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Summary:

By now, you all are very aware of my decision to break up with my iPhone because of connectivity problems with AT&T’s network. Since then, others have complained and switched away from the iPhone as well. As expected, my breakup didn’t go down too well in […]

iphoneBy now, you all are very aware of my decision to break up with my iPhone because of connectivity problems with AT&T’s network. Since then, others have complained and switched away from the iPhone as well. As expected, my breakup didn’t go down too well in some company quarters. I think AT&T could have foreseen that a device that one of its senior executives deemed a “game changer” would be so popular that it would choke its bandwidth.

Today, an AT&T spokesperson reached out and gave me an update, pointing out that the company had started to turn up its 850MHz network in San Francisco, which is now being used exclusively for 3G connectivity. The company did a similar (albeit emergency) network upgrade in Austin, Texas, when SXSW visitors overwhelmed its infrastructure. To be clear, this is just the start of the upgrade process, and it will continue for some time before the network starts to perform better. AT&T has promised to keep me abreast — and hopefully have me back on the iPhone.

For now, I am rather happy with the not-so-cheap-but-rock-solid Verizon Wireless network. And I have no complaints about the BlackBerry Tour, which really is an excellent device. The question for those of you who are in San Francisco: Have you experienced any improvement in your network quality?

  1. not in cupertino :( …sfo was ok last week…

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  2. Boise, Idaho is great.
    In your face, Silicon Valley!

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    1. Yeah, but it’s Boise….lol

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    2. Yeah, hope they make an iheater for you in the near future.

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  3. In March 09 I turned off 3G on the iphone, which improved call quality and battery life dramatically. Interestingly it didn’t really impact my non-video mobile web experience much…

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  4. I live near 4th and King Caltrain in SF and the coverage is shitty as always. In fact, in the past week or so, I’ve noticed my phone switching to EDGE a lot more often. I’m curious as to which part of the city they actually upgraded.

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  5. Try to your iPhone in the Ferry Building ,see if you get signal or any coverage at all, let alone 3G. Today I still got none.

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  6. been on ATT for almost on a month on the 3Gs in Dallas. So far the 3G network in this area has been great with very little slowdowns…..

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  7. Sounds like they’re still figuring things out….i’ll sit and wait.

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  8. Phoenix is way better than it used to be but I don’t think they have turned on 850mhz here.

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    1. The only thing that has improved in Phoenix is signal strength. So while they have bars now, there is still too much traffic for it to be reliable. There are still serious issues which calls never connect, missed calls notifications aren’t sent, and voice mails come days after they are sent.

      T-Mobile sent me a myTouch demo for a couple of weeks and I can attest to their coverage being measurably better than iPhone/At&t coverage. I am thinking of switching.

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  9. I live in SF and work in San Jose. And I can say without question that in the past week the service is much, much, improved in Milpitas & Northern San Jose, and all along 101. In San Francisco, I’ve had the same experience in the past few days in parts of the Mission, along Ceasar Chavez, and and the SE quarter of Noe Valley. Still zero reception in my house.

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  10. Mishan Kontroll Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    “As expected, my breakup didn’t go down too well in some company quarters.”

    Gosh, this Om Malik guy sounds terribly important.

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  11. Stamford, ct. 3g has gone to hell since the launch of the 3gs.

    I used to get speeds of 1 to 1.5 megabits/sec now I’m getting 400-700kilobits/sec. Terrible. AT&T/apple just keep piling on reasons for me to get a Pre.

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    1. Wait for the next rev of the iPod Touch on 9/9, then get that plus a Verizon MiFi. Use a cheap prepaid phone for phone, or Skype from the Touch. That’s the way I will go!

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  12. I’m in Pasadena (near Los Angeles, CA). A couple of months ago, I was averaging 800 down and 120 up with my iPhone 3Gs. My latest tests (within the last 2 weeks) are averaging 1700 down and 235 up, same location (using the Speedtest.net app). Sweet. By the way – like iBav, I usually turn off 3G – if I just need the phone for calls or standby. It extends the battery life quite dramatically.

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    1. I’m all for a little more battery life but when you’re looking at 10 extra bucks a month for 3g access Iwant my moneys worth.

