This Friday AT&T is expected to text its iPhone customers in groups every hour, notifying them that MMS is finally ready for action on their iPhone. Some reports have indicated this process could start as early as 10AM Eastern Time.
MMS will be activated by a carrier settings update from iTunes. The service will make it possible to send photos and videos along with text to other mobile devices without using email. MMS will not be supported on the original (2G) iPhone.
With the upcoming late release of MMS for the iPhone, AT&T is struggling to maintain a positive image with its subscribers. Reports have suggested their latest efforts will either come under the category of "too little, too late" or "my iPhone has more features on AT&T."
Reports are circulating that the company is developing features for the iPhone that will be exclusive to AT&T, even after the iPhone is available on other carriers in the US. Improvements in the works mainly add features to the existing visual voicemail system.
Next year could be it for AT&T. Customers are losing patience with spotty service. Lawyers are filing class action lawsuits about the lack of MMS. Now Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster has forecast the end of Apple's iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T.
According to Munster, the economics of the situation don't make sense for Apple, as evidenced with the success they've had in France moving to a multiple carrier business model. Market share for the iPhone in France has increased to 40 percent since they ended an exclusive deal with Orange.
With the MMS debacle ongoing, iPhone users are desperately looking for reasons to like AT&T. The company has started its 850MHz spectrum upgrade, which should improve signal strength in buildings and overall quality.
iPhone users in some urban areas are already reporting improved 3G reception and performance. AT&T has confirmed upgrades in Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Diego, Fresno and Stockton CA. Atlanta, for example, is in the process of getting 540 new 850 MHz cell sites next to the existing 1900 MHz towers.
Update: Apple iPhone 3G and 3GS will support MMS. AT&T will begin support of MMS on their network starting on September 25, 2009.
iPhones across the world have had MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) capability since the iPhone 3GS was released on June 19. Apple declared that AT&T would make MMS available to its customers in "late summer" of this year.
Well it's getting close to crunch time for AT&T. Last time we checked, the second half of August can be referred to as "late summer" here in the Northern Hemisphere. There's been no MMS news except for disgruntled iPhone owners complaining.
AT&T does not currently allow tethering on the iPhone even though Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 includes the feature. The company is still deciding what a tethering data plan for iPhone would cost and how it would be structured.
Tired of waiting? If you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS running OS 3.0 and a computer running iTunes 8.2 on Mac OS X here's how to activate tethering. You will be able to connect your computer to the AT&T data network using USB or Bluetooth via your iPhone.
For those with iPhone contracts, AT&T offers free iPhone Wi-Fi at hotspots on their network. There are thousands of AT&T wireless Wi-Fi locations nationwide. Connecting is easy and will incur no charges on your wireless bill.
Start by searching for a local AT&T hotspot, or entering your local Starbucks (most locations provide AT&T Wi-Fi access). You can find a map of available AT&T Wi-Fi locations on the AT&T website.
Live video iChat on the iPhone may be something we would expect from Apple, but is the timing and technology ripe for this functionality to come out this summer? Some reports are reading into AT&T network upgrades to 7.2 Mbps as a sign that they are bracing for more bandwidth demands from their iPhone subscriber base, and that one of those demands could be live video chat.
The longer AT&T can deliver what Apple needs for its hardware, the longer the company stands to profit from an exclusive arrangement to offer the iPhone on its network. Other leaks and data that point in the direction of a front facing camera on the next generation iPhone have also surfaced.
The AT&T network is about to get faster. Twice as fast as current 3G speeds, using HSPA 7.2 3G wireless technology. This in-progress upgrade to the AT&T network will make speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps possible later this year.
Apple has reportedly designed the next generation iPhone 3.0 to take advantage of these network upgrades when it is released this summer, making the new device twice as fast as current models. LTE technology, otherwise known as 4G, is in the works for future upgrades at AT&T but won't be widely available until 2011.
In a move to preserve the exclusive relationship with Apple and increase iPhone sales, AT&T may be considering changes to iPhone data plan pricing with the introduction of the next generation device. A typical two-year contract would see a price decrease of $10 per month, bringing the cost back to what original iPhone users signed up for in 2007.
Market research has shown that the high monthly cost associated with iPhone contracts may steer some users away from purchasing the device. The minimum cost over the required two-year contract amounts to over $1700 not including text messaging, taxes and fees.