Phone Phun

Blogabarbara reports value subtraction by AT&T on its mobile service to the Santa Ynez Valley. Details:

  Until yesterday AT&T phones worked on a combination of AT&T and other provider cell towers. Without any notice to the customer, AT&T switched to their own cell towers only yesterday (10/2). Their “network engineers” have studied the area and believe this is acceptable. The switch means decreased coverage. For me, living in Santa Ynez, this means the closest tower is 8 miles away and everyone in the Valley is sharing it. Data messages (text, Blackberry, voice-mail notifications, etc.) seem to work fine. However outgoing voice calls fail about 90% of the time with a “Network Busy” error message, and most incoming calls go to voice-mail.
  AT&T said if enough people complain they’ll consider reconnecting with those outside provider towers, but it may take up to two weeks.

I tried to post a comment, twice, but it doesn’t appear to have taken. So here it is:

  Hmm. Back when Cingular acquired the old AT&T Wireless (which was really a re-branded CellularOne), you could go to your phone’s settings menu and choose which of the networks you wanted to use: one, the other, or both. (Why not just both? I dunno.) Since Cingular became AT&T not by merging with another provider but rather by being acquired by a company called AT&T (actually SBC and now known among phone types as FATT, for “Faux AT&T”), there was no need — to my knowledge, anyway — to make technical changes in the network, least of all to subtract out parts of it. But the “New AT&T” shows few if any signs of being better than any ofl the old ones. Alas.
  To my knowledge the only “partner” compatible with AT&T’s GSM transmission technology is T-Mobile. I doubt that’s a settings choice, even if T-Mobile is the “partner” involved here.
  For comparison, here is AT&T’s coverage page, and here is T-Mobile’s.
  Look’s like T-Mobile’s is smaller than AT&T’s, but your suckage may vary.
  In Europe, where every provider uses GSM, they don’t have these kinds of coverage problems. All of the providers’ systems work the same. In my experience the coverage is generally much better than in the U.S., generally.
  Here there’s GSM and CDMA, which are incompatible. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM while Verizon and Sprint/Nextel use CDMA. In the last year I began working more in Europe. Since I’m a Verizon Wireless customer, and since CDMA doesn’t work in Europe, I find myself carrhying to carry two phones around: an AT&T one and a Verizon one. Both services suck, but with differing rosters of annoyances.

Enlightenment and correction welcome.


  1. Eric’s avatar

    Here’s a comparison: In China I paid about US $100 for a Nokia 6030. It’s the only phone I use, and I guess I spend about $10 a month to keep the sim card topped up. The network is never busy, and most of the time reception is excellent.

    The US mobile providers are thieves, plain and simple.

  2. flor from los angeles ca’s avatar

    I have att. It sucks. every day I have problems. Its not even funny. I have try different phones to see if they can work araund my home. I had a old nokia and it was kind of better and I alwais put my sim card back on the old phone . People will teollme “that is a old phone” I know but its the only one that is a little better. I have complanin to att . all they say its that its enought towers. 2 years ago it was excelent. What happended. ………? I hate it . Just because of the roolover mnts. ……….

  3. flor from los angeles ca’s avatar

    It sucks k. I hate it att its not good.

  4. Amit (Phone Card) J.’s avatar

    “The US mobile providers are thieves, plain and simple.”

    How true this is and it seems to be getting worse and worse. I definitely understand what you’re going through!

  5. Al@BlackberryReviews’s avatar

    The level of technology used by the US provides is also significantly lagging behind other international providers . . . but they somehow deem it appropriate to charge twice as much. I feel your pain

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