However, recent reports about the iPhone are sending uneasy murmurs through the
online community. It has been suggested that the iPhone 3G's new speed
boost may be inaccessible to many users, as AT&T still has a relatively
small coverage area for 3G. This would leave customers paying increased
rates for the same older service.
While the country's major cities and most populous areas see "blue",
or 3G, in a coverage
map created by blogger Christopher Spera of Gear Diary, based on
AT&T metrics, more of the country is uncovered.
"If you live in one of these uncovered areas and already have an iPhone, I
wouldn’t jump on the iPhone 3G wagon,” wrote Spera. “I’d stick with my
current iPhone (WITH my grandfathered data plan) and save $200-$300
Spera points to the fact that Apple's new 3G phones' data plans cost $10 more a
month due to the 3G access -- whether you have coverage or not. Customers
sticking with their old phones will continue to pay the same rate under
AT&T and Apple supporters were quick to point to holes in the claims.
Scott McNulty of The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) pointed out that Spera's
maps were for voice coverage, not data and that the coverage areas differ
slightly. Secondly, he points out that Spera's maps were generated March
31, 2008. This was before AT&T's spring expansion of its 3G networks,
which will bring the service to 275 new markets according to AT&T.
Tools are provided by AT&T that can be used by curious customers to compare
3G data and voice coverage areas. While Apple supporters gripe, the two
forms of coverage in most areas are remarkably similar, with some minor
The news site Apple 2.0 provides a list
of cities with coverage. Further, you can use the AT&T coverage
tool found here to view more detailed information.
Apple and AT&T previously said that they do not guarantee 3G coverage in
any area, even the ones that are said to be covered. They say that radio
interference and tall buildings can instantly kill the signals -- factors which
they consider too complex to consider.
It appears that the coverage for 3G iPhone buyers will be slightly better than
Spera's cautionary predictions -- but not by much. The varying coverage
simply gives customers one more thing to pause and consider when adopting the