AT&T subscribers have remained loyal to the network following the launch of Apple’s iPhone on rival carriers Verizon Wireless and Sprint. ”Churn has not moved at all,” AT&T’s president of emerging devices Glen Lurie told MarketWatch on Wednesday, referring to the percent of subscribers who leave AT&T to open accounts with other providers. In the years leading up to the iPhone’s launch on Verizon and Sprint, many AT&T subscribers had been extremely vocal about persistant dropped calls and other connectivity issues when using the iPhone in metropolitan areas. Some analysts speculated that the launch of Verizon’s iPhone 4 would send AT&T iPhone users rushing for the door, but that does not appear to be the case. In fact, AT&T recently announced that it activated more than 1 million iPhone 4S handsets in less than a week following the device’s launch. Lurie even said the iPhone 4S is selling so fast for AT&T that demand is still exceeding supply. More →
Market research firm ChangeWave on Tuesday released the findings of a recent study analyzing iPhone 4 owner experiences and owner satisfaction. The study pitted Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4 against the same model from AT&T, and sought to compare consumer experiences with the device at each carrier. Following years of complaints regarding poor service and dropped calls on AT&T, the question on everyone’s mind following the iPhone’s launch with Verizon Wireless was whether or not service quality would improve. According to ChangeWave’s findings, the answer is yes. In a survey of 4,068 customers, ChangeWave found that over the past 90 days, Verizon Wireless iPhone 4 users have dropped approximately 1.8% of calls while AT&T iPhone 4 owners dropped 4.8% of calls. Of course Verizon’s iPhone hasn’t even been on the market for 90 days and calling habits and frequency were not taken into account, so the results do become somewhat suspect. What’s more, ChangeWave notes that its survey started “several weeks after Verizon began offering the iPhone 4,” so we could be looking at just over a month of anecdotal Verizon Wireless data being compared to three months of anecdotal AT&T data. ChangeWave also found that Verizon Wireless iPhone owners are slightly more satisfied than AT&T iPhone 4 owners, with 82% saying they were very satisfied compared to 80% for AT&T. More →
Look, I have been dreaming about a Verizon iPhone since the original announcement was made in 2007. I’ve always admired Verizon’s insanely solid and reliable wireless network, even before it was Verizon (someone tell James Earl Jones I said what’s up). I had the first digital phone Verizon Wireless offered (following countless analog phones prior to that), and I’ve had many more since then. But I switched away from Verizon Wireless as soon as I saw that the handsets available in Europe were becoming more advanced, because these new phones typically didn’t become available from Verizon for months or even years later, if at all. As soon as I saw that I could switch my SIM card from phone to phone myself, I was on a tear — first on T-Mobile, then AT&T when I realized how much better AT&T’s coverage was in my area, even five years ago. More →
It turns out Verizon Wireless may be in more hot water as a result of the 10,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls the carrier dropped during a blizzard last month. The Federal Communications Commission recently called for an investigation into the massive network failure that left thousands of Maryland residents with no way to reach police and other emergency services. One such resident was 94-year-old Carmela D’Antuono, whose house caught fire when nearby transformers exploded during the snowstorm. D’Antuono, who was trapped inside her home as it burned, was rescued by neighbors who took matters into their own hands when police and fire fighters could not be reached. “It was scary. It makes you think when a disaster like this happens. I know that was a pretty scary night. There were a lot of things going on, but it makes you want to hope that you can get a hold of help when you really need it,” one of D’Antuono’s neighbors said. Hit the break for video report from a local Fox affiliate. More →
In a letter sent last Thursday to the nation’s top wireless carrier, the Federal Communications Commission is calling for an investigation into thousands of dropped emergency calls placed during a blizzard in late January. Approximately 10,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls placed on the Verizon Wireless network in Maryland were dropped, the FCC says. The calls were made on January 26th during a major snowstorm. “The large number of missed 9-1-1 calls on January 26 is truly alarming,” FCC public safety and security chief James Arden Barnett wrote in the letter. “I therefore request that Verizon provide an explanation of the causes of this and similar failures, provide Verizon’s assessment of the possibility of occurrence in other locations and describe what actions Verizon is taking to prevent recurrence of these problems.” The FCC is calling for a written response to its inquiry, along with a meeting within two weeks to discuss Verizon’s resolution of the issue. More →
In typical Daily Show fashion, Jon Stewart and friends celebrated the arrival of the Verizon iPhone with a hilarious segment Tuesday night. In a seven-minute spot that goes from funny to funnier, Stewart begins by recounting iPhone users’ hardships on AT&T. ”For the past three or four years, those of us in the iPhone community have sacrificed one thing for the ability to carry around every photograph we’ve ever taken, or song we’ve ever listened to, or home video, or compass,” Stewart said at the start of the segment. “We have sacrificed the ability to make phone calls.” Things were so bad for Stewart, it seems, that he had to send text messages by typing them out on his iPhone 4 and then having an assistant physically bring the phone to the message’s recipient. Daily Show correspondent John Oliver then joins in, reporting live via video chat from yesterday’s Verizon event using his AT&T iPhone. Needless to say, the quality is horrible and the video call drops several times. Oliver’s subsequent report has him hitting the streets to interview AT&T iPhone users — one of whom compares being tied to AT&T to slavery — and he then sits in on the actual announcement at Lincoln Center. Hit the jump for the full video. More →
Yesterday, my cohorts weighed in on the question on countless iPhone owners’ minds right now — should I ditch AT&T and buy an iPhone from Verizon? The answer is going to be different for everyone, of course. Some people have a compulsive need to switch phones constantly, so they can’t use a CDMA carrier. Some people have a need for speed and Verizon’s 3G network doesn’t cut it. Well guess what? I have a need for a phone that actually works wherever and whenever I want it to. That need is way more important than any need I have to swap phones every day or download iTunes tracks at lightning-fast speeds. I want to make phone calls. I want to receive emails instantly. I want to load Web pages and refresh apps any time, anywhere. AT&T, fast as it might be, just can’t hang. More →
The hubbub hardly registered a blip on most people’s radar screens, but HTC recently found itself fielding some “death grip” claims related to its HD7 smartphone. The term death grip, in this context, was made famous earlier this year when customers found that a certain grip on Apple’s iPhone 4 would cause the handset to lose signal and drop calls. Apple uncharacteristically addressed the issue with a press conference, claiming most phones suffer similar issues when gripped near the antenna. Now, HTC’s HD7 is the latest smartphone to allegedly be affected by certain grips. In response to these claims, HTC made the following statement:
Quality in industrial design is of key importance to HTC. To ensure the best possible signal strength, antennas are placed in the area least likely to be covered by a person’s face or hands while the phone is in use. However, it is inevitable that a phone’s signal strength will weaken a little when covered in its entirety by a user’s palm or fingers. We test all of our phones extensively and are confident that under normal circumstances reception strength and performance will be more than sufficient for the operation of the phone when network coverage is also adequate.
