Last summer, when Apple (s AAPL) introduced its 3G iPhone device, I brought up the issue of AT&T (s T) not being ready for the data usage brought on by the data-centric touchscreen phone. Company officials of course denied having such problems, assuring me that they were ready.
Ready or not, a lot of people signed up for AT&T’s service, and many were soon disappointed by the lack of backhaul bandwidth. For me personally it got so bad, that I switched away from the iPhone (which I love, by the way) to T-Mobile’s 8900 BlackBerry and a plain old phone from Verizon.
AT&T keeps denying that it has any network bandwidth problems and continued its state of denial in an article in the New York Times this past weekend. Kristin S. Rinne, senior VP of architecture and planning for AT&T, blamed the phones and the chipsets on handsets for some of the problems.
Bad news for them – the article coincided with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, which is attended by hordes of iPhone-totting early-adopter techies. AT&T’s network choked and suddenly everyone was up in arms. And then Ma Bell got in touch with Stacey, who reported that AT&T was boosting its network capacity.
How did they do this? By switching on 850 MHz band on eight cell towers to blanket the downtown Austin area. This was in addition to the existing capacity on the 900 1900 MHz band. AT&T is going to make the same arrangements in San Francisco and New York by end of 2009, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega told Engadget.
This move to fix the bandwidth issue is a clear sign that AT&T knows it has network problems. It is time for the company to step up and acknowledge that this is indeed the case, and make a clear and coherent statement on how it is fixing it. By not doing so, it is clearly selling 3G phones (iPhone and BlackBerry Bold) under false pretenses. I think this is where the new FCC should step up to the plate and force their hand!
137 thoughts on “Why Won’t AT&T Admit to Its Wireless Network Problems?”
I completely agree with Om on this one. I’ve been hoping/waiting for better coverage since I first switched to AT&T so I could buy/use an iPhone. The 3G coverage in San Francisco is horrible. In New York it’s even worse. 3G is spotty in Manhattan and you can forget about getting a 3G signal at the SoHo Apple Store or Times Square.
I’m considering picking up a Blackberry on another network…
New York’s network, for me, was great on the iPhone. San Fran’s was not as good, in my opinion, but was far better than the horrendous network in Austin, TX.
I’ve been to New York, San Francisco, Dallas, San Antonio, Las Vegas Houston and other cities, and have never found a network so lacking in 3G coverage as Austin. I work in downtown, and about 1/4th of the time don’t even have a 3G signal. On my drive home, down Mopac (the major highway in Austin along with I-35) and through South Austin I lose my 3G signal at least 5 times, dropping calls and canceling data connections. It is incredibly frustrating, and I’ve complained to my state representative and the FCC. All I get from the AT&T office of the president is that ‘they cannot guarantee coverage.’
Give me a break. This isn’t a guaranteed coverage issue, this is a sham of a network that needed to be fixed years ago.
I’m a fellow Austinite and about to pull all my hair out with all the dropped calls I get here. Would you share the phone numbers you called for the state rep and the FCC? I’ll pass it to my other distressed iphoners and we’ll voice our discontent. Much thanks!
Yeah, I agree. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and it’s that way here too-spotty coverage, dropped calls, static in the line, etc. Their map shows coverage in these areas, but yet it seems to always go out there…. interesting!! Their maps are very inaccurate and their reps are liars.
Me and my wife switched to ATT so I could get the iphone and she has the palm centro. We live in Houston close to downtown. We both have signal fluctuations between 3G and the Edge network, dropped calls and poor call quality (the persons voice seems garbled). So it is not just an Iphone issue. I can sit outside without moving and the signal is all over the place. I payed for 3G and that is what I should get. Recently I received a text from ATT stating: ATT has the largest network in houston. I wish I could have replied, yeah but it sucks.
Sorry that you think that you paid for 3G. You paid for the svc not for 3G. If you get it, great if not then you have to deal with the EDGE network. Move north and see how much you pay for cell svc.
I’m not an iPhone owner ($80/month is to much) but I do use AT&Ts 3G services. I’ve never had a complaint about spee. But I’ve had the spotty connection issue. Why is it that my home in the suburbs has 3.5G capabilities, but when I’m near downtown (mind you not many tall buildings around) I can only get EDGE? Very frustrating, it has me wondering about getting a Dream HTC instead of an iPhone.
You have to figure the iPhone on the AT&T network is overloading the network. Verizon has no mass traffic from geeks since no hot device.
If you think for a moment that if the iPhone ran on Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon San Francisco the mecca for geeks would not have trouble…
I mean the ratio of iPhones at SXSW if great, greater the any other hot smartphone.
But I am not defending AT&T, they willingly agree to carry the iPhone and must deal with the added traffic.
When the Pre and other hot smartphones come out there will be less iPhones and data usage will be more spread out.
AT&T continues to ignore my service calls that there is very poor coverage near where I live (2 miles south of downtown denver). All they say is “our maps show your area’s coverage as ‘good.'”
Well it isn’t! They have no interest in solving the problem, if their map says coverage is good, them god-dammit it’s good! ….despite the fact that calls consistently drop all around my neighborhood for me and other AT&T customers.
this is a nice idea:
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (I did) to make AT&T take action and responsibility!!!
