10-11-08 10:47 PM
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  1. Crucial_Xtreme's Avatar
    Ok, now I know a lot of members and others are mad at AT&T and/or RIM for not launching the Bold yet. As we've all seen, there seem to be some issues with the Bold. It seems as though AT&T has held off on the release to address some of these problems. Which is a good thing BTW. We also know that the Iphone 3G has had issues on the AT&T 3G network. In the few posts I've addressed regarding this issue I have stated that in places where the network runs on 850MHz vs 1900MHz there are next to no issues with the 3G network. If you do some research, you will see this holds true. Below is a article that explains how AT&T and that AT&T is planning on fixing these issues. Obviously they have to be corrected, because all US carriers have made the decision to move to LTE, and you need to have 3rd Generation ironed out before moving to 4th. This is good news for all AT&T customers. I know I might should've put this in the AT&T forum, but this is NEWS, and I didn't want it to get lost in the fray.


    Fixing AT&T: AT&T's Internal Plans To Fix Their Network
    AT&T's Internal Plans To Fix Their Network

    AT&T was calling me to set up an interview with their CTO, but all I could hear was garbled noise on my AT&T iPhone. "I can't really hear you!" I shouted, as if volume would clear the channel. It's always been like this, in my home in San Francisco.

    While the howls of iPhone 3G reception issues get louder and louder, I've always wondered if it was the network's fault, as some Swedish scientists and journalists have recently suggested. Maybe it's just new AT&T customers making the bulk of the noise. From my experience, the phone isn't blameless, but the network is a major part of the issue.

    Continuing the call on an land line, I said I'd be glad to meet with John Donovan. To be perfectly honest, on a certain level, I didn't really want to ask questions. All I wanted to do was get the guy in front of me and berate him for his network's voice quality and reception, relatively slow 3G rollout and coverage. AT&T's been last in all those metrics for years (according to JD Powers) and they were still raking in the bucks as the nation's largest carrier. But after meeting him, I'm certain John Donovan has the intent the Old AT&T didn't. And a detailed plan on how to make "More Bars in More Places" less like a joke and more like a promise. In fact, Donovan surprised me when he said, "We want to be number one in all those metrics" — That's a lot of big talk when I can't even make a call from my own house right now. Here's the outline of the plan, which Donovan provided later — as well as some straight talk from an AT&T engineer on whether or not the plans will work.

    •Cell site splitting. We’re deploying about 1,500 new cell sites this year. This enhances service quality in two ways – we’re expanding the geographic reach of the network, and in some places, we’re adding cell sites in existing territory to improve coverage and capacity.

    •We monitor the usage for both data and voice on each and every cell site sector, combine that with our forecasts and customer feedback to target specific locations where we need to augment capacity via further cell splits.

    •TDMA turndown. Earlier this year we turned down our TDMA/Analog networks. That allowed us to free up key spectrum to redeploy into the UMTS/HSPA network. Not only does that give us the opportunity to increase overall capacity on UMTS/HSPA, it enables us to deploy UMTS/HSPA at 850 Mhz (vs 1900 Mhz). This 850 spectrum provides optimum in-building coverage. We’re in the midst of turning up this spectrum on the UMTS-HSPA network across the country.

    •Short measurement intervals. We’re deploying capabilities to measure network performance in much shorter intervals. This capability will be especially important to maximize service quality during major events. For example, during a Final Four or World Series game, traffic on the network will spike during time outs, or when a great play, bad call, or something else big happens. In normal circumstances, we might measure traffic and performance a few times per hour, but in these situations, we’ll monitor every few minutes to ensure maximum performance during the spikes that occur in real time.

    •Wireless backhaul. We’re leveraging our U-verse and metro Ethernet fiber deployments to enhance wireless backhaul connections in many areas. We’re moving more and more of our wireless backhaul onto the 40 Gbps AT&T backbone network. So … the investments we’re making to maximize service quality on the wired side also benefit our wireless customers.

    •Drive testing. AT&T technicians and other third-party vendors will drive-test its network nearly 30 million miles in the next year to improve the network’s coverage and quality.

    •Hundreds of technicians from third-party testing companies, infrastructure vendors and AT&T technicians use specially designed vehicles to travel throughout the country and test the signal strength and coverage of AT&T’s ALLOVER Network.

    •Along with drive-testing its own network, AT&T drive-tests competitors’ networks to ensure that its coverage and quality are equal to or better than other companies providing service in the area.

    •The drive-test results help to prioritize where the company invests in new cell sites and equipment that enhances the network quality and coverage.