Apple has released a statement regarding reception issues with the iPhone 4. The statement, which is in letter format, cites the “formula” Apple uses “to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display” being “totally wrong,” and the fact that “gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars.” We’ve got the full release for you after the break. Apple said a free software update will be coming in “a few weeks” that will allegedly provide a fix. What do you think? More →
Lost in all of the buzz surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna fiasco was the fact that Apple has three new job listings for antenna engineers. Well, that is until Engadget unearthed them after sitting unnoticed since June 23rd, or one day before the official launch of the iPhone 4 and the very same day that the now infamous reception issues came to light. Here’s a little snippet from the job description.
“Define and implement antenna system architecture to optimize the radiation performance for wireless portable devices [...] The The candidate should be able to design antennas suitable for wireless handheld devices with excellent radiation performance [...] Work closely with other RF and antenna design engineers, mechanical and industrial designers, and EMC engineers to integrate the antenna design in our products.”
Irony, we love you so!
Thanks, Zachary! More →
During an televised interview with CNBC, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that his company’s efforts to repair its voice network have been paying off and that call quality is steadily improving. “We’ve been going hard at the voice quality issue,” Stephenson said, adding that AT&T’s network revamp, one which primarily focuses on particularly troublesome major cities such as San Francisco and New York, is nearly complete. Stephenson said AT&T customers can expect to use their phones as a phone by the end of the summer. Okay, that last bit was a joke. Sort of. More →
AT&T continues to boast of “the nation’s fastest 3G network” while many customers in various regions across the country seem to think differently. Dropped calls, outages, network congestion and general reliability issues continue to plague the carrier’s 3G network but today we have some good news for those of you currently with AT&T. According to one of our ninjas, AT&T is set to begin a rolling launch of its Network Settings (N-SET) Solution across all networks in the US. The roll out will begin this month. N-SET will balance traffic between the carrier’s 2G and 3G networks, thus reducing the load borne by its 3G network. Essentially, a customer who primarily uses voice services will connect via 2G even if 3G is supported by his or her handset. If and when said customer begins to actively use data services, the network will bounce him or her over to 3G. BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G users will not be affected by the change. Assuming all goes according to plan, N-SET stands to have a pretty immediate impact on network performance by freeing up 3G bandwidth for heavier data users. Whether or not it will be enough to impact urban and populated areas — especially once the new iPhone is released this Summer — remains to be seen.
According to a new email blast AT&T is currently in the midst of sending out, the company has been hard at work in 2008 and through Q1 2009 improving its service in the New York metro area. In fact according to the email, the carrier added 75 new cell sites across New Jersey, New York and Long Island during the 15-month period. Specifically, AT&T lists the following areas as key improvements in 2008:
- Along I-78 in Hunterdon County west of Exit 11 and between Exit 33 and I-287 in NJ
- Aong the West Side Highway from 7th Avenue to West 10th Street in Manhattan
- The Sprain Brook Parkway from Route 100C to 100 and I-684 near Goldens Bridge in Valhalla, NY
- The Long Island Expressway near Exit 51 in Huntington Station, NY
- Perrineville, Prospect Plains, Union Valley & Applegarth Roads all in Monroe Township in Middlesex County, NJ
- Main Street and Ocean Avenue in Northport, NY
- The Southern State and Sagtikos Parkways in Bayshore, NY
A few more areas are also listed as recipients of even more recent coverage improvements:
- The NJ Transit line in Glen Rock, NJ
- Todt Hill Road in Staten Island
- Howells Road and the Sunrise Highway in Bayshore, NY
- Greenwich Village from Washington Square Park to East 12th Street, Central Park South
- The Upper East Side from East 82nd to East 91st Street in Manhattan
While we applaud AT&T’s continued efforts in the region, we’re still hearing from an unending stream of readers, colleagues and friends wondering what is going on with AT&T’s service in the NYC area. Of course people love to complain much more than they do praise so to be fair, we also talk to plenty of people in the area who live and die by AT&T’s service and seemingly have no problems at all. Consider this an informal third party survey — those of you with AT&T service in and around New York… How’s it hanging?
Hit the jump to see the full email and then hit the comments section to be heard.