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MacRumors
Dec 7, 2009, 09:31 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/12/07/atandt-releases-mark-the-spot-application-to-track-network-issues/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2009/12/07/102952-mark_the_spot_1.jpg

AT&T yesterday released AT&T Mark the Spot [App Store (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/at-t-mark-the-spot/id338307313?mt=8), Free], a new iPhone application allowing users to alert the company to problems with its wireless network. The application takes advantage of the iPhone's GPS receiver to pinpoint the user's location and allow them to submit reports on a number of network issues, including dropped calls, failed calls, coverage holes, data service failures, and voice quality issues.


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2009/12/07/102952-mark_the_spot_2.jpg

Users can specify the general frequency of an issue, from a one-time glitch up to consistently repeatable problems, and can add additional comments to their reports for more complete information. Users can report issues at the time of their occurrence or at a later time, and can also request follow-up text messages confirming that their reports have been received.

Article Link: AT&T Releases 'Mark The Spot' Application to Track Network Issues (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/12/07/atandt-releases-mark-the-spot-application-to-track-network-issues/)



humera
Dec 7, 2009, 09:35 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

Unspoken Demise
Dec 7, 2009, 09:35 AM
This is an excellent step forward. Good work AT&T. Lets see some results from these submissions!

Shasterball
Dec 7, 2009, 09:36 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

Wireless. :)

javaGuru
Dec 7, 2009, 09:37 AM
How am I supposed to submit a network issue to them if I'm having problems with the network? Should I take note of my problem and send them a post card later? lol, just kidding. This is actually a good idea and I like the way at&t is tracking these issues.

oldMac
Dec 7, 2009, 09:46 AM
I suppose I'm being too cynical, but part of me suspects that AT&T has only created this app to reduce the amount of time their reps spend listening to complaints about dropped calls. I know I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them over the last year. While they're always very cordial and say things like they are "sending out crews to look at towers", etc, nothing changes. In fact, where I live (about an hour south of NYC) things have gotten far worse - not better.

Becordial
Dec 7, 2009, 09:47 AM
This is a very decent idea and says AT&T is getting ready to address patchy coverage.

Lets hope they take a transparent approach, share what they learn, and most importantly implement fixes quickly. Boosting coverage or other similar cell fixes these days can be almost plug and play so a fast response to logged faults would signal that they're worthy of our business.

NAG
Dec 7, 2009, 09:48 AM
Interesting app. Unfortunately the place where my phone drops the most also has a funky gps issue. My iPhone usually says I'm located anywhere from 10 to 20 miles away (and yes, it has the pin point orb thing and not the you're in this general area circle). So I can report the problem but AT&T will get some random spot in the city and not the actual position.

SubaruNation555
Dec 7, 2009, 09:49 AM
I assume the info is stored then uploaded to AT&T when the phone is back in service. I think this is a great idea but lets hope they act on the problem areas.

pc-proud
Dec 7, 2009, 09:51 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

I'm guessing through the Wi-Fi connection?

I'm getting ready to download it now, so I hope this gets ATT to do some serious looking at their network.

jav6454
Dec 7, 2009, 09:57 AM
Prepare for the onslaught of reports coming in....

pc-proud
Dec 7, 2009, 09:59 AM
Interesting app. Unfortunately the place where my phone drops the most also has a funky gps issue. My iPhone usually says I'm located anywhere from 10 to 20 miles away (and yes, it has the pin point orb thing and not the you're in this general area circle). So I can report the problem but AT&T will get some random spot in the city and not the actual position.

Hey NAG,

I just fired it up to report an issue and you can move the map around and center the RED X exactly where you are located. I got mine set my actual street address. If you put it in the general area of where you live and then zoom in on the map, you can position it to a much great degree of accuracy.

It's actually quite useful, so here's hoping the get the rest of the nation blanketed with 3G like verizon. I don't care if it's the fastest, I just don't want EDGE or ROAMING :)

rjtyork
Dec 7, 2009, 10:08 AM
How cute... ATT is starting to pretend to care. :) Good step forward, guys.

chimerical
Dec 7, 2009, 10:10 AM
What information is this app sending to AT&T? UID? Phone number? Coordinates?

Teh Don Ditty
Dec 7, 2009, 10:18 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

Jensen G
Dec 7, 2009, 10:19 AM
This is a great move by ATT and will hopefully be replicated by other carriers for the smartphones they sell. All carriers are going to have issues, and those issues are often not reported. I mean seriously, who is going to complain about being able to open and app and mark a problem instead of going through a 20-minute customer service call? Regardless of how you feel about their service, this app can only be a good thing.

GoCubsGo
Dec 7, 2009, 10:19 AM
Awesome. So we can overload their network with reports of issues? And yes, it will be overloaded!

SubaruNation555
Dec 7, 2009, 10:22 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

Well provided AT&T actually acts on the information generated by the app, it's a win-win. Customers get to report exact gaps in performance and AT&T has an inexpensive and widespread source of feedback to act on.

Teh Don Ditty
Dec 7, 2009, 10:26 AM
Well provided AT&T actually acts on the information generated by the app, it's a win-win. Customers get to report exact gaps in performance and AT&T has an inexpensive and widespread source of feedback to act on.

I understand that and believe I do as I live in NY, but this is ridiculous. They should be constantly expanding and fixing their network themselves. I fork over $175/mo to them for dropped calls and shoddy 3G service. I leave my phone on EDGE at all times, that's how great their network is.

-aggie-
Dec 7, 2009, 10:32 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

That's part of their master plan. No one reports no coverage. :)

Seriously, there's a flaw there. I guess you report it when you get coverage??

ItsGavinC
Dec 7, 2009, 10:47 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

Angry much? Sending a submission takes all of 10 seconds. If you choose not to, then you are no worse off than you are now.