    While a great deal of the document above is fairly obvious, there are many roadblocks to executing the plan and improving the network. Donovan's interview revealed some details of the plan above, but some engineers within the ranks gave me a great deal of insight, too.

    A large part of the problem, Donovan said, is that people would complain, and yet, by all of their measurements, the user should have had full bars in the place and at the time they reported the poor coverage. Hence the need for better tools and more frequent sampling, instead of several times per hour, they'd do it every few minutes during congested periods. A great deal of that testing is done using network tools, but drive testing will help, and AT&T also tests their competitors' networks for comparison.

    Adding more towers in a place is not simple. It's a local affair, requiring navigation of local building codes and politics. Somewhere like SF makes that hard, but the hilly terrain wouldn't help the situation either. And while 30 million miles of driving sounds like a good idea, the engineers I talked to insisted that drive testing is really just a final check once you've got enough towers in place. "Save the money on drive testing and build sites or improve sites we already have...[by] buying t-1s to increase capacity." He also commented that adding 1500 towers alone isn't enough to solve the problem.

    Turning down analog networks sounds like a winning strategy, as long as you don't mind grandma's cell call quality being degraded. The activation of the 850MHz band will also enable better indoor reception, which is going to be critical in expanding data/voice quality as user counts go up. Donovan also said that they'd shift their allocation of bandwidth towards data from voice, which makes sense. Analog aside, the EDGE legacy is taking up resources on the towers which are shared with 3G. As one of the engineers said, having UMTS and GSM use the same antennas causes "interference and performance. It’s like putting a splitter on a garden hose the flow is still there but volume is cut in half on each side." (This is where Verizon and Sprint have an advantage.)

    And as Wired has realized, 3G range being more limited, AT&T can't actually blanket a city by using the same tower locations as their EDGE counterparts. But my engineer friend also said, "We went from 2.5g experts to 3g novices." They don't have the training or experience to find or fix issues as well as they do on EDGE networks. Many in the field are also lacking the expensive test gear for UMTS to find bad channels and interference.

    Why didn't AT&T make these investments in the first place, while Starbucks and T-Mobile worked on Wi-Fi hotspots and Sprint/Verizon went 3G ahead of the curve? Money.

    And while AT&T's financially conservative strategies in the past have limited expansion, there's no reason they couldn't also do so in the future. I asked Donovan if caution was the overriding strategy behind waiting to match Sprint's initial 3G rollout, he replied, "I'd like to say we're deliberate. " He added that initially meeting the voice quality and data rates of Sprint's 3G network would have been both technically and financially impossible, despite the customer benefit. (One only needs to look at Sprint's financial weakness now to appreciate the wisdom of his point.) He also pointed out that by waiting, they got to leapfrog the limitations of Sprint's EVDO networks, referring to the extended data rates their network will eventually run at, at a better value. "The most astute thing you can do is be as late as possible and as fast as possible. Because it's going to cost you more if you do it too early, and if you do it too late, you don't get the features you want."

    When AT&T's LTE networks do make the jump past Sprint, from 1.7Mbit to 7Mbit to 11Mbit to 20Mbit, their bottle neck will move to their backend infrastructure. To counteract that, they'll depend on their extensive wired and fiber backhauls the company has. But, in areas where the telco is owned by AT&T, AT&T wireless still has to buy lines from themselves and the budget isn’t there. According to at least one engineer, "We still operate at the field as two completely different companies. While at the top they see “ONE” we see many."

    Will AT&T succeed at having the best call quality, coverage and reception? Who knows. But at least here, we have their plans on record and can hold them to the goal. After all, they're the biggest carrier — they've got a responsibility to all of us to make their network the best, no matter what the cost.

    I just want to be able to hear the other person on the end of the line.
    09-08-08 09:37 PM
  2. Crucial_Xtreme's Avatar
    80 views, zero replies??? Damn, you all must be pretty upset with AT&T huh? LOL.
    09-08-08 11:30 PM
  3. isaacleese's Avatar
    I'm pretty happy with AT&T so far, but I'm using an EDGE handset. We'll see once I get a 3G handset (which will either be a Bold or a Fuze.)
    09-08-08 11:33 PM
  4. Garz's Avatar
    I read it earlier but did not leave a reply. Definately good info.
    09-08-08 11:34 PM
  5. miss_michelle's Avatar
    I don't have 3G (yet) so I'm not having these problems. I'm not unhappy with AT&T at all. I've always been of the mind that they're being responsible to not release the Bold until it can be done in such a way that the consumers are satisfied with the product and the service. If that can't be achieved now then I think we should be happy to wait. I think the iPhone is a prime example - Apple and AT&T was so anxious to get it out there that they failed to properly plan and they've been having lots of problems.

