New York Times: AT&T is actually better than Verizon

daihard

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Feb 19, 2008
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/business/13digi.html

This year, Root Wireless ran 4.7 million tests on smartphones for each of the four major carriers, spread across seven metropolitan areas: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles/Orange County, New York, Seattle/Tacoma, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington. In every market, AT&T had faster average download speeds and had signal strength of 75 percent or better more frequently than did Verizon. (A Verizon spokesman declined to comment about these test results or those of Global Wireless Solutions.)
Now about the iPhone...

Roger Entner, senior vice president for telecommunications research at Nielsen, said the iPhone’s “air interface,” the electronics in the phone that connect it to the cell towers, had shortcomings that “affect both voice and data.” He said that in the eyes of the consumer, “the iPhone has the nimbus of infallibility, ergo, it’s AT&T’s fault.” AT&T does not publicly defend itself because it will not criticize Apple under any circumstances, he said. AT&T and Apple both declined to comment on Mr. Entner’s assessments.
Makes quite an interesting read, if you ask me.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Not a very widespread report, and from a startup looking for press. Ignores the lack of ATT coverage outside their small test coverage areas.

Go check out Root Wireless' results for your town here. Pick your provider, put in a zip code. (Assuming you live smack in the middle of one of the areas quoted above. Outside of those, they did not test.)

http://reviews.cnet.com/4599-6452_7-0.html?tag=bc

At least in the NYC area, they stuck close to the city and the I-95 corridor where ATT has coverage.

They didn't even get to up to White Plains, out much on Long Island, or west to Paramus. To people not from this area, that means the results were pretty limited.
 

str1f3

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2008
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Not a very widespread report, and from a startup looking for press. Ignores the lack of ATT coverage outside their small test coverage areas.

Go check out Root Wireless' results for your town here. Pick your provider, put in a zip code. (Assuming you live smack in the middle of one of the areas quoted above. Outside of those, they did not test.)

http://reviews.cnet.com/4599-6452_7-0.html?tag=bc

At least in the NYC area, they stuck close to the city and the I-95 corridor where ATT has coverage.

They didn't even get to up to White Plains, out much on Long Island, or west to Paramus. To people not from this area, that means the results were pretty limited.
Overall I've heard Long Island has pretty good 3G coverage so it may not even be entirely necessary. I've also heard they have good coverage in NJ. The city is where the main problem lies. There is too many dropped calls and lack of bandwidth. AT&T has not developed their infrastucrure enough in the big cities whic is where the major newspapers and tech journalists live. You can expect to not get favorable reviews and there is a heavier use of iPhones in these areas.

It is very interesting to hear this may partly be an issue with the iPhone. Surely Apple must have known about this yet they have seemingly done nothing through three iterations. I'm going to hold off til the 4th gen when the internal hardware will probably changed since PA Semi is designing a customized ARM processor and hopefully redesign the iPhone so that these problems don't occur if they do.

I would like to see some further in-depth tests with other AT&T phones to see if this is the case. Good read!
 

-aggie-

macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
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Where bunnies are welcome.
Not a very widespread report, and from a startup looking for press. Ignores the lack of ATT coverage outside their small test coverage areas.

Go check out Root Wireless' results for your town here. Pick your provider, put in a zip code. (Assuming you live smack in the middle of one of the areas quoted above. Outside of those, they did not test.)

http://reviews.cnet.com/4599-6452_7-0.html?tag=bc

At least in the NYC area, they stuck close to the city and the I-95 corridor where ATT has coverage.

They didn't even get to up to White Plains, out much on Long Island, or west to Paramus. To people not from this area, that means the results were pretty limited.
I checked your link, and it was totally wrong for Data. I get around 800-1200 down regularly on 3G and they had it at 150 max.

There's never been a problem with me using AT&T anywhere I've been. The OP's article seems to show what many of us experience. However, I know the Verizon fan boys will surely have only negatives to write here. SSDD.
 

jcia

macrumors member
Dec 2, 2009
36
0
I have no problems with Vodafone

I have an iPhone and use it with Vodafone in Germany and I have no problem on dropped calls or slow data or anything like that, and I'm using an american iPhone (although they're all the same, just in case someone would say they're different). I guess it should be mostly an AT&T issue, due to so many iPhone users (they use a lot of data).
 

anjinha

macrumors 604
Oct 21, 2006
7,271
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San Francisco, CA
Roger Entner, senior vice president for telecommunications research at Nielsen, said the iPhone’s “air interface,” the electronics in the phone that connect it to the cell towers, had shortcomings that “affect both voice and data.” He said that in the eyes of the consumer, “the iPhone has the nimbus of infallibility, ergo, it’s AT&T’s fault.” AT&T does not publicly defend itself because it will not criticize Apple under any circumstances, he said. AT&T and Apple both declined to comment on Mr. Entner’s assessments.
I used my iPhone all over Europe this Summer and never had signal problems (except when I was on a train in the middle of nowhere).
 

str1f3

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2008
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Just from purely reading the article, they didn't test the iPhone because it can't multitask and run they programs they needed to test it.

