The San Francisco Business Times recently began a project to document wireless dead zones in the Bay Area. It’s a good idea; they have a simple form any user can fill out to give the address of the dead zone, explain it a bit if they choose, and name their service provider. So far, they’ve accumulated quite a bit of data — over 500 data points. The best part? As far as I can tell, nearly every single one of the dead zones is on AT&T’s network.
To be clear, in their form, the Business Times allows you to choose AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Other. But the only reports coming in are for AT&T. That’s not to say there aren’t dead zones for the other providers, but clearly, they aren’t nearly as big of an issue as they are on AT&T, where the problem is widespread.
It’s pretty clear at this point that both AT&T and Apple (the iPhone is the most popular AT&T device) know their service in the Bay Area sucks. Sadly, it’s not clear just how much they can do about it since it’s extremely hard in the city to get clearance for the new cell towers needed to boost service. Still, AT&T could offer discounts or partial refunds or you know, their rip-off MicroCell, to customers affected for free. Instead, we just get perpetual promises that things are getting better when in fact the opposite may be happening.
Reports have been flowing in today that AT&T’s service in the Bay Area over the past few days has been much worse than normal. Reports of missed calls, broken voice mail, and the inability to send and receive texts seem pretty rampant.
View the full map on the Business Times site here.
Update: Naturally, AT&T is freaking out about this and wants me to update to say that they’re responsible for only 83 percent of the dead zones in the Bay Area. Only! I still can’t find a spot on the map that isn’t AT&T, but whatever. I’m sure there’s one — maybe.
In other words, AT&T is saying we’re not really, really, really, really, really bad — we’re just really, really, really, really bad. Or, it’s like boasting about getting a “D-” on a test rather than an “F”. Everyone needs something to tout, I suppose.
Keep up the good work AT&T. I’m still waiting for any hint of coverage in our office.