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AT&T Wins Gizmodo 3G Bandwidth Test 156

Posted by timothy
from the avoid-the-mountains dept.
ink writes "Gizmodo has completed a 12-city test of 3G cellular bandwidth speed. Verizon won four of the twelve, however AT&T scored higher with six: 'Let's get this straight right away: We didn't test dropped voice calls, we didn't test customer service, and we didn't test map coverage by wandering around in the boonies. We tested the ability of the networks to deliver 3G data in and around cities, including both concrete canyons and picket-fenced 'burbs. And while every 3G network gave us troubles on occasion, AT&T's wasn't measurably more or less reliable than Verizon's.'"
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AT&T Wins Gizmodo 3G Bandwidth Test

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  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:07PM (#30539400)

    I find I can get a nice burst for the first couple of megabytes then Im throttled pretty badly. Id like to know which carrier doesnt do this. It doesnt look related to reception.

    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:40PM (#30539678) Journal

      I find I can get a nice burst for the first couple of megabytes then Im throttled pretty badly. Id like to know which carrier doesnt do this. It doesnt look related to reception.

      Short answer: it seems that all US carriers do this, either because (i) they underestimated demand and under-invested in infrastructure, or (ii) because they can maximize their revenues while minimizing their costs, and the customers are trapped into long term contracts.
      This sort of throttling by carriers is unheard-of in more advanced countries, such as Finland or Sweden. None of the carriers do that here; if they tried it, they'd have no customers left within a month or two (terminating a contract is trivial, and does not entail penalties). There are no usage caps on 3G either - unlimited actually does mean unlimited.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Well, you hit the nail on the head on the contracts. There are a few other issues as well:

        1. No phone subsidies. That makes the cost of the service the cost of providing the service, only. It greatly simplifies the relationship with the consumer and gets rid of those long-term tie-ins.

        2. Everybody is GSM. That means that you can walk over to a store, plug in a new SIM, port your phone number, and now you're in business with the new customer.

        These kinds of arrangements mean that you could switch provid

  • by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph@gmail . c om> on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:10PM (#30539422) Homepage

    From what I can see, the latency on the Verizon lines is much better. That's more important to me, at least, considering the amount of VoiP I do on my cell phone.

    I mean, uh, browsing I do on mobile networks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597)

      It seems to vary, like the throughput does, and roughly correlated with it. For example, AT&T latency seems better at all the locations in Atlanta [gizmodo.com]. It does have some absolutely terrible ones in some cities, though (700ms+ latencies).

      • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @07:01PM (#30539820) Homepage
        I'd be curious to see the results of a test conducted as follows:

        Setup a test rig that automatically tests download speed and latency from a few different servers (globally dispersed) every 30 seconds. Have it geotag each result.

        Drive around each of the cities (and metro area surrounding them), and gather the data over a few days for each city.

        Then, compute a few different metrics. First, for each carrier, generate a heat map of download speeds (It would wind up looking something like Verizon's 3g Map, but with different colors denoting speed ranges). If there are multiple readings in a given area (Say 100m^2), average them.

        Second, figure out the peak speed, minimum speed, average speed (Both mean and RMS) as well as the standard deviation for each carrier.

        There's so much focus on peak speed these days (well, at least that's what gets the press), that I think people forget that what matters is the average experience. It's like with stereo amplifiers: Peak wattage tells you nothing about overall power output, RMS wattage (Root Mean Square) tells you about power output...

        Just my idea. Feel free to steal or rip it to shreds...
        • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @09:05PM (#30540820) Journal

          Second, figure out the peak speed, minimum speed, average speed (Both mean and RMS)...

          I always thought RMS [stallman.org] and mean [merriam-webster.com] were synonymous.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787)

          Speedtest.net already does this, although I don't think they publish the information broken down with 3G only numbers. It specifically tests 3G speeds using the iPhone app, and geo-tags your location to get the closest server with the lowest ping times. They do have the info on file though. I wonder why they don't publish it?

          http://www.speedtest.net/global.php [speedtest.net]

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Here's some anecdotal evidence of how horrible Verizon is, in practice, in my area and how they're losing ground to other carriers. My area is the "rural midwest", specifically the state of South Dakota.