From article:

" He explained that his company’s tests of AT&T’s data network were done with handsets other than the iPhone, which does not allow non-Apple programs like his to run in the background."

It's an interesting article but it should have been as in depth as the App Store profile in the NYT.
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,864
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Not a very widespread report, and from a startup looking for press. Ignores the lack of ATT coverage outside their small test coverage areas.


.... that means the results were pretty limited.
Sorry dude you were beat. Also that article, sorry, but they weren't testing towns. They were testing the cities they listed and conclusion is in, AT&T owns Vericrap.
 

schwell

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2009
198
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Sorry dude you were beat. Also that article, sorry, but they weren't testing towns. They were testing the cities they listed and conclusion is in, AT&T owns Vericrap.
He won't listen. He is all CDMA/Verizon, all the time.
 

daihard

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 19, 2008
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Seattle, WA
I used my iPhone all over Europe this Summer and never had signal problems (except when I was on a train in the middle of nowhere).
We may have been among the lucky ones. I too had little issue with my iPhone when I used it in Europe last fall, but that's just two data points. :)

I find the article refreshing in that it offers a new perspective to the widespread problem with the iPhone / AT&T combo. I'd personally like to know more about the potential "shortcomings" in the iPhone as mentioned in the article.
 

michaelr123

macrumors newbie
Dec 13, 2009
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I agree that there is something inherently flawed about the iPhone as far as signal is concerned. An iPhone and a Nokia in my house, both on the same network, and the iPhone manages a GPRS/EDGE connection whereas the Nokia manages 3G/HSDPA.
 

sysiphus

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2006
815
1
Honestly, who cares what the report says about network vs network? Whatever works well for you where you live/work is all that really matters...
Personally, ATT is fantastic and Verizon sucks at my college, but it doesn't really matter unless you're...there. So why bicker about it beyond what works for you?

As for hardware, in my experience, yes, the iPhone sucks as a phone, both in terms of reception and call quality--my Nokias (E66/E90) kill the iPhone for both.
 

ksoze

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2009
161
18
Honestly, who cares what the report says about network vs network? Whatever works well for you where you live/work is all that really matters...
I think this is the key point in many of these discussions.

My recent change to an iPhone was driven somewhat by poor to non-existent reception from Verizon in my neighborhood forcing a move to AT&T. On paper, I am in a heavily saturated coverage area for V in a major metro area, but it does me no good if I cannot get a signal in the real world. Since my switch to AT&T and the iPhone, I have had stellar service at home and in all of my travels in the area. Plus, I got a killer phone to boot.

Reviews should focus on the hardware, not the coverage of the reviewer. I am afraid many reviews about phones are colored by the individuals location and coverage and it sets the tone of the device opinion out the gate.
 

gloss

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May 9, 2006
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Sorry dude you were beat. Also that article, sorry, but they weren't testing towns. They were testing the cities they listed and conclusion is in, AT&T owns Vericrap.
What are you, twelve?

I have to agree that there's something subpar about the iPhone's radios. There are several spots in the house where both my and my roommates' iPhones (3 in total) completely drop signal. My girlfriend's old RAZR on AT&T has no issues. Early reviews of the iPhone even pointed out its poor reception performance, so it's not like this is a secret.

I'm not saying it's entirely the iPhone's problem, but it's certainly part of the issue.
 

thetexan

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May 11, 2009
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-Why does speed matter on mobile devices? Bragging rights? If one person downloads at 700kbps and the other 900kbps what sort of difference am I seeing? My webpages might load up 5 seconds sooner? My understanding is the bottleneck in loading webpages can be the processor of the phone and not the speed. I don't think the average person would even notice, speed is but a marketing gimmick. Now for aircards speed would matter, but latency would factor into that too.