I see you are on Long Island, where your attitude runs rampant (lived there for years so I can speak to it). I'm sure others will gladly submit on your behalf. By the way, my 3G service on Long Island was excellent, so I'm assuming you are in Nassau county?

Teh Don Ditty
Dec 7, 2009, 10:49 AM
Angry much? Sending a submission takes all of 10 seconds. If you choose not to, then you are no worse off than you are now.

I see you are on Long Island, where your attitude runs rampant (lived there for years so I can speak to it). I'm sure others will gladly submit on your behalf. By the way, my 3G service on Long Island was excellent, so I'm assuming you are in Nassau county?

Clearly you are missing the point, why should I have to do AT&T's work for them?

Generalization much?

dbwie
Dec 7, 2009, 10:52 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

You can report it later. Give them details in the comments section.

pmz
Dec 7, 2009, 10:54 AM
I suppose I'm being too cynical, but part of me suspects that AT&T has only created this app to reduce the amount of time their reps spend listing to complaints about dropped calls. I know I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them over the last year. While they're always very cordial and say things like they are "sending out crews to look at towers", etc, nothing changes. In fact, where I live (about an hour south of NYC) things have gotten far worse - not better.

Hmm. I Live an hour south of NYC too, and my service couldn't be better. It has only gotten progressively better over the last two years.

So what's wrong with you? Or your iPhone?

Singin Hobo
Dec 7, 2009, 10:57 AM
While it's nice that they're taking steps to fix the issues it seems like an odd method for a huge corporation like AT&T... it seems more like the activity of a small company that's in over its head.

Fastshutter
Dec 7, 2009, 10:59 AM
Before I start making reports, I'll throw this question to the inter-webs and see what the mob thinks.

When I was with Verizon, I got service everywhere. Never a dropped call.

With AT&T, I get no service inside big retail stores. If I'm at Target, Walmart, K-Mart, the grocery store, etc, I get no bars and the "No Service" message. As soon as I'm outside the store, I get 100% 3G service and Bars.

My question is, is it resonable to expect AT&T to try to improve service inside stores?

outphase
Dec 7, 2009, 11:03 AM
Looking at the info tab in the app, one person spamming one location has less effect than multiple people sending reports. It looks like AT&T will aggregate the data and will look for a cluster.

My question is, is it resonable to expect AT&T to try to improve service inside stores?

Hard to say. Sometimes, it's a structural design that causes the lack of service. Look up the general principles of a Faraday cage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

Abyssgh0st
Dec 7, 2009, 11:08 AM
Wow, this shows a lot of initiative by AT&T. Good job!

Speedtoy
Dec 7, 2009, 11:08 AM
I fork over $175/mo to them for dropped calls and shoddy 3G service. I leave my phone on EDGE at all times, that's how great their network is.


Uhh..Then STOP.


What a 'disgusting' whine.

montecarloss919
Dec 7, 2009, 11:11 AM
How can either of you say this? You know nothing about what they do. Granted neither do I but what if they are doing this for the better? Give it time before you know them for "trying"

mattpol
Dec 7, 2009, 11:16 AM
I have a feeling this exercise by AT&T Mobility is a lot like pushing the "Cross-the-Street" button on New York City stoplights. i.e. Makes you think your helping, but in reality having no effect on anything! :)

NeroAZ
Dec 7, 2009, 11:17 AM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

>Users can report issues at the time of their occurrence or at a later time, and can also request follow-up text messages confirming that their reports have been received.

yg17
Dec 7, 2009, 11:17 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

AFAIK, AT&T is the only carrier to have a simple method like this to report trouble spots. What, do you think Verizon actually has a guy walking around the country with a phone attached to his ear asking "Can you hear me now?"

No company has the manpower to check every nook and cranny of the country to see how coverage is. They can either just let whatever's there or not there stay and not improve it, or they can gather input from their millions of customers who do travel to every nook and cranny of the country. AT&T has chosen to do the latter.

NeroAZ
Dec 7, 2009, 11:21 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T


Since you are the one having the problem, submit the report. they can send technicians all over the country and they may not experience problems in the same areas, but if you can pinpoint it for them it may be easier for them to fix the issue.

its especially nice since it pinpoints the spot on a map for them. there are spots that i sometimes have issues, but say 500 feet away its fine. not saying we'll see improvements overnight, but definitely a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.

ineedamac
Dec 7, 2009, 11:34 AM
I think this is a good idea. Hopefully people use this app and after a few weeks of issues AT&T can review the data and start fixing the areas that have problems. I know several spots where I do not get service in DC and I plan on reporting those spots right away.

polobruce
Dec 7, 2009, 11:38 AM
They should allow the public to view a history of other reported problems within that area. If not, then someone else should create an app that does that and then forward the trouble tickets to at&t. Then at least we'll all know how many people are experiencing the same issues.

str1f3
Dec 7, 2009, 11:43 AM
I think this is a good idea. Hopefully people use this app and after a few weeks of issues AT&T can review the data and start fixing the areas that have problems. I know several spots where I do not get service in DC and I plan on reporting those spots right away.

I'm not sure if this will work at all. AT&T knows that NYC (where I am), SF, and Chicago are their two biggest problems and they don't seem to be doing anything about it. It does not help that two of the three are the most important places regarding tech.

I'll give AT&T the benefit of the doubt as I hear Long Island is pretty good. OTOH my kid sister goes to Cornell and is forced to use Verizon because AT&T has no coverage there.

spazzcat
Dec 7, 2009, 11:43 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

Sorry, but I don't agree. Their techs can't be everywhere and this way they know where to send their techs to look for issues.

iOrlando
Dec 7, 2009, 11:44 AM
who thinks this will make the top 50 free app list?

i vote number 1 free app haha..

spazzcat
Dec 7, 2009, 11:44 AM
I'm not sure if this will work at all. AT&T knows that NYC (where I am), SF, and Chicago are their two biggest problems and they don't seem to be doing anything about it. It does not help that two of the three are the most important places regarding tech.

