James Kendrick blogs an interesting piece from his unique perspective of using a gaggle of mobile devices that have him using all four major US carriers. In the piece he rates the four carriers based on his usage. Obviously James’ experiences in the Houston area are going to be unique to him and that area and his travels. It is no secret that the choke point in mobile maneuvering is your choice of carrier. Depending on where you live a carrier can make your shiny new device operate like last year’s technology. We see reports of folks in both rural and urban areas having difficulty with connectivity. Xavier lives in San Francisco and seems to have a equal amount of trouble to what I experience here in rural Virginia with AT&T. Locally here, Sprint seems to offer me the most consistent coverage.
Consumers are at the mercy of the carriers and how and when they make improvements to networks. The coverage maps carriers offer are really just a part of the hype machine to a large degree, and while exclusivity agreements do reduce the cost of hardware, they also contribute to some of the problems as consumers act on their gadget lust often without thinking beyond the hype. In some instances it seems like the carriers are selling obstructed view seats without letting the customer know they are doing so, or offering a discount.
It would probably be massive project but wouldn’t it be nice to see an independent site that used Google Maps (or some other) that offered coverage reports based on users’ real world experience? I’m sure it would have faults, but it would probably be a very well viewed site.