        Mission, South Dakota. If you haven't heard of it, look it up on Wikipedia or something. It's nowhere.

        A friend and I drove there recently to visit another friend from Rapid City. Our reception along i90 was fairly similar: we'd both lose signal completely in the 'valleys' between the hills from time to time

        • by Tumbleweed (3706)

          Mission, South Dakota. If you haven't heard of it, look it up on Wikipedia or something. It's nowhere.

          That is among the many punishments you get for living in South Dakota.

    • by Otterley (29945) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:26PM (#30539542)

      I agree, and this is why I have nothing but contempt for typical "best provider performance" conclusions that are driven solely by single-connection TCP transfer tests (e.g. speedtest.net).

      In most cases, latency matters more than bandwidth (where bandwidth is roughly the same within an order of magnitude or so). This is why there's a very strong correlation between the provider that had the lowest measured latency and the provider that had the lowest page retrieval time. In the end, real-world page loading is precisely what we use smartphones for, and so we need to know how that application performs, instead of what raw transfer rates are.

      I still think the Gizmodo tests are deficient, though, as they are unclear as to whether they repeated the tests at regular intervals over a 24-hour period. Network congestion varies throughout the day, and at any given moment one path may be more congested than another. A valid test, IMO, would take the average (or median) of each metric over a 24-hour period (or even longer, covering both a weekday and a weekend, since usage varies among them).

    • by sonnejw0 (1114901) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:47PM (#30539734)
      Engadget did a similar test a year-ish ago. AT&T was leaps and bounds faster than Verizon's 3G, in fact AT&T's 2G tested as fast as Verizon's 3G, and the latency was measurably lower on AT&T as well, at least where they tested the four providers: [engadget] [engadget.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by blargster (239820)

        No wonder AT&T is complaining about Verizon's "we have 5x more 3G" campaign when Verizon's 3G is the same as AT&T's 2G (which does have more coverage than Verizon's 3G).

        The truth is that the provider's definition of "*G" is what ever their marketing departments say it is. There is no absolute standard of comparison on the marketing front. You have to dig into the actual specs to do so.

  • Better Sample Size (Score:5, Informative)

    by rliden (1473185) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:18PM (#30539468)

    While I care about speed, I care more about coverage and reliability. Did the testers cherry pick AT&T friendly locations? I know when I went to Washington D.C. earlier this year that not only was my 3G coverage under AT&T spotty, my ability to simply connect to AT&T and make calls was also poor. It would be a much more interesting test if this was performed in every city over a certain population size. In my opinion 12 cities does not make a good test.

    I'll admit I'm biased though. I've been an AT&T mobile customer for a bit over 2 years now and I don't like their service or support.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:24PM (#30539526)
      Exactly, and also they completely left out the midwest. Well, thanks Gizmodo, if I move to the coasts I'll know what service to get, but since there weren't any tests done even close to where I live the data is totally useless.

      They also failed to give a price to service ratio, that would have made things a lot more fair. Yeah, you might get a faster network but if the price difference is $15 a month, many people might reconsider.

      This test the way it is, is akin to someone comparing an Intel Atom to a Pentium 4 to a Core i7 based on pure speed and saying that the Core i7 is the better bet, all the while ignoring the fact that a Pentium 4 box is much cheaper and an Intel Atom CPU is going to give you better battery life.
      • by mcsqueak (1043736)

        The coasts probably got most of the love because that's where you always hear of people having major connection issues (such as NYC and SF). You don't often hear of people in, oh... Kansas worked up because their iPhone's aren't connecting to the network.

      • Well, thanks Gizmodo, if I move to the coasts I'll know what service to get, but since there weren't any tests done even close to where I live the data is totally useless.

        Live on the Oregon Coast - AT&T's coverage is complete ass.

      • Exactly, and also they completely left out the midwest. Well, thanks Gizmodo, if I move to the coasts I'll know what service to get, but since there weren't any tests done even close to where I live the data is totally useless.

        Man, what assholes, conducting their own limited experiment, on their own dime, and then publishing their results for anyone to read free WITHOUT even ATTEMPTING to conduct it WORLDWIDE!