I'll give AT&T the benefit of the doubt as I hear Long Island is pretty good. OTOH my kid sister goes to Cornell and is forced to use Verizon because AT&T has no coverage there.

Didn't they just roll out a new spectrum in NYC?

scott99
Dec 7, 2009, 11:46 AM
Angry much? Sending a submission takes all of 10 seconds. If you choose not to, then you are no worse off than you are now.

I see you are on Long Island, where your attitude runs rampant (lived there for years so I can speak to it). I'm sure others will gladly submit on your behalf. By the way, my 3G service on Long Island was excellent, so I'm assuming you are in Nassau county?

I live on Long Island, in Great Neck, and my service is good there. I work in Jersey City, and have to leave my phone on Edge due to terrible 3G service. I take the LIRR to Manhattan every day, and I get a kick out of, on the ride home, the Service is always coming in and going out. The second to last stop on my way to Great Neck is Little Neck, which is technically NYC (Queens), and I get NO bars or service at all !

I also think that there is a lot of false advertising in the cell phone business, This whole "More Bars in More Places" is a complete lie. I can't tell you how many times I've had all 5 bars, and couldn't make a call or download a website. I've had my phone on 3G in Jersey City, it shows all 5 bars, and I've missed plenty of phone calls. On Edge, I never miss calls.

All that being said, I think AT&T's service on a whole is quite good, much better that Sprint's, which I used to have, but not as good as Verizon's. Verizon isn't lying when they claim they are better than AT&T. I do think this App is a good idea, hopefully they will listen and make their service that much better. #2 isn't bad, but I'd be thrilled if they closed the gap with Verizon.

sidewinder
Dec 7, 2009, 11:53 AM
Clearly you are missing the point, why should I have to do AT&T's work for them?

Generalization much?

You missed the point of what AT&T is doing. It's called customer feedback and you should be very happy that AT&T is soliciting it in this manner.

The hate here is amazing....and sad.

S-

dynamo22
Dec 7, 2009, 11:55 AM
Didn't they just roll out a new spectrum in NYC?

That's true, there was an article here about it. But that does not excuse the fact that even if that was implemented, people continue to get dropped calls and the dreaded 'call failed.' Walking down Manhattan in broad daylight and I get a dropped call? I pay a premium, just as other iPhone users do on the AT&T network and the service shouldn't go from bad to worse.

Johnnnny
Dec 7, 2009, 11:59 AM
I think it's actually very nice to see that AT&T finally realized that the only way to compete with evolving competitors is to... well, evolve.

This is a great step forwards, and I have to say that AT&T has renewed my respect for them, as little as that is worth, seeing as I don't even live in the states :p

bitslap47
Dec 7, 2009, 12:06 PM
I suppose I'm being too cynical, but part of me suspects that AT&T has only created this app to reduce the amount of time their reps spend listing to complaints about dropped calls. I know I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them over the last year. While they're always very cordial and say things like they are "sending out crews to look at towers", etc, nothing changes. In fact, where I live (about an hour south of NYC) things have gotten far worse - not better.

No, you are dead on. Long story, but relevant.

I live right in the middle of what is supposed to be top notch 3G voice and data coverage. Not only do I not have 3G service as indicated, but all phones owned by any ATT customer physically at my home routinely drop into GPRS data.

I called AT&T to inquire and pointed out that the closest fringe area was 3 miles or more in any one direction. This meant according to their own maps, I was in fact 3 miles deep into what was indicated as perfect 3G coverage.

So things were escalated after a few calls totaling several hours to another tier of support.

This gentleman told me I was looking at the voice coverage map, and that I should look at the data coverage map.

So, I looked at the 3G data map, and while the coverage geometry did differ from the voice, I was still 3 miles deep into what was indicated as perfect 3G coverage. Voice or Data.

At this point, they said they were sending an engineer out to take readings.

Knowing that it might be a simple tuning or positioning issue and that every GPS map company on earth reports the wrong position of my physical address by about 1000 ft, I gave them specific GPS coordinates for the address.

A common theme through all of this is that I was promised follow up calls, and never got a single one... I always had to call to follow up with them.

So I call back and get in touch with the tech, and he said the engineer came out and there was perfect 3G coverage.

Hmmm... maybe something is wrong with my phone... so I check the other 3 people who live in the household with 3G capable phones, all different models.

Same problem.

A buddy came over with a 3G phone know to work properly in 3G areas... same problem.

My phone at work in a 3G area, no problem.

I called ATT back with this information including the phone numbers of the other individuals experiencing the same issues at the location. They indicated they would send another truck out to take readings.

My gut feeling at this point was, the guy was at the GPS location 1000ft up the road, not my address.

So I asked them to have the guy give me a call and pull in my driveway to take readings, just to be sure he was at the correct location. They refused.

A few days go by and I contact them again, this time the tech tried to tell me there were no 3G towers in my area, nor would they be in the near future.

Interesting...

Finally the tech admits his maps don't match the coverage maps, and there seems to be coverage showing where he shows no towers for miles.

He contacts his supervisor finds his maps are incorrect. Go figure.

Eventually he transfers me to his supervisor who pretty much told me they have spent enough time on the issue and there was nothing they could do.

For the record, an acceptable solution to me would have been:

1) Correct the coverage map

2) Fix the issue

They chose to let me out of my contract on all lines rather than fix the issue or fix the coverage map.

This was 1 1/2 years ago, and the situation is the same today.

To me, this application seems like a diversion tactic.

arkmannj
Dec 7, 2009, 12:31 PM
Hopefully if you're reporting a network outage or something the app stores your submission, and then sends the info the next time you open the app in an area where there is service or wifi

michaelsviews
Dec 7, 2009, 12:35 PM
How cute... ATT is starting to pretend to care. :) Good step forward, guys.