-Im from Denver and I know exactly how you feel
AT&T’s service in Denver is atrocious! I have a friend that lives at about 12th and Washington and I’ve not had ANY service at his house in that last year at least. I’ve called AT&T and all they can say is “Weird, that’s in the middle of six towers!?” That doesn’t mean I get any connection to the network though!
AT&T can only use 850mhz and 1900mhz. 900mhz can’t be used in the US, it’s for Europe. Typo?
It also brings up the question… why wasn’t AT&T using the 850mhz band before?
that was a typo @chris. thanks for bringing it to our attention. we got that fixed. 850 mhz was what they were using for their analog services.
They were supposed to overlay 850mhz by December ’08, but haven’t even turned on one tower until SXSW called them on it. I have no idea why they haven’t. Lubbock, Dallas and San Antonio all have 850mhz. Why not Austin, the capitol of Texas???
First of all they have to own 850 in that market to turn it on. Second, Austin came secondhand into SBC a while back from a 1900 carrier with CDMA. So, if they got it, they will use it. 850 was picked up during the AT&T Wireless acquisition, so its available and should be using it. Other than asking one of their RF guys, customers will never know the difference. All AT&T phones a quad-band.
There is no 900 band in the US…
I am Canadian and my iPhone is on the Candian RogersFido here. Been travelling a lit of bit of late to the US and Europe.
From my perspective, the AT&T network is clearly inferior.
I’ve had my iPhone for about a month now. The speed is very disappointing.
I was in Manhattan yesterday and I could not get Twitter to load when I had five bars.
To me the question is more fundamental. “Will there ever be enough bandwidth in mobile?”. The iPhone is just the first hot mobile data device. Many more are on the way. 3G built into laptops and netbooks morphing into smaller and more mobile data gluttons.
Cisco predicts mobile data usage to grow 130% annually, leading to a 66-fold increase between 2008 and 2013 (Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update). Reasons for this explosion in mobile data usage are
– Smart phones are quickly going mainstream and have sufficient CPU power to run applications that hitherto were limited to PCs
– Many data-intensive internet services already exist for PCs (e.g. YouTube)
– Laptops that go wireless use 15x more data than smart phones
We are dealing with limited spectrum and an enormously expensive infrastructure. Maybe it never catches up?
Not sure why I posted that twice 😉
I have AT&T and Verizon. I travel around the Northeast all day for work. I have a spotty AT&T service and Verizon. They both have problems. I live in NYC and have no problems with my 3G signal.
it’s entirely possible that it has nothing to do with backhaul capacity and everything to do with network complexity exacerbated by the iphone’s absence of background processing. how are the two related? well, without background processing, every time you start a new app, you potentially have to startup and tear down a new session between the phone and the GGSN/SGSN. with background processing, you could have apps maintain the statefulness of their connection, thus preventing a lot of set-ups and tear-downs. the real enemy of IP cell networks is chatty apps that open a session, shut it down, then open it up again and repeat this ad nauseum. when you think of the SXSW iphone crowd switching from twitter to yelp to urbanspoon to maps apps and on and on, you can see how this could be a problem. the handset chipsets (their firmwares) could also be at fault in their implementation of the radio protocol by initiating fast dormancy too quickly to try to conserve battery.
this makes some assumptions about how the iphone handles network connectivity (on a per app basis) but it’s not unreasonable given the app model.
I can only give the example that AT&T 3G service on Chicago’s Northside is god-awful. It’s basically dead along the CTA Brown Line and never works near the Depaul campus, which is probably due to the high density of students. I don’t live around tall buildings (Lake View), so there’s no excuse there, either.
I hate the economics of class-action lawsuits, but this is probably one issue (AT&T’s failure to provide promised service under long term contracts) that I’d be interested in joining. If AT&T can’t provide me the network as prescribed, then they should let me take my phone to a different carrier or give me a refund.
I love the iPhone, but the 3G failures are killing the experience. In the end, I don’t care about the price. I just want to get what I’m paying for.
Randal, I have to agree and wonder how one can be in the center of the third largest US city, and have no cell service. Zero bars! I was at a client’s in the west loop, facing downtown, and unable to check my email. Bizarre!
Yes sadly I live in the west loop. Imagine that. I don’t really get service until I drive out! I have to fine the one corner of my house that I can use the phone. I have been seriously considering unlocking the phone to go with tmobile. I had a great experience with them!
BTW, this also why we embed media in our apps rather than stream. Relying on a network, particularly ATT’s, for the user experience is insane!
I have read your issue with 3G service, but it doesn’t add up – if ATT doesn’t have 3G capacity why is your BB working fine. I think the issue is iphone and partially ATT.
my blackberry bold had the same problems satish and yes there is an issue. i am now using a blackberry from tmobile.
Time for the iPhone to be liberated from only AT&T being the carrier! Many, many more iPhones would be sold if it were not limited to AT&T.
I have plain 3G wireless for my laptop for at&t and I will say that the service is irresponsible. I work downtown Chicago across the street from Millenium Park and my 3G access has been out since the 4th of February. I use my 3G connection 90% of the time when I’m at work. It’s the reason I got it in the first place and it has been horrible.
If their network sucks, then advertise is more conservatively so that people can be informed adults when signing a contract. Their solution? Lock it into 2G service and we’ll give you your money back when we get the service back up.