        I hardly see why gizmodo should be sarcastically thanked for this. Their results are noteworthy: that verizon is not significantly better than ATT in areas sampled, that all this "Ours is faster!" is somewhere between "complete fucking marketing bullshit" and "Depends." Your area isn't directly sampled, but this was never

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Exactly, and also they completely left out the midwest. Well, thanks Gizmodo, if I move to the coasts I'll know what service to get, but since there weren't any tests done even close to where I live the data is totally useless.

        That's unfortunate for you, but most of the world's population lives close to a coast, and the USA is no exception. There's better coverage on the coasts because there's more people there. Gizmodo wisely chose to serve the vast majority of their readership.

        • by laffer1 (701823)

          Last I checked, the Great Lakes are a coastline and in the midwest. Cities like Detroit and Chicago reside there. I'd say there is a lot of people in Chicago.

    • by pwnies (1034518) *
      Seems to be just randomly chosen, most likely based up on where they had Gizmodo people traveling to during the holidays. If they wanted a more fair test, they ought to probably hit the top cities based on population [wikipedia.org] and/or density - thus covering the largest sample of people. Seems right now that they're just using convenience sampling [wikipedia.org] though, which has huge flaws behind it.
    • by dbcad7 (771464)

      I've been an AT&T mobile customer for a bit over 2 years now and I don't like their service or support.

      Why are you still with them ?.. If it's because they are the only game in your town, then you do like their service.. If it's because they are the only one who has the phone you want, then you do like their support.. Your with them for a reason.. it's just more fun to bitch.

      • by rliden (1473185)

        I've been an AT&T mobile customer for a bit over 2 years now and I don't like their service or support.

        Why are you still with them ?.. If it's because they are the only game in your town, then you do like their service.. If it's because they are the only one who has the phone you want, then you do like their support.. Your with them for a reason.. it's just more fun to bitch.

        I had a two year contract with them which was up this month. Ah, maybe you didn't consider that before you jumped to far gone imaginary conclusions.

        I don't like their coverage. I don't like their crappy support. And now that my contract is up I'm in the process of switching carriers. Though I'm sure you could have said something worthwhile... it's just more fun to just come across as a pedantic asswad.

    • 12 cities is a fairly good test, presuming it was done without foreknowledge of coverage. Really, it's a much better test than your one city version.

      I've only had three cell carriers in the past decade, and they were all about the same when it came to CS - they all suck donkey balls. Coverage is utterly random - or rather it's entirely RF physics based, which is to say effectively random - and you'll find mysterious dead areas on every carrier. I even tried a dual-phone month on my last switch (two 30 day p

  • What would make this more useful is if Gizmodo took the prices, speed and quality and looked at it that way. Also missing are bandwidth caps and if there is throttling. Yeah, AT&T might have a faster network for browsing, but it has other flaws, namely high price, throttling and the fact 3G is scarce. If they added in all these things it would be a much better and fairer look.
  • They all suck. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:20PM (#30539496) Homepage

    Having been through Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T over the years (never tried Sprint), my conclusion is they're all way oversold with shitty reliability and doubly shitty and uneven customer service. Typical megacorporations to whom any individual customer matters NOT AT ALL.

  • Piss off, 3G (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:25PM (#30539532)

    3G is a joke, but it's not a funny one. The FCC promised that we'd start to see high speed wireless internet now that the spectrum's been auctioned off. But like everything else, they seem to have lied -- shoving costs down the consumer's throat in the middle of a recession, raking in the money with a smile from the auctions... Everything about the so-called digital transition was a scam. Price fixing of LCD TV prices, running out of converter boxes -- and charging twice as much as they were worth in the store to soak up the free money those vouchers gave them... hmph.

    Where's the alternatives here? They all have bandwidth caps. None of them are investing in the backhaul infrastructure. The network coverage is a joke, the handsets have disabled tethering, locked in the search engines... I mean, hell -- a pringles can and a wifi card does better than every other solution we have here in the United States for mobile internet. What the hell happened?

