Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

By Timothy Timothy | Posted at 22:45

In an act affecting owners of 2G cell phones on AT&T Mobility’s network, including the highly visible, and originally highly expensive first generation iPhone, Open for Business has learned that AT&T has been quietly sacrificing 2G signal strength in an effort to speed up the build out of its next generation 3G network. The first generation iPhone was trumpeted by the company as recently as seven months ago; many 2G phones continue to be sold by the Dallas-based company today.

Cell phones, like other wireless communications devices, have certain radio bands they communicate on. While previously the company had been primarily relying on the 850 MHz band that offers a more robust signal, including superior indoor reception, company technicians confirmed to OFB that transmitters for the 2G signal used by the original iPhone and most other handsets, including most AT&T offered BlackBerry and RAZR models, have been shifted to the weaker 1900 MHz band in some areas.

This shift has resulted in customers past their 30-day return policy, but still with relatively new phones, finding themselves stuck with equipment no longer able to pick up signals properly in previously strong coverage areas, even though the equipment itself is without defect.

OFB was able to confirm this situation for itself using multiple devices in St. Louis, MO, and also obtained information on similar cases across the country. Reports suggested the problem started to appear as AT&T ramped up its 3G network in preparation for the iPhone 3G in early 2008. Each AT&T technician OFB talked to concerning this problem offered the same solution: that the customer should purchase new, 3G-enabled equipment at the customer’s own expense. This has created a troubling situation for many owners of the original iPhone, a device that was as recently as May of 2008 selling for $400. These users are being told their expensive phones should not only be replaced at the subscriber’s expense, sometimes less than a year after purchase, but also at an increase in the monthly service rate of $10 for data and $5 for text messaging.

While the iPhone is the highest profile device impacted by the network change, other high profile, higher-end phones, including all but one of AT&T’s BlackBerry phones, feature 2G GSM/EDGE radios that could be impacted by this switch. In all, nearly half of AT&T’s phones available on its web site are 2G models incompatible with the newer 3G technology.

OFB/T.R. Butler

When I contacted AT&T’s technical support seeking a solution to the problem, the company did offer a $200 one-time credit, a helpful offer, but not nearly enough to offset replacing my family’s two perfectly functional iPhones and additional Nokia handset (equipment totaling about $1,000 in value over the last two years), nor did the company offer to offset the additional fees attached to the new phones (a cumulative total of $30/month). The standard upgrade offered was pursuant to a new two-year contract on all three lines. Over the course of the next two years, AT&T’s offer would cost an additional $920 plus tax to restore the level of service previously available.

As an alternative, OFB was also advised by one AT&T customer service representative to consider terminating AT&T service. The representative then suggested using unofficial information on the Internet to unlock the iPhone for use on another cellular network.

OFB’s staff collected other similar stories across the country, including the Midwest and both coasts. A serious question arises for those considering purchasing higher end equipment like the iPhone 3G or Blackberry Bold going forward, either as a new customer or as a customer attempting to escape the 2G problems. As AT&T looks forward to yet another network upgrade to the 4G LTE network in the coming years, is there any guarantee that new equipment purchased now will not suffer the same fate before its respective contracts expire as well?

AT&T’s executive director of analyst relations, Mark Siegel, “categorically” denied to OFB that AT&T was advising customers to dump 2G equipment such as the iPhone for 3G versions. In a follow-up message, Siegel added that the company was not requiring anyone to switch to 3G equipment. Although that is technically true, customers in affected areas are all but required to upgrade due to the dramatic signal strength drop over the last few months.

OFB also attempted to reach Apple for comment, but had not received a response from the company by press time.

Timothy R. Butler is editor-in-chief of Open for Business. You can contact him at tbutler@ofb.biz.



Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Well, at some point there needs to be progress too. I understand your frustration with your equipment that is fairly new losing some signal strength but I think you are presenting this fairly dramatically.

I, for one, am glad they are using the better penetrating 850mhz band to aggressively roll out 3G service to the rural areas..

Posted by Chris - Jan 3, 2009 | 20:14

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Chris,

Read the article again. They are switching to 1900MHZ lowering penetration ability giving worse service then they already have. I wish I never switched to AT&T but now I'm locked in. No 3G here, lousy 2G frequently loses signal away from the main road.

Posted by Gwired - Jan 3, 2009 | 20:50

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

This is bullshit, fuck ATT no wonder everyone hates those assholes, I am so glad Verizon in my area would never treat me like this.

Fuck off ATT.

Posted by Re: Chris - Jan 3, 2009 | 20:51

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

switch to a carrier that has been “3G” like forever now - Verizon.

sure the customer service sucks, but the phones work.

