Note: This is coming from a loyal AT&T customer, feel free to call me a fanboy all you want, but everything below are my experiences with the network. Yours may vary, but this isn’t about you, is it?
You know what really grinds my gears? When people complain about AT&T being a bad network. Sure, back in 2008 when they were getting overloaded by a thing called the iPhone their network, suffered a bit (or a lot), but that doesn’t mean they haven’t fixed things in the last 4 years. Yes, there have been complaints up until this day about coverage issues, but I have yet to see a huge problem with their network.
I have been lucky enough to travel all over the US in the last year, so I’m not just isolating my experiences to one area.
- In Washington D.C., the only network issues I experienced were dropped calls and no services in the metros. Not saying I expected it, but other cities like San Francisco are said to have AT&T service in their metro lines.
- In Puerto Rico, their service was spotty at best on the island I was staying on, but they had better service than any other carrier on the island. I was impressed considering there was only one network tower on the whole island of Vieques.
- In Miami, data speeds sat at around 1Mbps, with no dropped calls. This includes South Beach.
- In the Florida Keys, I could consistently hit 5Mbps down in the middle of the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. This was on a 3G-only device, capable of up to 7.2Mbps.
- Where I live, I have great service as well. I cannot remember the last time that a call was dropped, and data speeds have been fantastic. 10Mbps download have been no issue on devices with a 21Mbps capable HSPA+ radio.
I think it’s safe to say that AT&T has been a great carrier for me. Many other customers have been very satisfied with their service as well, but the one issue I have is when I read a comment about how much AT&T sucks.
Let’s take a peek at the competition. Verizon boasts the biggest network in the nation. It has also been known to have the most “reliable” network, something most would not disagree with. They also run the largest LTE network in the US, but that doesn’t exactly mean it’s the best. The authentication used in Verizon’s LTE network is fundamentally flawed, leading to the many outages we’ve seen. On top of that, Verizon’s 3G network is only capable of hitting 3.1Mbps down on any device, with real-life speeds hovering around 1-2Mbps down.
Sprint’s network is just…horrible. AT&T’s EDGE network can easily best Sprint’s 3G network in most cases, which is downright embarrassing for the carrier. Their WiMax service runs on the 2500MHz band, leading to some of the worst coverage available. LTE is slated to hit the network anytime now, and should improve data speeds in the few markets that it will be available in at launch.
T-Mobile is running a decent network, with a fast HSPA+ backbone for data, but no true 4G currently available. LTE is in the pipeline, but we don’t know when we’ll be seeing it. Network coverage tends to be spotty in terms of data, but it’s the best budget carrier on the market.
Call me out all you want on this one, but AT&T is the best carrier in the US in my opinion.
Consider this: you buy a phone on Verizon, and it’s LTE capable. LTE service may be available in your area, but what happens when you leave LTE coverage? You hit Verizon’s slow 3G. Now you buy a phone on AT&T. You have LTE service in your area, and when you leave that coverage you still have fast HSPA+ to fall back on. Even if you don’t have HSPA+, EDGE is fine for checking Twitter and email. Now think about it, which service would you rather have?
I get it, you like your carrier. You defend your carrier. You may have had a different carrier in the past. You may have not had too great of service with that carrier. But times are changing, and AT&T is making their network stronger than ever. Don’t agree with me? I travel to northern rural Wisconsin often, but have not been able to get up in awhile. Since the last time I was up, I had EDGE service most of the way up. Just this past weekend, I had 3G the whole way. And not just a bar or two, but in most cases 4 or 5. I was a very happy camper.
Now’s your chance to let me know how you feel. Do you love AT&T? Hate it? Hate me? Hate Apple? However you feel, the comments are open for you to discuss.