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I am a huge fan of the digital TV conversion, since the picture is so good (better than cable or satellite digital), and not encrypted. I didn't pay much above the coupon price for my analog converter boxes, either.

      I am very curious, though, has anybody brought out services on the freed-up analog TV bandwidth? Are these 3g services using that?

      • I am a huge fan of the digital TV conversion, since the picture is so good (better than cable or satellite digital), and not encrypted. I didn't pay much above the coupon price for my analog converter boxes, either.

        The picture is good. But that's no excuse for what they did. Switching to a widescreen format meant that for those still using standard TVs, 33% of the available viewing space was lost for those who stuck with it. For those who upgraded, the smallest LCD TV sets cost over $500. Comparably, they were about twice as expensive as the previous generation. That's a lot of cash to be forking out at a time when we're in a recession and 10% or more of the population is unemployed -- let alone under-employed. We all

        • by timeOday (582209)
          Well, I'm still sticking with my old Trinitron, and my digital converter box offers a "zoom" mode so I don't waste any scanlines on black bars.

          I did get finally upgrade my computer monitor recently, a 21.5" 1920x1080 for a little under $100 from staples.com on Black Friday, so I can watch full-res HDTV on that using a USB ATSC receiver.

          I certainly can't condone price-fixing though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Burdell (228580)

          A 16:9 image on a 4:3 screen leaves 25% (not 33%) black, and 16:9 digital TVs were available for under $300 (not over $500). 3G spectrum was allocated years ago, long before the analog TV cut-off; it takes time (and a lot of money) to roll out new services in new frequency bands. Since Congress kept changing the analog cut-off date, nobody was going to spend a dime buying and building out equipment to utilize the old high-UHF frequency until it was actually available. You might start seeing some of it in

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Except, in rural areas, where reception was spotty previously. Sure, you'd get TV signal, just slightly 'snowed'.

        Now, good luck watching TV if there's inclement weather.

    • by Pichu0102 (916292)

      What the hell happened?

      Human nature to screw over each other as much as possible.

    • AT&T is reserving the 700mhz spectrum it won in the auction and purchased from Aloha Wireless Partners exclusively for their 4G LTE network [gizmodo.com]. You won't see it up and running until about 2011, which is not a bad turnaround time to basically build an entire network overlay with new spectrum, radios, etc.
  • Wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:29PM (#30539574) Homepage

    AT&T's wasn't measurably more or less reliable than Verizon's

    So how is this a 'win' exactly? Sounds more like a tie to me.

  • by dynamo (6127) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:32PM (#30539612) Journal

    Someone should go do a test of the dropped call quantity and voice quality when in these same areas. That is where AT&T is so difficult to have to use as a primary phone line. The data service is actually much more reliable, and ironically makes Skype average much higher in quality / reliability from the same phone in the same place.

    At least, in my experience.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by amohat (88362)

      I agree. Who cares about data speeds when you can't rely on your PHONE to make calls?

      "dang, this is taking a little longer to download."

      "WTF?!? HELLO? HELLO? ARRGH!!! I was on hold for a hour to talk to that rep!!!"

      One of these scenarios irritates me, the other makes me want to murder death kill.

    • I think AT&T's network issues must be highly localized in the northeast, because I've been an AT&T user since before they were using GSM, and I've never had an unexplainable dropped call anywhere I've traveled. My cell is and has always been my only phone; I don't have a landline. However, I keep hearing about all these dropped calls on AT&T.

      Sure, if I'm way out in the woods and I lose signal, it drops. If I go through a deep tunnel and lose signal, it drops. But if I've got signal, the call

      • by dynamo (6127)

        Just for the record, the issues I've seen with dropped calls were while in the southwest, so the problems are at least not totally localized in the northeast.

  • Honest question (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:38PM (#30539658)
    Why do you, Americans, put up with your mobile operators specifically disabling features (like tethering or bluetooth) on phones being sold via contracts? Here where I live (Finland), such action would be considered blatant fraud, because the operator would be advertising a specific phone model, while in reality, the phone model being advertised in reality has more or better features than the one sold to you under it's name by the operator.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Simple answer. The congress is owned by corporate interests in this country.