Posted by Anonymous - Jan 3, 2009 | 20:57

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

As an original iPhone owner, I was very happy when my 2G coverage suddenly IMPROVED within the last week.

I was in a very low reception area, and although the bars do not reflect much change, the actual speed of web pages loading has not only increased, but it has allowed me to use 2G with most apps now, when before they would often time-out.

If anyone has any stories of better reception since the network update, let me know. Maybe I'm alone in the universe.

Posted by Keith Coogan - Jan 3, 2009 | 21:07

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Par for the course. I predicted over 5 years ago that this is exactly what would happen once they decided to go to a post-GSM technology, based on the handling of the previous TDMA->GSM conversion.

AT&T and Cingular (pre-merger you understand) BOTH did exactly the same thing during TDMA->GSM conversion — they pushed GSM hard when GSM was not even fully rolled out on their own network. ANY problem I had was obviously because I did not have a GSM phone yet (including billing problems, and problems with texts not going through at all until they kicked my account a bit.) They pushed people to buy GSM phones in areas where they themselves had not deployed GSM yet, meaning the new phone would have been a paperweight. They pushed GSM in areas where the former TDMA relied HEAVILY on roaming, and there was no GSM to roam on, all the time swearing the GSM coverage would be better.

Worst of all, they did in fact start turning TDMA down to like 2 or 3 channels WAY before TDMA usage had dropped enough for this to make sense; “Oh, you're getting constant busy signals? Better get a new GSM phone”.

(I did get a TDMA+GSM dual-mode phone — a Siemens S46 — but then when I was told the TDMA roaming was getting shut off, I bailed for Verizon at this point.)

After I already bailed, people who clung to their TDMA phones encountered decreasing signal strength and increasing problems. The official line was equipment “natural degradation” or that they were intentionally reducing TDMA signal strength, depending on who you talked to. Yes, they say they INTENTIONALLY worsened service, not to free up channels for something else, but just to make service worse to “encourage” upgrades. Or at best, did not maintain their own equipment to keep it functional.

Verizon, in contrast, has had almost no service impact adding EVDO to their network. They made sure if they accidentally reduced coverage (maybe misaimed an antenna), that they fixed it and brought service back. They kept analog in good shape right until the analog shutdown.. from what I've read they counted analog calls in the dropped call and fast busy stats.. so while urging people to replace the analog phones they kept service perfectly acceptable for them.

—————————-
Given past behaviour, I predict your GSM service will continue to get worse, and you may even get complete service failures — well, more than now — with AT&T becoming increasingly unhelpful other than saying “Oh that wouldn't happen with a 3G phone.”

Then, in ANOTHER 3 or 4 years, they will probably start “degrading” 3G service so you can be pushed into buying ANOTHER new phone, this time with LTE technology.

To be honest, this attitude towards service upgrades AT&T had pushed me away more than the actual lack of GSM coverage my area had at the time.

Posted by Henry Wertz - Jan 3, 2009 | 21:50

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I live on the opposite side of Maryland from the Baltimore to DC highway so I had spotty 3g service until the begining of December. Now my 3g service is great and AT&T is actally pretty decent when I've called them about stuff. I'm the only one of my family and friends to get service in this rural area and their jealousy has prompted them to look into coming over to AT&T.

Posted by The Castro - Jan 3, 2009 | 21:51

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I do IT for a living. We have about 30 sales reps across the USA. I have most of them (25 out of 30) on Verizon and have almost no complaints. My Verizon sales rep is pretty good; their tech support is pretty good and polite not full of minimum wage morons. We have Blackberry 8830s and use the 'tethering' feature to get internet access for laptops - works very well, the laptop software is flawless.

My AT&T rep is not existant - literally can't get one. I only have AT&T for international use and wherever Verizon simply won't work well (about 5 of my reps have it out of 30). AT&T tech support is awful and most of them are plain stupid. AT&T tethering software simply doesn't work - it is a total POS. I gave up on it after it nearly trashed my PC - tech support couldn't make it work either.

AT&T sucks ass; it always has and always will.

Posted by none - Jan 3, 2009 | 22:21

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

What is with everyone kissing verizon's ass. Verizon cripples there phones, and if you want to go out of the country and what to use your phone, your SOL. Plus they are the most expensive carrier to be with.

Price Ranking: (lowest to higest): Sprint, TMobile, AT&T, Verizon.

If you got a Smartphone on Verizon, they want $50 bucks just for data! At least $50 will get me unlim data and unlim msg on at&t. With sprint you can be on the simply everything $99.99, Everything data 900 89.99 or 450 for 69.99.
Those plans include TV, Nav, and unlim msg.

