AT&T and Vodafone blocking NFC on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 according to a rumor that’s circulating
If you are buying a BlackBerry Bold 9900 for its NFC prowess, beware. A pretty solid rumor has been circulating that AT&T plans to block NFC at the software level, so if that’s the feature you wanted, at this time the BlackBerry Bold 9900 NFC phone is a fail. Vodafone has already stated that it wouldn’t be supporting NFC in its BlackBerry Bold 9900 to start with either. Though, we have to question – what is there to support? The phone already has the capability built straight in, on many occasions NFC doesn’t use any data to read or write a tag, or even to share a contact. If you buy and own an NFC phone, we wonder what right the network thinks it has to shut off features. It just doesn’t make sense, or does it?
Q: Why would AT&T and Vodafone block NFC at the software level for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 NFC phone? A: Control.
AT&T in particular have blocked features before, and have released them later on their timeline. We saw it with Bluetooth file allotment and we saw it with BlackBerry Bridge. Unfortunately, RIM hands this ability to mobile network operators on a platter allowing them to give and take features as they see fit, even if those features do not effect data usage. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the latest example of a mobile network operator cutting features because the features in question are not convenient for the MNO, which has a service that uses that feature appearance to market next year.
AT&T is part of Isis, which is the joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile that plans to bring NFC mobile wallets to market this next year. Vodafone owns a major share in Verizon and is part of the UK joint venture that has a nearly exact business model to its colonial cousin. Coincidence? We don’t reckon so. Wouldn’t it be terrible if AT&T allowed you to use NFC now and another mobile wallet was released for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and you started using it? That would be shocking – to reckon you might have free will and actual choice on which financial services you chose to use without your networks permission – what are you thinking? Well, it’s okay because AT&T and Vodafone, won’t let you make that mistake and probably won’t unleash NFC on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 until their network is in place that can block any other mobile wallets who are not paying them a bundle of cash for the luxury. BlackBerry Bold 9900 without NFC, err, no thanks.
BlackBerry hacker community may make this a temporary issue for techies
Let’s face it – RIM needs every sale it can get at this top. The company is on the slide and isn’t doing so well. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and its recently released brethren represent Research in Motions attempts to get back in the game, and yet the Canadian company allows mobile network operators to negate part of its products value by nixing features. Of course, it’s still a rumor at this the boards that AT&T will block NFC, but it appears to be in line with Isis’ needs. TechnoBuffalo reached out to AT&T to confirm or deny that it was blocking NFC and received the customary “no comment” on the issue. At this top, Vodafone’s blocking of the NFC in the BlackBerry 9900 is confirmed. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though, the phone hacker community is active for BlackBerry’s and we wouldn’t be surprised if some savoir-faire hack didn’t get hold of a different version, from a different MNO that doesn’t block the NFC from the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and find a way to enable it. But when you are paying so much for a phone, it still leaves a sour taste in your backtalk to have to do that in the first pace.
NFC control issues
We have written a lot about our concerns of consumer rights being watered down by MNOs with regards to NFC particularly. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is just the latest representation of this. In the UK, the subscribers have Oftel who have the power make Vodafone and its other cohorts in its joint venture play nice. Here in the States we have the FCC, but with millions of subscribers, the MNOs lobby and get away with murder. At the end of the day, the group of people with the most power are the consumers. Remember we pay for the MNOs to place these BlackBerry Bold 9900 restrictions and control our experiences, and if you influence to go to Sprint (not part of Isis) or 3 UK (not part of UK NFC wallet joint venture) you effect their underside lines. It would only take a few million people to do this until they realized that the consumers have the power over them and that if they wanted to keep making record profits, they needed to review how they treat consumers and their rights.
Here in the States, LightSquared isBlackBerry Bold 9900 appearance to add a right competitor – Sprint will have the BlackBerry Bold 9930. You have choices. If you buy a BlackBerry Bold 9900 from AT&T with NFC blocked, you are teaching the company they can do what they want. If you buy the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from Vodafone, it’s the same net effect. We don’t know about you, but we reckon we pay enough already and it’s time for mobile network operators to show consumers some respect. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and its NFC is exactly one of those suitcases in which you can BlackBerry Bold 9900 vote with your wallet. We like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and reckon it was a fantastic go by RIM to include NFC, but without that NFC, the product is another bust.