    • in which we do not agree to be raped every hour on the hour by corporations is in fact socialism, and socialism we leave for the "evildoers."

      Same reason we prefer the poor to starve and the sick to have no medical care.

      • by furball (2853)

        Same reason we prefer the poor to starve and the sick to have no medical care.

        How else are we going to fight poverty?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by trickyD1ck (1313117)
        "Same reason we prefer the poor to starve and the sick to have no medical care."

        As if anyone is preventing you from donating to charities who feed the poor and provide medical care. Unless you want to donate other people's money, of course.
    • Re:Honest question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @07:26PM (#30540060)
      The thing that Europeans always forget is that the U.S. is more like the E.U. than it is like Finland. Actually, many Americans make the same mistake. When Europe becomes a single cellular market the way that the U.S. is, we will be able to compare the business practices of the providers.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        The thing that Europeans always forget is that the U.S. is more like the E.U. than it is like Finland. Actually, many Americans make the same mistake. When Europe becomes a single cellular market the way that the U.S. is, we will be able to compare the business practices of the providers.

        One, the EU will not become a single market for mobile communications for decades due to the fact that each nation has it's own telco's and telecommunications laws. The only ones that could reach across Europe are Hutchin

        • 3. The EU is pro-consumer,

          Up until the EU's ruling elite decide that being pro-consumer is no longer in its self-interest. The EU is set up to have little or no accountability. Right now the people who run the EU wish to increase the power of the central government, the people of the various countries that make up the EU are opposed to this. Therefore, those who actually run the EU wish to appear responsive to the needs and wants of the common man. Once they have the power they are in the process of acquiring, that will no longer be

    • by tepples (727027)

      Why do you, Americans, put up with your mobile operators specifically disabling features (like tethering or bluetooth) on phones being sold via contracts?

      Because we get such a deep "discount" on the handset. Ideally, a 24-month plan with a $175 ETF would have a $7.50 per month discount if I bring my own phone, but the carriers offer no such discount. Besides, the CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) don't use CSIM cards.

      the operator would be advertising a specific phone model, while in reality, the phone model being advertised in reality has more or better features than the one sold to you under it's name by the operator.

      Not necessarily. The standard unlocked GSM phone is sold under one name, and the carrier's version carries a slightly different name. For example, Motorola Droid is Verizon's customized version of Motorola Milestone.

    • Why do you, Americans, put up with your mobile operators specifically disabling features (like tethering or bluetooth) on phones being sold via contracts?

      A -few- of us see cell phones as interesting toys at best. Sure, I like all the features, and I do obviously read some of the slashdot news articles on mobile phones because I'm a nerd, but I'm not going to march on washington just because my mobile options are more limited than they are in other markets.

    • by Pichu0102 (916292)

      Because we can get nothing better, and because we cannot improve our situation in any way due to the deathgrip companies have on our government and media.

      In other words, we put up with it because we know it's only going to get worse as time goes on, and we might as well enjoy what we can now before they strip it from it.

    • "Why do you, Americans, put up with your mobile operators specifically disabling features (like tethering or bluetooth) on phones"

      That is like asking why the innocent prisoner tolerates being shackled up or why the Jews tolerated Hitler or Pharaoh enslaving them. Some escape by not using mobile phone technology. Most just put up with whatever is forced on them. Will you play the part of Moses and lead us to freedom in the promised land of unlocked phones and reliable 3G service?

      I guess what I am really aski

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:45PM (#30539716)

    What matters to me is the performance I get from the tower I'm connected to at the moment I'm trying to use it. I don't give two shits if the tower five miles up the road is giving 1700/350kbps when the one I'm using is doing 100/300. And I don't care if the one that was giving me 100/300 on Friday afternoon is able to do 1500/320 on Saturday morning because I'm not there Saturday morning. I need their network to function wherever I happen to be at whatever time I need to use it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @08:27PM (#30540558) Homepage

    Here's the thing -- everyone knows Verizon has a much larger square-mile coverage than AT&T. Wide coverage is important to many people for many reasons. But to accomplish this, you must do less cherry picking. AT&T on the other hand, does not concern itself with wide coverage, but instead focuses on the investments that yield the highest return.