Everyone else wants to rape ya to have data on a “smartphone”.

I am glad at&tthey are pushing for better technology, if your the dumbass who buys an edge only phone these days, its your own fault.

Posted by seven - Jan 3, 2009 | 22:39

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

they ALL suck, big time.

No one has a really dependable network and they all suffer from horrendous customer service.

We're still in the growing pains for wireless here, and we've got a way's to go.

Sooner or later, 3G, 4G, and whatever else they can think of will be replaced by some form of Wi-Fi. All communication will be over IP networks… good in the long run, better for data, but it's going to take a long time to move everything in that direction.

Posted by jltnol - Jan 3, 2009 | 23:14

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

$50 for data on verizon? check your research buddy. im on a 1400 min family plan w/2 lines…one line being the bb curve, the other a lg env2. im paying $29 for data, not $50. get your figures right.

Posted by salimar - Jan 3, 2009 | 23:20

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

When they “upgraded” in my area in the middle of 2008 my reception went from 4 bars to between 1 and 0 in my house, and this is with a multi-band phone (including 3G). I also talked to a small business owner that relies on AT&T for portable POS devices and they were loosing a lot business (and sleep) over this.

I have spent numerous hours on the phone with AT&T support, including technicians. To tell you the truth, it comes down more to incompetence than malice.

Posted by nobars - Jan 3, 2009 | 23:20

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

People, this is not a broad side. They said this like a month after the launch of the new iphone they were doing this. This was right after all the 3g issues. People reported that they went thought a night of 3g black out to wake up to much stronger service. This has been reported on for quite some time. It sucks what they are doing but they are spectrum deprived what would you have them do. they have to ramp up the 3g. I think they should have thought this through more. Instead of change frequencies try adding more 3g only towers to increase the density like they do in Europe.

Posted by stephen - Jan 4, 2009 | 0:42

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

If I could suggest anything to at&t it would be to stop the mindless further deployment and expansion of their 3G network and put their focus on and capital on LTE which most likely will be launched on their newly acquired 700MHz spectrum. 3G was intended as the network carrying data and honestly it dissapointed us. VZ is all over LTE and will be rolling it out quickly on their newly acquired 700MHz spectrum and at&t will be ever behind VZ …

We like the bed-rock solid GSM network and find it nessesary to disable 3G on our new phones in order to have calls with a relatively decent quality.

Posted by Anonymous - Jan 4, 2009 | 1:48

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I've noticed that 2G iPhone network speeds have decreased wherever I go. Not sure if it's due to this or just AT&T being crappy in general. Often it's so slow, I give up while out and about.

Posted by Norman - Jan 4, 2009 | 2:23

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

While I agree that eventually changes have to be made in favor of 3G over 2G signal, keep something in mind.

Some people can only afford to upgrade their phones under the contact prices. They can't outright buy the phone for $250+. If contracts were not a part of this, I would agree with the “that's how upgrades work” view point. But people are contractually screwed into a phone that doesn't work as well because of AT&T's upgrades. At the very least, they should let you out of your contract under those circumstances.

Posted by Linoth - Jan 4, 2009 | 3:12

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

This article is all based on hearsay and half truths. Little knowledge is indeed dangerous. To my knowledge there is no place in US where AT&T moved GSM 2G from 850 to 1900 MHz. If you know a place or town or city, I challenge you to to prove it to me.

Posted by Anonymous - Jan 4, 2009 | 3:18

Weaker Data with ATT iPhone

It's not just the voice — I have definitely noticed increasingly severe degradation of my 2G iPhone's internet browsing capacity over the last half year, in both northern NJ as well as Los Angeles.

I remember when I first got the 2g iPhone last year. Browsing was fast and functional and fun. Nowadays it can take a full minute to load a basic web page. It's horrible. This problem does not seem to affect a 3G USB data modem I also have with them.

It's time ATT got their heads handed to them on a platter in the form of a class action law suit. Upgrading your system is all well and good. But dishonest business practices that systematically rip of masses of consumers to get there are not acceptable; it's very interesting to see this article apparently validate a suspicion I've had for a good while now.

Posted by Monir - Jan 4, 2009 | 3:28

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

They've done it in Rayham, MA. QED

Posted by Anonymous - Jan 4, 2009 | 4:54

Yes, this has been my experience lately, luckily...

I have a Treo 750 3G, and most of my destinations have 3Gs. Also, tethering on 3G is pretty neat, often faster than hotels' WIFI.

Posted by Jeremy Chone - Jan 4, 2009 | 6:03

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Anyone who believes the anti-Apple/ATT propaganda above including some of the phony comments is a fool. Why would ATT set themselves up for a class action lawsuit?