I'll 2nd that there main emphasis is going to be in major metropolitan area's. and than from there they'll ramp up to newer technology.

I still say once verizon comes online with GSM it will be something to see and how they deal with the problems

iPhone on Verizon will be a site to see and hopefully it comes true, but I have my doubts.

Just imagine how many people would jump from AT&T to Verizon:eek:

ssteve
Dec 7, 2009, 12:37 PM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

You are not supposed to report it. Since you can't send the report the company does not have to fix the issue. This is smart, then they can report to the world that they don't have gaps in their coverage. ;)

Take that Verizon. LOL.

-------------------------------------------
Dear Mr. Jobs,

Please be working on an iPhone for Verizon. I am a Verizon customer and I really want an iPhone.

Sincerely,

Two and a half years patiently waiting.

Unspoken Demise
Dec 7, 2009, 12:40 PM
You are not supposed to report it. Since you can't send the report the company does not have to fix the issue. This is smart, then they can report to the world that they don't have gaps in their coverage. ;)

Take that Verizon. LOL.


Yeah, why dont you download it, then say negative things.
You can choose where the occurence happened, no matter where you are. So if at home you have crappy quality, you can later submit the report from somewhere else using the map.

ssteve
Dec 7, 2009, 12:45 PM
Before I start making reports, I'll throw this question to the inter-webs and see what the mob thinks.

When I was with Verizon, I got service everywhere. Never a dropped call.

With AT&T, I get no service inside big retail stores. If I'm at Target, Walmart, K-Mart, the grocery store, etc, I get no bars and the "No Service" message. As soon as I'm outside the store, I get 100% 3G service and Bars.

My question is, is it resonable to expect AT&T to try to improve service inside stores?

If you are getting 100% outside, then what does that say about the service? Is this a function of the technology being used by the cell carriers? I know for a fact that one previous company I worked at had to install repeaters inside their buildings for T-mobile service. And I beleive T-mobile uses the same technology as At&T.

I have Verizon and I get service everywhere.

ssteve
Dec 7, 2009, 12:49 PM
Yeah, why dont you download it, then say negative things.
You can choose where the occurence happened, no matter where you are. So if at home you have crappy quality, you can later submit the report from somewhere else using the map.

I do not have an iPhone yet. I choose to have consistent service everywhere. If iPhone was on Verizon, then people could just send the report where and when the occurance happened instead of waiting for service else where.

This application must be a response to recent Verizon advertising.

jayducharme
Dec 7, 2009, 12:56 PM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

The app supposedly puts a GPS tag on your submission and holds the report until you're within coverage area. But as someone already stated, sometimes the GPS is non-functional as well.

I think this is a step in the right direction. I just got back from Ohio, and the place I was staying at had maybe one bar of EDGE on a good day. I'm eager to try this app. I have lots of odd coverage anomalies where I live, and this might signal the start of some improvements.

To all those people who say that AT&T should be fixing the problem on their own, how do they know where those problems are unless we tell them?

byulasfjazz
Dec 7, 2009, 12:56 PM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

nice buddy....

why hire someone?? when everyone can report things to them...(is it really that hard to report a problem when you have the app right there??) this way they can fix the network faster.( a few million people reporting or a crew of hundreds driving across the land) Instead of the dumb VERIZON guy walking around all year long saying CAN YOU HERE ME NOW? lol

am476
Dec 7, 2009, 01:12 PM
Interesting app. Unfortunately the place where my phone drops the most also has a funky gps issue. My iPhone usually says I'm located anywhere from 10 to 20 miles away (and yes, it has the pin point orb thing and not the you're in this general area circle). So I can report the problem but AT&T will get some random spot in the city and not the actual position.

This isn't a GPS issue. It's actually something wrong with the AT&T network. The iPhone locates you with different information sources with GPS being only one of them. The information that the network cell tower provides is how the iPhones seems to begin its search.

Where I live (Essex county New Jersey), the iPhone tells me that I'm in near the Pennsylvania/NJ border - about 40-50 miles away - when I try to get my current location. When I go to Airplane mode and turn on WiFi, I get the correct location. So something is up with either the nearest tower or something is wrong with our SIM cards. You can make the report and see if others in your area have the same issue.

Otherwise, if things aren't resolved, I'd get a new SIM card activated. This was Apple's advice (confirmed by the WiFi/Airplane mode experiment).

stagi
Dec 7, 2009, 01:38 PM
I think this is a great step and hope they use this data to keep improving the network. Want to see my money at least go towards some upgrades

TheSlush
Dec 7, 2009, 01:41 PM
I rarely have anything good to say about AT&T, but this app sounds like a potentially good use of crowdsourcing. The question, of course, is: will this incoming feedback actually be reviewed and acted upon by AT&T, or is this effort primarily to create the "illusion of responsiveness" and make us all just feel better.

MTShipp
Dec 7, 2009, 02:04 PM
This app has been available to their employees for a while now. I recall meeting with reps several months ago and seeing this. When asked if I could have it, they said it was internal only for now and would be out in a couple of weeks. Yes, a couple of weeks...so we get it several months later. :rolleyes:

ntrigue
Dec 7, 2009, 02:09 PM
This is terrific! I imagine that it caches the report until you have reception, can you verify?

I'm eager to highlight a handful of locations.

rosh325
Dec 7, 2009, 03:11 PM
I just wish I had an "all of the above" option since these things are usually clustered (failed calls...poor voice quality once the call finally goes through...etc). I'll put it in the comments for now, but it would be nice to have the option to prevent the data from getting skewed towards one option. I'd prefer not to have to submit the same report 5 times for each area.

room237
Dec 7, 2009, 03:17 PM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

The APP says you can submit a report after the fact when you are not at the place of the event.