    You can decide for yourself which strategy is better. As a customer, I prefer a company that favors customer satisfaction. That said, I am neither an AT&T customer nor a Verizon customer. I am a T-Mobile customer largely because it was convenient at the time and presently have no incentive to change... Sprint burned their bridge with me... I hated that I had to become angry and threaten to leave in order to get anything done with my account. While I am sure there is no shortage of horror stories about T-Mobile, I haven't had any myself.

    • Here's the thing -- everyone knows Verizon has a much larger square-mile coverage than AT&T. Wide coverage is important to many people for many reasons. But to accomplish this, you must do less cherry picking. AT&T on the other hand, does not concern itself with wide coverage, but instead focuses on the investments that yield the highest return.

      What you call cherry picking, I call serving the densest markets first.

      Isn't that better serving more customers in the end than the strategy of getting a wid

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Verizon covers all the same areas as AT&T. Nice attempt at spin though.

        • Verizon covers all the same areas as AT&T. Nice attempt at spin though.

          I didn't spin anything, I attempted to explain something to you. Since reception failed, I will sum up.

          Verizon doesn't "cover the same areas" from the standpoint of data speeds, which is what the primary article is all about. AT&T has chosen to optimize for those people instead of wider physical basic coverage. That's the devil's argument in a nutshell, that AT&T has optimized differently to serve a large number of core us

  • A big part of AT&T's problem is really that the iPhone's radio sucks. When tests are done using a different device, AT&T scores pretty good. I switched from AT&T (not the iPhone) to Verizon, and I don't see any improvement in call quality.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/business/13digi.html?_r=4&ref=technology [nytimes.com]

    • It's not a problem with the iPhone's radio. The problem is that AT&T segregates iPhone data from the rest of the network and locks it at a certain percent of the network traffic. I suppose it's so that the data-hungry iPhone users don't make the network crawl for everyone, but the downside is that iPhone users get screwed with dropped calls etc.

    • A big part of AT&T's problem is really that the iPhone's radio sucks.

      I'm a North-West European iPhone user and I never have dropped calls.

  • by jht (5006) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @11:12PM (#30541420) Homepage Journal

    At least here in metro Boston (and Eastern new England in general) I've had pretty good luck with AT&T since the latter part of 2008 - about six months after the iPhone 3G came out my service improved a lot. Most of my old dead spots are gone now, and there are places where my iPhone 3GS works well (like the client in Gloucester I was at today) and my colleague's Verizon Blackberry dies. Data speeds are very good anywhere I get 2 or more bars of service, and though there are still dead spots (eastbound on 128 through Manchester, for instance, anytime after dark) or Devereux Beach in Marblehead) they are far fewer than they ever were before.

    On the other hand, my sister and her husband both went to iPhones this year in southern CT and they were much happier with Verizon's service. I don't visit them too often but I haven't noticed any issues when I've been there - I think it really depends on how much you use it and rely on it in a place.

    Overall, using an iPhone's been a much better experience than my old Verizon Treo 700p provided - not only is it far more useful as a device, but I don't have to reboot it several times daily. The AT&T experience outside the coasts and major metro areas may be different, but mine's not bad. And the few times I've needed to call customer service they've been helpful.

    Odd, but I'm not complaining!

  • Well, this test comes closer to my personal experiences with AT&T. Frankly, I've been pretty baffled by all of the iPhone users who bag on AT&T like it was the scourge of god. I live in a semi-rural area between San Francisco and Los Angeles and I've gotta say that I get voice and data (not always 3G, but so what?) service on all but the back roads that snake through canyons. My previous provider, T-Mobile, actually did have coverage out there but hey... it's a back-road... I considered coverage the
  • At one friends house, I can get signal and download apps while my friend can't even though we are using seemingly identical 3gs iPhones. Anywhere in my house, on my wifi, he gets full bars while I can be sitting right next to my router and have it drop to just one bar. I typically get better wifi reception from outside than I do inside, while for him it's generally the opposite.

    Just for the record, my iPhone is in an Otter Box case while his is not cased, and I still get much better reception at his house.

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