Posted by zato - Jan 4, 2009 | 6:11

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

only places with 3G coverage where capacity is required should be affected. Not all markets have their 2G on 1900. In PA, for example, there is 1900 GSM, 1900 UMTS (3G), 850 GSM, and 850 UMTS. If a market is killing 850 GSM to clear spectrum for 850 UMTS, then i think 2G only users have a legitimate gripe. But not all ATT markets are migrating 2G (GSM) to 1900 MHZ carriers exclusively .

BTW, Verizon has NOT been true 3G for “years”…Pure FUD. True 3g is 10MHZ carrier with no distinction between voice and data. VZ has been running CDMA forever…but not 3G. 3G is WCDMA, not CDMA.. there is a difference.

Posted by VW - Jan 4, 2009 | 6:18

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Professional assassination is the highest form of public service.

Chun

Posted by Hassan bin Sober - Jan 4, 2009 | 7:10

AT&T downgrading EDGE - Page 2 - BlackBerry Forums at CrackBerry.com

d Gizmodo pulled the post.<br /> <br />
Big shock.<br /> <br />
Here's the link to the original story:<br /> <br /> <a href=”http://www.ofb.biz/safari/article/512.html” target=”_blank”>Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones - OFB.biz: Open for Busi


Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

wow half you ppl have no idea what your talking about…the voice side of your phone is completely different from your data side Voice=GSM data=EDGE/UMTS as to verizon having 3G forever their EDVO although 3G its not as fast as UMTS and won't be until the launch WCDMA

Posted by epiccollision - Jan 4, 2009 | 13:03

AT&T Customers "forced" to Upgrade to 3G? - Is it true? - BlackBerryForums.com : Your Number One BlackBerry Community

le=”Sad” class=”inlineimg” /><br />
<br />
Please see the article for details:<br />
<br />
LINK —> <a href=”http://www.ofb.biz/safari/article/512.html” target=”_blank”>Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones - OFB.biz: Open for Busi


Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

An intuitive awareness of THIS kind of risk is EXACTLY why myself and others sidestepped the iPhone contract using the 999-99-9999 SSN trick.

So-called “service contracts” are actually payment contracts, while the service provider AT&T remains largely uncommitted.

Posted by Ruggy - Jan 4, 2009 | 15:45

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

One of the things that always bugged about Sprint was how I could never get a signal while at my church (which is right across the street from the local Sprint offices). Interestingly enough, I also get no signal on my iPhone. I am beginning to think the building has lead-lined walls or something.

Posted by Michael Pate - Jan 4, 2009 | 16:37

This article is very misleading

And the writer doesn't have a very good understanding. For one, UMTS cannot occupy an entire 850 block. Secondly, i highly highly doubt they would deploy 2 channels on 850 at this point in time, and degrade GSM, there is no reason to. You don't NEED BOTH 3g channels on 850. In several cities i've been in, that have 3g on 850, there is only 1 3g channel on 850, and one on 1900 (if demand requires). There is plenty of GSM left on 850.

Thanks for the crap article.

Posted by zephxiii - Jan 4, 2009 | 17:21

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I live in St Pete Florida. I literally have to go outside my house now to use my AT&T phone service. It used to work great until a few months ago… its a pain in the ass when its raining out. I drop calls left and right. I'm considering a switch to TMobile as that seems to work good in my house. How damm hard is it to make a friggin cell phone work? No other industry could deliver such a lousy service and stay in business. I agree, AT&T sucks big fucking horse balls.

Posted by Paul - Jan 4, 2009 | 17:29

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

“Verizon, in contrast, has had almost no service impact adding EVDO to their network. They made sure if they accidentally reduced coverage (maybe misaimed an antenna), that they fixed it and brought service back. They kept analog in good shape right until the analog shutdown.. from what I’ve read they counted analog calls in the dropped call and fast busy stats.. so while urging people to replace the analog phones they kept service perfectly acceptable for them.”
NOT TRUE. VERIZON SERVICEIN NYC HAS DROPPED. I AM UNABLE TO GET A SIGNAL IN MY HOME. BEFORE THE EDVO ROLLOUT I WOULD GET A STRONG SIGNAL

Posted by MARTY SHOTTY - Jan 4, 2009 | 17:45

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Same problem in rural parts of Central Florida. I live in Lake Wales, very center of the State, and have a Moto Q Global, a Blackjack II and two Samsung A737. When we finally got 3G in part of this area, the Blackjack II, brand new, went from marginal to totally worthless at home with no signal. The A737's, great signal at the house, now must be taken outside or restarted to get signal in the house. The Q, best radio in cell phones, switches from G to E and the signal is full one minute and breaking up the next. Sounds like the same issue but would love to hear from ATT directly as I am very phone savvy but not to the extent that some area; such as channels received and the like. Anyone else have issues in Central Florida?

Posted by Bill Lanoue - Jan 4, 2009 | 19:23

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Two weeks ago, I called AT&T Tech Support (611) to ask if there was any way I could improve the signal reception I get inside my house. We regularly wind up switching to a land line because the audio sounds horrible using the cell phones we have. If we go outside the house the audio quality is better and we get fewer drops, but it still isn't that great. The tech advised me that AT&T will be moving service in some areas from 1900 Mhz down to 850 Mhz in order to improve indoor signal strength. The article above is more specific than what the tech said, but in general the article isn't quite in sync with the tech. There's no reason given by the article, for example, why AT&T would need to move 2G service to a different batch of frequencies. Is there a reason why A 2G phone interferes with the operation of a 3G phone? The tower ought to be able to figure out what the phone needs and deal with it.

Posted by MIchael Brian Bentley - Jan 4, 2009 | 21:24

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I have a 3G iPhone - this is great news - seems like a lot of negative comments but they are improving 3G speeds by doing this!! :-)

Posted by Joe - Jan 4, 2009 | 21:30

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

epiccollision is the perfect example of people who don't understand technology yet still calls out others more intelligent.

>wow half you ppl have no idea what your talking about…the voice side of your phone is completely different from your data side Voice=GSM data=EDGE/UMTS as to verizon having 3G forever their EDVO although 3G its not as fast as UMTS and won’t be until the launch WCDMA

As I pointed out and heavily detailed at http://nushrike.blogspot.com/2008/03/3g-and-usa-another-example-of-low.html

WCDMA Is UMTS. 3G UMTS is data+voice — there is no separation. There is no GSMvoice+3Gdata. Come back after you schooled yourself.

Posted by NuShrike - Jan 4, 2009 | 21:50

Iphone 2G a little slow lately? Here's why - ExpressJet Forum

hone, that means less reliable data connections. 3G phones are unaffected.<br />
<br />
Read here:<br />
<br />
<a href=”http://www.ofb.biz/safari/article/512.html” target=”_blank”>Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones - OFB.biz: Open for Busi


Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Facts sure are a pain, aren't they? All that research required. Why not just wing stuff and see if it gets you onto TechMeme on a weekend…

“many 2G phones continue to be sold by the Dallas-based company today.”

Um, no. AT&T and Apple stopped selling the original iPhone as new when the 3G was launched. There's an occasional refurb deal that comes up on Apple's site from time to time … but generally speaking, no AT&T does not continue to sell 1st gen iPhones today.

Posted by toom - Jan 4, 2009 | 23:29

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

The quote was that “many 2G phones continue to be sold” which is a true statement. The whole Blackberry line being sold (Pearl, Curve, etc) are 2G as are numerous “dumb phones”. I believe that is what the writer was referring to.

Posted by Bill Lanoue - Jan 5, 2009 | 0:36

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

After reading this article the new Samsung Omnia with Windows Mobile OS from Verizon is looking very attractive to me. I'm one of the early adopters who got screwed by paying $600 for the iphone, but screw me once shame on you; let me be screwed again, shame on me.

Posted by Jon_Doh - Jan 5, 2009 | 16:37

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

My LG VX4500 was a great phone and I continue to use Verizon's $5 unlimited data plan. Only problem is the phone only supports the Verizon 1x (2nd generation network). If I upgrade my phone then I'll have to switch to their $30 data plan. I'm pretty sure Verizon is crippling its 1x network too. I've had poor reception and have been dropping calls for a few months now.

Posted by Rob - Jan 5, 2009 | 17:10

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

No they didn't switch to 1900 ALL towers were upgraded to the 850 band, if your not going to do research don't write about it.

Posted by Bill - Jan 5, 2009 | 17:38

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I have been with at&t for 10 years and the service and signal strength gets worse by the day i have spent more talk time on the phone with tech srevice than my friends i just switched to Verison and i could not be happier so FUCK AT&T I SAID FUUUUUUUUUUUCK AT&T. tell every one you no to switch to Verison and this will kill AT&T buisness.

Posted by Donald - Jan 5, 2009 | 18:35

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I have almost 50 Blackberry phones and we started seeing our signal strength decrease a few months ago just before they turned 3G on here. I can see the AT&T cell tower out my office window and before I always had 5 bars, but that reduced drastically when 3G came to town. It is now so bad here that I switched all our cell phones over to T-Mobile. Best thing that I ever did.

