Why I'm dumping ATT BroadbandConnect for Verizon EVDO
I mentioned on Twitter that I'm abandoning my ATT BroadbandConnect service for Verizon. I've been using ATT for almost as long as they've offered their high speed service. It provided me with much needed Internet access throughout my consulting gig last year in Mountain View, but there's been some nagging problems ever since I got a new laptop.
I had been using a Sierra Wireless card in my old HP DV1000 since getting the service at the end of 2005. I used to love BroadbandConnect. Then I got a new laptop from Dell with an integrated card and have been limping along ever since. Sitting in the Windows Secrets office in Seattle staring out the window at the Verizon office as I got repeated SIM not activated messages from the Dell connection software was the final straw. I hopped in the elevator headed straight for the Verizon store and signed up for service. Everything is great with the Verizon service so far - I get none of the repeated error messages.
My biggest question to myself is, why didn't I do this sooner? For over a year, I've been getting messages that tell me that either the SIM isn't active or that the card can't find the network. At one point I got a new SIM card. That didn't fix things. The daily solution was to shutdown my laptop, remove the battery to access the SIM, place the SIM in a cell phone, wait for it to register, then pop the card back in my laptop. What a waste of time! And it didn't always work.
Another great feature was the card would stop working if I put a PCMCIA card in the slot. Probably a Vista driver issue in that case, but who has hours to spend troubleshooting that kind of problem?
I'm not sure ATT is at fault, but some or all of the Windows Vista, Dell software, and the ATT SIM card combination wasn't happy. Verizon works great and it seems to be faster in all the places I typically used ATT service in the Seattle area, which means less waiting for email and reduced Web page load times. I'm back to an external card instead of an integrated solution, which isn't perfect, but if I never have to remove my battery to use the Internet, I'm perfectly willing to put up with the extra Verzion USB wireless card in my laptop bag.