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San Francisco Wireless Dead Zone Mapping Project Underlines Inadequacy Of AT&T’s Network

September 22nd, 2010 09:40 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

ATT dead zone mapping in San Francisco

The connectivity problems on AT&T's network in San Francisco and New York needs no introduction and we have written about the poor carrier infrastructure in such places with high iPhone density several times in the past.

Though AT&T has often reiterated its commitment to improving its cellular network, there has been no apparent improvement so far.

Over the past one week, the San Francisco Business Times has been running a project to map the wireless dead zones in the Bay Area with the help of its readers. People experiencing a dead zone at home, workplace or elsewhere are asked to fill out a simple form that seeks to gather details about the location as well as the carrier that is responsible for the same. The project has currently attracted over 1000 data points that provide a realistic representation of the performance of the various networks in the region.

Not too surprisingly, the project has once again revealed the inadequacy of AT&T's network. A map of dead zones from the region that we have embedded below shows an overwhelming number of blue pins that represent areas where AT&T subscribers have noticed a dead zone. An AT&T spokesperson has conceded that nearly 83% of the dead zones reported in the project are those noticed by their subscribers.

Nike+ GPS iPhone app

The San Francisco Business Times project is the latest in a list of studies that have deplored the infrastructure of AT&T's cellular network. However, to be fair, the report needs to be taken with guarded skepticism. The Bay Area is a region with high iPhone density, which also translates to a higher ratio of AT&T subscribers. As studies have pointed out in the past, iPhone users consume nearly 80% more data than the average smartphone user and thus it comes as no surprise that AT&T subscribers face the highest level of dead zones in the region. It is also worth noting that getting clearances for new cell phone towers is extremely difficult in the Bay Area. So we may have to also attribute it as the reason for AT&T's slow progress in its infrastructure improvement efforts. 

But as MG Seigler from TechCrunch points out, AT&T could alleviate some of the customer frustration by offering discounts or free MicroCells, which is a range-boosting femtocell that helps in improving the cellular reception by tapping into the user's home broadband.

One way forward would be for Apple to open up the iPhone to other carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon, which will also help Apple take on competition from Android smartphones better

What is your view on this? Let us know in the comments section below.

[San Francisco Business Times via TechCrunch]

Source: San Francisco Wireless Dead Zone Mapping Project Underlines Inadequacy Of AT&T’s Network

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