Posted by Ed - Jan 5, 2009 | 19:51

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Funny, I have a 2g iphone with AT&T and over the past couple of years, the service has gotten better and better. I live in Northern VA, just outside of DC. I used to get 0-1 bars in the house, but then something changed early last year. Now, 5 bars in the house.

About 3g, i was at the AT&T store recently, thinking of upgrading to the 3g iphone. I held a 3g in one hand, my 2g in the other. typed in a url on both, then hit go. The 2g phone loaded the page faster, much faster. 3g around here is just not working right.

Posted by Dan - Jan 5, 2009 | 22:37

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Every evening since Dec 20th, 2008 I've been getting a “Network busy” or “Network failed” notice for about 65% of my outgoing calls whether local or long distance using my ATT cell phone. Also, about 50% of the time while talking to a client, the reception will just suddenly drop and I'll have to make several attempts to call my client back before I can actually call out when the network isn't “busy”. While I am definitely working off of 2G technology, it just seems that as a long-time customer locked into a two-year grant that began a year ago, I should be provided quality service as much as the newest customer they're trying to attract with 3G technology. If this continues for another month, I'd like out of my contract without any penalties. It seems like a reasonable request considering they have failed to provide me with reasonable service. Does anyone know of a consumer group that can help us with this? So it's not just one individual person complaining and unable to make any waves?

Posted by Wendy - Jan 6, 2009 | 4:48

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

To the guy who dropped the challenge having to do with proving what city moved the 2G network from 850 to 1900 Mhz, I first challenge you to not post without a name or handle, nothing worse than an ATT shill or someone from the company posting anon!

Posted by KoreyAusTex - Jan 6, 2009 | 16:10

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Old tech will always die. Remember when blockbuster quit carrying VHS? Sure it sucks if you have a 2g phone. But the iPhone is the best selling phone and is where they stand to make money. Fuckin 50 a month for data and text is bullshit but I still pay it. I'd still take AT&T over tmobile or sprint.

Posted by jake - Jan 6, 2009 | 19:43

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

FUCK ATT! I SPENT $500 FOR THE 2G IPHONE AND THIS IS THERE WAY OF TAKING CARE OF ME. FUCK ATT!!!! THOSE MOTHER FUCKERS!!!!!!!!

Posted by TOBY - Jan 6, 2009 | 20:49

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK AT&TTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by CHRIS - Jan 6, 2009 | 21:11

Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

They should just swap out all AT&T edge phone for the 3G version phones for say $50 and then do whatever they want. Any attempt otherwise or without informing customers is absolute nonsense.

Posted by Parikshith Kumar - Jan 7, 2009 | 16:10

FINALLY! Its here! - BlackBerry Forums at CrackBerry.com

00 after attempting to have their customers upgrade to 3g. Found some good info on this website<br /> <br /> <br /> <a href=”http://www.ofb.biz/safari/article/512.html” target=”_blank”>Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones - OFB.biz: Open for Busi


Definitely noticed slower data rates

Even before I saw this news, I had noticed all web sites loading much slower over Edge on my iPhone. They went from tolerably sluggish to incredibly slow. I also noticed I've lost signal strength on the ground floor inside my home. I suspected ATT was doing something to the local tower, but apparently they are simply doing something truly deviate.

I would upgrade, but I hate their bend-me-over pricing on their sub-par 3G services. If ATT keeps their 3G plan prices as high as they currently are, I may as well jump to a better 3G company. If they really want people to switch to 3G, they should price it the same as Edge. People would convert in masses.

Posted by Bill D - Jan 7, 2009 | 18:09

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I would first like to comment in regards to the different technology of cdma and wcdma/hsdpa. First Evdo rollout is not a completely different telecommunications system, its an upgrade for data meant for an existing cdma 2000 network. So the transition to evdo for data would not affect voice as much on a cdma network.. Now, Wcdma/HSDPA is a not only a hardware and software upgrade , but different from GSM as a whole. Yes they have some simular properties, but they are different. They are building this from the ground up just like analog and digital were built, you have to take into account that moving around technologies is bound to happen as they transition from one network to another. I agree, because I worked for the RF department at cingular up untill recently that some of this affects customers in negative way, I don't know if you could call it malicious, but you could say that some changes affect these customers negatively and does give a perception of possibly cheating them. However I would say its the natural progression, as the movement and upgrade of technology continues and yes it sucks that this affects a lot of people and I agree that there should be some descent credits for customers that are affected in order to help them transition to the 3g. Unfourtuntely, somebody is going to get upset when things of this nature happen.

