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AT&T vs Verizon

2009-11-16 18:25:23.270782+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

I generally try to stay away from the trolling for hits that is the mainstream computer press, but I'll make an exception: Cringely in PCWorld: AT&T: Ignore Verizon's Ads and Fix Your Own Woes:

Coverage is abysmal. I watch people all around me chatting on their T-Mobile or Sprint Nextel or Verizon phones when I'm getting zero bars. "Voice quality" is an oxymoron. As for 2G or 3G data speeds, roll the dice and take your chances. Customer service? I'm sorry, I can't talk about that right now, I just ate.

I can't speak for 3G coverage, but I've got 4 out of 5 bars right now, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the little 3G icon disappear several times today. People who call me regularly know to try my land line as well because some days the calls come through, and some days they don't (and the iPhone doesn't register them as missed, so AT&T must just be dropping them silently).

Some of this is Apple's fault, there was a point release of OS 3 that wouldn't hold 3G long enough for me to web surf, as I walked over Olive Street and downtown I had better luck turning off 3G and just falling back to the old network. I'm pretty sure I didn't have this many lost calls before I got the iPhone.

Of course there have been suggestions that the 3G network congestion wasn't that point release, it was just AT&T incompetence in running a network. I don't know who to believe there.

All of which has me at the "I really like having a web browser in my pocket, and the iPhone is kinda cool, but I wonder what it'd cost to buy out of that contract" stage.

Thanks to Flurry, makers of a tool that smart phone developers can use to track application usage somehow, for the link (via Flurry's twitter feed) that started this ramble.

[ related topics: Apple Computer Wireless broadband iPhone ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-16 20:23:53.224889+00 by: igor'

Dan, I think the problem is with the way iphone detects and selects 3g vs edge signals. I disabled 3g on mine, reception has improved, and calls are rarely dropped. Now I just enabled 3g for web browsing. Checking mail edge works well. For what I use it for (kindle, evernote, email, calendar, scuba gas planner, ballistics calculator, regular calculator, yelp, maps) there is no replacement yet, but people do love the droid on verizon.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-17 10:43:28.004613+00 by: DaveP

There was also the discussion that followed my pointing to that second link with one of my friends who currently works for ATT Mobility.

My latest gripe with ATT though, is more of a customer service (in the animal husbandry sense) issue. I recently started texting a lot more than usual. October saw 2800 text messages instead of my normal 80 or so. Early in the month, ATT sent me a text message saying something to the effect of "Hey, you're way over on your texts. Want us to put you on the unlimited text plan for $20? Reply "Y" to sign up."

So I did, and thought no more about it.

Imagine my surprise this weekend when I opened the bill to find that I wasn't on the unlimited text plan, and had been charged a dime per text instead. Plus 1700 already in November. A call to customer service got me $125 off the November bill, and a promise that another call will do the same for November, and yes, I'm really on the unlimited plan now.

We'll see. I do know that I'm going to need to watch the bill for both November and December, and call in at least once more just to get this cleared up.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-17 17:24:24.152014+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, that problem is that the cell phone companies are all like check cashing places in the bad part of town, and we're customers who are used to dealing with banks. I also think that I wouldn't be nearly this pissy about AT&T without the iPhone, and some surveys agree that the iPhone is hurting AT&T customer satisfaction. And AT&T has fallen far behind according to Consumer Reports.

I suspect that my real issue is that the iPhone has raised the bar in what I expect a cell phone to do, but sucks as a cell phone. If I had me a regular ol' cell phone and an iPhone, or the iPhone simply worked with AT&T's network as a decent phone, I wouldn't grumble as much.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-17 22:39:44.426848+00 by: Shawn

Except for having no microphone or camera, I've been pretty happy with my LG phone (on Verizon) and iPod Touch combo. I'll admit I am eying the Droid, though...