Better 3G?

4:50 PM -- Bay Area iPhone users, rejoice! AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said today that during the past year, it poured nearly $65 million into improving its 3G network in the San Francisco area.

The press release came out today alongside similar releases for Peoria, Ill.; Florida; and the Seattle area. "In the greater Bay Area, AT&T upgraded close to 850 cell sites as part of this enhancement, the majority coming in the 3rd quarter of 2009," the Bay Area press release reads.

The list of cities "improved" includes the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley) and the peninsula (Palo Alto, the SFO airport area) but not the South Bay (San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale -- the heart of Silicon Valley).

I don't have an iPhone or 3G device, because I'm not hip enough. So, I throw the question to the masses: Anybody notice an improvement, or not, in AT&T's 3G network lately? (And will Verizon Wireless have to change that map that AT&T was suing them over?)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

venturecapital 12/5/2012 | 3:52:25 PM
re: Better 3G?

Actually, I have seen a much improved 3G signal on my iPhone, though only because I've become a guiny pig for AT&T's (Cisco's/ip.wireless') Microcell. It works well except that it has to be put near a window to get a GPS signal, and hence half the coverage goes (literally) out the window.

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 3:52:23 PM
re: Better 3G?

What's your coverage/range like with the AT&T Microcell?

My review of the Vodafone UK service is here:

<h1 class="blue header biggest">Vodafone 3G Access Gateway Review</h1>

(signal reaches as far as my garden shed, no problem)



macster 12/5/2012 | 3:52:22 PM
re: Better 3G?

Coverage, capacity, quality - fine.

Using femtos effectively means new base stations. Makes sense. But what does "improved coverage" mean? How did AT&amp;T "improve" coverage. Marketing term?

They might be talking about drive-testing and optimisation. There's Rel. 8 SON now.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:52:22 PM
re: Better 3G?

I liked this part: "half the coverage goes (literally) out the window."&nbsp; It's funny because it's true.

It occurs to me: Better 3G coverage would probably be more noticable walking around town than at home, at least in my case.&nbsp; We don't get that strong a signal here to begin with, probably due to lack of aerial plant in the surrounding blocks = nowhere to hang repeaters.&nbsp; "Improved" coverage would just take 3G from zilch to "meh."

'Course I still don't have a 3G phone, nor do I have plans to get one soon, so I'm just blathering worthlessly here.&nbsp; Better get back to work.

macster 12/5/2012 | 3:52:21 PM
re: Better 3G?

Ahhh. Spectrum makes sense. Let's hope they did proper planning. It's not just voice with 3G.

A good gauge would be what subscribers think while using, say, the Internet and being on a call. With self-organising/optimisation,&nbsp;subscribers themselves send back data and this&nbsp;is used to optimise the network.

There's a 3GPP&nbsp;meting in SF next year (in Feb if I remember right). If you guys are around, we might be able to go out for a drink (or two) :-)&nbsp;

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:52:21 PM
re: Better 3G?

AT&amp;T is saying they added 850MHz spectrum (at least in the Bay Area case).

Femtocells are kind of cheating here - the real question is whether anybody has noticed better 3G coverage while toodling around the Bay Area -- downtown SF at lunchtime, for instance.&nbsp; In other words, has AT&amp;T really made a difference here?

btw, if you haven't seen it, AT&amp;T defends itself against those Verizon ads.&nbsp; For the time being, their argument is on this page: http://www.att.com/gen/landing-pages?pid=6080 .

It talks about the percentage of people that AT&amp;T's 3G reaches -- which technically is what Verizon is razzing them about by saying "There's a map for that."&nbsp; But those numbers don't reveal anything about how good (or not) your 3G connection is.


Cable Bigot 12/5/2012 | 3:52:19 PM
re: Better 3G? There is no need to loose half the coverage. The Microcell was reworked when the indoor GPS reception became an issue. There is a BIG capacitor on board that keeps the GPS from loosing data when unplugged. You have at least a good 10 minutes to move the AP to where ever you want to give coverage and plug it back in. The window requirement is only needed until GPS lock is made, or after GPS data is lost after prolonged power loss.
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