Maverick1337
Dec 7, 2009, 03:35 PM
I've already sent about 5 reports of no coverage in our on-campus appartments at Cal Poly SLO. I figured I would get in before the millions of messages they're about to get do. Also in the comments I stated how they promised to build a tower to cover our dead spot at the end of last year and how they told me they were going to build a tower at the end of this year. Hopefully this year they will uphold their promise but I seriously doubt it.

Liquorpuki
Dec 7, 2009, 03:41 PM
There are a lot of problem areas AT&T already knows about but they haven't done anything to fix. I got a friend who lives in LA near the intersection of Winnetka and Roscoe. A part of that area is one big dead zone (no signal). My friend has called in and all they said was they're aware of it, were planning to fix it by the end of the week, and offered to let him cancel his plan without penalty. This was about 5 months ago and it's still a dead zone.

This app is just a PR tool

goobot
Dec 7, 2009, 03:46 PM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

lets see it stores it or wifi? or if you experiencing cellular not data it will still work?

nagromme
Dec 7, 2009, 03:55 PM
Interesting app. Unfortunately the place where my phone drops the most also has a funky gps issue. My iPhone usually says I'm located anywhere from 10 to 20 miles away (and yes, it has the pin point orb thing and not the you're in this general area circle). So I can report the problem but AT&T will get some random spot in the city and not the actual position.

Same here—I’ll have to set my location manually. (But I think the GPS issue is not due to my location, but due to an Apple bug. Lots of people on Apple’s boards have had it, starting with OS 3.0.)

I’m hoping this app proves to be of some use (not that we’ll ever know) OUTSIDE of big urban centers. AT&T does keep expanding their coverage in small cities and rural areas, and therefore they must be making decisions on where to spend. Having reports come in from a given location may effect those spending priorities.

So my friends who live in a dead zone will be the subject of AT&T outage reports from me. Likewise some rural relatives. Who knows—the nearest tower may get an upgrade (or whatever) sooner as a result of reports like mine. All of the above do have a trace of signal within a block, but it peters to nothing at their actual house. So close and yet so far.

(EDIT: I’d say AT&T’s online zoomable maps (http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/) are very accurate in reflecting these little local dead zones, too. Must be geography. So get taller towers please :) )

baryon
Dec 7, 2009, 04:03 PM
I dunno, but here in the UK I've never gone below maximum signal strength with my 5 year old Nokia (except in tunnels and underground), how come AT&T actually has to make an App to report coverage issues?

wlh99
Dec 7, 2009, 04:23 PM
AFAIK, AT&T is the only carrier to have a simple method like this to report trouble spots. What, do you think Verizon actually has a guy walking around the country with a phone attached to his ear asking "Can you hear me now?"

No company has the manpower to check every nook and cranny of the country to see how coverage is. They can either just let whatever's there or not there stay and not improve it, or they can gather input from their millions of customers who do travel to every nook and cranny of the country. AT&T has chosen to do the latter.

Verizon does, in a way. I've met one of there guys. They have 50 cell phones in a car connected to a computer that continually makes calls, checks quality, hangs up and does it again. They also have phones of competeing carriers hooked up to make comparisions with the competition. They have lots of these cars and drive all over the place collecting data to ensure that there coverage is indeed better than the competition. Like I said, I met one of these guys and saw the car first hand.

shoulin333
Dec 7, 2009, 04:32 PM
Wait so, how are we supposed to report No Coverage in an area with, well, no coverage?

it probably builds the report, captures your location and time, and then will send the next time you get service.

SiMPLEGuy
Dec 7, 2009, 04:37 PM
I benefit when Google tracks cell phones on the streets surrounding my location to provide me with reasonably accurate traffic conditions. I can then plan my route accordingly.

I doubt AT&T would do this, but if they took the real time data from this App and mapped it to a Google map, I could know when I should start an important call or begin a download of a new song or App. Over time, I could even see changes as AT&T addresses the most common problem areas.

The downside would be having to endure the Verizon TV ads, "Problematic 3G coverage? there's a Map for that" until they go away.

Think I'll just sit tight for iPhone 4GS for LTE.

JMax1
Dec 7, 2009, 04:55 PM
Does it have an option to let them know I don't get service on the subway?

3GBeyotch
Dec 7, 2009, 05:17 PM
Has anyone seen the information that gets posted back to AT&T from this application ?

icrew
Dec 7, 2009, 05:24 PM
I dunno, but here in the UK I've never gone below maximum signal strength with my 5 year old Nokia (except in tunnels and underground), how come AT&T actually has to make an App to report coverage issues?

Because the UK is slightly smaller than Oregon, has a much higher population density (250 people/square km in the UK vs 33 people/square km in the US), is a lot less geographically diverse (for example, the highest point in the UK is only 1,343m, vs 6198m for the US), and all the cell carriers there use the same wireless standard (GSM).

When you combine all of those factors, it's a lot easier to provide comprehensive good coverage there than here.

(Thanks, CIA World Factbook!)

LordTyroxx
Dec 7, 2009, 05:35 PM
I wonder if Verizon will make ads teasing AT&T about this recent "Failure App" :p

rstansby
Dec 7, 2009, 05:45 PM
Basically they are admitting that Verizon was right about AT&Ts spotty coverage.

IBradMac
Dec 7, 2009, 05:53 PM
I wonder if Verizon will make ads teasing AT&T about this recent "Failure App" :p

^^ As I was scrolling down this page I was thinking the exact same thing. :p

Daveoc64
Dec 7, 2009, 07:05 PM
I'd like to see something like this for O2 (in the UK).

I don't have an iPhone, and I don't really have any coverage problems, but there are some semi-rural areas that I think should be covered but aren't.

