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Cellphones Technology

Analog Cell Phone Network Shuts Down Monday 205

Posted by Zonk
from the end-of-an-ear-a dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "AT&T and Verizon will be shutting down their old, analog AMPS networks next Monday, and AT&T will also turn off its old TDMA network, with smaller providers expected to follow thanks to a sunset date set by the FCC. After these old networks are shut down, the networks will be all digital. Of course, if you have one of those old fashioned 'just a phone' cellphones and it happens to be analog, you'd best enjoy the last few days before it becomes useless."
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Analog Cell Phone Network Shuts Down Monday

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  • Analog has its place (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Friday February 15, 2008 @06:58PM (#22440732)
    I think that there are still areas that benefit from having analog signal, especially rural area. So isn't there any benefits of keep a least one analog network alive? I'm jut curious.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DMCBOSTON (714393)
      I can take mine into jury duty because it's old. No camera, no need to leave it in an unsecure location (like the car). So I guess I'm screwed.
      • by mea37 (1201159) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:27PM (#22440980)
        Not every digital phone has a camera. Not even every new phone has a camera.

        If your old phone meets your needs and you're happy with it, then that's great. It's about to stop meeting your needs, though, so you might as well get over the assumption that nothing new will be able to meet your needs. If you shop around a bit (and it probably won't even take much of that), you'll find that assumption to be false.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:51PM (#22441212)
        So I guess I'm screwed.

        I mean, aside of course from a Samsung M210, LG LX-160, Nokia 2610, Kyocera MARBL, Motorola C168i, Sanyo SCP-7050 or maybe your into NextTel iDen Push-To-Talk in which case the Motorola i570 or i690 would fit the bill or maybe you need a PDA... the new RIM BlackBerry 8800's including the 8800, 8820, 8830 all don't come with a camera either.

        So lets see ... you've got options on multiple networks, all major manufacturers, with devices from 'entry level budget' to 'work horse phone' to 'executive PDA' are available to you.

        Oh wait... all the Apple iPhones come with a camera.

        Yeah, I guess your screwed.
      • by ari_j (90255)

        I can take mine into jury duty because it's old. No camera, no need to leave it in an unsecure location (like the car). So I guess I'm screwed.

        Honestly, how much of your time do you spend in jury duty? Is that really your biggest concern over losing the analog cell phone network?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by a_nonamiss (743253)
          Maybe he's a bailiff...
      • Well, you're obviously happy with your current provider, having stayed with them for so long. Just commit that satisfaction to writing for two years and they'll give you a phone with no camera for "free." You can probably even get it for actually free if you just bitch at them a bit. Explain you've been a customer for ten years, and if they won't replace your phone with one that works, without forcing you into a contract or changing your plan in any way, you'll be happy to change carriers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)
        Uhm, so ... You can take your phone into jury duty because doesn't have a camera ... great So, rather than worrying about doing your job as a jurior, you're worried about getting calls on your cell phone? And what do you do when the judge gets extremely pissed off at you cause it rang in the middle of the trial? Cell phone with no camera: Free with 2 year contract. Jury duty at some trial you obviously don't care about: + $12/day Price of living somewhere so bad that you're worried about someone breakin
      • by Aladrin (926209)
        Christ, how often do you go to jury duty?

        Actually, I'm surprised the let you bring a phone in -at all-. Sure, the old one can't take pictures, but both of them can CALL someone. Call someone that knows to not make any noise, put it on speakerphone and they can hear -everything- that's said in the jury room.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by KublaiKhan (522918)
      Going to be lots of complaints from the rural areas next week...assuming they can make it into town and find a phone, anyway.
    • Several of my relatives live out in BFE. The only signal they get in places is Analog, or first generation digital. They have ancient phones which they've never upgraded, or newer (not new) phones with support for both.

      If you look on several of the carriers maps which show full state coverage, then look at what they mean by that, much of the rural coverage is 1st generation only.

