually used one a
a few weeks ago. The battery died in my wife's tiny phone, which she has
trouble hearing, seeing etc. I lent her my phone and used the flip for a
day. Sound quality was as good as I rememeber. I liked it so much I want
back using a much later flip (CD-930) which is heavy and needs a new
battery (it only lasts 1-2 days) but I can read the screen, hear people
when it's noisy and they can hear me.
I also have a now disconnected CDMA Motorola flip which when it was
"activated" it worked fine. However CDMA is a telephone disaster.
It was sold as being good for serivce providers because you can
load it far more than GSM, (or properly set up D-AMPS) because it
does not require a time slot to be allocated to a call.
The problem in practice is that in a hilly or crowded area, or when
the system becomes heavily loaded, the signals combine and become
nothing but noise. Calls fade out and in and service stinks.
The one company here that decided to go to CDMA because they only
have 800mHz licenses has been in trouble since they converted.
The quality of service was never there, and they are in the
process of converting to GSM. They are closed lipped about it,
I don't know if they bought an 1800mHz license or are going
to GSM 850 (uses the old AMPS/CDMA 800mHz frequencies).
> Incidentally I recall from ages ago that some European mobile phone
> operators deliberately turn down the audio quality by default with an
> incantation available from the phone to turn it back up again. Not that
> I bothered trying it or remembering anything about it.
That's not really true. What happened is the original GSM codec was
not very good and a new one called EFRC (extended full rate codec)
was developed. EFRC came at a price, the conversion chips were more
expensing and used a lot more battery.
EFRC was not allowed by some SP (service providers) because it required
additional hardware/software at the phone switch. If they did not
upgrade it would not work. Since GSM did not exist here before 1998,
EFRC was available from the beggining.
The trick floating around the Internet to find a special reserve
battery on old Nokia phones was to turn of EFRC. It does save
battery life on mid 1990's phones if you use it, at the cost
of call quality. Those postings/emails are pretty worthless,
one of them said that you could make emergency calls by dialing
112 (the European equivalent) of 911, "try it".
I won't repeat here what I said in email, or on the lists that
it was posted on. :-)
Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm at mendelson.com N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838
Visit my 'blog at http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
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