MacSKY
Dec 7, 2009, 08:26 PM
Maybe one could call me a little naive about what I'm about to say, but, don't think for a moment the reality of AT&T losing their exclusivity with the iPhone isn't on the minds of the AT&T suits. In theory, if you're happy with the network, you'll have no reason to leave when it's up. This APP can only be a good thing, and they have to start some where.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm in a fantastic service area for AT&T and have no complaints. I understand there are those that don't, but at the moment, the only thing that would make me jump ship would be price. This from a former VZ customer. I say thank you AT&T for being concerned even if it is all show.

2992
Dec 7, 2009, 08:27 PM
Well provided AT&T actually acts on the information generated by the app, it's a win-win. Customers get to report exact gaps in performance and AT&T has an inexpensive and widespread source of feedback to act on.
yep, a win-win situation, where all of you guys are doing the drive-test for free. I think ATT is pretty happy now. ;)
Waiting for some troubleshooting apps, so you can do even more volunteering work for ATT. Indeed, a win-win. :rolleyes:

Anyways, for ATT, this is a perfect little app to save lots of money for them. Smart idea.

ntrigue
Dec 7, 2009, 08:29 PM
Same here—I’ll have to set my location manually. (But I think the GPS issue is not due to my location, but due to an Apple bug. Lots of people on Apple’s boards have had it, starting with OS 3.0.)

I’m hoping this app proves to be of some use (not that we’ll ever know) OUTSIDE of big urban centers. AT&T does keep expanding their coverage in small cities and rural areas, and therefore they must be making decisions on where to spend. Having reports come in from a given location may effect those spending priorities.

So my friends who live in a dead zone will be the subject of AT&T outage reports from me. Likewise some rural relatives. Who knows—the nearest tower may get an upgrade (or whatever) sooner as a result of reports like mine. All of the above do have a trace of signal within a block, but it peters to nothing at their actual house. So close and yet so far.

(EDIT: I’d say AT&T’s online zoomable maps (http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/) are very accurate in reflecting these little local dead zones, too. Must be geography. So get taller towers please :) )

You can drag the map to the manually accurate location.

Sense Field
Dec 7, 2009, 10:14 PM
Awesome. So we can overload their network with reports of issues? And yes, it will be overloaded!

I just downloaded and reported 3 issues I had today...I have a feeling I'll submit 3-4 of these a day :(

I'll give to them though...they have taken on more data/traffic then any other carrier. iPhone users...use their phone more, use data way more, download music, apps, gps etc etc...I don't blame them for having network issues under the strain.

I assume that any carrier would/will.

I've had AT&T for 12 years (back when it was Cellular One) and I never had the problems I'm having now...until the iPhone came out. Alas...I do love my iPhone though...and I forgive it for dropping calls and all the other unwanted stuff it does!

geenosr
Dec 7, 2009, 11:35 PM
I just downloaded and reported 3 issues I had today...I have a feeling I'll submit 3-4 of these a day :(

I'll give to them though...they have taken on more data/traffic then any other carrier. iPhone users...use their phone more, use data way more, download music, apps, gps etc etc...I don't blame them for having network issues under the strain.

I assume that any carrier would/will.

I've had AT&T for 12 years (back when it was Cellular One) and I never had the problems I'm having now...until the iPhone came out. Alas...I do love my iPhone though...and I forgive it for dropping calls and all the other unwanted stuff it does!

I agree with what you said, and as far as my personal situation---I have great coverage in my area (Atlanta suburb). I also know that two of the largest cities in the US, San Fran and New York have problems which are probably tied to over taxing the ATT cell infrastructure, and I sympathize with your headaches and frustrating service. As far as the ATT app, I applaud this initiative to bridge the perceived gap between customer service and the ATT users. Yes, they may be slammed with information about problem areas, but it appears that they are trying to help correct the problems that are out there. Only time will tell if they are serious about addressing the areas of need, and I have to think that this would be suicide if it was just an attempt to placate customers instead of really solving the problems that exist.

I have been a longtime customer in the line of acquisitions, Bellsouth, Cingular and now ATT, and I really have nothing but great things to say about my service, and of course the iPhone is my greatest and most favorite thing I have ever owned. I don't think the suits at ATT are dumb, and they have to know that for them to stay in the cell service game, they have to improve their customer service satisfaction ratings. I have confidence they will fix the problems as best as they can, and will rise again to be the wireless company that will rival number 1 VZ, if not surpass them. I really get tired of reading all the hate mail, and yes, the vocal majority who complain about things are probably a smaller percentage of customers than customers who are happy about their cell plans. If you're unhappy you are much more likely to complain about things than satisfied customers who don't feel the burning need to say that they are happy and content. That's just human nature, and we had a saying in management when I worked in retail that went like this....a dissatisfied and unhappy customer will tell 7-10 friends and acquaintances how mad they are, and customers who are happy with their product or service might tell 1-2 people. Obviously to stay in business, mgt needs to handle complaints with great concern, because those customers can hurt your business faster than the happy ones can help you grow. My last thoughts are this. If I was having trouble with my iPhone service, I would follow this story closely and see if ATT shows real action based on the information that comes in via the app. I think they will, because the repercussions of this not being fruitful with solutions can really inflame the base of iPhone users to shout louder and legitimize their beef with ATT. I also have to think that Apple is watching this situation closely and will go a long way with either keeping the exclusive agreement alive or hastening it's end. One way or another, something will happen, and because ATT has committed to partner this contract with Apple and it has made a lot of money for them, I think good things will come out of this and I hope they close the gap between them and VZ. Competition is always the best solution for all customers, and we will all moan if ATT diminishes and VZ becomes the only real player here.

For all the VZ lovers out there that are sick of ATT, read some recent articles about the business tactics that VZ has done to their customers and from what I've seen, they look a lot like the MS philosophies that we have all come to hate. I'm referring to bullying their users with draconian penalties and huge early termination fees. Not everything is rosy in VZ land, and I think that a lot of the forum posts are falling for "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence". Be careful what you ask for.......I'm pulling for competition between both companies.

