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AT&T: great until you need to make phone calls

AT&T works great, it seems, as long as you don't have to actually make a phone call.

"Hello? He- hello? Can you h...dammit!"

Three times in a row. My call dropped three times, to the same caller. We're both on AT&T.

I used a Verizon iPhone for several weeks recently. It was an eye opening experience. Data rates might been a bit slower, and you can't make a phone call and use data simultaneously as you can with AT&T, but you could make calls. You could actually use the iPhone as, you know, a phone.

Taking a cue from my friend Neil, I'd ask friends, "Hey, wanna see the Verizon iPhone's killer app?"

Some just stared as I showed them the iPhone keypad. Some got the joke.

The big difference between the Verizon iPhone and its AT&T counterpart is that it can make phone calls pretty reliably, see. Look's like Ed Bott is in the same boat.

I haven't dumped AT&T yet, but I've given switching to AT&T some serious consideration.

I live in a pretty spotty coverage area for AT&T, but that seems to describe a fair swath of the United States, at least when it comes to making phone calls.

My data access, meanwhile, has been excellent.

In fact, shortly after Apple released iOS 4.3, I upgraded my iPhone 4 and changed my AT&T data plan, from their grandfathered unlimited plan for iPhone users to their 4GB Data Pro plan. That's enabled me to use the iPhone 4 as a Personal Hotspot, so I can get online with a Wi-Fi-enabled computer, iPad or other device.

It's actually already come in handy a few times already. I'm waiting for my next bill to find out how close to the 4GB limit I'll get; with my unlimited plan, it was never over 1GB - but that was before tethering and Personal Hotspot, too.

This episode of dropped calls happened as I was driving with my wife. She sat there using her iPhone to access the Web. AT&T's 3G data coverage is fine in our area - she rarely loses access to the Internet on her iPhone.

I don't hear from my wife too much on the phone anymore. She usually just texts me. This started happening about six months ago. We have an unlimited text plan on our family account so I didn't give it too much thought. It certainly made it easier to shoot bits of data back and forth, though.

She just smiled at me as I cursed AT&T and said, "Why do you think I've just given up calling you and text you so much instead? I got tired of the dropped calls and having to repeat everything. It's easier, because you always get the texts."

So there you have it: AT&T is great. As long as you don't need to make phone calls.

AT&T-Microsoft Windows 7 360: