The New York Times’ Randall Stross “set about looking for independent data to confirm the superior performance of Verizon’s network,” but reports that he was “astonished to discover that I had managed to get things exactly wrong. Despite the well-publicized problems in New York and San Francisco, AT&T seems to have the superior network nationwide. And the iPhone itself may not be so great after all. Its design is contributing to performance problems.”
“Roger Entner, senior vice president for telecommunications research at Nielsen, said the iPhone’s ‘air interface,’ the electronics in the phone that connect it to the cell towers, had shortcomings that ‘affect both voice and data,'” Stross reports. “He said that in the eyes of the consumer, ‘the iPhone has the nimbus of infallibility, ergo, it’s AT&T’s fault.’ AT&T does not publicly defend itself because it will not criticize Apple under any circumstances, he said.”
“Neither AT&T nor Verizon was willing to reveal its internal data on performance,” Stross reports. “But Global Wireless Solutions, one of the third-party services that run network tests for the major carriers, shared some of its current findings. The service dispatches drivers across the country with phones and laptops equipped with data cards. They have covered more than three million miles of roads this year, while running almost two million wireless data sessions and placing more than three million voice calls, said Paul Carter, the president.”
Stross reports, “The results place AT&T’s data network not just on top, but well ahead of everyone else. ‘AT&T’s data throughput is 40 to 50 percent higher than the competition, including Verizon,’ Mr. Carter said. AT&T is a client and Verizon is not, he added.”
“More evidence that AT&T’s data network is head-and-shoulders above Verizon’s comes from Root Wireless, a start-up in Bellevue, Wash., that is developing software for consumers to install on their smartphones to do continuous network tests,” Stross reports. “This year, Root Wireless ran 4.7 million tests on smartphones for each of the four major carriers, spread across seven metropolitan areas: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles/Orange County, New York, Seattle/Tacoma, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington. In every market, AT&T had faster average download speeds and had signal strength of 75 percent or better more frequently than did Verizon.”
Stross reports, “I asked Ron Dicklin, chief technology officer at Root Wireless, how these results, showing AT&T as the clear leader, could be reconciled with the negative appraisal of Consumer Reports’ respondents. Heexplained that his company’s tests of AT&T’s data network were done with handsets other than the iPhone, which does not allow non-Apple programs like his to run in the background… AT&T, while meeting 4,000 percent growth in data use, has acquitted itself quite nicely. But the company is saddled with an awful public image as the perennial laggard.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The blame seems to shift depending upon whose flacks plant what information (guess who got their story reported this time), but the end result remains the same: In high-density iPhone areas, AT&T coverage is sporadic and unreliable. If that problem was due to an iPhone design flaw, then why do iPhones, including our iPhones, work perfectly on AT&T’s network when they’re outside of NYC and San Francisco or off AT&T altogether in other countries? Again, if there is a design flaw in the iPhone’s 3G radio, then why do they only seem to have issues in high-density iPhone areas on AT&T? Are iPhones interfering with each other, knocking each off the network in NYC and San Fran, but aren’t prevalent enough to do so elsewhere? That would seem to be the only vaguely logical conclusion, other than, of course, the much more logical conclusion that AT&T simply does not have enough capacity in place to provide adequate service to specific areas packed with millions of iPhone users.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sajboy” for the heads up.]