Because of this network trouble, my school life has been turned upside-down and now I have all of my personal email tracked in my employer’s big brother snooping system.
im tired of having to apologize to clients when my phone just drops b/c at&t’s service gets tired and cuts out…i love the iphone and think that it is the best pda on the market (personally) but i have thought about switching recently b/c at&t is shite
I think this is deliberate because the government eventually wants to disrupt all civilian communications under 802.16magic
I completely agree and am so glad to read some publicity about this. I have almost thrown my iPhone out the window on my daily commute between San Fran and the peninsula–it drops calls about three times during that drive. My old Treo with Sprint never dropped calls. I really hope AT&T fixes this issue before I lose patience.
Good! You and anyone else should NOT be using a cell phone whilst driving (“oh oh, but I’m different, I can drive better when I’m yapping on my cell phone that when I’m not!”).
If had a dime for every time a damn cager almost ran me off the road as they were BSing on their phones I’d buy Apple Inc. for myself.
I’ve had all these issues with my Blackjack on AT&T, and secretly wondered whether “it all just works” on the iPhone, simply b/c iPhone users are more prone to gush than whine about the gadget. Glad to see other folks have issues with the network, even with the carrier’s flagship iPhone device.
I’ve never had any problems with 3g network speeds. Sometimes coverage is spotty, but I don’t have any complaints.
Right on, I live in No AZ and 3G does not exist. Retailers of IPhones and Blackberries have no clue as to when we will get the service. And unless you ask the retailer will not divulge that lack of 3G. Scandelous.
I still have the original iPhone. I didn’t upgrade last summer with everyone else because I didn’t want to sell my soul to AT&T for another 2 years. I live in the Cincinnati area and I have terrible service. No service in my home and not until I’m almost out of my neighborhood. Constant dropped calls. It’s awful. As much as I like so many features of the phone, it’s just not practical. When my contract is up this summer, I’m switching to an Android or Palm Pre. I’ve had Spring and T-Mobile in the past without issue. Truthfully, when I had my Blackberry with Cingular (just before the AT&T switch), I had fantastic service. Go figure.
Michelle-I live in the Anderson Township area of Cincinnati and AT&T’s service here is horrible too. I have a Nokia 3G phone and am constantly having dropped calls, poor voice quality where there is static and interference in the line, poor reception, missed voice mails, and slow internet downloads. It’s ridiculous. I am leaving them too when my contract is up. I have a friend who lives in Mt. Lookout and he is having the same problems I am. In fact, there is a dead zone along Linwood Rd. When AT&T bought Cingular back, the service went downhill almost immediately. I noticed that, along with many other people. They need to get a clue at AT&T or they will lose a ton of customers.
If AT&T admits their problems then they will be in serious trouble with customer lawsuits. Secondly not everything is there problem. The iPhoen 3G has major 3G issues and AT&T and Apple keeps blaming each other for it.
Many AT&T customers have problems in other areas besides Austin. 30,000+ complaints and rising on this map on http://www.deadcellzones.com/att.html
Lots of twitter activity as well at SXSW
I think AT&T is like GM. Their executives are out of touch. Their lower level staff make sure that there is adequate towers and coverage by their residences, along the way they commute to their executive suites at corp and in the building. Network problems? Kristin and De La Vega never experience it, because they are using their phones in a bubble of coverage.
Sort of like when the GM execs only rode around in limos and had no clue about the actual cars they sold.
The other aspect of this is refusing to build adequate infrastructure for the service they are selling. Sort of like Comcast, who spends millions advertising the speed of their network, attacking the slowness of DSL and then using sandvine and bandwidth caps on their own customers. Rolling out Docsis 3.0 for faster speeds, so that you can reach you bandwidth cap sooner.
If the iPhone were on Verizon I would switch back to them, presuming they (Verizon) did not put any restrictions on the feature of the iPhone like they constantly did with every motorola phone I used with them.
I have the original iPhone and I love the gadget itself but the AT&T service is terrible. I live in Cleveland and had Verizon service prior to getting the iPhone. I rarely dropped calls and now, with the AT&T service, I am constantly dropping calls and the load rate for data is so slow. I feel like I am not using the decive to its full potential because of the service attached with it. I hope AT&T steps up to the plate and fixes their issues.
Nicole-the same is happening down here in Cincinnati, Ohio too. I have a 3G Nokia. The AT&T service here is horrible too. I am constantly getting dropped calls, static and interference when I make a call, missed voice mails, and poor reception. This is all near downtown Cincinnati. It’s ridiculous!! Download rates are NOT 3G that’s for sure. I have called customer service at least 4 times about these problems and they claim that they will be fixed, but I don’t see anything changing with them.
Wait until Palm comes out with the new Pre. Sprint’s network smokes ATT’s, and this will reshape the market tremendously. Thank you Apple, for starting the trend, but I think Sprint and Verizon will benefit from future generations of touch phones.
I’ll say this. Verizon was smart enough to lay the network before the phones. Can’t say the same for at&t, or cingular , or pacbell wireless or who ever they are. Now Verizon turning down the iphone first round? Hope they don’t make that mistake again.
around here ATT cellular network is pretty bad, so I wouldn’t even imagine what it is like for data.