      If I'm readying this information correctly, I'm going to have some unhappy relatives. I'm on quad band GSM only, so it doesn't
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Possibly. But I doubt the bills of those few remaining analog users wouldn't be enough to cover the cost of keeping the network up. And all those frequencies are valuable; if they're not being heavily used, it makes not sense to not repurpose them.
    • by jhobbs (659809) * on Friday February 15, 2008 @08:53PM (#22441808)
      What about the 500,000+ first generation OnStar equipped GM vehicles with analog cellular radios? Is GM going to offer a free retrofit? How about ADT and Brinks, are they going to retrofit home security systems for free? Sounds like a possible boon to companies with customers still using legacy equipment.
    • True that. My analog (TriMode, running in analog mode) phone got a horse dispatched into Yosemite backcountry to cart out a teen with a seriously broken leg. All the digital phones that people had brought failed to connect. Talking to dispatch sounded more like a two-way radio than a typical phone call, but it worked.
  • Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges), it's ready to go.
    • by Qzukk (229616) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:02PM (#22440772) Journal
      Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges)

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:48PM (#22441192) Journal
      Poorly maintained, bad coverage, iffy signal, rotten roaming (and occasional charges), it's ready to go.

      You may have a point on most of those issues. But AMPS has FAR more coverage than the digital alternatives.

      AMPS was deployed back when the phone companies thought the point of a cellular phone system was to be able to use the phone virtually anywhere. It covers nearly all of the continental US except for some very remote locations.

      The digital alternatives were deployed late in the game, installed initially in large population centers and with the rural cells installed or converted largely after the telecom crash, when the tellcos were having trouble getting capital and were cutting costs wherever possible to keep their competitors from eating their lunch. The result is that cells that exist to fill in rural holes but don't generate enough calls to pay for themselves directly didn't get converted - and even some of the more suburban cells didn't get upgraded until the last few months.

      If AMPS really goes dark now, much of rural America (at least the part not adjacent to an interstate highway) would have no cell service at all. That would mean that, even if you paid for a digital upgrade for your OnStar it would not work.

      AT&T FINALLY converted the cell that covers my retirement home, just a couple months ago. So I just converted my cellphones to GSM. But I do a lot of traveling and vacationing in AMPS-only country - nearby that site and otherwise. In those areas the new handset is just a paperweight, while a car breakdown can be a death sentence if help can't be called. So I'm hanging on to my old AMPS-capable handset in the hope that at least some of the AMPS-only towers will stay alive.

      I'm betting on the little carriers to keep theirs going and maybe even buy up some the big carriers are abandoning. But I wouldn't put it past the bean-counters at the big carriers to shut down their own low-traffic AMPS-only or AMPS-TDMA cells rather than spending the bux to convert them. (IMHO if they were really interested in keeping the coverage up they'd have ALREADY converted them (rather than just running ads about what great coverage they have), and their coverage maps show they haven't.)
      • CDMA vs AMPS? No contest.

        I've tried T-Mobile's GSM, and simply put, in the US in the urban areas I travel, it stank, uniformly. I have friends with new iPhones that bemoan the day they plunked down lots of $$$ on them specifically because of AT&T's coverage problems, and the fact that AT&T is only now starting to roll out sufficient digital coverage to catch the larger moaners.

        Certainly there's an immense geography that isn't sufficiently covered by digital/CDMA or GSM. I wonder if fiber will get th
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MCZapf (218870)

        ...while a car breakdown can be a death sentence if help can't be called.

        AMPS or not, I'd keep a CB radio in the car too.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        I'm betting on the little carriers to keep theirs going and maybe even buy up some the big carriers are abandoning. But I wouldn't put it past the bean-counters at the big carriers to shut down their own low-traffic AMPS-only or AMPS-TDMA cells rather than spending the bux to convert them. (IMHO if they were really interested in keeping the coverage up they'd have ALREADY converted them (rather than just running ads about what great coverage they have), and their coverage maps show they haven't.)

        Well, if

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The FCC didn't say "turn it off by ...". They said "You don't have to keep it on after ..."

          The advantage of the digital alternatives is that they can get many more calls into a given swath of spectrum. That's a really big deal in a city (especially one where carving the cells up finer is no longer an option due to regulatory resistance to installing more cell sites). Thus the urban service providers want to make the switch.

