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Smartphone, Wireless, and Mobile Technologies Forum

AT&T 30% Dropped Call Rate in NYC

 12:27 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)


How utterly #*$!ty is the iPhone on AT&T in the New York area? The average iPhone drops 30 percent of all calls. And that's considered acceptable by Apple.

Giz reader Manoj took his iPhone to the Genius Bar to have it looked at because it was dropping calls left and right, and AT&T swore stuff was totally kosher on their end, so he thought something was wrong with his phone. After doing a stat dump, the Genius showed Manoj that his iPhone had actually dropped 22 percent of calls.

The jawdropper: The Genius told Manoj that's actually excellent compared to most people in the New York area, where a 30 percent dropped call rate is the average.



 6:55 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

That seems about right, given the conditions.


 6:57 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

In 9 years of verizon - I think I have dropped a call - maybe - once or twice. In a year with AT&T - I have dropped maybe 1 a day.


 7:19 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

My iPhone 3G was dropping, it seemed like, 50% of calls - it was a _bit_ better if I turned 3G off but was still a problem. I finally got fed up and called AT&T and Apple. I told them that even though I like the iPhone a lot, I was planning on switching to Verizon and getting a Blackberry if they couldn't do something for me. They scheduled a Genius bar appointment for me so I went to the Apple store. They told me it was to got a replacement but actually I had to explain the whole situation to the 'Genius' there and be pretty rude to get him to see that I wasn't going to be happy without getting a new phone. They swore that it wouldn't necessarily help because they couldn't find a hardware problem. Anyway I did finally get a new iPhone from them.

It does seem to have helped. I've dropped some calls but not nearly as many.

If anyone at Apple is reading this: Open the iPhone up to other networks. I don't really care what your contract with AT&T is - it seems to me like the dropped call rate should be grounds for a breach of contract anyway.


 7:31 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was talking to bunch of Dudes, iPhone Owners, at the local Pub on the Arthur's Guinness Day. Every one of them Prased the iPhone as a tool and Cursed the ATT as a provider.

All of them said that if the Gizmo was offered via a different provider they'd switch in a heart bit. The reason was the dropped Calls.

I am in the market for a new Gizmo. CrackBerry here I come. 9630 seems OK.


 7:32 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

AT&T is crap.. i have a phone as dumb as dumb phones can be and i'm always getting in trouble for calling in late to emergency pages & sms messages for work.

Wife's iPhone has been a dissapointment. 3g is slow, the iphone tells you to connect to Wifi if you try and suck too much bandwidth and at least once or twice a week it won't dial or receive calls.

unfortunately work mandates AT&T and my wife is in contract.

no one should require a contract nor a credit check to buy a phone and data plans shouldn't have tether fees on top of the ripoff data fees.


 7:32 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not everyone is affected by this issue, as I rarely drop calls with my iPhone. Maybe four or five a year.

And, typically, it's when I'm taking a call driving and it's in the same "dead zones" that I've dropped calls with other networks.


 7:38 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm in Chicago and can add that it is real bad here too. I'd say that number appears about right for me too. AT&T just has horrible coverage throughout the country and didn't focus their money into building up an infrastructure like Verizon did. There is not a single person I know of who has or had AT&T and enjoyed it.

Currently trying to find a way out of the contract to hook up with Verizon or go back to Sprint (which I never lost a call with).


 8:21 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been AT&T/Cingular for 9 years, iPhone since 2007 and have no real issues with dropped calls. It happens occasionally but not in any way that I would describe as frustrating. I am a power phone user as well with the cell being my sole phone for home and work use. I'm San Francisco/Bay Area so i can't speak for NY. I don't doubt Brett and the others here in there comments or frustration. I just think its fair to say it isn't a universal problem. That said, dropped calls should be less than 1%.


 8:48 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

i find those stories like yours @Copeland and @whoisgregg to be amazing. I walk from the my front door to my back door and I drop a call. I have to have my phone on wifi at the house or I can't get email on it. The tough part to take, is that I am not in a rural or low usage area. This is the tech'tropolis of austin tx. Back yard of Dell, SamSung, TI, Freescale, Motorola, and other huge tech titans base stations like IBM. (shake head). No wonder Michael Dell dreams of building a phone.


 9:12 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I actually think the service is worse in big cities than in less populated parts of the country. I have had better reception in the suburbs of Chicago than in the city. The closer I get to the Loop (business district), the worse it gets.

Although I've also seen AT&T not work in rural parts of the country as my brother was never able to get a single bar in Gainesville, Florida. It's probably hit or miss throughout the country but from what I've been reading on various sites/blogs, the areas that seem like they'd have a high saturation of iPhones are the ones where it works the poorest.