I think the limitations are in AT&T’s network. Honestly, GSM maybe a global standard which is good when you need to travel overseas. Otherwise, GSM pretty much sucks. CDMA can handle many times more devices on the same cell as a GSM tower can. Also, another key is that CDMA has soft handoff which greatly reduces the chances of losing a call when switching towers. For that matter CDMA has the capability to use signals from multiple towers aggregated (combined) to give more capacity for each user. I know thats only the voice side. Supposedly HSDPA is a CDMA technology but then why does it suck so much next to EVDO which works great for me ALL the time regardless of where I go. Verizon has a ton of fancy phones with 3G data as well including the LG Dare that i am using now. It will be interesting to see what happens when Verizon rolls out a CDMA/EVDO version of the Iphone in the near future.
I was in downtown Austin, and was shocked to find my phone with a relatively decent 3G signal, something that is all to rare in downtown, West or South Austin because of its horrendous 1900mhz 3G coverage. I turn on Field Test mode, and notice that it is actually 850mhz!
Ironically, I am kicked off 850mhz within a few minutes, and my phone is now on 2G EDGE, when, previously, it had a great 3G signal, albeit data trickled in at modem speeds. The problem? The network was STILL overloaded, and forced my phone to 2G.
WHY, OH WHY did AT&T suddenly turn on 850mhz 3G in a city that has been desperate for it since 3G was enabled years ago only AFTER they got the finger pointed at them by the SXSW conference???? If they were able to turn on 850mhz so quickly, they should have long before.
It just shows that they think they are cleverly hiding their issues, yet were outed as sucking right in the national spotlight.
850 came with the AT&T Wireless acquisition and not by the request of some SXSW show organization. If that was the case, you would still be waiting along with the FCC and Telecom Act 1996 obligation.
Believe me, it has always been there they may just had a crap crew of integration engineers putting the two networks together.
Couldn’t agree more. I live and work in Boulder (north) and can’t even use my iPhone at my house so I have to pay for a landline. its ridiculous. I was at SXSW in Austin as well and it was virtually impossible to get service to download/send emails, use apps, the web, anything. I CAN’T WAIT until Apple lets us use VERIZON!!! AT&T, sorry, but your coverage flat out sucks.
Totally agree. I work in downtown Austin, and trying to make a call this week (during SXSW) has been impossible. I live three miles south of downtown and still have dropped calls at home. It’s totally ridiculous that AT&T didn’t reinforce their network prior to the festival. Plus, a couple of weeks ago there were widespread issues in Texas, and my phone had no service for about 24 hours. For as much as I pay them each month, I expect the phone to work.
So I’m still without at&t service in downtown Chicago. It’s been this way since February 4th. I called customer support on Friday and learned that, in downtown Chicago at least, the tower equipment vendors were out taking a look at their towers (Sony Ericcson), and that network 3g voice had been given priority on the network, and their stats had call completion at 96%.
I did the quick math, since the only Apple Store in downtown Chicago is in my area, and translated what the service rep said into the truth: Apple Iphones have been given the priority in Chicago. I guess that Apple is really piling on At&t for their network trouble.
The biggest problem I have about this is 1:there have been no official bulletins or notices about their network sucking out in Chicago, the third largest city or something like that, and 2:I pay over TWICE the amount iphone users pay for my 3G network access every month! How did the thought of this being remotely fair even pass through At&t’s mind?
AT&T is looking to get help from the NTIA to build out their network. This will involve asking for stimulus funds to help expand coverage into unserved/under served areas. It is going to be big case of corporate welfare.
I have an HTC TyTN II (the ATT Tilt) with HSPDA enabled. I spend most of my time between the Philly area and Princeton never have bandwidth or dropped call issues. Same goes for my wife’s first gen iPhone. In ATT’s defense their service seems fine to me – if a bit expensive. My biggest issue with ATT is the customer service I receive in their retail stores no matter where I go.
I am in Washington, DC and my IPHONE has had a “NO SERVICE” since Monday, March 23. It is now Friday, March 27 and still no service. I made numerous calls to ATT where they promised the tower would be back up shortly.
Initially, the towers were supposed to be supporting my phone my early Tuesday morning. When that failed, they claimed it would be back on Wednesday. To be fair, they did reduce my bill to alleviate some of my anger.
So, the customer service was ok. However, late Wednesday ATT began playing the “maybe it is your phone” game. The started pretending that either the device or SIM card were not working properly. Well, the phone is brand new since I did an exchange recently due to some bug issues. And the SIM card is just fine, thank you very much. I did not have any issues until Monday, when ATT admitted that they had major issues in the DC area.
I hope that Apple realizes how bad ATT is right now. And we also need to perhaps begin some legal action against ATT because the service is terrible and they are requiring two year contracts. I don’t think the consumer should be locked in for two years of terrible service.
We have had iphones from inception.
We live in LA adjacent to one of the most highly trafficed corridors on the planet.
ATT 3G service here is poor at best. Most 3G voice calls within a 1/2 mile radius of our home will drop. Pretty much guaranteed.
The number of phones we have, advantages of the iphones and the decent coverage in most other areas of LA outweigh switching to other systems
at this time…
The main issue is dropped 3G calls at home location…2G works fine. No dropped calls with 2G and 3G is not needed because of WiFi connectivity at home for data.