Posted by GBULM1234 - Jan 7, 2009 | 20:21

Report: AT&T Sacrifices 2G for 3G, Tells Customers to Get a New Phone - BlackBerry Forums at CrackBerry.com

nally yielded to those demands, but its way of boosting 3G may anger some of its other customers. AT&T will be sacrificing its 2G network, according to the report, in order to try to boost its 3G signals. The effe


Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

My question is this: If this rumor is distorted or somehow unfactual in any way, why hasn't ATT responded in some manner? You know they have had to heard about this, it showed up in every blackberry forum I've been to…so how about it, ATT. What is your response? Have you noticed they are strangly silent on everything. You can't even get a notice on an outage…

Posted by Anonymous - Jan 11, 2009 | 5:47

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

AT&T's move from 850 to 1900 for 2G services: Step one is to complete the move, Step two is to “drive test” 2G service on 1900 and compare it to what it was on 850mhz, and Step 3 (the one no one else is apparently aware of) is to add MCPA amplifiers to the 1900 signal to boost it to the level of coverage that was previously available to 2G customers on 850mhz. Step 3 may lag by a few weeks, so just be patient, AT&T has not forgotten the 2G users.

Posted by DPSkiman - Jan 12, 2009 | 17:22

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Well, I just found this article after researching why I've been having tons of dropped calls and diminished call quality on my 16gb 2G iPhone. I just called AT&T tech support (after reading this) and all they suggested was that it's probably a sim card issue, to replace it and see what happens. I'll try that, I guess. Though I haven't been happy with the service (call quality) since I moved from Verizon, I haven't had this many dropped calls up until this point. In the last two to three weeks, I've had about 40… yes… FORTY call failures. Funny, because my wife who has a 3G phone and my friend who has a Moto Q (3G) have actually said they've noticed much better audio/call quality. IMAGINE THAT.

Posted by Kevin - Jan 13, 2009 | 23:41

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

“AT&T’s executive director of analyst relations, Mark Siegel, “categorically” denied to OFB that AT&T was advising customers to dump 2G equipment”

This is a lie I called AT&T to complain about the crappy service I have gotten lately on my 1st gen iPhone and the rep on the line told me I needed to upgrade to restore service. I have upgraded and come to find out they dont offer 3g in my area. So I get crappy service at more money hurray!!

Posted by TBone - Jun 23, 2009 | 17:39

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

Zato definitely works with AT&T! My AT&T service stopped (in my home) (-105 to 115) about 2 months ago so I went from the 3g to the 3gs. Of course the sales people at AT&T promised that the new phone would work much better because it is a 3.5 G device or something like that Well it's still crap! Maybe even worse! By the way, I live in the center of downtown Chicago. I'm one mile from lake michigan and less than a half mile from the Sears tower. According to their crummy maps I couldn't be in a stronger coverage area. Nevertheless, my coverage has gone from 5 bars to 1 (or often none). ANY LAWYERS OUT THERE?!? Maybe a CLASS ACTION will get AT&T moving!

Posted by RS - Jul 13, 2009 | 19:16

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

For the past 6 months or so, all of my family's phones have seen a large drop in signal strength. After hours of time spent with Rogers techs they finally told me that my home was 44 Km's from the closest 3G tower, and that the 2G tower is only 5 Km's away. They said I would beable to switch the networks on my phones, but I don't appear to be able to. Does this make any sense to any of you.

Posted by Shawn - Aug 2, 2009 | 12:22

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

115) about 2 months ago so I went from the 3g to the 3gs. Of course the sales people at AT&T promised that the new phone would work much better because it is a 3.5 G device or something like that…

Why was this crossed out above?

Still no service in my area. (Chicago 60608)

Posted by RS - Aug 4, 2009 | 14:03

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I live in Chicago. You'd think that in the 3rd largest city in the world that you could consistantly get 3G service with an iPhone. You would be wrong. AT&T sucks balls. It is even worse in the stix. Everytime I am sent to some small town in rural America, I am the only one without a signal.

They can say what they want with that douche Luke Wilson in their commercials, but Verizon is far superior. ANY cell phone company is superior.

Posted by Matthew - Feb 14, 2010 | 9:25

Really cute 911 Call! If you haven't seen this on youtube see it now..

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Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

My husband works with a group of Indianapolis roofing contractors and they are constantly noticing flux in their cell phone signals. You would think that by being up on a roof all day you would have great service, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes he could be on the roof of a 3 story home and still have no bars!

Posted by Lauren G - Oct 11, 2011 | 15:59

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

No, the phones do NOT work.
I bought an IPhone 4 3 G Sept 30th. The service in my home is awful, dropped calls, no service, one bar, no wifi, it's a mess. I am missing calls all the time. We have an expensive plan. My entire family is on it, and the phones are not working.

This is not acceptable. ATT must do something about this.
Thank you.