          In the deep-boonies having more calls on a cell is not an issue - while having a s
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikelieman (35628)
        "In those areas the new handset is just a paperweight, while a car breakdown can be a death sentence if help can't be called"

        DUDE!, Check It!

        http://www.acrelectronics.com/microfix/microfix.htm [acrelectronics.com]

        And Remember Kids: "The MicrOFix(TM) is a satellite signaling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self rescue have been exhausted, where the situation is grave and imminent loss of life, limb, eyesight, or valuable property will occur without assistance."
        • Dude, that's just an EPIRB. It doesn't seem to say marine anywhere so I guess it's like half the price.

  • by Besna (1175279) * on Friday February 15, 2008 @06:59PM (#22440746)
    Digital is not the end-all solution. Notice how your digital broadcasts take longer to change channels--deltas must be accumulated in the compressed stream. Notice how long your cellphone takes to connect. I like binary as much as the next geek, but I think the elegance of the bit can be slightly overrated.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by postbigbang (761081)
      I've had analog, I've had digital. The difference is stark, and in the favor of digital. Digital has better overall sound characteristics, better cell hand-offs, digital data at better than 9600 baud (!!), and has the added benefit of consistent connection, be they good or bad ones (mostly good in my experience).
      • by adminstring (608310) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:37PM (#22441066)
        Digital is more energy-efficient, too... I always know when I've strayed into an analog-only area when my phone heats up and my battery starts draining at an alarming rate.

        Hopefully the death of analog will inspire the carriers to finally put digital towers up in rural areas so everyone can enjoy the benefits of digital (rather than merely enjoying the benefits of not being able to call or be called!)
      • A friend of mine kept analog service for a few years after everybody else had switched to digital. He liked driving around the hills, where coverage was still spotty, and while digital is better when the signal's good, if the signal's bad, analog is noisy but digital won't connect at all. It's not a universal problem, but it worked for him. These days he's got some little digital set with data functions and a camera, of course...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fingusernames (695699)
        I'm sorry, but better sound? AMPS with a clear signal is the best you are going to get. AMPS, a form of FDMA, was designed back in the days of just an A carrier and B carrier per market, when cell service was expensive. AMPS, and even N-AMPS, wasn't designed to maximize calls per antenna, it was designed to match the voice bandwidth used by analog telephone lines, essentially a wireless equivalent. Everything since then has been designed to maximize capacity at the expense of voice quality. PCS, TDMA, GSM (
        • I had a nice Uniden 3W carry-around with a rubber duckie antenna. I got out when no one else got out and used a magmount antenna on the roof of my vehicle to get the best possible reception on the road. I thought that AMPS quality was pretty darn good.

          But the theory doesn't follow the facts. A Sprint guy came in with his PCS phone. Two calls, and I was convinced. I dropped Sprint later because of their fraudlent-like business practices. We disagree on the actual quality, but I also lose anonymity by explain
          • Your anecdotal experience is one thing, but facts are facts. Having said that, this is much like a LP vs CD vs MP3 discussion.

            I worked for Motorola in the Cellular Infrastructure Group back in the mid 90s, the period when PCS license blocks were being auctioned off by the FCC and we began the transition from a dual-carrier marketplace to our modern multi-carrier marketplace in the US -- I later went to work at one of those PCS license-holders for a bit. I'm a bit dated on some things in the industry, but th
            • I appreciate your explanations, but your facts obscure other difficulties with analog RF transmission.

              Look at root-hertz noise, aperiodic broadband burst noise, pure signal/noise accuracy, slewing distortion (including various phase delay distortions). The ear can hear these things.

              None of these exist in a CDMA conversation-- and all of them have an effect on AMPS and TDMA.

              It's nice to have dedicated, POTS-like bandwidth-- a channelization of the available spectra that doesn't exist in CDMA in a meaningful
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      Lots of old people around here... I mean, they haven't sold analog phones in this country for.. um... 15 years? I can't see the US being that far behind - call it 10 years.

      So any analog phones in use are going to be nearly useless bricks anyway. What's the point of keeping them around?
  • by mangu (126918) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:00PM (#22440758)
    I have a radio that scans from 30 MHz to 1.3 GHz, except for the analog cell phone frequencies. I suppose there will be no objection for selling radios that scan all the frequencies now, right?


    Not that there would be anything interesting in those frequencies now, but it always bothered me in a way that my radio had holes in its coverage.

    • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:08PM (#22440814)
      Have you not learned, young one? Once laws are passed, they do not easily un-pass.

      The frequency ban will stay in effect. It even affects us ham operators, unless we buy receivers from out of the country.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nsaspook (20301)
      The only thing I hear on the analog cell bands are pimps telling their hookers to get back to work or dope deals going down.
    • by Deadstick (535032)
      Scanner dealers used to stock books that listed the modifications necessary to enable those frequencies, and the modification usually consisted of clipping a jumper. On Radio Shack products, the jumper was often raised an eighth inch above the board for easy clipping...

      rj
      • Just like cassette tapes, analog phones are long overdue for a proper burial. It also opens up a nice bit of the spectrum for other uses, which is always a good thing. AND, it makes phones a little bit less expensive as they no longer are required to have an analog fall-back mode(which rarely if ever worked anyways).
    • Not that there would be anything interesting in those frequencies now, but it always bothered me in a way that my radio had holes in its coverage.

      My Radio Shack had a 'magic resistor' you could move from point a to point b. I never got around to it - I guess there's no point now...
  • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Friday February 15, 2008 @07:14PM (#22440874) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, 1-3 times a day there's a story approved from I Don't Believe In Imaginary Property. Thankfully, unlike Beatles Beatles Beatles, he's not using his URL to boost his search engine results but it does beg a question, how does that happen? Or are other submitters just submitting crap lately?

    No reasoning behind this, just curious.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Possibly a sock puppet for Zonk.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2008 @08:09PM (#22441392)
      Those 1-3 submissions come from 5-6 submissions per day as you can see in the Firehose. Sometimes, you'll have some I submitted yesterday mixed with those submitted today as you can see right now. I submitted the earlier story about printers yesterday, but this one was submitted this afternoon. Again, you can see all this on the Firehose, which date stamps them when I submit them.

      Although someone replied to you that I was Zonk's sock puppet, I have no link to any of the Slashdot editors as far as I know. Heck, I'm not even in the top 10 [slashdot.org] submitters or all that close. As you can see, there are many who have even less of a life than I do (or something) and have hundreds of submissions. New York County Lawyer keeps flirting with the #10 spot, and I think you guys know how much he posts.

      As for my motive, well, it's mostly just for fun while I slack off from my work as a sysadmin for a place that makes windows (the glass kind, not the Microsoft kind). Sure, I have an agenda to push, but I'm just some guy who fits entirely too many Slashdot stereotypes, which is why I link to the EFF donate page, or to that "I Wouldn't Steal" page the EU folks made. I should probably link to the US Pirate Party [pirate-party.us] more often, too.

      I use an unregistered account for a number of reasons. One is that I'm doing this from work. Another is that anyone who believes as I do is free to share the ID and post stories to Slashdot.

      Unlike the others who dump as many submissions as they can, I try to cull what I think are the best stories of the day. I frequently ignore stories that later appear on Slashdot anyhow. An example from today would be how the UK ISPs put out a statement that they're against policing users. The statements are new, but the story isn't. I just covered it yesterday, so I felt it was too much of a rehash and ignored it. When I think there's something new, I try to link to the previous stories and give better coverage.

      Also, you may have noticed that I try to be diligent in marking PDF (and .DOC) files, naming unnamed 'researchers' who discover things, giving you the original story where possible (rather than some sites re-re-re-report of whatever), linking to Wordpress and similar blogs via Coral Cache (and seeding the cache by visiting the site BEFORE I send it to Slashdot). Not to mention whichever other random ideas that come up periodically when someone writes a (+5, Insightful) saying "Why the HELL didn't you do X???" I've had to rewrite more than one headline to fit in the length limits without a damn ? at the end, bite my tongue to avoid hilarious and snarky quips I would like to add as the last line, and find those damn typos that manage to sneak past me even though I spell check my submissions.

      So, that's it in a nutshell. If you don't like me, I'm sorry, but there's not much I can do about that, though I'm open to reasonable suggestions. I have no idea when I'll get too bored or busy to continue. I have no idea if people will ever take up posting in "my" name. But that's who and what I am and I'm always trying to find ways to make better submissions.