 9:36 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

high saturation of iPhones are the ones where it works the poorest >> exactly.

That's why tech'tropolis and NYC are so bad. At this moment I cannot find the article on this subject but I read in one of the newspapers lately that this was wholly expected by ATT and the scramble is on to fix it.

BTW I live in a metro area with about 3 million and have occasional drop and download time problems it is not a real problem,,, but I can tell you it IS getting worse :(


 9:44 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

All y'all who are saying you don't have dropped call problems with the iPhone. Do you live in a metro area?
I think that's the problem - it's not necessarily lack of coverage but network overload leading to dropped calls.

If you want to get out of your contract (I've never done this but have read about it) keep track of your dropped calls/network issues for a while. This will hopefully serve as proof that they failed to provide the promised service (i.e. allowing you to make calls!).


 9:50 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

the areas that seem like they'd have a high saturation of iPhones are the ones where it works the poorest

I agree with this theory... it seems like techy folks in the techiest areas have the most dropped calls. This could also explain why tech bloggers & tech news sites are always talking about this issue.*

I'm a pretty techy person, but I'm typically using my iPhone in either a rural area or in Tampa which is not known as a tech hub. iPhones are still somewhat rare here.

My theory is that AT&T just isn't upgrading their equipment for the new reality of iPhone's dramatically higher bandwidth usage. So, the more iPhones on a tower, the more likely it is that all those high-bandwidth users are knocking out the tower, leading to degradation of service for all AT&T customers in that area.

*Of course, this totally sucks for AT&T/iPhone brand perception by non-tech users.


 9:59 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have 2 family plans: 1 with AT&T because of the cool things that can be done with iPhones. 1 with Verizon because I can actually make calls with Verizon.

So when is a good GPhone coming out with Verizon?


 11:36 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can vouch for the ATT problem in major cities. In the smaller town where I live I get dropped calls only very rarely. However, over the past couple of years, I have noticed connection problems in every major city I've been in, both sides of the country.

My guess has always been that there is some kind of issue with tower coordination.


 7:31 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry for being dumb - But why is a phone network dropping calls, a front page featured news item on WW?

Does it really affect a wide enough audience to merit attention..

Some of the biggest mobile companies with very large no. of subscribers may not actually be in the US.. For example Bharti - Airtel( India) has more than 100 million subscribers..

Sorry to offend the powers..


 7:57 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

which (web-enabled) high-function smartphone are you using on Bharti - Airtel and what is the market for that device?


 8:46 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why.. we have the iphone, Blackberry and every other device available anywhere else.. Many phones with Wifi, WAP, etc etc etc..Anyways this discussion is about dropped calls on a network.. Is it only about high end phones dropping calls? Rest of the phones/network is irrelevant to discussion?


 9:27 am on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

If only they'd drop 30% of the bill to compensate...


 1:30 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can't wait until Verizon gets the iPhone when the AT&T contract expires, then we can read about Verizon users pissing and moaning about dropped calls on their network too!

of course that will probably be when they roll out 4G but it too will be underdeveloped and overwhelmed.

I have been using cell phones since the bag phone came out and they cost $1500. Dropped calls have always been a common problem. Oddly enough I get less dropped calls with the iPhone in Chicago now than I did with any of the other older cell phones I used to use.


 3:46 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sorry for being dumb - But why is a phone network dropping calls, a front page featured news item on WW?

Because the iPhone is such an unprecedented fad (I don't have one!) and AT&T is the only network you can use with an iPhone.


 3:52 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Because the iPhone is such an unprecedented fad (I don't have one!) and AT&T is the only network you can use with an iPhone.

It's not so much the phone as it is the strong userbase developing applications for it. The iPhone will die down once the other phones improve in that aspect.


 4:25 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Aren't we techies in here? Go get yourselves an Android phone!


 4:40 pm on Oct 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Android will probably be my next phone OS. At the moment I find that the 1000's of apps available for Win 6.1 phones are pretty nice. As is the slide out keyboard to go with the touchscreen and the battery that lasts longer than 4 hours :-)


 10:10 am on Oct 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Writing this post on my iPhone. In the UK we are also stuck with one substandard provider, O2. The iPhone is a preview of the future so discussions like this on WebmasterWorld are important. There are providers in the uk with far superior coverage - T-Mobile is great but the iPhone is held back by O2.


 6:30 pm on Oct 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen the new "There's a Map for That" Verizon Wireless commercial?
Apple/AT&T had it coming to them, given everything discussed in this thread :p


 12:34 pm on Oct 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

That is an awesome commercial - cudo's Verizon.

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