It is no secret that those in the online geek community have a large disdain for AT&T Wireless service. This has only grown with AT&T’s exclusive rights to the iPhone, probably the best thing to come to geeks since the very idea of a smartphone.
Being someone who is all three; a geek, iPhone owner, and AT&T Wireless subscriber, I have to ask: Why is there so much hate for AT&T. And I’m not really focusing on the whole iPhone 3GS pricing. I get the arguments there (both for and against). But I’m more focused on peoples hatred for AT&T Wireless’ service.
A Little History
Let me start by saying, I live in the Houston, Texas area and others people’s mileage may vary. I’ve used just about every current cell provider on the market today. The only exception is T-Mobile, because they’ve never had good service where I’ve lived. I was on Verizon when they bought out GTE mobile down here in Texas, and at the time I lived in Simonton, TX (about 30 miles West of Houston and 10 miles South of I-10). The service bit. You were lucky to get a single at all and keep a conversation online for longer than 15 minutes at a time.
I then switched to Sprint, mainly because most of my friends at the time had the service. Even convinced a few people to swith to Sprint. This was when Sprint wireless was known as Sprint PCS and its service was actually decent in most major cities and off major freeways. Over the 5 years I was on Sprint, the service in the Houston area degraded more each year. To a point where I would be in the middle of town, on a major road and lose a call multiple times. Also, calls had a tendency to not come through to my phone at all.
In 2003-ish (maybe even 2004) I switched to Cingular Wireless (knowing that they were going to buy AT&T Wireless in the next few months). I originally wanted to go with AT&T due to fact that a touring musician (someone who had just spent a good year touring the country) told me that the only person who always had a signal was the guy who had AT&T service. But when AT&T asked for a rather large deposit, I opted for Cingular (post AT&T purchase news).
Instantly I knew I had gone with a service that was going to make me happy. I could make a call from my home in Simonton with zero issues. This encouraged my parents (on Verizon at the time) to switch to AT&T. My father, who was traveling all over the southeast region of Texas for his job had signal where ever he went, making him reachable.
The end result was the entire family switching to AT&T.
So Why the Hate?
So I have to wonder, why is there so much hate for AT&T’s service? In my personal experience (and those that I have convinced to switch to AT&T) I couldn’t be happier. I can make and send phone calls, get internet service on my phones, and my phone works out in the country (where my parents still live). I have been all over the state of Texas and have had little to no issues when it comes to connectivity with AT&T Wireless.
One thing I’ve noticed when people complain about their AT&T service is that they never turn their phones off (even for a few seconds). Doing this each day ensures that your phone has the latest tower information (this confirmed by multiple AT&T support reps at various levels). When you’re phone turns on, that’s when it gets tower information, if you don’t do this regularly, you’re reception will begin to tank.
I understand that a lot of the issues with service have to do with region. Some areas a different provider is going to have better service. But from my experience, AT&T Wireless has been some of the best wireless service I’ve ever had. Especially when it comes to the whole “more bars in more places” thing. I have pretty consistant service wherever I’ve taken my AT&T phone.