Hats off to AT&T for kicking into high gear, for thinking out of the box, for being resourceful - finally - to come up with a quick-fix solution to this iPhone service problem.
Company spokesman Mark Siegel told the Gearlog blog that it has been refitting its 850 MHz equipment for 3G so it can use the older spectrum - which was used for the older TDMA service - to relieve some congestion on the network. Big cities such as New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are expected to notice the difference immediately once the equipment is activated. (Techmeme)
In big cities, the 1900 MHz airwaves that are used by AT&T for 3G service are saturated by iPhone users. The difference is like 100 people in a conference room compared to 100 people in a ball room - much more breathing room.
I've been tough on AT&T in the past for its poor network coverage for the iPhone, most recently saying that AT&T is like the anchor that's keeping the iPhone from really breaking free and dominating the smartphone landscape.
It may be a bit premature to congratulate AT&T for finding a way to give the 3G network a quick boost - the upgrades are ongoing and a million-plus iPhones just hit the network in the past few days so things may get worse before they get better.
I've got some time left on my Verizon contract so I won't be jumping ship anytime soon. But if AT&T seriously does fix the network issues for the iPhone, the only reason for keeping me from making the switch will have gone away.