Question: Is there an App, or could one be created that would allow fast one click toggle between 3G/2Gfrom main menu screen? How could one be commissioned? Is it possible?
The quick switching app would make the problem more “palatable” while we wait for the promised “improved/upgraded 3G network” or the femtocell capability that is being touted.
I’m in San diego and have had a terrible iPhone / att experience. I’ve been on board with the iPhone since inception and have seen a dramatic loss in cell service, dropped calls, random VM’s and text messages showing up hours later, and today, zero bars in an area where I formerly had five. I hope they break the AT&T contract because clearly AT&T can’t handle the load and in the end — it’s going to cost iphone both reputation and sales.
And the zero bars is a serious issue for me. I work from home and am now paralyzed (except for Internet use)!
It’s just crazy reading about the 3G coverage in the U.S. I’m from the U.S. but I’ve been living in Colombia for about three years now. I bring my little 3G usb “stick” with me everywhere. In cities like Bogotá and Medellín I haven’t been able to find a place where there isn’t coverage. It’s just amazing. I fire up the laptop and use Skype and call the States and Japan quite frequently from all over and nobody knows I’m using 3G. The call quality is great. I’ve traveled outside of the big cities too and I’ve been able to connect. The speeds drop and the latency increases outside of the big cities, but I still have 3G coverage that works.
The U.S. is just plain falling behind in so many areas, isn’t it?
Sam, I totally agree with you. You would think by now the 3G coverage would be good like it is in Colombia. I mean, it’s 2009 not 1995!! I think cell service in the U.S stinks big time, especially the GSM providers. Half the country isn’t even covered with cell service-it’s ridiculous. Where it is covered, there are a ton of problems.
I have had ATT, Sprint and Verizon – and I can attest to the fact that Sprint seems by far the best. I have tested both voice and broadband cards – and Sprint by far beats everyone in 3G data coverage. As far as voice is concerned, ATT absolutely is the worst of the pile – bad voice quality, high drop rates etc.
Sprint and Verizon have about the same level of coverage in my pretty extensive testing – voice quality is the same – and I would venture to say that Verizon is probably a tad stronger.
You can read more about my testing here:
Guess what, part of the att network is down in PA. a shit ton of coustomers cant even call to report it
That happens in Cincinnati, Ohio all the time as well. In fact as of today, there are two towers down within a heavy business and residential area. They claim that they will be fixed within a week. Well, that was three weeks ago. What a bunch of liars.
The AT&T issues are not limited to iPhones, although that may be the source of them. I’ve had a Blackberry on the network for about two years now, and over the past two months it’s just been ridiculous. Texts, emails, Messenger – everything gets stuck. The basic phone is the only thing that works. I’m getting pretty frustrated, and would switch if I could keep my number (I no longer live in the area code associated with it, so they tell me I can’t). Very disappointing.
What’s really ironic to me is that in the summer of 2008, after the iPhone 3G release and before the iPhone 2.0.2 update (the one that Apple and AT&T claimed would fix all the problems, the one they wanted everyone to install so badly that they text messaged all iPhone customers saying “please install this update”) — during that time period, AT&T knew they had a huge problem on their hands, and their customer service people were obviously told to appease customers.
After the 2.0.2 release, AT&T seems to believe at a corporate level that there are no problems.
Before 2.0.2 came out, I’d call and report problems like dropped calls or inability to place calls, and they’d always be very apologetic and offer service credits and say they know about problems and are working on improving things.
After 2.0.2 came out, phone reliability got a little better, but not nearly enough better (in San Francisco anyway), but AT&T became utterly unapologetic for the remaining problems. I’d call to report problems (not just dropped calls, but prolonged periods of say 20 minutes where the phone reports 4-5 bars of signal strength but fails to place any outgoing calls), and got the following answers:
* we don’t guarantee service
* would you like a signal boost? I can push a button and deliver you a signal boost as soon as you get off this call.
* you should turn your phone off every night to let it sleep and recover. Phones get tired if you leave them on all the time, but if you turn it off at night, it will work better the next day.
Amusing, but far from helpful.
I just found it really interesting that for a while they knew and would admit the situation was problematic, and now they’ve apparently pulled the wool over their own eyes. This is about when I gave up on it getting better any time soon (you have to admit there is a problem to fix a problem) and went back to 2G mode.
I live in The Woodlands Texas right outside of Houston, i have a Bold and had to actually hack my phone and load the standard non branded Blackberry software to turn off the 3G and just use the device as EDGE. Nothing but dropped calls with 3G in Houston, Downtown Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Dallas. I am furious that ATT has the commercials claiming to be the fastest 3G network and most coverage more bars in more places. ATT has over extended themselves and do not have the infrastructure to support the devices they have. I am trying to be professional about all of this but quite frankly they suck…… BIGTIME.
I have one of the “original” 8GB “Edge” iPhones. When I first bought it, I had fairly decent AT&T service here in Chicago. However, shortly after AT&T came out with a plan to subsidize the cost of iPhones, making them available for $199 with a contract, I have noticed that my ability to make calls, send texts, browse the web, etc, has deteriorated dramatically.
