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AT&T FAIL in lower Manhattan -- again and again


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#1 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted July 16 2009 - 05:39 AM

 Last year soon after the release of iPhone 3G, for two - three months AT&T's service lower Manhattan (Wall St. area/Financial District/Tribeca/South Ferry) was beyond abysmal. Eventually things improved and returned to the pre-iPhone 3G state -- not great, but livable.

Now, since about a week ago, maybe a little longer, things are back to their 2008 badness. 3G data is at a crawl. Phone calls are getting dropped. People call and the phone doesn't even ring. Voice mails arrive 48 hours late.

There were all these news stories about how AT&T was ramping up its network in preparation for the iPhone 3GS. Pure BS. Now we are seeing stories about how AT&T will be ramping up in the fall (switching 3G frequency, enhancing backhaul, etc).

They should be ashamed. Yes, I know that the USA is a huge country, blah, blah, blah -- but lower Manhattan ain't that big. And the fact is that Manhattan and San Francisco are where 80% of the tech writers and other opinion makers who keep writing about how bad AT&T is live, work or both. Wall St. is where T shares get traded. Why don't they get it? Verizon obviously gets it -- there are plenty of places where they're service sucks eggs, but NYC & SF aren't among them, thus Verizon's sterling reputation.

Dear AT&T -- some time next fall isn't good enough. Fix your network in New York City and San Francisco NOW. Not some time in the future, not three months from now, NOW! You are out of excuses -- you have had two years since the original iPhone was released. You have had a whole year to prepare for the iPhone 3GS launch, knowing what an impact the 3G launch had on your network. And yet you fail, and fail miserably yet again.

If you want ANY hope of salvaging what little is left of your reputation and holding on to your customers once the iPhone stops being an AT&T exclusive, you MUST FIX NYC & SF NOW!



Edited by Ted Todorov - 7/16/2009 at 08:11 pm GMT
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#2 of 61 DaveF

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Posted July 16 2009 - 01:53 PM

It's amazing that AT&T has such poor service in the most important cities in this country.


#3 of 61 Clinton McClure

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Posted July 16 2009 - 08:39 PM

I hear ya'! Ever since they acquired Cingular, I have had an unprescendented amount of dropped and missed calls... And I don't live in a big city. If they don't get their act together by September when my contract expires, I'm switching to Verizon.

#4 of 61 Sam Posten

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Posted July 18 2009 - 02:13 AM

Heading to Highline / Meatpacking District today for Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk, interested to see how reception is there on the west side.

Edit:  iPhone 3GS was rock solid all day long and kept me tied in to Tweetie every time I turned it on.  No complaints.  I suspect weekdays might be different tho.


Edited by Sam Posten - 7/19/2009 at 03:24 am GMT

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#5 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted July 18 2009 - 05:16 PM

 Yes, my complaint is strictly about weekdays, and about Tribeca and below (the entire financial district).  

I have no problems uptown, where I live -- I even get excellent service on my subway station's platform.   However the Wall St. area is a rollicking, frolicking disaster.  That's what I just don't get -- we are talking about a really small geographical area -- how can AT&T not see that fixing it is vital to keeping their reputation out of the toilet?
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#6 of 61 Sam Posten

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Posted July 21 2009 - 03:41 PM

Even Mayor Bloomberg says it sucks

http://www.betanews.com/article/The-tipping-point-iPhone-users-turn-against-ATT/1248204244

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#7 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted July 29 2009 - 06:22 AM

www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/28/can-att-handle-the-iphone/ 

No, apparently.  To top it off there was a multi-state AT&T wireless data outage this morning.

Meanwhile Sprint is shedding subscribers and losing money hand over fist according to its latest earnings.  Seems the Pre was a "hit" only if you grade on a curve.  

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#8 of 61 Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 29 2009 - 10:26 AM

Ted,

I listen to Opie and Anthony regularly on SiriusFM.

Comic Jim Norton constantly complains about AT&T in Manhattan.

However, miraculously, he still has an iPhone after two years of
constant complaining because he hated everything else he switched
to (including a Verizon Blackberry) even more. 