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  13. I work in South Bay area. What I notice is that I need to turn on 3G to get a better reception. I guess ATT starts to migration all the 850 Mhz spectrum for exclusive 3G usage. I used to turn off 3G at work to preserve battery life but couldn’t do it any more as edge reception is getting much worse.

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  14. San Fran? NO!

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  15. Irony is that AT&T coverage where I live sucks – 1 block from Apple HQ.
    Finally switched to VZW 4 weeks – fantastic coverage anywhere within my house, neighborhood and where I commute to.

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  16. Out here in Gig Harbor, WA, I drop calls and chew through battery like it’s going out of style. Funny how most of those problems simply disappear when I turn off 3G. Battery life is much more respectable and I drop far fewer calls.

    The only annoying part is remembering to turn it on (or off) when I go out on the road.

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  17. Nope, in fact, my cell and digital performance took a nose dive when I went to 3.0 I’ve uped to 3.0.1 and now waiting for improvement. If I do not see anything, I may give T mobile a 30 day trail on my HTC and see if its any better here in SF’s SOMA area in Ca.
    Btw, I wrote up a post with hints to deal with this issue. Its a bit dated, but still useful.
    http://www.perivision.net/wordpress/?p=1662

    Christopher

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  18. Oakland is the same. Bad.

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  19. I got 1 megabit last night in NY

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  20. Om Malik wrote: “As expected, my breakup didn’t go down too well in some company quarters.”

    Gee, AT&T is now quaking in its boots because Om Malik unsubscribed? And what about Steve Jobs – is he sweating bullets, too?

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  21. Most definitely. The Mission has pretty much ceased being a cell phone black hole. Our ATT 3G signal right below Cesar Chavez dropped its 3G from about April until the top of August. It’s finally back.

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  22. Ever since 3gs my service has also been horrible. When is att going to get their act together? I’m not sure when this supposed upgrade took place, but I still have poor 3g service downtown and at home. With service like this Im switching as soon as their contract ends and other networks open up to the iphone.

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  23. Here in DC, I’ve found there has been a vast improvement in the 3G network. Very few dropped calls, and consistently high data rates. I can even make/receive calls in my basement office now, when only a few months ago, I could not do that.

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  24. Verizon/AT&T plans are too high. I will stick with Sprint/Pre and iPod Touch and with two devices I am saving nearly $1,000 compared to Verizon/AT&T plans and I do not have dropped calls. Sprint’s network is on par with Verizon (see PC World study). Verizon has a lot of phones but no good ones. The BB Storm has been a disaster. If you want to save money and have a good selection of devices, I would recommend Sprint.

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  25. As shocked as I am to say this, my 3G service is much better in the last several days than it has ever been. I work at 1 Market St. and I can now actually get a strong 3G signal inside the buildings there (most of the time). As others have said, 3G and Edge basically disappeared from SF after the release of the 3Gs, so for me this is s huge improvement. Sorry to hear that not everyone is experiencing the same.

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  26. I live in New Jersey (Somerset County) and have never had any issues with the iPhone and 3G network performance. Works great.

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  27. Not in Chicago. They let me out of my contracts (2) ETF free due to my dozen or so support calls in a 3 month time frame. I vowed never again.

    @Panch: no they aren’t, but vocal and influential people are the ones who can help spur change. ‘the squeaky wheel……..’

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    1. hey i live in chicago too, and ive been thru 3 phones in the last 2months. all having the same problems. ive called in to service for help and now the whole 3g network not working well is overall frustrating. did they let you out of the contract without any fees? how did that happen?

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  28. I live in DC and have no problems with getting a solid 3G connection here or anywhere else in the northeast that I travel.

    However, I spent last week on vacation driving from Seattle down to SF (where I stayed near Market). MAN, what an education about how bad AT&T’s network can be. Along the whole way my wife’s Verizon Blackberry had no issues. I went from no signal to minimal signal to an occasional 3G to Edge.

    In SF this past weekend I would sometimes get 3G but was usually stuff with Edge.

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  29. Out on Maui, Hawaii. My friends on the ATT/iPhone are constantly frustrated with dropped calls and spotty signal even in well populated areas.

    My t-mobile coverage, while areas are less, is rock solid in the places they advertise as covered.