I live and work on the north side of Chicago, and I am extremely displeased with AT&T. Most often what happens is, my phone will display 5 bars. However, when I actually try to make a call, send a text, or use the internet, I will immediately drop to 0 bars, and then my phone will say “Searching…” and then will say “No Service.” This happens all the time. It is usually 20 minutes or so until I have a signal again. I have called AT&T, replaced my SIM card, power-cycled my phone, but nothing seems to help. All I can assume is that AT&T is woefully inadequate at providing the network infrastructure. Funny enough, whenever I go into an AT&T Store to complain or to try to get my problem “resolved”, I have 5 bars and am able to send texts and browse the web with no problems what-so-ever. I had no idea how fast Edge could be until I was in an AT&T store where I presume they have a dedicated signal inside the store.
I am very upset that I had to agree to a 2-year contract, even though I didn’t buy one of the “subsidized” phones… I paid full price for mine, and yet I’m still being held hostage by AT&T. Ridiculous. There need to be better consumer protection laws for situations like this.
This has been going on with AT&T for 4 to five years. They state no that there are 8 severely degraded towers in the north side of Chicago near Loyola University and between Northwestern University. They told me they are working on it. ……….for years…….??????? All my calls drop out and people think I am hanging up on them.
What I found is that if I leave my home and drive over to the white neighborhood I get 4 bars instead of on or half of one what ever that little dot is.
I cant even call in for service from my ATT phone and I told them I had to drive to the white neighboorhood to call them.
WHO THE HECK WILL COME UP WITH AFTER MARKET PRODUCT TO BOOST THE RADIO SIGNALS TO OUR CELL PHONEs??????????????? AND WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG???????
I live and work in Boulder, CO also and have terrible service with my AT&T iPhone. Constant garbled calls, dropped calls, problems with downloading data. It’s unbelievable, and it’s true, as Lindsay said earlier North Boulder is especially bad. The irony is, my Dad just moved to Europe and has better service in the Hague with his iPhone than it seems most people do in the US. Figures.
Other than the utility of the device itself as a mini-computer outside of being a phone, I am highly dissapointed with this thing and feel like I’m being financially raped.
I have to say however, that I did have a lot of problems with the Sprint network as well, although I’m starting to think it was moreso my phone I had at the time than the network. Note to self: jailbreak iPhone, stop paying AT&T money they don’t deserve and only call via Skype when I’m at the house. It’ll be like the olden days, when we all had landlines and had to be home to receive calls.
Switched to AT&T from Metro PCS late last year because of Iphone after confirming service was ok in my area. Metro PCS was great because of no contract. Signal was great until June 2009. The AT&T signal is now horrible in my area as well as whenever I am moving on Interstate 85 in Metro Atlanta. Not out in the boonies somewhere. I’ve tried more than one AT&T phone with the same problem(s).
Around my home where the service used to be great I cannot receive calls. Every now and then one will make it through but I cannot understand the person and they are dropped. The signal used to be great here. Now it’s dropping calls while showing 4 bars.
Whenever I travel through what is supposedly a great coverage area the call is always dropped at certain points along Interstate 85 (when they switch towers)? This happens without fail now but did not used to be the problem.
I do not appreciate AT&T’s bait and switch. I’ve contacted them multiple times regarding this issue. “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it anymore. My understanding is that Verizon owns all of the towers around here. Probably AT&T opted to rent less bandwidth from them to save money. Knowing they’ve got their customers locked into contracts they could obviously care less about the service.
BTW AT&T is apparently getting ready to sell a “booster kit” that uses VOIP to get your signal level back up to where it was before. They are taking what the used to pay for and passing it to you. Nice.
I don’t have an Iphone, but I have been having an awful hard time placing and keeping calls on the line lately in San Francisco. I have dropped five out of six received calls in the last two hours. Worse yet, during a phone interview for a job the call dropped TWICE during a 20-minute call. That is just ridiculous and this type of service is certainly not worth $75 per month. If I wanted completely unreliable service, I would be paying $40 a month for it from T-Mobile, which is what I am about to do. I can just get a totally unreliable T-Ghetto phone for less, get the same service and get a land line at home for important calls.
Please join the facebook page dedicated to AT&T’s lousy iPhone service: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=126827869791
When I have a problem I ask for a credit on my account. They have to give you a credit for non or poor service when they have a system failure. This week I got $140.00 credit. Everyone in northwest Oregon I know that called got the credit. Usually the service is spotless in the Nortwest. It took a major dump in the last 5 days. Everyone requesting a credit $$$$ will hit them where they need to be hit.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to force AT&T to take action!!!
I am not sure how all of the people living in NYC are getting good signals.I live right in the center of NYC and my calls drop over 30% of the time and that’s walking on the street. I won’t even comment on the poor coverage in my apartment building. I thought the iphone would be a great investment, but my business requires something more reliable. I am considering switching.
That’s how it is in Cincinnati, Ohio too-whether you are in downtown or in the suburbs. I know a lot of people who have iphones and 3G phones with AT&T and we are all getting a ton of dropped calls at all hours of the day and night. When we can actually connect a call, you can here a lot of static and interference in it as well. It’s ridiculous. I pay $100 for service like that.
Got the real story. Since AT&T is really just a marketing name that represents SBC, the old MA Bells, and Cingular they determined that they bought too many overlapping towers so they decided to take down towers/bandwidth and move them further to spreaden (which in turn weakened) their coverage without investing in new infrastructure. Of course if you singed a 2 year contract because you had a good signal and afterwards they decide to save money by taking out the nearby tower whose signal strength your decision was based on well, sorry. Pay us anyway.