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#9 of 61 Sam Posten

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Posted August 19 2009 - 01:21 AM

There have been a lot of articles about high profile users switching to Android to just get anything different from an iPhone and many of them swapped back in less than a week.  DF of course has been tracking this because, as we all SHOULD know, competition HELPS build better systems.  Mindless fanboyism leads to stagnation.  This is why I've been VERY happy seeing the console 'wars' heat up this generation with three viable platforms.  People said there couldn't be more than two in the market at any one time.  The obviously were very wrong, even with one platform being 1/3 the price of the other at launch.  Like Gruber, I WANT Palm and Google's platforms to be better than what they are, and the same in the MP3 player space.  Its very disheartening, for example, watching Microsoft come out with Zunes that match last years iPod Touches only to see them destroyed a month later by Apple's new advances.  Microsoft is going to have to start doing some basic research and adding NEW features and stop being a parasitic parrot if it ever wants the Zune to be a success.  And no, radio receivers and crappy song sharing do NOT count.
http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/the_android_opportunity

Also, for the OP Ted, heads up, improvements are happening now for high traffic areas like Manhattan:
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/18/what-are-these-bars-on-my-iphone-wait-you-mean-att-is-working/

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#10 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted August 19 2009 - 01:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten View Post

Also, for the OP Ted, heads up, improvements are happening now for high traffic areas like Manhattan:
http://www.techcrunc...att-is-working/
Totally agree with everything, Sam!

 Good to hear about SF.  In Manhattan, it is generally not a problem of "bars" -- reception is good in most places, but of backhaul -- the network to and from the the towers simply can't handle the required bandwidth.  I read somewhere that the switchover to 850MHz in NYC is already complete.  The best I can say about downtown Manhattan is no further deterioration.  Still, on Sunday I got three voice mails from Thursday...




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#11 of 61 DaveF

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Posted August 19 2009 - 02:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

..., as we all SHOULD know, competition HELPS build better systems.  Mindless fanboyism leads to stagnation.  This is why I've been VERY happy seeing the console 'wars' heat up this generation with three viable platforms.
Hear hear! I hope Palm Pre succeeds. I don't care about Android; I'm no longer interested in the Windows-esque "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" design philosophy it uses.

The Pre however has honest-to-goodness design and usability concepts with some smart ideas that work and some smart ideas that could work. And it's a different approach than the iPhone. I've realized the Pre's approach does not match my needs as well as the iPhone's; and the Pre is too immature to buy just yet. (But if the Pre had 32 GB storage, a vibrant appstore, and solid syncing with iTunes, I'd probably buy two today based on cost and AT&T suckitude.)

So I hope it succeeds. It has some good thought behind it, and promises a strong, useful, intelligent alternative to the iPhone. More pointedly, it promises a better solution for some people than the iPhone, with its focus on "cloud-centric" contacts and multi-tasking.


#12 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted August 19 2009 - 04:10 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF View Post
The Pre however has honest-to-goodness design and usability concepts with some smart ideas that work and some smart ideas that could work. And it's a different approach than the iPhone. I've realized the Pre's approach does not match my needs as well as the iPhone's; and the Pre is too immature to buy just yet. (But if the Pre had 32 GB storage, a vibrant appstore, and solid syncing with iTunes, I'd probably buy two today based on cost and AT&T suckitude.)
Is there really that big a difference between Sprint's low end Pre Plan and AT&T's?  I thought that the main difference was on the high end everything unlimited plan, which is unimaginable overkill.  I find the low end 450 minute AT&T plan impossible to use up.  Between roll-over minutes (I currently have 3862), unlimited mobile to mobile, 5000 per month night/weekend, I can't imagine any circumstance in which I would reach my limit.  I could chatter 24/7 until I drop dead of exhaustion and I would still be unable to reach the limit.   On the other hand the Pre costs $100/$200 more up front, depending on how you view the rebate.

For me any CDMA only phone is a no-starter due to travel.  Presumably Palm will come out with a GSM phone eventually, but nothing has been announced yet.

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#13 of 61 DaveF

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Posted August 19 2009 - 05:15 AM

Due to my corporate discount, yes. AT&T costs >$30 / month more.

I don't travel much overseas so I don't need GSM. And by many accounts an iPhone will cost hundreds or thousands to use overseas, so I'd want to buy a paygo throwaway phone anyhow.


#14 of 61 mattCR

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Posted August 19 2009 - 09:48 AM

Just for calrification:

I hear ya'! Ever since they acquired Cingular


No, Cingular bought AT&T lock stock and barrel, and then assumed the name as a more popular brand.  But Cingular's cap value (stock worth) was significantly greater.


It is odd, here in the midwest, AT&T / Cingular have better coverage across rural areas then almost anyone.  But go to big cities.. and it sucks.


