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Sprint: No SMS for You!

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
6/26/2002

Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS) is one of the last carriers in the U.S. that does not have real SMS two-way text messaging capabilities on its handsets, and the operator says it might just keep it that way when it launches its upgraded service this summer.

On April 1, Sprint, along with all the other major U.S. carriers, except Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL), signed an inter-carrier SMS interoperability agreement. This means that U.S. users on one network can now get text messages of up to 160 characters from their friends on other networks. However, if you are a Sprint customer, it is not simply a matter of pressing "reply" to zap a message back. You can either fire up the ol' WAP browser and mail a reply back or (wait for it, folks...) call the person that sent you the message.

"I know we don't have true SMS," acknowledged Sprint spokesperson Dan Wilinsky. However, he added, the company may not even add proper two-way capabilities when it upgrades its network to CDMA 1xRTT this summer. "Our customers seem to like Instant Messenger," he says.

Of course, there are benefits to IM on a mobile phone, the chief one being that you can communicate with users running IM on their desktop computers. But there are benefits to interoperable SMS as well, like being able to send short messages to just about anyone whose mobile phone number you know. So why not just support both forms of messaging?

By not offering simple SMS services, Sprint -- and Nextel, for that matter -- could be missing out on a simple way to add to its wireless data revenues. Certainly, other carriers are seeing the benefits of true interoperability.

Verizon Wireless said recently that it saw a 25 percent increase in SMS the morning after flipping the inter-carrier switch and is currently seeing more than 2 million SMS messages sent per day (see SMS in the U.S. -- All Upside? ). Worldwide, over 350 billion text messages are expected to be sent this year.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
http://www.unstrung.com

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untethered
untethered
12/4/2012 | 10:11:42 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
How are the different networks exchanging messages - is this standard SMS (what the rest of the world uses via their GSM networks) or another proprietary protocol?

Also, what is the proposed rollout schedule - I'm tired of ATTWS telling me that I can't send or receive a SMS, but since I can send and receive internet email, I am better off than the hundreds of millions of SMS users all over the world who I want to communicate with!
mandymax
mandymax
12/4/2012 | 10:11:41 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
The voice based networks, such as GSM/GPRS and 3G Lite (1Xrtt) all use SMS, primarily. SMS and 'DoCoMo' messaging are used culturally as the primary way of communicating between cell users (only if the user is on a complimentary network with his or her friends, and circle of friends use SMS capable phones) or as primary/secondary way of accessing the Internet. However, in the US, "We" use Intant Messaging. IM have the same parameters as "Push to Talk" and does inherently better over an IP infrastructure with low latency. So, yes... you are better of with what you have, using your laptop or PDA as the preferred data device for IM. It's easier to have voice speak data vs data speak voice over circuits. When the DataCom players like MSFT, INtel and Cisco get inside the operators networks, that's when the IP standard will connect the LAN with the Wireless WAN. No need for 'tranlations' or trying to convince the world to view data through a handset that was bult for voice or one-off applications.

Then again, I'm a biased data head :-)
joset01
joset01
12/4/2012 | 10:11:40 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Sprint is apparently using different technology from everyone else.

Interesting that you can't do SMS on ATTWS, where are you? (obviously you don't have to say). Here in NYC I can receive and reply to SMS from ATTWS phones.

I'm checking this out with ATTWS. Mail me off-list w/ details if you want. [email protected]

[email protected]
standardsarefun
standardsarefun
12/4/2012 | 10:11:38 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Obviously you haven't tried a "real" mobile service with "real" SMS yet (very simple, "even your mother could do it" interface directly on the phone). Nor have you seen kids typing out messages on their phones at speeds that easily rival "normal" keyboards.

Another "minor" issue is that SMS goes over the radio interface with very little overhead and so the operators can carry the traffic load without charging too much per message (and still make heaps of profit).

But then again, I'm just a Bell-head at heart...
untethered
untethered
12/4/2012 | 10:10:51 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
>Interesting that you can't do SMS on ATTWS, >where are you? (obviously you don't have to

I can send short messages to other ATTWS users who have the right phone and happen to be in an AT&T covered area (not an "Extended Area"). This is a VERY small group.

I want to exchange SMS messages with the rest of the world - in 2002, this still means interoperability with the GSM-based SMS network.

I am curious to understand what sort of gateway technology Verizon, Cinguar, Sprint, AT&T etc. are going to employ. Is it yet another proprietary layer, or will it allow me to exchange messages with just US-based users, or can I send and receive messages from my friends all over the world too?




joset01
joset01
12/4/2012 | 10:10:48 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Well, ATTWS says that their inter-carrier SMS should work nationwide/globally and yours is an "individual case".

However, I'm checking into this more, there's basically one company that runs a lot of stuff for many of the major carriers. Look for a story in the next couple of days.

[email protected]
lrmobile_derekmcallister
lrmobile_derekmcallister
12/4/2012 | 10:10:07 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Are you talking about MobileSys? These guys seem to be in with most of the N.A. carriers...
untethered
untethered
12/4/2012 | 10:10:06 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Does AT&T mean that using nothing but my TDMA phone I can SMS globally (or even nationally), or that anybody in the GSM world can SMS me using +1<10-digit-number>?

If all this is true, then AT&T should do a better job of educating their CSRs. I've asked multiple times and been given the canned answer that this is not possible today.

I suspect that I have to have a GSM phone and be in their GSM (i.e. wherever they have GPRS coverage) coverage area for this to work.

I got my two-way messaging shut off after a billing dispute, so, I am unable to try it out.
Bondibeach
Bondibeach
12/4/2012 | 10:07:56 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
I just read an article by Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung, " About 1 billion messages were sent from Infomatch, with a ggod majority in the USA" I seriously question that.

1- The US subscriber base is close to 45% of the population,with half of the phones dont support SMS. Thta brings the total number of available phones 60 million phones capable.

2- Most carriers require the subscribers to signup to receive sms messages. So lets say 20% have --which is being generous.

3- That gives us 12 million user sending 1 billion messages. Yeah right!! that means the 12 million users sent 80 message each...

Most users in the states dont know SMS. the stupid US carriers make it difficult for the acceptance to accelerate.

Pull you finger out --- and just copy the European / asian models and start making 25% of your revenues from SMS. It is the first killer wireless application.

The US is a third world country when it comes to wireless. Greed, arrogance and isolationism is working against the US.

And sprint should win the award of being the dumbest carrier --globally.
wirelessexpert
wirelessexpert
12/4/2012 | 10:07:53 PM
re: Sprint: No SMS for You!
Does anyone know the status of product development for Tahoe Networks? I always had the impression that TAHOE is more focused on marketing hype instead of doing what is right for mobile operators. Most of their press releases are hype. I believe they are starting to feel the backlash as their burn rate seems to be pretty high and they had a recent layoff. I have heard that they were up to 185 people, this is ridiculos when you do not have a product.

Additionally, they are in talks for another round and they have been told to bring the number of employees down below 100.

For this company to suceed, they need to turn down the marketing and focus on the problem at hand. Did you see their recent press release, which US carrier needs to be preached to, Allen focus on your solution and how it is going bring the customer forward. Besides, why are you preaching to US carriers, I thought the Asian Market is ripe for picking, are you not getting the traction there so you are trying to get in to the US. First Europe, Asia, now back to US.


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