(and no, I don't work for ATT......really!)

chomomo
Dec 8, 2009, 03:12 AM
Oh how nice, instead of AT&T doing the work themselves they are having us do it for free.

**** you AT&T

+10:D

iphones4evry1
Dec 8, 2009, 04:07 AM
Excellent idea, AT&T !

I'm assuming this is statistics based, and that AT&T has a preset minimum number of reports before it does something. For example, if the minimum number is 1000, then when a given location gets to 1000 reports, AT&T will install a new antenna at that location.

AT&T needs to do something, because the Verizon commercials are slaughtering AT&T !

kdarling
Dec 8, 2009, 06:31 AM
Verizon does, in a way. I've met one of there guys.

They have 50 cell phones in a car connected to a computer that continually makes calls, checks quality, hangs up and does it again. They also have phones of competing carriers hooked up to make comparisions with the competition.

They have lots of these cars and drive all over the place collecting data to ensure that there coverage is indeed better than the competition. Like I said, I met one of these guys and saw the car first hand.

They have about a hundred of these test cars and trucks across the country, if I recall the business articles about them correctly.

And because their tests include competing networks, Verizon probably has one of the most accurate coverage maps for everyone.

As far as the iPhone app goes, I think it's a great idea for carriers without test vehicles and/or to see where the most desire for extra coverage is.

Edit: Here's a 2005 article (http://www.mobiletracker.net/archives/2005/04/04/verizon-wireless-hear-me-now)about a test car setup, with pictures of the car and test rigs at the bottom.

HobeSoundDarryl
Dec 8, 2009, 08:42 AM
Isn't this just a backwards variant of Verizons very successful "can you hear me now?" campaign? AT&T is basically saying tell us where you can NOT hear <me> now. Can you imagine the effect of making such (user reported) information public?

Picture the new Verizon campaign, with "can you hear me now" guy walking around leading the big Verizon network crowd under the Verizon 3G map, while AT&T's revised map shows where their subscribers report network problems. Yes, that would probably result in a map with many more places "filled in," but too bad those colors would represent where coverage has failed a PAYING subscriber. Verizon would have another killer campaign to follow the current killer maps campaign.

It would be great if this moves AT&T to invest in delivering a better network, but while profit drivers and paramount "obligation to the shareholders" dominate the decision making, it makes sense to spend on infrastructure only when they absolutely have to do so, minimizing cost while maximizing profits. Quality of service only matters to the degree that they can reasonably compete (so as to keep the flow of subscribers coming in... and staying).

We look at it like customer service (in this case maximize the reach and bandwidth of the network) should be the #1 concern for companies like AT&T. But it's not. They want to spend the least they possibly can which isn't accomplished by putting a tower in every "thin" reach area. A system that allows there to be only 2 dominant competitors- with any little upstarts being eaten up (acquired) by those Goliaths- is unlikely to ever get the level of (quality of network) service subscribers seek.

With the recent bandwidth auction for the old analog TV channel spectrum freed up in the Digital TV transition, there was a great opportunity for others (even Apple & Google were interested) to gain very usable spectrum and thus be able to become national competitors to Verizon and AT&T. But guess who bought up almost all of that spectrum?

schwell
Dec 8, 2009, 10:47 AM
They have about a hundred of these test cars and trucks across the country, if I recall the business articles about them correctly.

And because their tests include competing networks, Verizon probably has one of the most accurate coverage maps for everyone.

As far as the iPhone app goes, I think it's a great idea for carriers without test vehicles and/or to see where the most desire for extra coverage is.

Edit: Here's a 2005 article (http://www.mobiletracker.net/archives/2005/04/04/verizon-wireless-hear-me-now)about a test car setup, with pictures of the car and test rigs at the bottom.

All the carriers have these mobile test vehicles with their equipment and competitors.

SubaruNation555
Dec 8, 2009, 11:56 AM
yep, a win-win situation, where all of you guys are doing the drive-test for free. I think ATT is pretty happy now. ;)
Waiting for some troubleshooting apps, so you can do even more volunteering work for ATT. Indeed, a win-win. :rolleyes:

Anyways, for ATT, this is a perfect little app to save lots of money for them. Smart idea.

People don't HAVE to use it but I am sure it would be somewhat satisfying to be able to report problems areas that might otherwise go undiagnosed. This isn't going to take the place of AT&T network testers and yes it does save AT&T money...

oldMac
Dec 8, 2009, 12:08 PM
Hmm. I Live an hour south of NYC too, and my service couldn't be better. It has only gotten progressively better over the last two years.

So what's wrong with you? Or your iPhone?

Curious... Maybe my phone is defective?
I'm located in the Plainsboro/Princeton NJ area. Are you close to here?

segfaultdotorg
Dec 8, 2009, 12:51 PM
First of all, I can only see a small section of map when in an area with no coverage. Second of all, the automatically detected location on my iPhone 2G is wildly inaccurate to the tune of a couple of miles. It seems to merely select the nearest AT&T tower. Third of all, when trying to submit an issue today, I got the error "Application temporarily unavailable," and it dumped me back to the home screen. And as noted before, you can't save a report in an area with no coverage to submit it later when you're somewhere with coverage.

This is a poorly designed application from AT&T, and is an example of "customer service theatre." They put the application out there in order to create the inaccurate and misleading perception that they are doing things to improve the customer experience, when in fact, due to the pathetic design of the application and AT&T's general ineptitude, it will probably do nothing to improve their service.

nsayer
Dec 8, 2009, 05:19 PM
So I can report the problem but AT&T will get some random spot in the city and not the actual position.

Just move the map to where the problem actually occurred.

Problem solved.

pdxa4
Dec 8, 2009, 06:49 PM
This app is a good thing IMO.

