Surprise! AT&T’s network got very good in the last year

“Dropped calls and spotty service, particularly for iPhone owners, made AT&T the most hated wireless carrier in America. Here’s the surprise twist: widespread, under-the-radar improvements to the company’s network have quietly helped AT&T move past its infamous struggles,” David Goldman reports for CNNMoney.

“The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier says it spent roughly $20 billion last year making 48,000 network enhancements across the country,” Goldman reports. “That spending spree bought a 25% improvement in dropped-call performance on AT&T’s 3G network, plus added capacity and faster speeds.”

Goldman reports, “In the process, the company turned on two new networks. Though both were confusingly labeled “4G,” they each offer significant improvements over AT&T’s existing 3G network: one new network has speeds of up to four times faster than 3G, and the other brings a ten-fold improvement in speed. Yet consumers have been slow to change their opinion of AT&T.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The majority of consumers are always behind. Witness the continuing sales of Windows PCs. Nobody with any tech acumen whatsoever buys anything but a Mac. Why limit yourself to a subset of computing (and a nasty, insecure one at that) when only Macs can run everything natively or via fast virtualization?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. My guess is that we would have not seen any of these upgrade improvements if ATT was still the sole US iPhone carrier…. They didn’t do this for their customers….. they did it to prevent the bottom of their money tree from dropping out.

    1. Yeah, it couldn’t possibly be that it’s taken them the 3+ years they said it would to upgrade their network, which covers almost 9 million square miles with hundreds of thousands of cell sites, and we’re now starting to see positive results from that.

      It’s always the case that businesses hate their customers, and always screw them as much as possible, because if you are in business, you must be evil. No decent people ever run businesses.

    2. To be fair to AT&T, they’ve been making BILLIONS in network improvements every year since they’ve had the iPhone. This has nothing to do with Verizon and Sprint getting the iPhone. This has everything to do with competing for customers, whatever the phone.

      1. don’t forget city/state/federal stepping I to say of one of the carriers can put up a new tower or not..

        Cant remember who it was in NY, they were all ready to toss up a new tower, and some gov office stepped in and said no.
        I think they had already got the space set aside for them (on top of some building) and the permits were blocked cause it would have impaired someone’s view or something.

        AT&T here runs pretty smooth, but I have been to some places where it’s not so great…

        But you are right, they have been spending billions every year, As do all the carriers. its not an instant result either as it can take a few years to see the desired result. Those expecting an overnight “fix” will be waiting awhile.

  2. Still sucks in Chicago. I drop calls regularly. Often can’t get 3G and when I do it’s super slow. Can’t wait for them to either fix it or my contract is up.

  3. I came back to AT&T (after 4.5 years with T-Mobile) for the iPhone 4S and I’m extremely satisfied. AT&T has drastically upgraded their Minneapolis/St. Paul network.

  4. Switched from an iPhone 4 two months ago on AT&T in the Boston area (and before that a 3G) and went to a 4S on Verizon. Over a two year period – up to the end – probably had several hundred dropped calls on AT&T. Almost a daily occurrence. In two months on Verizon – one dropped call driving through a known bad area in the boondocks. Draw your own conclusions. YRMV

  5. Recipe for customer success:

    – Take one monopoly company (the only one with the iPhone)
    – Add a PINCH of COMPETITION for enlivening.
    – Cook for one year and MAGICALLY the quality rises.

    That’s how it works. Most people need INCENTIVE to bother doing a decent job for their customers. I wish it weren’t so, but AT&T fits the formula.

  6. Received a “free” text message from AT&T saying they just added a cell tower a week ago. I did notice a significant improvement here in San Jose. I wondered if the comments of NIMBY crowdand government bureaucrats had anything to do with this long delayed improvements. It can be possible was a bunch of greedy bastard who decide to improve their equipment after they notice that many people were going to leave them especially now that the iPhone is carried by the competition.

  7. AT&T coverage is still less than dismal here in North Central Ohio – the Mansfield area.

    Where there is service it is great, but there are lots of “Here be Dragons” areas on our local coverage map.

    3G is just a distant dream here as well – Edge must suffice for data.

    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem worth living here on the frontier. 😉

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