An Interesting Response to a NYTimes Article on Cell Phones

It seems that Apple is having issues selling phones to New York City, or rather AT&T is not selling their iPhones to New York City on-line (you can still purchase them at brick-and-mortar stores).  This article (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/28/for-new-yorkers-trouble-buying-an-iphone-on-atts-site/) explores a little bit, but the following is a response from AAA in Central Pennsylvania.  It sounds like he might either work for AT&T, or else have a similar relationship to them as I do with Microsoft.  I am only editing his text for spacing and spelling.  I should mention that I am a customer of AT&T and have never had an issue with their network (in New York City or elsewhere), but am not an intensive data user – I usually just pull my e-mail, not videos.  -M

I am a partner in a very mobile (as it we go to a variety of job sites each year) specialty systems integration business, and in a year, we all travel to many points within the "lower 48"
Cell phone based technology is our life line, and very often in setting up a site, the land line data lines are not yet in place, let alone the land line telephone lines for our client, so very often we use cell phone based devices to get the projects started.

What we have found from experience is that, like last week's, NYT article spelled out, ATT has a better network. Especially for our business cell phone account, and yes, there are provisioning (provisioning affects how a cell phone device interacts with the cell tower network) differences between residential / consumer / individual cell accounts and business cell accounts.

Now I will point out, that there are some dead spots, in places like when using laptops when riding the DC Metro, or in a back seat of a car in the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, or the NYC Lincoln Tunnel, or when on the NYC MTA, on the Elevated Sections in NYC or even on Amtrak (Boston to DC and Philadelphia to Harrisburg) where ATT does not always seem to work instantly, but that is a transitory event.

Within seconds the problem clears, ether by moving slightly, or waiting until the cell device grabs a new tower. Only in rural New Hampshire do we sometimes have a problem, and that is fixed by leaning on the roof of a parked car and resting the cell phone so the lower edge just touches the roof (greatly increases reception as the "ground plane" of he cell phone internal antenna is improved).

Though I will note, that nearly all cell phone based devices allow for the connection of an external antenna to improve reception and range.

Even in places like when crossing the Woodrow WiIson Bridge, south of DC, where you start out in Maryland, touch the DC and then end up in Virginia, all within less than a mile, ATT keeps the connection.

In terms of equipment, we use iPhones, Motorola Razors, HTC Advantages (paper back book sized cell phone with a 5 inch screen) and all manner of SIM card capable professional equipment (sourced from a variety of eBay based cell equipment vendors) that allows us to connect up regular telephone equipment on one side that, with the magic of the ATT SIM card installed in the device socket, is a cell phone on the other.

Thus we can carry our regular, (plug into the local phone line) credit card machine, fax machine, and even a back up hard wired telephone gear with us at all times, and can easily connect to ATT anywhere we do a project within the lower 48.

We have had the account since cell phones appeared in the 1980's and if there is anything to add, is that both ATT and Verizon started out poorly. But is has been ATT who has improved the most, and especially when ATT dropped analog cell technology.

Add to that improvement in coverage, even in odd ball Texas locations where the cows out number the people, the fact that the ATT technology of the SIM card allows for all manner of extra telephone / communication equipment to become a cell phone device.

The value of which is not to be underestimated, when coupled with the ATT signal.  It is something that Verizon and its technology will not allow, so that means only with ATT technology can you put your 87 year old parent on the family cell account, and yet give them the desk telephone , so they don't have to fuss with a cell phone. (Secret is the box that accepts the ATT SIM card and connects to that old style phone.)

Or how on eBay we picked up unlocked European market netbooks that accepted ATT SIM cards so our entire staff has an instantly connected netbooks.  No dongles, no USB plug ins, just turn on and go. Again only with ATT type technology, and certainly not Verizon with CDMA.

So, if your experience is only one tiny little iPhone, and you are not willing to walk down the hall or go to a window, I pity you, as, there are always going to be dead spots with any cell phone, and all you have to do is move.

If you still have a problem, call the carrier and check to see how your account is provisioned, and be prepared to get a business account and pay for it.

Like the days of hard wired phones, certain classes of service get the queue ahead of others which is why business cell accounts, always seem to have better service.

You get what you pay for.

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