I was excited about getting my Nokia Communicator 9290 today. I went down to VoiceStream (the only US carrier that supports it) to activate the phone and sign up for the iStream data service. Here's what I learned:
1) The Communicator will only work on VoiceStream's circuit-based network (not GPRS) at 9600 bits per second
2) This service is NOT always on, but the phone must dial up to an ISP
3) VoiceStream's iStream service is available for Pocket PC PDAs and not the Communicator
4) The vendor recommended that, if I was interested in data and not just a voice connection, I should return my Communicator to Nokia and get another device (not from Nokia) that would exploit the higher speed, always-on, packet-switched GPRS network VoiceStream operates.
At this point, I feel like I've bought a $599 pig-in-a-poke. I have a PDA and could have added a 9600 bits per second modem at any time.
Unless, and until, another US carrier offers higher speed access for the Communicator, I can't recommend the Communicator to anyone interested in data and voice applications. Until then, if you're happy with 9600 bps data transfers over a circuit-based network, and you already have a PDA, it would make more sense to add a $150 modem than buy a $599 Communicator.
I welcome comments to the contrary.