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BUSINESS
October 18, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eager to avert new consumer-protection rules, U.S. wireless carriers have agreed to begin delivering free voice or text alerts by next October that will warn customers at risk of budget-busting charges for calls, texts, data, or international roaming. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the deal at a news conference Monday, where he was joined by Steve Largent, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association, which represents most U.S. wireless carriers. Genachowski said the pact reflected the industry's "constructive engagement" in addressing a problem that has left some consumers facing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unexpected charges.
NEWS
November 14, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
DELAWARE COUNTY Two-thirds of calls to Delaware County's 911 center in September made from wireless phones had inaccurate location information, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission. And evidently, the problem is widespread. Close to 170 million wireless 911 calls are made annually in the United States, and last year about 73 million came through with inaccurate information, said Jaime Barnett, executive director of FindMe 911, a group of public-safety professionals.
NEWS
November 25, 2003
Cell phone customers in the nation's 100 largest markets - including Philadelphia - are seeing progress occur this week: For the first time, they can keep phone numbers when switching wireless carriers. Wireless consumers should be winners in this switch, since phone companies already are offering discounts to attract or retain their business. Phone customers just need to watch out for those hefty fees levied for breaking a contract early. And they need to understand that their old phone probably won't work with their new carrier - a problem that phone companies ought to resolve one day. In time, wireless phone service should improve as well.
BUSINESS
May 14, 2001 | By Reid Kanaley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Quiz time: When your cell phone can pinpoint your location - as new mobile handsets will be capable of doing by next year - who might be interested in knowing where you are? Police responding to your 911 emergency call. Yourself, in need of driving directions. The restaurant you happen to be walking past. Your spouse's divorce lawyer. The answer, some privacy advocates warn, may be: all of the above - and many more. Most people seem to agree that new "Enhanced 911" service for locating the sources of the estimated 120,000 emergency cell phone calls placed every day in the United States is good for public safety.
BUSINESS
June 3, 2002 | By Reid Kanaley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With an astounding 130 million cell phones already in use in the United States, the wireless industry is fretting that it could lose momentum, even as it begins to introduce fancy new phones and high-speed data services. "The key issue that everyone is facing in the wireless industry is that the extraordinary growth of the last 15 years is slowing down," said Scott Ellison, wireless and mobile communications program director at the research firm IDC. Not that wireless companies are wringing their hands in despair.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2006 | By Jeff Gelles INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Unhappy with how they've been treated by cell-phone companies, tens of thousands of consumers each year file complaints with consumer-protection agencies. Now, consumer advocates have a complaint they say surpasses all the rest: They say the wireless industry is on the verge of a successful end-run around states' efforts to help disgruntled consumers deal with their wireless-phone problems. Language that could prevent states from enforcing laws against misleading or deceptive billing, advertising and contract terms was added last week to the latest draft of a telecommunications bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R., Alaska)
BUSINESS
September 25, 1999 | By Reid Kanaley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
This week's deal by Bell Atlantic Corp. and Vodafone AirTouch P.L.C. to create a 20-million-customer wireless-communication behemoth underscores the race for a "national footprint" as the key strategy in the wireless industry, companies and analysts said. A company's footprint is the territory in which its customers can place a wireless call. The wider the area, the bigger the footprint. The importance of the lucrative wireless market in telecommunications was further underscored yesterday by reports that MCI WorldCom Inc., which lacks wireless operations, had stepped up talks to acquire Sprint Corp.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2002 | By Akweli Parker INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
So if modern science can put a satellite navigation system in your car or use a satellite to guide a bomb to an evildoer's doorstep, why can't it figure out exactly where you are when you dial 911 on your cell phone? Truth be told, it can. But the nation's wireless-phone providers say that, even with today's mind-boggling technology, building a nationwide system that will tell 911 operators the precise location of an emergency cell-phone call is not as easy as it might seem. Slowly and fitfully, though, they are rolling out the phones and equipment to accomplish that goal.
BUSINESS
December 2, 1999 | By Jeff Gelles, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
If you're considering signing up for one of the wireless-phone family plans, here are some things to keep in mind: Start-up costs. Each plan requires a digital phone that works on multiple networks. An older analog-only phone won't do. As with most electronics, prices for the phones have fallen, but buying phones for four family members can easily require an outlay of $200 or more. The wireless companies sometimes offer promotional prices for phones when you sign up for service.