      In other words, except for the attention-grabbing name, I'm a pretty typical Slashdotter.

      - I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property
    • by jay-be-em (664602)
      I've always just figured it was something people were using as their submited name, to make a statement. Not that it is one distinct person. I could be wrong.
  • Finally Americans will be able to get away from brick-sized analogue mobiles with a talk time of 20 minutes.

    In all seriousness, has any mobile manufacturer made an analogue phone in the last ten years?
    • by AaronW (33736)
      Three years ago I got a LG VX6100 tri-mode phone. I have had places where the only signal I can get is analog and it came in handy. Due to the lack of bluetooth and the fact that analog is going away I finally upgraded to a new phone, but there were times where I could make calls whereas nobody else could.
    • by pergamon (4359)
      Yes, indeed they have. I purposely chose my previous phone because it (a) was on VZW, (b) had Bluetooth, (c) had analog in addition to digital. The V710 was made in the 2004-2005 range.
    • by pavon (30274)
      Up till 3 months ago, every phone I owned was Tri-Mode (AMPS, 800 CDMA, 1900 CDMA). It used digital service in town, but in very rural areas, and when you go camping, you are far more likely to pick up an analog signal than anything else. So I made sure to get a tri-mode phone to carry with me for emergencies. I finally switched to GSM when I got tired of paying $45 for Verizon service when I only use about 100 minutes a month. At that point I knew they were going to be shutting down the analog service with
  • by mountain-man (161298) on Friday February 15, 2008 @08:09PM (#22441400)
    Has nobody mentioned all the legacy devices that will go dark as part of this? It's not just the brick phones, but the first-gen OnStar (etc) systems, cellular backups for burler and fire alarms, even some remote telemetry systems and/or SCADA systems.

    Of course, I said "cya" to my old bag-phone 15 years ago just like everybody else, but there's probably lots of these systems that will need to be replaced.
  • To everyone wondering about their favorite AMPS-only areas, I highly doubt those towers will be deactivated.

    The whole purpose of this deactivation is so that the cell phone companies can make MORE money, not less! One person using AMPS in a metropolitan area ties up several digital lines. But until monday, none of those AMPS towers could be turned off (per this FCC mandate)!

    Thus, I suspect that the only AMPS towers going offline come Monday are those that were costing them money (the ones in areas that alre
  • AT&T was so determined to get me off their old network, they finally made me an offer for a plan that was half the price of their cheapest new plan - including a 2-year contract and a free phone. Then, yesterday, I upgraded one of my kids from "pay as you go," to a copy of my dirt-cheap digital plan. They didn't want to do it, but finally agreed. So you see -- analog can be cheaper !
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dan541 (1032000)
      "There is one big advantage to an analog phone"

      Yes you wont be mugged for your phone!

      ~Dan
  • Easier to Wiretap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kidcharles (908072) on Friday February 15, 2008 @09:38PM (#22442124)
    AT&T and Verizon, huh? They probably just want to phase out analog because it is easier to store digital phone calls to sell to the government [aclu.org].
    • by saikou (211301)
      And what exactly makes you think that "Analog" tower is not connected to the T1 with digital converter that works exactly the same regardless of which radio tract your call came through? Digital handling has been around for a loooong time, with all long-distance being handled like that as well.
      Plus that little box in your neighborhood that has "Don't dig, fiber network" pole next to it also handles all your calls in digital format. So, this argument is a complete BS.
      There were two big reasons for maintainin
      • You are completely right on all counts, I don't really believe what I said. It was just a sarcastic dig at the telecoms.
    • No, analogue is much easier to tap. When GSM was introduced here, that was one of the selling points. You can build a device that will listen in on an analogue call very cheaply, but GSM does frequency hopping so fast you need much better equipment to intercept (of course, past the tower, they are equally easy to intercept). Oh, and with a digital signal, you can relatively easily add end-to-end encryption. My father's mobile had an experimental chip in it around ten years ago that would encrypt phone c
  • I always suspected that AMPS/TDMA were being phased out for phone service due to the inability of the operators to impement E911 location servcices on it.

