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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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AT&T Has Issues
By kelasings on 12/10/2009 12:13:49 AM , Rating: 5
I have been a long time AT&T customer. Prior to AT&T, I was with Sprint. I used to have a Cingular 8125, however, earlier this year I got an iPhone. I travel extensively across the country in the national park system of the US and I can tell you from hard experience - AT&T has a very, very poor network across the US. I have been in so many situations now where I could not use that beautiful iPhone Google GPS app because I had no service and it wouldn't work. I didn't even realize that it was not just using the satellites. I thought I would have that feature even if I didn't have phone service. I was wrong. In those same situations, people with me using BlackBerrys on Verizon had service! In the Badlands of South Dakota, there were areas where I had no service, but others with Verizon AND Sprint did. On areas of Mt. Rainier, others had service but I didn't. In areas of Crater Of the Moon in Idaho, others had service but I didn't.

On the outside arrivals area of Seattle Tacoma Airport, I had 5 bars yet every time I went to make a call, the call kept dropping. I thought something was wrong with that particular area and as I started to turn to go find a payphone. I was confronted with a whole bunch of people on their phones! They had service and were talking while I couldn't even call the person picking me up to let them know what door I was standing at.

AT&T has problems. Unfortunately, if Verizon gets the iPhone I am going to pay the early termination fee and go. I can't afford to have calls drop like this. After finding the point where I was supposed to be in one national park, I realized that I had to notify a member of my time of my location. I had no signal. I had to leave the spot, get in my SUV and go around until I found a signal. When the person got back to the spot with me, I didn't have service as expected, but they did! I was a little peeved. I had no idea that AT&T had this kind of service when I originally signed up with them. I simply wasn't traveling as much. Now that I am, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the service is not present in a LOT of places outside of major cities. On the bright side, I have experienced STELLAR service when I have called AT&T.

RE: AT&T Has Issues
By roostitup on 12/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: AT&T Has Issues
By tallcool1 on 12/10/2009 4:02:15 AM , Rating: 3
You think Apple is having second thoughts now about them choosing AT&T as the sole wireless network for their iPhone?

RE: AT&T Has Issues
By frobizzle on 12/10/2009 9:24:26 AM , Rating: 3
You think Apple is having second thoughts now about them choosing AT&T as the sole wireless network for their iPhone?

Do you really think Apple chose AT&T? Idealistically, it sounds good that Apple put out a request for bids, then chose AT&T either because of excellent service or that AT&Tsubmitted the lowest bid.

Realistically, AT&T probably came to Apple with the largest "gift".

RE: AT&T Has Issues
By ElFenix on 12/10/2009 6:50:26 PM , Rating: 5
iirc, apple first went to verizon, but verizon didn't want to deal with apple's demands.

RE: AT&T Has Issues
By icanhascpu on 12/11/2009 6:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
In retrospect was a bad business decision for them.

iPhone + biggest and most stable network? Yes please.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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