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New York Times Takes Telcos to Task for Lousy Connectivity



icon-signal-tm Bloggers and users have been railing about lousy 3G connectivity for about as long as there has been 3G connectivity. Rural users are the forgotten children, high density urban dwellers suffer as well. And yet, on the surface nothing seems to ever get done. Or rather, no communication of action by the Telcos ever really gets communicated beyond the ever present ““we’re going to upgrade our service” and ““we’re investing $X in improvements.”

Maybe folks in those corporate boardrooms will pay a little more attention now that the issues seem to have spilled over into the mass media at a time where some big things are on the horizon for mobile users. This New York Times article outlines the problem and actually has some good reporting about what causes some of the issues that users face. AT&T gets spanked pretty hard in the article, and deservedly so in my opinion. I find AT&T’s lack of progress in improving its shoddy service to be borderline criminal, especially in light of their constant false advertising about how good it is. Sprint and Verizon get some knocks as well, but come fare better in the article and their is no mention of T-Mobile.

The perfect example of this for me is that I know personally of one instance and have been told of another, where AT&T’s 3G coverage is so bad that employees in two AT&T stores are apoplectic and apologetic about it, given that customers can’t get it to work within proximity of the locations where they are buying devices. Talk about a tough way to make a living. But yet customers keep getting seduced into buying the latest and greatest. It sort of reminds me of the experience of being a Chicago Cubs fan. You can wait and hope and hang onto the eternal promise of ““Wait until next year,” but next year never comes. Yet, curiously the turnstiles still turn every year. I guess in some things we love to identify with losers.

I realize the challenge and expense of building out these networks is enormous, and I realize that nothing is ever perfect. But if you ask me, the examples set by these carriers that lead to the frustration consumers face is shameful. When we hear that the networks are afraid of overburdening their systems by allowing to much data flow in an era where ““going mobile” is as strong of a cultural and economic shifter as ““Go West, young man” was in another era, something needs to change.

Maybe when these new devices with new features head to the FCC, the FCC should begin demanding whether or not the Telcos can support the traffic before they approve them.



  1. jasen

    03/14/2009 at 9:34 am

    That’s why we AT&T users say “no bars in more places!”

  2. Virtuous

    03/16/2009 at 8:50 pm

    Verizon and Sprint both have better 3G networks than AT&T. If AT&T doesn’t watch out T-Mobile will surpass AT&T despite their late start and non-standard frequency. The only thing saving AT&T is the iPhone.

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