What is up with AT&T’s wireless service?

I’ve noticed in the past 6-12 months (not exactly sure of timeline) that my AT&T wireless service has been getting very hinkey.  When I say “hinkey”, I mean you can have a full set of bars, but no response or very slow.  In the past two months, a number of bloggers are complaining about their 3G coverage, especially while using their respective iPhone 3Gs. If you’re trying to make a phone call, browse the internet, or attemping to download updates (a la Facebook), you could be fine one second, and then kaput.

The blogosphere (the bloggerati?) are pointing the finger at all the iPhone 3G phones (with all the other 3G phones) eating up so much AT&T network bandwith, it’s effectively creating a network slowdown.  It would certainly explain a lot.  I remember way back in the 1998 – 2001 time period, I signed up for my first cell phone (a Nokia) through AT&T Wireless.  The service was acceptable initially, but a few years later, the reliability of their analog service degraded.  Funny, that was the problem back then, and it was just analog for phone calls. 

Back then, one of my cousins told me to stick with AT&T Wireless, as he heard they were going to build new towers, but it never improved over the next few months.  Eventually, that prompted me to first move to T-Mobile, then Verizon Wireless a few years after that.  In 2007, I came back to AT&T for the nice selection of BlackBerry smartphones.  Unfortunately, I have come back full circle, and am now experiencing data network issues. Where am I going after this?  Nowhere. I’m here with AT&T for the long-term.

BTW, this is interesting. What with all the different cellular communications technologies we’ve had, check out this graph with how the technologies have converged so far, and will continue to converge in the U.S. towards this LTE-A standard.  Neat.  Does that mean all of our cell phones will be interchangeable between carriers in a few years?

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