AT&T Fighting Verizon Over iPhone Users, Offers Microcells

Our own Kevin Purcell received an offer for a free Microcell from AT&T, less than a week before Verizon begins selling the iPhone 4 to new customers. As he wrote over at, Kevin finds the timing ‘interesting.’

While AT&T has drastically improved reception in some areas since the launch of the iPhone 4, it’s been widely reported by early reviewers that call reliability and clarity is markedly better on the Verizon iPhone 4. To many people, of course, being able to place and receive calls reliably is the most important feature of any phone and wireless plan.

Kevin’s family has four iPhones, which means he’s a very valuable customer in AT&T’s books and just the kind of family that Verizon would love to woo. Kevin’s mentioned that he has no plans to switch to Verizon, but there are countless AT&T customers that have had enough with dropped calls. I’m not surprised at all that AT&T is sending out another batch of Microcells. I am surprised that AT&T’s waited so long to do whatever it can to satisfy its most valuable customers.

This isn’t the first time AT&T’s offered free Microcells to customers. My brother’s family received a free AT&T Microcell last summer, which means we can now actually call each other when he’s home.

AT&T answered my phone reception prayers by placing a small cell site less than 100 feet away from my old home’s bedroom window. We moved three months ago to a quieter neighborhood and I was worried about reception, but after doing some testing (before committing to the move), I found the new place had solid AT&T reception.

While the Microcell improves reception at home, it doesn’t do any good when iPhone users venture outside. While I’ve been impressed with AT&T’s speedy 3G data speed, I still face a number of challenges placing and receiving calls when I’m mobile.

For now, Verizon has the edge when it comes to voice quality and I may switch providers when the new iPhone is launched next summer. I don’t think it makes sense to switch networks mid-contract and get locked into a device that will most likely be replaced in June. We still haven’t seen what’ll happen to Verizon’s network once millions of  iPhones are unleashed on it.  Then there’s the whole money issue. Am I dissatisfied with AT&T enough to pay a pair of ETF’s, plus pay $600 for a pair of new iPhones? Not really.