Based on my personal experiences, and tales of the blogger elite, from where I’m sitting it appears that AT&T’s inferior 3G data network is oversold and oversaturated. When airlines are oversold, impacted customers are compensated. But when it comes to mobile access, we’re all locked into two year contracts and there is no recourse for crap coverage or performance. So I’m calling on AT&T and Apple to halt iPhone sales until AT&T increases network capacity and coverage.
First, I take issue with AT&T’s “more bars in more places” advertising. Because, again in my experiences, it’s “fewer bars in more places.” Like no service in most of Wyoming where business took me twice this year. Or how about no service in my downtown Chicago Embassy Suites (pic below) July 4th weekend, while my Sprint Blackberry showed full bars. Or one bar to “No Service” in a Virginia (DC) suburb where I find myself at least 8 hours each weekday.
Secondly, even when it appears I have coverage, I regularly experience dropped calls and/or sluggish data service. Like last week, while visiting NYC. Two iPhones in my Renaissance Times Square hotel room showed full coverage and the 3G indicator. Yet the phones vacillated between no data access and something that felt akin to 2400 baud dialup. Fortunately (?), I also pay Sprint for 3G data access… which kept the iPhones on the grid. Or like when I had little to no data functionality at the Maryland/Cal football game in Berkeley earlier this fall.
The iPhone is obviously a huge hit. But it’s also taking a huge hit on AT&T’s network. Of course, the players would never think to temporarily cease iPhone sales. But I’m hoping AT&T commits to and figures out how to more rapidly enhance their network. Before they and Apple lose me to another handset and network.