    My brother has verizon. SOLID.
    For my webcast business, I use verizon broadband: amazing coverage (even in nooks and crannies along the shore). It’s way better than Clearwire.

    Verizon has impressed me a lot (except for the prices).

    Aloha,
    Stephan

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  30. Today in Cupertino a few blocks from Apple, the 3g is sucking bad still. It’s been like this for over 2 weeks. I’ve turned off 3g indefinitely…

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  31. [...] it is to work with telecoms. Carriers haven’t embraced (mobile gaming). Those folks in Kansas and wherever AT&T is centered these days, they’ve been very [...]

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  32. I didn’t have any 3G experience until upgrading to the 3GS last month, but the difference between using it here in the Greater Cleveland area and my own Wi-Fi at home is negligible. I’m really impressed, which is not something I expected to say.

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  33. I can’t get AT&T to admit there is a problem. I’m 2 miles from downtown Denver in a really nice neighborhood. Their AT&T reps say “our map shows you in a good coverage area – it must be interference in your house.” I explain it doesn’t work outside the house or anywhere near the house. “Our map shows you in a good coverage area.”

    It’s like talking to a wall.

    I think they might actually fix the problem if they would believe there was one.

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    1. I live in Denver to in Potter Highlands/Sunnyside. I have had horrible service inside my house for over a year now, but for the last two days I have had full bars at all times. Hopefully things are a changing…

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  34. [...] it is to work with telecoms. Carriers haven’t embraced (mobile gaming). Those folks in Kansas and wherever AT&T is centered these days, they’ve been very [...]

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  35. Earth to Om, Earth to Om. Hello? Hello?

    Um, I don’t think the market cares about your narcissistic infatuation with your own iPhone use case analysis. If you need quantitative proof that the market values something other than what you’re reporting on, just look at the iPhone sales volumes. Your ongoing commentary is about as relevant as saying you don’t like the particular shade of orange they chose for the mute indicator switch.

    You don’t like the AT&T-iPhone call continuity (BTW, it is BOTH the network AND the device that have to play nice with each other). Fine. Duly noted. Could you please get back to posting links to interesting stuff now?

    Thanks!

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  36. Been constantly having problems connecting using 3G. I called AT&T and their solution was to disable 3G on my iphone and use edge. GREAT SOLUTION….meanwhile my bill is staying the same and no one can help me. AT&T get’s a major FAIL in my book.

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  37. I live about 20 miles north of SF in a pretty remote area. Until a couple days ago, I generally teetered between No Service and a half bar of Edge. Every so often I’d see a couple bars of 3g, but only in certain parts of the house, and never consistently.

    I noticed yesterday that I not only have 3g, it’s 5 bars. I even turned off wifi for a while to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It’s solid. Whatever they did, it worked. For the first time in a year, I don’t lament giving up Verizon so I could use this fancy gadget.

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  38. So usually I get ‘searching…’, 0 bars, or 1-2 edge bars in the office. Mission and 1st. Today, I get full 3G. I’m streaming Youtube video with no lag whatsoever. (But just as I write this it goes to 0 bars… then within a few secs back to full 3G… and then back to 2 3G bars and then back up to full in a few secs.)

    Let’s see if my service at home is improved as I didn’t look at it this morning.

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  39. [...] it is to work with telecoms. Carriers haven’t embraced (mobile gaming). Those folks in Kansas and wherever AT&T is centered these days, they’ve been very [...]

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  40. I actually had recently noticed that my data connections in Noe Valley were failing more often than not (new problem starting about a month ago). And this was even though my phone was reporting that it had a data connection. I have experienced this on three devices — a blackberry (EDGE), a first gen iPhone (EDGE) and an iPhone 3Gs (3G).

    I finally got around to submitting a trouble ticket today, and got a call. During the call, I asked if my tower was scheduled for an upgrade to 850 MHz… and was told that the closest tower (and indeed, all the towers within a few miles of me) seemed already to have been upgraded to 850 MHz.

    The tech couldn’t tell me WHEN this had happened, so it’s possible it occurred in the last few days, and I just haven’t yet had a chance to notice that my data void problems were gone. Or it’s possible that they’ve upgraded and my coverage is still weak :(

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  41. [...] slow, it can be temperamental and it can be missing in action. Ma Bell, of course, has been trying its best to boost the bandwidth to your handset by using its 850 MHz spectrum band for 3G [...]

