AT&T Wireless makes small children cry

Photo credit: egg on stilts from flickr
Photo credit: egg on stilts from flickr

And me.

I love my iPhone. I knew when I got my iPhone 3G in February that I wasn’t going to have 3G service very often where I live. But the iPhone was a major upgrade from my old Samsung phone on Verizon, and gives me the PDA features I was used to for years with my Palm handhelds, and much more. I was also hoping not to have to carry two devices around anymore, and that’s worked out the way I expected.

But AT&T’s overall coverage is inferior to Verizon’s, especially along the St. Clair River where I spend a lot of my time, which is also the border with Canada. At least a quarter of the time my iPhone is attached to either a Rogers or Telus cellular tower across the river (which is generally a much stronger signal as well), but I get charged by the minute if I make or receive a call when “roaming” in Ontario. I could pay AT&T an extra monthly fee to “roam” in Canada, but I shouldn’t have to do that. And even when I have a strong signal on AT&T’s network, my calls fail far too often. The signal doesn’t fade; the call just drops. It’s like AT&T has decided my call isn’t important enough and disconnects me. This is a fairly common complaint, and up to 30 percent dropped calls is considered normal, at least according to this Engadget post. Often, even when I have a strong signal on AT&T’s 2G/EDGE network, the data transfer rate reminds me of an old 56K or slower dial-up modem. The sound quality is also inferior to my old Samsung/Verizon combo, though that could be the iPhone, which has had taken some criticism for the phone components.

Hopefully, the rumors that Verizon might get the rights to market an iPhone in 2010 will turn out to be true. Verizon has its critics, too, of course, but in the six years I was with Verizon, I hardly ever lost a call due to it being dropped. Signals faded, of course, but I honestly can’t remember a call just ending (I’m sure one or two did, so I won’t claim that Verizon never dropped a call, but I can’t remember one. I can remember dozens just in the last month with AT&T).

I love Verizon’s new ads mocking the iPhone “there’s an app for that” commercials: