Three Pieces of Good News for Cell Phone Users

Telecommunications is a fast-paced field, where major developments can pass under the radar because they’re hard to find past all the noise of new cell phone models, smartphone apps and corporate telecom acquisitions. Here are three pieces of news that translate directly into more savings and convenience for customers – things that factor into both regular consumer budgets and formal telecom expense management.

FCC Tightens Landline Cellular and VoIP Porting Rules

On May 15, 2009 the FCC ruled that service providers have to port US customers on mobile, VoIP and some landline services within one day instead of the four currently mandated. This new requirement will come into effect by next May. The new rules exempt a few small carriers but if you have a large carrier, in 2010 you should be able to switch carriers in a single business day. In related news, the FCC has also decided to crack down VoIP providers who unexpectedly drop or modify services be requiring notification.

Solar Powered Phones Coming

Manufacturers Sharp and Japan’s KDDI have started a joint venture with the goal of releasing a phone that provides one minute of talk for every ten minutes of charge time or two hours of standby time. It’s a modest goal but an excellent start that matches similar announcements by Samsung and LG. Although currently marketed as “sport” or “green” phones, they’re sure to increase in demand for two reasons. First, green-energy advocates have made us aware that chargers consume power even when they aren’t hooked up to phones. Second, people lose chargers so often that in many organizations this becomes an unnoticed but persistent expense. Lose the need for a charger, and lose the cost.

The iPhone Ups the Ante on Smartphone Development

The Palm Pre (in the link above) is one example of an upcoming smartphone that wouldn’t exist without the iPhone. So even if you never own one, iPhones are making your phones better through bigger screens, better screen resolution and revolutions in interfaces, applications and use of 3G networks. It’s been a bumpy ride, of course, with one notable example being AT&T’s ban of the Slingplayer streaming application from its 3G network. In spite of these setbacks, we should look forward to iPhone-driven competition spawning better, more cost-effective phones than ever before.