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  42. No problems in the Atlanta area.

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  43. 3G? The nearest 3G we have is over a half hour away and there hasn’t been an update in Michigan all year according to the AT&T website. Remember how it was supposed to be at&t, a ‘kinder gentler megopoly’? Yeah.

    Hey Steve, just think about how many iPhones you could sell with a Verizon version. Yeah, even though Verizon is rumoured to have passed on the iPhone, isn’t Apple in the business to sell hardware? Just imagine…

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  44. The 3g has improved here in the mission district in san Francisco. I actually get it now, as of the last few weeks. I have no problem withthe 3g data. The call quality still blows, that’s when I get a call.

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  45. I live in Atlanta and have 5 iPhones in my household. Phone and data connectivity for everyone in the past several weeks has been terrible. What is going on AT&T?

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  46. I haven’t seen any improvement in my service. It is very slow at times in St. Francisville, La. I have an laptop with an aircard, downloads take forever, very poor quality. We need 3g in this area bad.

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  47. I stay In St. Francisville my daddy has 4 iPhones and a laptop,we have to drive to the town of Zachary to have 3g coverage. My dad has been with at&t for a very long time I think we need better coverage.

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  48. [...] a $100 million marketing push. And AT&T — which did little during the quarter aside from working to shore up its inferior network – once again managed to post an industry-leading average revenue per user [...]

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  49. [...] has been AT&T’s savior over the last year or so, even if its popularity has exposed the carrier’s inferior network. Wireless Intelligence reported a few weeks ago that AT&T saw 3.1 million iPhone activations in [...]

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  50. [...] has been AT&T’s savior over the last year or so, even if its popularity has exposed the carrier’s inferior network. Wireless Intelligence reported a few weeks ago that AT&T saw 3.1 million iPhone activations in [...]

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  51. AT&T has been seamless on my BB Bold and the Curve we also have, but the iPhone in my family isn’t so lucky.

    I’m much less apt to blame AT&T as I am Apple for connectivity problems with the device and would venture a guess the masses will learn the same when Apple opens up on another network like Verizon.

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  52. Around the Oakland area/hills..per ATT reps say that “several” of their 3g towers have been out since ’09!! They are “aware” of their problems…the issue is a corporate problem. They just won’t commit resources to resolve the problems. It’s all about greed, priorities, complaints…and back to that bottom line/greed. My 3g is less than 1mb upload/download (I’ve tested it by tethering both my HTC and iPhones with the usual online speed tests albeit their +/- accuracies). Only major metro areas stand the best chances of full 3g coverage. So in a nutshell…no…ATT’s 3g coverage isn’t “everywhere” or even as wide of a coverage as their cartoon maps suggests. And no…I did not pay for 3g service to settle for EDGE,etc. Verizon may be a little better..but most major carrier’s data systems are overtaxed as pointed out by quite a few engineering buddies that work for these major carriers. Too many data users and not enough $$ spent to improve the systems or maintainance of preexisting systems. So therefore the complaints will continue!

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  53. Any updates to this? Doesn’t seem like it’s improved. Calls drop quite often in SF and especially on the Caltrain ride from SJ to SF… I’m close to ditching my phone, which I love, because of AT&T’s terrible performance… Would love to know if you’ve checked lately.

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  54. I live in the Noe Valley area of San Francisco, and for years had no service in my house. When the microcell became available recently I installed one back in June…yesterday when doing some housework I unplugged the microcell…only to find that I suddenly had regular 3G service all over my place. Now I can make calls and get data seamlessly…AT&T must have improved their network in this area, anyone else experiening the same?

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  55. Live in Walnut Creek & Travel to San Jose for work. There are 8, count them, 8 points along the way I drop calls. Sprint 4G comes in January & I will be giving it a hard look. Love the Iphone but cannot afford AT&T coverage issues.

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  56. Schaumburg is a suburb of Chicago, and last week my speed test on a motorola android phone showed download speed of 2700 download and 382 upload… 3G is great here in Chicagoland and no dropped calls.

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