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NEWS
May 12, 2014 | By John Timpane, Inquirer Staff Writer
"Ten thousand thousand fruit to touch," as Robert Frost puts it in "After Apple-Picking. " He was talking about apples. But Apple-picking is now slang for the theft of one of the most lucrative things you can steal: a cellphone. And Philadelphia, according to the AAA, is the number-one town in the United States for Apple-picking. Now, after industrial dickering and resistance, consumers may finally get some control of the situation. At issue is the so-called kill switch, a way for owners of stolen or lost mobile devices to lock them and/or erase info on them remotely.
NEWS
November 14, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
DELAWARE COUNTY Two-thirds of calls to Delaware County's 911 center in September made from wireless phones had inaccurate location information, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission. And evidently, the problem is widespread. Close to 170 million wireless 911 calls are made annually in the United States, and last year about 73 million came through with inaccurate information, said Jaime Barnett, executive director of FindMe 911, a group of public-safety professionals.
BUSINESS
June 1, 2012 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
With familiar names like Apple, Google, and Facebook usually drawing the spotlight, it's easy to forget one of the tech world's old pleasures: the story of how somebody with a modest idea can take an innovation and run with it. Maybe it won't change the world or make billions. But the Internet gives even a small idea a shot to find a market in ways that inventors of the past couldn't imagine. Here's a look at two small inventions that seek to piggyback on the popularity of Apple's iPhone in the busy "iPhone accessories" market, an alluring place for inventors.
BUSINESS
October 18, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eager to avert new consumer-protection rules, U.S. wireless carriers have agreed to begin delivering free voice or text alerts by next October that will warn customers at risk of budget-busting charges for calls, texts, data, or international roaming. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the deal at a news conference Monday, where he was joined by Steve Largent, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association, which represents most U.S. wireless carriers. Genachowski said the pact reflected the industry's "constructive engagement" in addressing a problem that has left some consumers facing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unexpected charges.
BUSINESS
August 28, 2011 | By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
Ben Chinn likes to text as much as the next guy - he just doesn't like to pay for it. Chinn, 37, sends most of his text messages free of charge with Google Voice and a smartphone application. He also pays $5 a month for up to 200 messages on his AT&T mobile-phone plan. "With everything with the mobile carriers, I feel I'm getting nickeled and dimed," said Chinn of San Francisco. "I resent paying so much for text messaging, and I feel that it's not a reasonable price to pay for something that costs the carriers next to nothing.
BUSINESS
August 18, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
How fast is your wireless network? Does it deliver the performance you expect? At home with a fast broadband link, consumers find choppy video or long waits for Web pages mostly things of the past. But data-on-the-go is another matter. And as cellphones rapidly give way to smartphones, iPads, and other mobile mini-computers, consumers are learning that service, especially for data, can be spotty. With wired broadband, providers sometimes meet or beat their promises and sometimes fall short, according to a study released this month by the Federal Communications Commission that gives high marks to two local services, Comcast's Xfinity and Verizon's FiOS, but finds Verizon DSL less reliable.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2006 | By Jeff Gelles INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Unhappy with how they've been treated by cell-phone companies, tens of thousands of consumers each year file complaints with consumer-protection agencies. Now, consumer advocates have a complaint they say surpasses all the rest: They say the wireless industry is on the verge of a successful end-run around states' efforts to help disgruntled consumers deal with their wireless-phone problems. Language that could prevent states from enforcing laws against misleading or deceptive billing, advertising and contract terms was added last week to the latest draft of a telecommunications bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R., Alaska)
NEWS
November 25, 2003
Cell phone customers in the nation's 100 largest markets - including Philadelphia - are seeing progress occur this week: For the first time, they can keep phone numbers when switching wireless carriers. Wireless consumers should be winners in this switch, since phone companies already are offering discounts to attract or retain their business. Phone customers just need to watch out for those hefty fees levied for breaking a contract early. And they need to understand that their old phone probably won't work with their new carrier - a problem that phone companies ought to resolve one day. In time, wireless phone service should improve as well.
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