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Tech Talk Radio Show 17 of 2010
Transmission date: April 26, 2010
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Ep 17 of 2010
April 26, 2010

I can’t help to think back to when Telstra was run by the three amigos, one of which was Phil Burgess. Remember him? He was the controversial bull terrier of the organization, who had the role of group managing director of Public Policy and Communications. He had an uncanny ability to get most people off side as he spruiked the then Telstra policy of command and conquer, but that’s history now.

Mountainview WifiWhen Phil decided to move on, in his parting speech, he made mention of how bad the mobile phone services were in the United States, compared to that in Australia. At the time, I didn’t really realize just how bad things could be in the US until I experienced the American cell phone network first hand in the last two weeks. I chose AT&T as carrier of choice because I wanted to give Apple’s iPhone a run for it’s money in its home network. Having purchased a prepaid mobile and service and sim which was easy to get going, I was annoyed that the sim was locked to a device. Unlike here in Australia where SIM cards can be swaped between devices, it isn’t possible on the AT&T plan I was on in the US.

There’s also no such thing as roaming onto another network like we do here either. If AT&T didn’t have coverage then I didn’t either, Call drops were quite common, and in places where you would expect blanket coverage, such as Palo Alto in Silicon Valley California. It paid to remain stationary while on the phone.

In another bizarre twist, it is impossible to buy prepaid mobile data in the US. While post paid isn’t a problem, if you need mobile broadband you’ll need to commit to a contract. Not very practicable for a tourist like me. Having spent some time chatting to the phone specialist at Best Buy, I came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to use the iPhone in the land of the free.

But here’s the twist. I had my Telstra SIM in my iPhone, and the phone signed on to the AT&T network without a hitch, and surprise surprise, when there was no AT&T coverage, the iPhone logged in to T-Mobile. How cool. My iPhone with a Telstra SIM could do what no other US cell phone could do – switch between networks as coverage dictated. So maybe the last laugh is on the Three Amigos, I’m sure they the best coverage in the US.

 This week on TTR

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  • McAfee admits "inadequate" quality control caused PC meltdown,
  • Android now runs on iPhone, and
  • Adobe hits back at Apple over Flash