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  (Source: The Huffington Post)
"Keep in line and don't get a fine" -- may be AT&T's new order of business in order to try to keep its network afloat

It's no secret that AT&T's network leaves something to be desired.  AT&T admits that geographic coverage is poor, but insists that 75 percent of customers have "access" to 3G coverage. 

However, in certain cities the situation is reportedly particularly dire, with an Apple store in New York City reporting 30 percent dropped call rates to be the norm.  As DailyTech's Shane McGlaun comments in a recent blog about AT&T's initiative to roll out an app to identify regions of poor coverage: "All I can say is that I hope AT&T has a server with lots of storage space because near as I can tell the service sucks everywhere."

Now AT&T may be resorting to a new plan to try to stretch its struggling 3G network -- fining iPhone users that use too much data.  Wait, isn't part of the iPhone data plan access to unlimited data transfer?  Yes, that is the case, but it turns out that AT&T is considering plans to make "unlimited" mean "don't use too much or we'll fine you".

The issue was plans were let slip by
AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega at the UBS conference in New York.  He complained that 3 percent of the iPhone users are using 40 percent of the bandwidth.  He complains that these bandwidth hogs are feasting on such forbidden fruit as streaming music and video and that his network just can't keep up.

He says that his company plans to force the users to "reduce or modify their usage." He describes, "We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data."'s Epicenter blog suggests that AT&T instead stop selling iPhones in San Francisco and New York, or at least stop selling  the Major League Baseball app, which streams live baseball games to users’ phones.  As the blog points out, the app is quite popular and may be straining the sports-fan-packed networks of NYC and San Fransisco.  No need to fine, just cut the app, they suggest.

AT&T took issue to the negative tone of some of the pieces on the topic and pointed out that it will have spent close to $20B USD in 2009 to upgrade its network.  DailyTech recently had a chance to interview the company about its problems -- you can check that out here.

In other news, there's renewed hope that the iPhone could land on Verizon's U.S. network in 2010.  A Piper Jaffray analyst cited that he was 70 percent sure of a Verizon iPhone in 2010.

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Not withstanding poor infrastructure
By SunAngel on 12/9/2009 11:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
I can not comment on the drop call rate because in my area I have not had any dropped calls, ever. But, data rates are definitely not 3G during prime hours. Verizon's commercials kinda do hit home. While I'm happy with the pricing, rollover minutes, and customer service, all this is being negated by some pretty crappy data rates.

Should I think iPhones are solely to blame? Not at all. I have an AT&T air card also and for some reason it is more prone to a lack of signal (especially in brick building) than poor data rates. This lead me to belive AT&T's network infrastructure is poorly placed/built/partitioned or whatever the terminology being used today.

Verizon has good coverage in my area and I hear Sprint does also. But, given the service level I've received from AT&T since 2001, I will stick with them throughout this period. Supposedly, 4G will be a little better. Yet, that will require a new iPhone and the chances of me shelling out 300+ for a cell/pda/computer again is less likely to happen in the next 3-4 years. By that time, 5G or 6G will be the new golden child.

By Lifted on 12/10/2009 12:08:01 AM , Rating: 2
In 3-4 years 4g will just be picking up steam.

By mcnabney on 12/10/2009 12:09:27 AM , Rating: 1
Verizon will be first with LTE next year (deployed in two cities now). Don't expect a 5G for another decade or two. LTE will deliver cable-modem speeds to your phone. What on gods green earth would you need more than 20 megabits for on a portable device. Maybe they will start pushing the upload speeds next. That would help usher-in HD video calls. And a new era of Sexting....

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