    You would think that the FCC would allow the cellular companies to hold a few channels open for analog. Even if they don't support E911, an emergency call where the caller has to give an address is still better than no call at all. But, if they leave the channels open, they could become quite valuable to a certain set of users that don't want their posi

    • That TDMA thing always irks me. Current GSM is TDMA, you know (though next generation will be CDMA). It means Time Division Multiple Access, essentially packetizing data. So while some forms of TDMA may be obsolete, the world's most popular mobile phone system also is a form of TDMA.

      Larry
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kriston (7886)
      No, they intended to replace TDMA as soon as GSM came along. TDMA was evolutionary step towards GSM. W-CDMA is based on GSM under the covers, too.
      It's all about how many users they can fit into the channels they are licensed.
      CDMA is the undisputed ruler of bandwidth but call audio quality suffers in congested cells, though at least CDMA users are almost guaranteed the ability to complete a call even if you cannot hear the called party clearly.
      GSM is always good quality at the expense of the bandwidth used
  • In the mid-90s, my parents picked up a cheap analog Motorolla. It sounded so good, no one could tell that it was a cell phone. When I used a StarTac in places with analog-only coverage, I also would get much better sound quality. I've never heard a digital phone come close to its quality.
    • Digital handles poor signal better.

      When I lived in CT I had a triband Motorola; at home I had a full six bars of analog coverage and it was amazing, the best quality of any phone I've ever used, corded, cordless, wireless, you name it.

      But when I drove out to the styx and dropped to one or two bars of analog, oh lordy. It was TERRIBLE - constant static, deafening "power station" noises blasting at random, buzzing clicking popping whistling screeching, you name it. My current phone and location I have 0-1 bar
    • by azrider (918631)

      In the mid-90s, my parents picked up a cheap analog Motorolla. It sounded so good, no one could tell that it was a cell phone.

      That's because even the "cheap" Motorola's were still commercial quality radios. The new phones are indeed cheap (as in trash, not as in low cost). Give me a StarTac (or for that matter a MoCom or MoTrac) over most of what you will find today. There is a reason that Sabres and Astros still command high prices on the secondary market.

  • So now that AMPS is shutting down does this mean that slashdot will have to upgrade its cellphone icon to GSM? I mean it's nice to have a device that can double as a weapon, but you'll still have your Model M.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At its funeral, I need to finally chime in.

    I was in the cell phone industry in the U.S. in the late 1980s. The systems were analog, and most phones were installed in vehicles and were relatively expensive. The cheapest phones were several hundred dollars and went up to a few grand for the smallest handheld phones. I also recall that roaming rates were as high as $.90 per minute in certain cities. For obvious economic reasons, most people did not have cellular phones.

    At the beginning of the TDMA era, I w
  • by LaRoach (968977)
    ...about "crappy" analog, but my cell service under analog was much clearer than it ever was under digital. Nasty compression artifacts, warbled sound and crappy coverage are the norm now. When I had analog (many moons ago) most people couldn't even tell I was on a cell phone.
  • by kriston (7886) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @01:08AM (#22443114) Homepage Journal
    This also means that some traffic lights will lose connectivity.
    The CPDP data protocol, used by many embedded system modems like those in traffic control will also be shut down since it is part of the AMPS network.

    Good thing it's Presidents' Day on Monday!

  • Although it has been impossible to get valid ESNs for the thing since the late 1990s, I'm going to miss my Oki and the old days of A/B channel analog. It isn't nearly as efficient as digital in terms of users per cell site, but I swear the voice quality was a whole lot better once you actually got a connection.... even if it took 15+ seconds to hear the first ring as the sites handed you off to BFE because all of the closest sites were already overloaded.
  • so..exactly what does this mean for all of those emergency 911 handsets that have been given out to beaten spouses, people worried about their safety, grandmas driving around with an old handset, etc? all of those people are left in the dark, and worse, with a false sense of security that their handset will still contact emergency services.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @09:14AM (#22444828) Homepage
    What about the thousands of people--often abused women in dangerous situations--who have been given donated cell phones through numerous charitable organizations so that they can dial 911 in an emergency?

    Have they been warned about the upcoming transition? Are the cell phone companies going to give them new digital phones?

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