-Why does signal matter? I can't remember the number of times I've had a full 3G signal only to have crawling data speeds, dropped calls, or those fun random voicemails I'd get without my phone even ringing. I remember once when I got my first iPhone 3G I was at school and I had 2 bars 3G, my buddy on Verizon was bouncing between 0-1 bars EVDO. He pulled up a Youtube video and it finished while mine was still buffering. Signal is another marketing gimmick.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
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At the iPhone hacks section.
-Why does speed matter on mobile devices? Bragging rights? If one person downloads at 700kbps and the other 900kbps what sort of difference am I seeing? My webpages might load up 5 seconds sooner? My understanding is the bottleneck in loading webpages can be the processor of the phone and not the speed. I don't think the average person would even notice, speed is but a marketing gimmick. Now for aircards speed would matter, but latency would factor into that too.

-Why does signal matter? I can't remember the number of times I've had a full 3G signal only to have crawling data speeds, dropped calls, or those fun random voicemails I'd get without my phone even ringing. I remember once when I got my first iPhone 3G I was at school and I had 2 bars 3G, my buddy on Verizon was bouncing between 0-1 bars EVDO. He pulled up a Youtube video and it finished while mine was still buffering. Signal is another marketing gimmick.
Yeah right, if signal or speed doesnt matter what does then?
 

thetexan

macrumors 6502a
May 11, 2009
720
0
Yeah right, if signal or speed doesnt matter what does then?
Real world reliability and usability. Considering I've had many instances where my iPhone was useless and I had full bars, I'd say bars don't matter. I've used Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T in the past 6 months (switching + work phones) and while AT&T would score the highest speed tests, AT&T would also score the lowest speed tests that same day at different times. I guess my best way to say my experience with AT&T's speed compared to other carriers is AT&T does good at sprinting but lacks reliability. Verizon/Sprint might not peak as high at AT&T but the data experience is mostly consistent through out the day.

I can't recall one time on Sprint/Verizon I've had full bars and had a data issue (slowness or non-existent). I can't count the number of times on AT&T I've had a full 3G signal only to be told "unable to connect...".
 

sysiphus

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2006
815
1
Real world reliability and usability. Considering I've had many instances where my iPhone was useless and I had full bars, I'd say bars don't matter. I've used Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T in the past 6 months (switching + work phones) and while AT&T would score the highest speed tests, AT&T would also score the lowest speed tests that same day at different times. I guess my best way to say my experience with AT&T's speed compared to other carriers is AT&T does good at sprinting but lacks reliability. Verizon/Sprint might not peak as high at AT&T but the data experience is mostly consistent through out the day.

I can't recall one time on Sprint/Verizon I've had full bars and had a data issue (slowness or non-existent). I can't count the number of times on AT&T I've had a full 3G signal only to be told "unable to connect...".
Indeed--the number of "bars" etc can be hugely misleading.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
There's never been a problem with me using AT&T anywhere I've been. The OP's article seems to show what many of us experience.
Do you live in the NYC area?

I don't know anyone with integrity around here that's going to claim ATT beats any other carrier, unless perhaps they do a speed and connection test at 3am.

However, the tests were not done with iPhones, since they don't allow background tasks to gather information.

However, I know the Verizon fan boys will surely have only negatives to write here. SSDD.
ATT's CEO openly admits that NYC is a problem. Do you think he's a Verizon fanboy, too?

And now even bigtime Apple fans are pointing out that it doesn't make sense for a report to say that ATT works great in the major cities.
 

TimmyDee

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2007
67
4
I read the article, and while it was interesting, I can't confirm all the findings.

I had my 2G iPhone unlocked on T-Mobile before switching to AT&T (family plan now), and it worked flawlessly (in Chicago). Now, on AT&T, I barely get service in my own house in the middle of the city (just a long stones throw from Grant Park). I realize I may be sitting in some odd hole, but I had no problems with T-Mobile.

My wife's 3GS works fine most of the time, though, leading me to suspect the EDGE service has been kicked to the 1900 MHz band, killing my reception.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
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At the iPhone hacks section.
you are really that much in love with Verizon that you feel the need to try to defend them on every single thread there's a mention about verizon?
USA is not just NYC.
Maybe just maybe people in other areas have no problems with their AT&T coverage. Is it that hard to believe?

Do you live in the NYC area?

I don't know anyone with integrity around here that's going to claim ATT beats any other carrier, unless perhaps they do a speed and connection test at 3am.

However, the tests were not done with iPhones, since they don't allow background tasks to gather information.



ATT's CEO openly admits that NYC is a problem. Do you think he's a Verizon fanboy, too?

And now even bigtime Apple fans are pointing out that it doesn't make sense for a report to say that ATT works great in the major cities.