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The nation's fastest 3G network…

Zach Epstein
July 22nd, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Since the iPhone 3G was released over a year ago, AT&T customers in many regions have experienced the slow and painful decay of what had once been an incredibly solid 3G network. The bottom line is that AT&T’s network is now so congested in many populated regions that it’s become a sick, laughable joke. Now, don’t get us wrong. In many areas AT&T’s 3G service is still rocking and rolling according to countless subscribers — we just wish we could find those areas. Here in and around NYC, continued woes have prompted us to perform several speed tests over the past few weeks to get a handle on exactly why calls are constantly dropped (if they’re even connected to begin with) and why data seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. The screenshot above shows the results of one such test. Arrows and cheeky thumb’s up aside, the image is not doctored. 38… kilobits… per… second… average… download… speed. Imagine a carrier with the cojones to advertise “the nation’s fastest 3G network” when even one speed test result could be that abysmal.

To be fair, the screen capture above represents the worst result we saw during our tests. What was the best, you might be wondering? 384kbps. Yes that’s kilobits, not kilobytes. Our typical results were in the low 300s — still quite pathetic — and all of our tests were performed with either an iPhone 3GS or a BlackBerry Bold. These results, mind you, follow AT&T’s claim to have recently added 75 new cells in the NY Metro area. Now, when you’re a carrier whose flagship handset includes an “S” for “speed” in its name and it’s capable of download speeds up to 7.2Mbps, you better be on top of your game — especially in a densely populated region like NYC and the surrounding area. 384kbps isn’t going to cut it and 38kbps most definitely isn’t going to cut it. Yet the company continues to carry on about current network speeds and its plans to roll out 7.2Mbps HSPA.

So now, people, it’s time for roll call. If you’re on AT&T we want to know where you are, what phone you’re using and what kind of speeds you’re getting when you test. Extra points if you link a screenshot. Oh and just for fun, this is from an iPhone 3GS on Rogers earlier this afternoon:

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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