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#15 of 61 nolesrule

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Posted August 20 2009 - 01:54 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF 

And by many accounts an iPhone will cost hundreds or thousands to use overseas, so I'd want to buy a paygo throwaway phone anyhow.
Only if you plan to use data. If you turn off anything that uses data, and only use it for phone calls, you'll just pay international roaming on calls. But if you let it check your email every 5 minutes and use apps that require data feeds, then yeah, it'll cost quite a bit.


#16 of 61 DaveF

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Posted August 20 2009 - 02:00 AM

Without data usage, what's the value of an iPhone over a normal phone overseas? I might as well get a throwaway phone, not risk losing an iPhone while traveling, and...GSM doesn't benefit me over CDMA.

I'm not cosmopolitan, so that's how the calculus looks to me.


#17 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted August 20 2009 - 04:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolesrule View Post

Only if you plan to use data. If you turn off anything that uses data, and only use it for phone calls, you'll just pay international roaming on calls. But if you let it check your email every 5 minutes and use apps that require data feeds, then yeah, it'll cost quite a bit.
Actually AT&T has $24.99 international roaming plan in which case the first 20MB is free -- and that is quit enough for email plus light web and google maps on say a week long trip.
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#18 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted August 20 2009 - 04:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF View Post

Without data usage, what's the value of an iPhone over a normal phone overseas? I might as well get a throwaway phone, not risk losing an iPhone while traveling, and...GSM doesn't benefit me over CDMA.

I'm not cosmopolitan, so that's how the calculus looks to me.
The point is that with data usage the iPhone is completely invaluable when traveling -- I can't begin to describe how much easier my life is traveling with it.  And if you combine WiFi with AT&T's international data roaming plan, you aren't spending much and you are connected exactly when you need it the most.


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#19 of 61 DaveF

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Posted August 20 2009 - 04:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov 

And if ... with AT&T's international data roaming plan, you aren't spending much and you are connected exactly when you need it the most.
This is interesting, and contrary to what I've heard elsewhere.

Case 1: Business trip to Toronto. I got a 1-week intl'l voice plan on my Verizon phone for $5. A coworker got a 1-week voice & data plan on his Verizon Blackberry for $15. A second coworker had his iPhone and kept data turned off all week. He said that the data plan was exhorbitantly expensive -- no 1-week pro-rating option and far more pricey than Verizon's ~ $10 / wk -- and even the iPhone voice was higher than $5 I paid.

Case 2: Leo Laporte of TWiT reported he bought a 100GB int'l plan for a weeklong China trip; about $100. He used the iPhone data monitor and turned off data at 99GB. Back in the States, AT&T sent him a $1000 bill for his actual 250GB data usage. AT&T gave him a break and dialed the billing down to some hundreds of dollars.

Anecdotally, the iPhone sounds financially ruinous for occaisional international travel.


#20 of 61 Ted Todorov

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Posted August 20 2009 - 05:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF View Post


This is interesting, and contrary to what I've heard elsewhere.

Case 1: Business trip to Toronto. I got a 1-week intl'l voice plan on my Verizon phone for $5. A coworker got a 1-week voice & data plan on his Verizon Blackberry for $15. A second coworker had his iPhone and kept data turned off all week. He said that the data plan was exhorbitantly expensive -- no 1-week pro-rating option and far more pricey than Verizon's ~ $10 / wk -- and even the iPhone voice was higher than $5 I paid.

Case 2: Leo Laporte of TWiT reported he bought a 100GB int'l plan for a weeklong China trip; about $100. He used the iPhone data monitor and turned off data at 99GB. Back in the States, AT&T sent him a $1000 bill for his actual 250GB data usage. AT&T gave him a break and dialed the billing down to some hundreds of dollars.

Anecdotally, the iPhone sounds financially ruinous for occaisional international travel.
Dave if you want to see the what the actual rates are, just go to AT&T's web site instead of spreading false info -- and I'm sorry but some of this is false on its face -- AT&T does not have a 100GB plan, and in any event it isn't physically possible to use 99GB much less 250GB in a week on an iPhone over any cell network.  My DSL at home couldn't do 250GB in a week.  This stuff is pure fantasy.  To give you a general idea, I have sent and received a grand total of 416MB of data (over the AT&T network) since I bought my iPhone 3GS over two months ago.  

I can't believe I'm defending AT&T -- but there is more than enough to bash them with instead of resorting to absurd on their face anecdotes.


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