The majority of the time I really don't want to call customer service.
The app makes reporting a lot easier, let's just hope that they look at the data and try to fix the black spots...

paperstar
Dec 10, 2009, 07:05 AM
Just heard the news that ATT is planning to drop the unlimited data plan and offer tiers of data plans. Because some phones(hmmm) are using to much of they're 3g bandwidth. So you'll have to pay more to use more and not pay less for using less So much for ATT trying to redeem itself or cash in before the iphone goes to Verizon

-aggie-
Dec 10, 2009, 07:38 AM
Just heard the news that ATT is planning to drop the unlimited data plan and offer tiers of data plans. Because some phones(hmmm) are using to much of they're 3g bandwidth. So you'll have to pay more to use more and not pay less for using less So much for ATT trying to redeem itself or cash in before the iphone goes to Verizon

How about a link?

arkmannj
Dec 10, 2009, 07:53 AM
Just heard the news that ATT is planning to drop the unlimited data plan and offer tiers of data plans. Because some phones(hmmm) are using to much of they're 3g bandwidth. So you'll have to pay more to use more and not pay less for using less So much for ATT trying to redeem itself or cash in before the iphone goes to Verizon

If true, I would imagine it would only affect new accounts and renewals, those of us with AT&T already signed up with unlimited as part of the plan, they change that and it could make a world of legal trouble.

kdarling
Dec 10, 2009, 08:28 AM
If true, I would imagine it would only affect new accounts and renewals, those of us with AT&T already signed up with unlimited as part of the plan, they change that and it could make a world of legal trouble.

Like other carriers, AT&T's data plan terms already have this clause:

AT&T reserves the right to
(i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage and
(ii) otherwise protect its wireless network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, which may impact legitimate data flows.

arkmannj
Dec 10, 2009, 08:37 AM
Like other carriers, AT&T's data plan terms already have this clause:

Hmmm. bummer.
Well I guess I'm off to the AT&T site, and Apple's site to send in feedback about what I think about the idea of them making that switch. not sure what else I could do at this point besides drop my service completely.

iMaconApple
Dec 10, 2009, 01:16 PM
got a lousy network? theres a app for that:rolleyes:

jppaynesr
Dec 11, 2009, 05:43 AM
I will use this app to alert them of no coverage at my home using a wifi connection to my Verizon MiFi (grin). Hope that doesn't create a cellular black hole or something.

MR Reader
Dec 12, 2009, 08:15 AM
I wonder, in this process, how many FTE are going to be dedicated to receiving and aggregating this dayda. Or if the app development itself signaled the end like has been mentioned. I'd be nice to receive something as a followup; maybe a post card from ATT.

ericinboston
Dec 14, 2009, 08:46 AM
I just came across this app the other day...I really really hope AT&T promotes/advertises this app...at least to make the APPEARANCE that AT&T cares about it's network's weakness(es).

As of last night, only about 1150 people reviewed it...pretty lame considering the millions of iPhone users and it's been available for almost a month. Every iPhone owner should have this app.

-Eric

ericinboston
Dec 14, 2009, 08:53 AM
I wonder, in this process, how many FTE are going to be dedicated to receiving and aggregating this dayda. Or if the app development itself signaled the end like has been mentioned. I'd be nice to receive something as a followup; maybe a post card from ATT.

Agreed...ATT should be able to send me a simple email (not text) stating something like "the area you reported has been reported 981 other times and we plan to have coverage there within 4 months."

Something more personable than "we got your feedback" which is all the app fires back at you.

Heck, do they even have a webpage that shows areas that are "coming soon" with newer/better service? Obviously internally they know what they plan on doing/fixing in 2010...would be nice to promote a bit of that. Even something more general like "we plan to put 19 more towers in CT, 21 in MA, 12 in NY" or counties within the States.

I care about the massive dead zones in New England...specifically CT.

If ATT truly utilizes this app, the app is priceless...it's fantastic and instant feedback. I would never call 611 and wait for a human and explain my story (and wonder if they are even listening).

-Eric

nsayer
Dec 14, 2009, 11:37 AM
First of all, I can only see a small section of map when in an area with no coverage. Second of all, the automatically detected location on my iPhone 2G is wildly inaccurate to the tune of a couple of miles.

So move the map to where the problem occurred before submitting the report.

This is a poorly designed application from AT&T

Um, no. You just don't know how to use it properly. That's not AT&T's fault.

ddenoff
Dec 16, 2009, 06:37 AM
SERIOUSLY!

If this app does anything more than act as a pallative for increasingly frustrated iPhone users, I'd be very surprised.

I'm the CEO of Fibernet, a phone company who resold Pacific Bell wireless in the early days (remember the fantastic-sounding Motorola 8000x?). I'm also a shareholder in both Apple and AT&T. I'm still AMAZED that designers still create devices with built-in message such as "Call Failed" and "Operation cannot be completed at this time". Would you design a defibrillator with such messages? or a fighter jet?

Manhattan iPhone users apparently experience 30% dropped calls A DAY according to AT&T. This absurdly high statistic seems to have started several months ago after an Apple software upgrade (bad baseband code??). AT&T refuses to point the finger at Apple. Apple extends the same courtesy to AT&T. WE suffer.

I've already swapped SIM's and AT&T now suggests replacing my phone (which an AT&T company store last night said i HAD to do at the Apple store. What to the nice customers who live in towns without Apple stores do?)

Look, i'm a happy techie. Been around computers since the PDP-10 days. LOVE the iPhone as a computing and lifestyle device. But for crying out loud people, if we can get quality video transmissions from MARS, you'd think we'd be able to make a wireless device capable of a high-quality phone call in a MAJOR metropolitan city like New York or Beverly Hills.

Don't come up with brilliant devices, advertise your network as superior, and then whine that the DEMAND and high-usage CUSTOMERS are to blame for the failures.