    Thanks for the article - it was a good read and very informative. It's nice to know they're on top of things and have a good sound plan.
    09-08-08 11:37 PM
  6. bobojay's Avatar
    Sounds like a winner, but, how long will it take! Everyone else will still be better.
    We've always been with AT&T, but we're seriously considering switching to Verizon next year.
    09-08-08 11:44 PM
  7. sparkomatic's Avatar
    I'm with at&t but mainly just cause they seem to get the cool handsets. Or, the one's that I want anyway. They're okay in my opinion.

    Plus, they got rid of the Cingular Jack...that was very sad...I miss him...haha
    09-08-08 11:57 PM
  8. scotts11's Avatar
    i know its been covered but to show how important this is, the 850mhz spectrum is where you have inside reception and AT&T is working diligently to fix this problem

    also, the reason for dropped calls is the turnover rate on the towers, meaning that when one tower haqnds your call off to another tower it is a bit rocky right now, but this will hopefully be fixed by the end of the year....this is why cdma has fewer dropped calls because of the hand-off from tower to tower
    09-09-08 12:03 AM
  9. Five's Avatar
    [FONT="Tahoma"]
    A large part of the problem, Donovan said, is that people would complain, and yet, by all of their measurements, the user should have had full bars in the place and at the time they reported the poor coverage.

    Thank you for posting this. I'm going to send it to ATT tomorrow and demand to be released from my contracts. This is what I have been telling them the ENTIRE time I have had their service, yet all they would do was repeat themselves like a broken record: "we don't show any problems in your area..."

    Yada yada yada, Now where will I go from here as I live in a B or C market and I know ATT will not be addressing these issues in my city any time soon.
    09-09-08 12:20 AM
  10. dolphinguy's Avatar
    ^^ Thanks for the clarification to all AT&T customers. I knew about this issue, but it's good for customers to know.
    09-09-08 12:22 AM
  11. Duvi's Avatar
    Good stuff... AT&T has the potential and the upper hand with GSM right now. Although CDMA may have better call quality, it is due larger to the 3g network maintaining voice and data at the same time (IMO.)
    09-09-08 01:03 AM
  12. Resident Mortician's Avatar
    at&t has always been bad, the more bars in more places thing is a complete joke. I was an at&t customer for several years, with TDMA and GSM and was never very happy, and the CS was horrible. Since i swithced over to T-mobile i have been very happy, escpecially in the houston market, now that im an hour north of houston, around town coverage is great but out in the country alittle ways and forget it, but i have a VRZ company phone i can use out there.

    All the carriers have the ups and downs, i just think at&t is spending all there money trying to get these exclusive deals for the latest phones and ignoring there network problems and that is not a good thing, because then you have a bunch of customers with a cool phone on a crappy network.
    09-09-08 12:10 PM
  13. gmpblack's Avatar
    Well being in a rural are in western MA we have no 3g coverage as of yet but we do use the 850 band and call quality here is the best of the three ( or four if you count iden )we have no tmo at all. I also LOVE the fact that if a customer fracks up there phone instead of telling them oh well you should have had the ins. I can point them to a Go phone and they go off happy with a new phone they can use till they can do a proper upgrade. When I sold Verizon if a customer dropped or sat on there phone they were up the proverbial creek , buy a new phone outright or pay the ETF. All and all I am much happier as an att customer and dealer. Oh and Good read...
    Last edited by gmpblack; 09-10-08 at 09:44 PM.
    09-09-08 11:11 PM
  14. blackmannx's Avatar
    I used the 3G Iphone for almost a month in testing an Att coverage sucked.. and they are supposed to be really strong in the Md.VA, DC area... Glad I never turned off my Vzw Curve because I was several places where I had NO service..
    09-10-08 12:06 AM
  15. dave_sz's Avatar
    This should've taken them like a day to fix seeing that att's 3g coverage are is about the size of my apartment. Come on...

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-10-08 05:08 PM
  16. BigVDawgy's Avatar
    I hope they do these improvements soon. I've watched AT&T's data services get noticably worse as of late, and they were never that great to start with.
    09-10-08 10:32 PM
  17. tomabraham63's Avatar
    I am very happy with ATT's 3G mobile broadband service with a USB modem on my computer - its really fast and even off 3G, its still pretty good.

    Call quality on my ATT 8700, 8800, and 8310 has always been bad. Virtually
    every call is choppy sounding everywhere I go. I travel alot so its not isolated
    to home.

