Last straw with AT&T in Chicago

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jlp2979, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. jlp2979 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #1
    Just wanted to post about my experience with the iPhone 4S on ATT this week, in case anyone cares about network performance in Chicago. I did use the regular 4 with AT&T prior to upgrading to the 4S and did experience network issues, despite this "enhanced backhaul" that gets mentioned. I read other posts over the past couple days about "variable" network performance this week in many areas, but I've had enough. Returned phone + canceled upgrade, got a Verizon 4S, ported (back) to Verizon this morning, all good.

    This past Monday I had to visit Northwestern Hospital for a minor injury. I should've just cabbed it, but that's not the point. Time was 9:30 AM. Its in downtown Chicago, north of the loop, crowded area and supposed "enhanced backhaul" area. I had to find a specific entrance / location so I pulled out my iPhone, sunny day and outside, and total fail. I had 5 bars but could not connect to the network and google the address. Tried to open "maps" and do it that way, but nothing would go through. Resorted to asking a traffic guard for info. Once in the hospital I tried to call my dad. My phone went to Edge but wouldn't make a call. I found that with my iPhone 4 whenever it went to Edge in Chicago it meant trouble for me, as calls would cut in and out and fail. Same experience with 4S.

    Its like a foreign experience now w/ Verizon being able to simply check emails in the loop during busy hours. I know a lot of people complain about network congestion with AT&T and put up with it because of price or some other reason. But when push came to shove and I actually needed my phone for something serious, AT&T let me down. Verizon is $15 more per month for my specific needs, but I no longer care. It has always been reliable for me.

    I know "voting with my wallet" against AT&T won't necessarily make a difference because they had a field day / week / month with record sales of the 4S. Sometimes spending the extra few bucks w/ another provider is worth it and may actually save your life in an emergency, thankful my situation wasn't one. We should not settle for mediocrity and AT&T should focus on their 3G network and ability to make and hold calls rather than LTE at the moment. Enhanced backhaul my behind, good riddance.

    Sorry about typing an essay here, "cool story bro" , I guess most are thinking, haha...just wanted to post my experience. Carry on :)
     
  2. SilentLoner macrumors 65816

    SilentLoner

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #2
    I have just moved to Chicago from England and I put a ATT sim into my unlocked iphone 4 and I agree the data service is shocking, always failing and never connecting phone calls so much so that my calls went straight to voicemail even with full bars this last week so I went to the apple site pre ordered the white iphone 4s on verizon. I had to pay a big deposit due to lack of credit history but its still extremely worth it because I can now use it absolutely everywhere (reliably) in Chicago. Totally agree with this post.




     
  3. Nads786 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #3
    I have great service in the burbs but when I do go to the city it randomly has problems (the 3GS) when i go out in the city on the weekends I never have any problems..
     
  4. Jordan921 macrumors 68040

    Jordan921

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #4
    Now that there are more options to use the iPhone on different carriers in the U.S. no one should deal with bad service. For me At&t works perfect.
     
  5. djransom macrumors 68040

    djransom

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Chi-Town
    #5
    AT&T is pretty bad when I'm downtown at work. I parked on Lake and Halsted this morning and had no service for a few blocks while I was walking. It's very hit or miss in the city of the Chicago altogether.
     
  6. BoxerGT2.5, Nov 2, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011

    BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000

    BoxerGT2.5

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    #6
    Good stuff! Try using the maps when you're on a call, see how that turns out on Verizon.

    BTW...ATT is preparing it's LTE for the new phones coming out. That may be contributing to the issue. Was it worse on your 4s vs. 4?
     
  7. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #7
    I think you should consider Sprint. In my experience, they are good in Chicago.
     
  8. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #8
    I thought you couldn't use the internet while you're on a call with Verizon.

    Is that true with all their phones or certain ones?

     
  9. r2shyyou macrumors 68000

    r2shyyou

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Paris, France
    #9
    Correct, you can't.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    You can with a few handsets that support a feature called SVDO (at this point, the 4S isn't one of them).
     
  11. r2shyyou macrumors 68000

    r2shyyou

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Paris, France
    #11
    Hmm...didn't know that. Good to know.
     
