AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

Summary: 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.

SHARE:

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.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, AT&T

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

12 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Seriously?

    [i]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.[/i]

    Quick-fix?!? AT&T has had crappy service for years. What they've
    finally done is seen that their exclusivity contract with Apple for the
    iPhone will end in the next year or so, and current iPhone users like
    me are saying loud and clear:

    The iPhone is great, but AT&T service is horrible. I can't wait until
    iPhone is available on a carrier with great service. I will leave AT&T the
    day that happens.
    RationalGuy
    • I have no love for AT&T, but...

      [i]"The iPhone is great, but AT&T service is
      horrible."[/i]

      Look, there is no doubt that AT&T is dropping
      the ball with MMS and tethering, etc. However,
      the service I do have works great. I realize
      that bashing AT&T is popular and in the cases I
      mention above, they do deserve the bashing.
      However, AT&T's phone coverage is no worse than
      Verizon. I was with Verizon prior to switching
      and in some cases, I even get better coverage.
      Obviously, your milage will vary based on where
      you live. But, if AT&T's coverage sucked as
      bad as the vocal minority on these forums
      profess, they would have zero customers.
      That's just not the case.
      techconc
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    I have to agree with dkawalec, this is not any great forsight or courtesy on the part of AT&T, it was a necessity to retain even partial exclusivity on iPhone sales when their current contract expires, which has so far been a pretty one sided relationship.

    Apple has to realize that AT&T not moving on this sooner has only hurt them.
    Socratesfoot
  • Finally?

    One of the factors that keeps the whyPhone in the toy category.

    VZW is by far the best 3G build out (ahead of any European carrier for you GSM supplicants)and is virtually everywhere VZW is. That is why their services are better. It will be interesting to see what happens when LTE is deployed. My bet is VZW will bury ATT.

    For 3G, Sprint is not a bad alternative in urban areas, but fades rapidly to 1Rxtt once one is travelling in sparsely inhabited places.
    brianpeterson1
    • Totally Agree

      I completely agree with your post. Verizon in my area is the far superior carrier. Sprint has spotty service and horrible customer support. AT&T has great coverage, but very little is 3G, just Edge. Even given that, I still went with an iPhone. I know many people that would love an iPhone but won't go with an AT&T plan simply because they want a data rate that is more than Edge, which at time, is barely better than old fashioned dial up.

      My wish is all these carriers would get together and build out a common next generation network capable of beating out anyone in the world. We have the ability, the companies are just too greedy to think that progressively. We suffer as a result.

      fnash
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    AT&T HAS A GREAT NETWORK. BUT AT WHAT COST? CHEATING BY PASSING THE RULES AND KNOCKING COMPETITION OUT OF THE BOX. AT&T IS THE SAME AS ANY OF THE RBOC'S CHEATERS AND LIARS.
    rmaro17921
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    I sure hope they get this up to speed soon. I've had an iPhone for 6 months. I love the phone, I really dislike the AT&T service. I miss calls regularly. I've been to AT&T. I've had Apple replace my phone. I've upgraded the phone software. I still miss important calls on a regular basis. This generally happens at my house which is in a fairly affluent section of Phoenix, but gets terrible signal level. I've asked AT&T when thye will be installing the "60 new towers" in Arizona and where. The answer is "it's a secret". Nice way to treat customers, eh? Sure would love to have my iPhone on Sprint :)
    fredaaa9
    • GSM vs. CDMA

      I'm not sure: does iPhone support CDMA? If not, the only cjoice you will get for your phone is AT&T and maybe T-Mobile. I don't think Sprint is doing GSM.
      hforman9
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    For anyone that travels outside US ATT is the best choice to have one device

    Its amusing to see people complain about the network AND complain that ATT is limiting network crushing apps and services. They KNOW they have a problem and are taking the steps they can to address them. Its not perfect but allowing tethering and MMS and other things would simply make the short term problem worse

    What would verizon or sprints network look like if you dropped a MILLION data devices on it in a weekend - over and over an over
    silver_2000
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    A family of 5, we have 3 Iphones. We are intending to upgrade to 3GS, but haven't as yet. But, our services on the original Iphone model, as well as our 2 Blackberrys, has gone to nothing. We literally have lost all 5 phones anywhere near our Zip Code, mostly voice, but texting to a degree as well. And, little or no internet! It happened Sunday night or Monday morning and has us all in a twist.

    The upgrades to AT&T cell cites may be necessary, but it may kill off lots of existing customers, perhaps. I wonder who else is suffering from "advances" in technology.
    bobbyvassallo
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    Heck, I would settle for 3G service. AT&T is promising that it will be available ?soon.? I?ve been hearing that for 2+ years. Yes, they advertise 3G service in this area but no one has seen it yet. You would also think that 10 miles either side of an interstate would also have service from AT&T but there are lots of areas in NC without service along side of interstates.
    parked
  • RE: AT&T upgrading older equipment to kick-start iPhone network boost

    get a different phone, get the carrier of your choice that works best for you. not something that the marketers WANT you to have....hahahaha
    rjimu