    I travel alot internationally so I kinda have to use ATT as the ATT Blackberry International service is really untouched by any other carrier. My ATT BB's
    have always worked better overseas.....call quality wise. Data has been
    the same or slightly better in the USA, while the call quality is way worse.

    Guess everyone should pick their carrier based on what they need. If I never
    left the lower 48, Verizon would be the carrier of choice.
    09-11-08 03:23 AM
  18. MystikPeril's Avatar
    It's actually the lack of 3G coverage from AT&T in my area that led me to my BB Curve. I get great coverage on the EDGE network, but not so much when it comes to 3G. I talked to customer service and they told me the nearest 3G tower was 5 miles north of me. Apparently that's too far, because I had to return my 3G phone for my Curve. In the long run, I'm glad it worked out like that.
    09-13-08 12:07 AM
  19. Blacklatino's Avatar
    Thanks for the information CX. I haven't had any complaints with at&t in a long time and I've been with them for over 13 years.
    09-13-08 12:22 AM
  20. Checkingout's Avatar
    I hope AT&T goes through with their plan and it is successful. Seems your carrier is based on where you live and travel, hardware, software and financial needs.

    Personally, I am getting sick of Verizon's customer service and cost. But even though ATT works GREAT in my residence (weird I realize) on the road, the dropped calls are just to much. With Verizon, my coverage at home works,,,but barely; however, on the road, can't remember the last dropped call!

    Owning my business, I must have coverage that ALWAYS works (can't be dropping calls with customers) - so I am stuck with Verizon. When someone has a better network in Southern Califonia - Bye, Bye - Verizon!!!!

    But, everyone is different. I was reading a thread from an attourney in Arizona that dropped Verizon to get an iPhone, and even after dropped calls, poor batt. life etc.... he was determined to have an iPhone? So hardware is key to some folks. My First Thirty Days with the 3G iPhone - PDAPhoneHome.com

    So for all the folks wanting to have better options, hardware and pricing...I only hope all the providers step it up a couple of notches!
    Last edited by checkingout; 09-14-08 at 10:41 AM.
    09-14-08 10:38 AM
  21. unmasked's Avatar
    Ok, now I know a lot of members and others are mad at AT&T and/or RIM for not launching the Bold yet. As we've all seen, there seem to be some issues with the Bold. It seems as though AT&T has held off on the release to address some of these problems. Which is a good thing BTW. We also know that the Iphone 3G has had issues on the AT&T 3G network. In the few posts I've addressed regarding this issue I have stated that in places where the network runs on 850MHz vs 1900MHz there are next to no issues with the 3G network. If you do some research, you will see this holds true. Below is a article that explains how AT&T and that AT&T is planning on fixing these issues. Obviously they have to be corrected, because all US carriers have made the decision to move to LTE, and you need to have 3rd Generation ironed out before moving to 4th. This is good news for all AT&T customers. I know I might should've put this in the AT&T forum, but this is NEWS, and I didn't want it to get lost in the fray.
    Thanks for the info. I recently bought a Nokia E71 which gives me EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA through AT&T and the mode varies quite a bit even if the phone doesn't move. The disturbing part is that I also have a broadband connect device which always keeps a 3G connection (though I can't tell if it is UMTS or HSDPA) so I should never be getting just an EDGE connection on my phone. I'm really not sure what's going on.
    09-18-08 03:46 PM
  22. Crackberrykills's Avatar
    Damn CX. You definitely supply us with great info. Thanks buddy.
    09-28-08 04:18 PM
  23. disciples0's Avatar
    I really didn't understand the substance of this thread. Certainly not reveletory.
    Truth is At&t grossly under estimated iPhone 3g load. It's sucking up the whole band due to it's poor engineering. Functions in a ping-pong fashion, leaves gaping holes in enterprise security.
    None of this is attributalbe to RIM, using a much more refined and competently arranged platform which incorporates their own servers.
    So there you have it. No bandwidth left for the Bold to operate due to amateur Apple gizzmos. At&t is working on it, along with a mountain of other headaches provided by Mr. Jobs and his gang of stooges.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-29-08 04:57 AM
  24. 3083joe's Avatar
    I have edge and still drop calls often so I wonder if this will help my problem? I call support all the time to report the problem but it never seems to help. maybe it the area I live in VA
    09-29-08 10:37 PM
  25. ElderBrujah's Avatar
    Good article... the only time I really have a problem with dropped calls/no signal is either in Wal-Mart or on the road between Wichita Ks and Coffeyville Ks.... but.... there's several dead zones where no one gets a signal... doesn't matter who your carrier is..... not even the guy with all the ppl behind him
    09-29-08 11:19 PM
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