  12. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #12
    OK thanks. I made a comment to an old co-worker about I like to have my data and voice at the same time. Mostly for when I traveled for work and was tethering, I didn't want to lose data if I got a call.

    He said he could do both with his droid x and thought I was crazy.
     
  13. SilentLoner macrumors 65816

    SilentLoner

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #13
    But dont you see its a bit of a trivial point when he is trying to use data anyways and it wont connect with or without a call. I'd rather just know the data is consistent.


     
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #14
    I'm not sure if anything beyond the HTC Thunderbolt does it at the moment, and there seems to be lots of confusion about why there aren't other phones, although AnandTech thinks its because HTC got some kind of exclusivity deal out of Qualcomm, who provides the tech. Also apparently there are all kinds of complexities involved.
     
  15. jlp2979 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #15
    I've only encountered a situation once in recent memory where I needed to use voice and data at the same time and it was for a weather question. When I was trying to Google the info I needed or use maps with GPS a couple days ago, I was not talking on the phone anyway.

    During my limited time with the 4S on AT&T I had the same experiences as when I was using the 4. I still dropped calls while outdoors and data would slow to a crawl when in the loop during busier hours. When inquiring at an AT&T store I was told the same thing just different flavor- "we are preparing for HSPA+ / enabling backhaul...you will notice difference" and now it is "we are preparing for LTE," which I just don't accept.

    While in the burbs (Buffalo Grove) I had the 4S drop to Edge and encountered the same problem- horrible call quality and eventual loss.
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #16
    I use simultaneous voice and data occasionally -- more recently because I don't have wifi at home (whereas in the past, many of these situations happen at home, and I would be using WiFi and data, which I believe almost all Verizon smartphones and even the original iPhone can do).

    I find this frustrating -- 99% of the time, if my iPhone on AT&T says it is receiving EDGE, this means it has no data signal, or it is receiving data at such an absurdly slow speed as to make it useless (vs. EDGE on T-Mobile, on my original iPhone, which was actually not half bad).
     
  17. aphexacid macrumors 6502a

    aphexacid

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #17
    I have an office in the Neiman Marcus building on Michigan and Chicago for about 3 years now. While its true that specifically downtown, it seems to get clogged up from time to time, 99% of the time calling and texting is fine. Data is far from taking advantage of "enhanced back haul", its doesnt NOT work.

    I'm down there every single day, so you're luck is you were probably just caught in a network fart. But its really not better or worse than the other carriers. Trust me, i have no allegiance to at&t, i would have dumped them ages ago.

    As for the GPS...Handheld GPS units DO NOT work downtown. phones, nor garmins/tom toms. Too many tall buildings and interference.

    Its funny how everyone's story is different. A friend that works a few blocks away was cursing his verizon phone the other day! LOL
     
  18. SilentLoner macrumors 65816

    SilentLoner

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #18
    I think that chicago is very unique in the way the city is laid out so it creates problems and issues for all networks. However I do believe that verizon is the lesser of the two evils.
     
  19. Gathomblipoob macrumors 68040

    Gathomblipoob

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #19
    It's pretty sad when four or five paragraphs might be considered an "essay." :D
     
  20. cdfink08 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    #20
    I don't believe LTE to be an issue. I live in Indianapolis and work in a building where they are putting in a brand new LTE infrastructure for the Superbowl and final four next year,it has had 0 impact on network performance.
     
  21. jmgregory1 macrumors 65816

    jmgregory1

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago and a few other places around the world
    #21
    I'm north of Chicago in Evanston and although I occasionally have network issues here, I agree that in the city things are much worse more often than not.

    I think the problem here is that AT&T owns the market and simply has so many subscribers downtown that it overwhelms their system. Of course, if they do have such demand, one would think they would make improvements. It does answer the question of why they've been trying to get localized wifi networks set up - to at least take some of the data load off their radio network. Clearly they haven't done enough.

    I certainly don't know how I could switch from being able to talk and use data at the same time. I do this constantly for work and would consider it a non-starter for me if this went away by making the switch to Verizon or Sprint. My friend on Vz who has the iP4, has several times been talking to me, only to say he has to hang up to send an email or check maps for something. He says it almost embarrassingly because he knows I'm able to do this without hanging up. It's sad and really seems counter to the high-tech devices we're using.
     

Share This Page