Bait and switch.
Now of course they are coming out with a access point you can buy and use with your existing landline/cable/dsl to get your service back up to what it used to be before they weakend it. As long as you pay them a monthly fee…
I agree with most of these posts. I am so fed up with AT&T Wireless and their poor service. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and am constantly having problems with my 3G Nokia phone. I am always getting dropped calls, static and interference when I make a call, missed text messages and voice mails, internet that is really slow, and poor reception in the downtown area. It’s obvious the network in this area is severly overloaded every single day. Also, the Cincinnati market hasn’t been switched to 850MHZ yet. My in-building coverage stinks. Does anyone know when these “engineers” at AT&T will be switching Cincinnati over to 850MHZ? As soon as my contract is up, I’m dropping them and going with Verizon.
Sign the petition and pass it on
at&t wireless has excellent network coverage in southcarolina and georgia nc,fla and tennese and no problems at all and when att say they have the fewest dropped calls that must be true.
I’m not too sure about this. It’s anecdotal evidence obviously, but I have quite a few friends who say that while the 3G coverage in/around Atlanta isn’t generally a problem, the call quality (or lack thereof) with AT&T is a huge issue. Not sure about SC, NC, FL, or TN, though.
Of course AT&T Wireless would have excellent coverage down south, especially in Atlanta, where their billion dollar headquarters are at. I guarantee, they have brand new towers and very few problems if any in Atlanta. As far as SC, FL, TN, and NC 3G coverage is spotty at best. Plus you get a ton of dropped calls, terrible voice quality and slow connections to the internet. Not to mention, voice and picture messages you never receive.
AT&T is abusive of the iPhone customer. Blackberry devices have tethering, and can stream video via Sling Player over 3G. Send these jokers a complaint. See http://www.lionfishpictures.com/2009/11/i-have-had-it-with-at.html for a very well written complaint letter. Feel free to copy it and send it to them.
I have AT&T and for the first six months the service was great. Now, it sucks. I have lost service 3 times in 2 days, then I am bouncing off Rogers Wireless, by the way, I live in Vermont about 20 minutes from Canada. I am stuck in a 2 year contract with At&t but I am thinking about switching to Verizon. My neighbor has Verizon and has never had a problem. I’m pissed because if I cancel my service with at&t I have to pay termination charges on 4 phones. what else can I do. I need service, these r our only phones. No house phone because fairpoint sucks!
I have a Motorola Tundra with plain service. I called att about on a average 6 dropped calls per day and they said it was my sim card. I already heard about the network problems but they avoided that issue. Then I told them that my wife and daughter has the same issue, my daughter on her own plan, and they still said it was our sim cards were bad.
I am so upset with the unbelievably slow speed of AT&T data network! I just moved to LA from Japan and I’ve been so used to fast speeds all my life. I love my iphone but I am always mad at its slow data speeds. Why won’t AT&T focus more on quality instead of just trying to squeeze as much profits from the current slow statusquo network? I feel like I’m using a stoneage network. Please AT&T upgrade your network! And stop being like other US corporate giants like GM who are only concerned about short term profits and not long term quality.
I live in San Antonio and I just received the iPhone through my job. I was excited. A month later, my calls are snap, crackling & popping. When I call AT&T they tell me that their a no service problems in my area so of course I feel like I must be the crazy one. What good are all the bells & whistles of the iPhone if I cant use the damn thing for its primary function: PHONE CALLS. Thank all the gods Im not paying for this thing. As soon as I can, Im dropping this pretty little thing and getting a phone that does what its supposed to do: ALLOW ME TO MAKE PHONE CALLS.
I agree..I haven’t had any problems with their service until now. Recently for THREE WEEKS, I have “NO SERVICE,” with 3G or Edge. The phone has been nothing but a nightmare for me. The problems are only happening at my work location, but that is where I spend most of my time, so its a huge inconvience. I have called and called them, and they say, ” We estimate the towers to be up in 48hours.” I have heard that for THREE WEEKS now. Today is Day 6 that my phone hasn’t got service and I am SOOO FED UP!
I agree. I travel a lot between San Francisco and Dallas. I find the Dallas 3g just horrid and San Francisco poor.
Did AT&T bandwidth just die due to misprojections? How can you miss the projection that the cell phone was headed to broadband? I think this is mis-management in a large corporation on all levels… from Director level on up. This does not give me a warm fuzzy in staying with them.
AT&T’s 3G service is horrible in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Their network is extremely unreliable. I’m really suprised that the FCC or Public Utilities Commission of Ohio hasn’t come in and fined this company. They need to. There is literally something wrong with their network everyday. Just tonight, I attempted to make 9 phone calls to important work clients, and every time, I got “network busy” messages. Last week, I didn’t receive 6 text messages that were sent to me. Also, the internet went down 4 times while I was checking my e-mail. My voice calls have become full of interference with crackling and static in the line. I pay $90 a month for this kind of service. I would avoid AT&T Wireless. They are nothing but problems. I would go with Verizon or T-Mobile.
im in minneapolis, the coverage is terrible here and everywhere I go in and around the state. my I phone which is less tghan a year old is going bye bye this week! i thought sprint was marginal, they were amazing compared to the ATT service, coverage.
