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  (Source: The Huffington Post)

When one NYC iPhone customer complained that many of his calls were dropping, Apple informed him that his 22 percent drop rate was much better than its average NYC customer's 30 percent dropped call rate.  (Source: Gizmodo)
"It just works" -- Apple Inc.

Apple is famous for its advertising that its products are easy to use and problem free.  Thus, when it is confronted with problems in its products, it's perhaps predictable that it would get a bit defensive.  It often glosses over complaints or stretches the definition of the word "working".  Despite some signs that it was turning a corner, responding to hard drive issues on its MacBook Pros, a recent report from Gizmodo indicates more of the same.

A customer named Manoj Gupta took his iPhone to the local Apple Genius Bar when he became frustrated with its tendency to frequently drop his calls.  The Genius Bar gave Mr. Gupta some good news -- his iPhone was perfectly fine and working and needed no repairs.

The bad news?  The phone dropped over 22 percent of the calls it made in the test routine.  But the Genius Bar printout reassured Mr. Gupta that 22 percent call drop rates were actually quite good -- and that most of AT&T's iPhone customers have 30 percent or more of their calls drop.

Granted, Apple may be getting more than the fair share of its criticism for this egregious claim, but its lack of concern and its customers plight and its decision to partner with AT&T, whose network is obviously not up to snuff, are an invitation to such critique.  As for AT&T, it seems hard to believe that it will be able to retain many customers in areas where its dropping 30 percent of their calls.  While call drop rates are traditionally higher in New York City, they're seldom that high.

AT&T is offering a solution to their customers -- buy their own 3G hotspot for $150.  AT&T will soon be rolling out its MicroCell, a femtocell device that will offer a bubble of 3G coverage.  It is unclear, though, whether customers will be required to subscribe to one of AT&T's unlimited calling bundles ($20/month) to use the device.

AT&T and Apple are confident that their customers will stick with them -- even if they drop 30 percent of their calls in some areas.  And AT&T feels that it is giving customers plenty of options, allowing them to subscribe to an extra service to help fix the shortcomings of its network.



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RE: Deal with it
By kb9fcc on 9/30/2009 11:36:34 PM , Rating: 0
Think what you want, but I have worked over 20 years in the telecommunication industry, with over 10 years just in cellular infrastructure alone. That parameter was in the old AMPS systems, it's there in the TDMA and CDMA systems, it's there in the GSM and UMTS ones as well. Without it there to throttle the load the cell would tank, and take 100% of the calls with it. All the systems were designed with call failure as a feature. That feature has other uses too, like knocking those blabber mouths off the system during peak hours to free up valuable resources for other users. And if that call was "really" important, the user will call again, and guess who gets paid twice? So, to the telco it is a feature.

The average cell can only handle about 50 calls, not an exact number because of numerous factors, but that's pretty much the max (and maybe a bit generous). That's one reason why there's more than one cell at a cell site. The next thing you do is shrink the cell size/radius so you can put more cells in a geographic area. In the analog days, this was a pain because of frequency reuse issues prevented cells using the same analog frequency from getting too close. The current digital systems this isn't a problem anymore, but there are still some limits, though one way around it is using micro, pico, and femto cells to sub-divide a cell area into even smaller pieces, but each with limited number of call handling capability. However, there are just limits, physical, RF, zoning, financial, to how many cells a single carrier can put into a given area.

Think of how many cells it would take to cover NYC to guaranty 100% call load if every single user pushed the send button at the same moment, because that's what you're asking for. Also remember there's more than one carrier, (the old A/B bands, plus the PCS bands) so there's usually 6 in most metro areas, so you can multiply that last number by some factor. You wouldn't be able to see the sky for cell antennas. And guess who would pay for all those resources, that be you. If that phone call is so important to you that you don't want it dropped, use a landline.


"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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