Like Brian K, I also live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am fed up with AT&T’s poor wireless service and lack of customer care. I have an LG 3G phone and am constantly getting dropped calls (it doesn’t matter what time of day), bad voice quality where there is static, crackling, and interference when I make a voice call, there are many times I don’t receive voice, text, and picture messages for several hours if at all, the 3G network is frequently going down, calls won’t connect, and there are many areas of poor/non existant reception. I call customer service numerous times and am always given the run-around. Oh sir, your phone isn’t properly updated! They won’t admit to their network problems. My question is-what is it going to take to get AT&T Wireless to fix these problems in Cincinnati and the rest of the country? I am so tired of these problems and getting no resolutions. My next step is contacting the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Better Business Bureau. If nothing is resolved then, I’m going to contact the FCC. AT&T’s 3G network is very unreliable.
If you guys hate AT&T so much go some where else!
We do hate AT&T, and are going to another provider which is a ton better. IT’s called Verizon! By the way AT&T lover, would you like to pay my joke of an early termination fee so I can switch to a better provider??
I’ve had the same AT&T wireless plan even before they turned to Cingular and back to AT&T. It’s a two phone shared 1000 minutes, no internet/data, free nights & weekends, unlimited AT&T to AT&T users, unlimited text received but no sending of text all for $49.98 and with taxes it totals $55.47 a month.
We have been very happy for years until the last 1.5 years. We have noticed dropped calls and dead spots in areas of our daily travel that have never been there before.
We are in the process of setting up ourselves to leave AT&T. We now own two Straight Talk phones (Samsung R355c) and have been testing their service and coverage (uses Verizon network) for almost 30-days. We are happy with the phone, features, price and service. We have been using the $30 a month 1000 texts, 1000 minutes and 30MB data for 30-days without any contracts or activation/cancellation fees. If my wife has a month she needs more minutes than another I’ll just start buying her the $45 unlimited plan.
AT&T is the worst service. I’m a former Verison user and the only reason I use AT&T is because it’s a company account. The company wants to drop AT&T like they drop our calls and go to Verison but Verison doesn’t offer the overseas long distance.
AT&T is nothing but drop calls, poor reception…and did I mention drop calls. During calls I can pick up the first word of the sentence and maybe the middle word. Most of my conversation is saying “I’m sorry can you please repeat that?”
This issue is also happening in Rye, New York for the past few months and AT&T has had me jumping through hoops inferring that it was an isolated issue with me alone. However I have tested this with various devices being a former AT&T employee, I know what I am doing and talking about. Now they want me to purchase a microcell for my rental apartment to make something work that had worked previously. Let me add that I am right next door to cell spots co-located in the building next door. AT&T has much to do before they can even equal Verizon’s network.
I got tired of AT&T making excuses and telling me they are working on their towers to bring better service. I had the Moto Backflip and I had no signal in my house. Yet everyone the visits me with T-mobile or Sprint have full bars and make calls from my house. I called AT&T to complain and they apoligized as they do for everthing and made lame excuses and told me I had to buy a micro cell tower for $150. Give me a break I have to pay to make their network function properly? I told the rep well, what about when i am not home? What do you do about the network then? I got another apology but no services. I switched to Sprint with the HTC Evo and now I can lay on the floor of my basement and have 4G and full bars. Good by AT&T….. see you never….
Here we are, a year and a half later, and ATT Wireless customer service is no better than their network. I am in Colorado Springs and have had to switch to another phone provider due to the constant, predictable and frustrating dropped call experiences with my Iphone. I have called these people repeatedly for help and have cooperated with all of their directives but the combination of their 3G, the Iphone they sold me (and its dirty little secrets) has evidently been more than they can handle. Now they are trying to charge me an early termination fee because I had to find a service that works. Of course, the bright little gal on their end of the phone tells me that they don’t guarantee signal all the time. Would be nice if they would guarantee it at least some of the time. Anyway, I have been an ATT customer for over a decade. If I have to pay this fee, this will be the last penny they ever get from me. And I can’t wait to start writing about this in my blog posts; my thousands of readers will appreciate this warning. All I can say is, Verizon, hurry up and get your Iphone out on the market. Let me help you hurt ATT!
both my phones, my husband as well as mine have new phones…he has a blackberry, i have a touch samsung solctice..over the last 3 weeks, i cannot call out, nobody can here me, i cant hear them, and my phone dies in the middle of calls…my phone is only 5 months old, his blackberry is only 2 months old….i am extremely irritated, we bought expensive phones…but the service is horrible..these phones are worthless without good service….help/// !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we have been with AT&T for many many years, but this is making us think to go with some cheap month to month service…fix it and fast !
I purchased the BB Bold 9700 through AT&T back in June. Since then I have had to get 3 replacements. I have had the same issues with all the phones. The BB Bold 9700 freezes up, shuts down on its own, and switches from 3G to edge constantly.
Their answer is… take a downgrade or get another 9700. My favorite solution they offered was upgrade for 99.00. Lucky me! I am very upset that AT&T continously say “thank you for being the best part of AT&T”
I live in Houston, the 4th largest city in the US.
I drop calls every single day. Amazing!
AT&T cell service sucks and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.