If this is happening in CA on a 2 week old Iphone 4 what happens when they go to Iphone 5. I live in a big city in CA.
I had no problem with my TMobile phone and service.
Thank you

Posted by Raven - Oct 16, 2011 | 21:43

AT&T Forcing me to "Upgrade" [Must Read] - Android Forums

says they're reallocating 2G bandwith to improve 3G. Have no idea if they're a valid source of info though. <br />
<a href=”http://www.ofb.biz/safari/article/512.html” target=”_blank”>Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones - OFB.biz: Open for Busi


Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

would say its the natural progression, as the movement and upgrade of technology continues and yes it sucks that this affects a lot of people and I agree that there should be some descent credits for customers that are affected in order to help them transition to the 3g. Unfourtuntely, somebody is going to get upset when things of this nature happen.

Posted by flac - Jan 7, 2011 | 8:35

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

AT&T just rolled out 3G at Lake of the Ozarks. My kids and I all have 3G phones. We can't make calls, text, or anything now. They only put up enough towers to cover the touristy area of the Lake and those of us who live full time at “the quiet end”, are cut off. A service manager by the name of Paul Moreno told me, “If we have to lose 1,000 customers to make the rest happy, that's what we'll do”. I'm stuck now. No other service really works here either and nothing works worldwide as well. AT&T has a store right here in town, but their service no longer works here unless you're right in town. Those of you who think they're helping rural areas are sadly mistaken. They're cutting us off.

Posted by Beverly - Jul 20, 2010 | 1:48

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

This guy hits it on the head (see below). This is exactly what is happening with my phone (3G Samsung) and my wife's phone (3G Iphone) over the past month or so. We've enjoyed problem free AT&T service for more than a year now, but suddenly we're getting “Busy” or “Call Failed” on her phone on about 99% percent of calls placed. AT&T tech. “support” blames the phone, and had me go in for a new SIM card that didn't help. BUT THEY SAID I AM ELIGIBLE FOR AN UPGRADE IF I SIGN A NEW 2-YR CONTRACT…… shysters. I'm switching cell providers for sure. I believe what AT&T is doing is illegal and amounts to fraud.

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones
Par for the course. I predicted over 5 years ago that this is exactly what would happen once they decided to go to a post-GSM technology, based on the handling of the previous TDMA->GSM conversion.

AT&T and Cingular (pre-merger you understand) BOTH did exactly the same thing during TDMA->GSM conversion — they pushed GSM hard when GSM was not even fully rolled out on their own network. ANY problem I had was obviously because I did not have a GSM phone yet (including billing problems, and problems with texts not going through at all until they kicked my account a bit.) They pushed people to buy GSM phones in areas where they themselves had not deployed GSM yet, meaning the new phone would have been a paperweight. They pushed GSM in areas where the former TDMA relied HEAVILY on roaming, and there was no GSM to roam on, all the time swearing the GSM coverage would be better.

Worst of all, they did in fact start turning TDMA down to like 2 or 3 channels WAY before TDMA usage had dropped enough for this to make sense; “Oh, you’re getting constant busy signals? Better get a new GSM phone”.

(I did get a TDMA+GSM dual-mode phone — a Siemens S46 — but then when I was told the TDMA roaming was getting shut off, I bailed for Verizon at this point.)

After I already bailed, people who clung to their TDMA phones encountered decreasing signal strength and increasing problems. The official line was equipment “natural degradation” or that they were intentionally reducing TDMA signal strength, depending on who you talked to. Yes, they say they INTENTIONALLY worsened service, not to free up channels for something else, but just to make service worse to “encourage” upgrades. Or at best, did not maintain their own equipment to keep it functional.

Verizon, in contrast, has had almost no service impact adding EVDO to their network. They made sure if they accidentally reduced coverage (maybe misaimed an antenna), that they fixed it and brought service back. They kept analog in good shape right until the analog shutdown.. from what I’ve read they counted analog calls in the dropped call and fast busy stats.. so while urging people to replace the analog phones they kept service perfectly acceptable for them.

—————————-
Given past behaviour, I predict your GSM service will continue to get worse, and you may even get complete service failures — well, more than now — with AT&T becoming increasingly unhelpful other than saying “Oh that wouldn’t happen with a 3G phone.”

Then, in ANOTHER 3 or 4 years, they will probably start “degrading” 3G service so you can be pushed into buying ANOTHER new phone, this time with LTE technology.

To be honest, this attitude towards service upgrades AT&T had pushed me away more than the actual lack of GSM coverage my area had at the time.

Posted by Henry Wertz - Jan 3, 2009 | 15:50:42

Posted by Mats Lund - Jul 16, 2010 | 18:50

Re: Fewer Bars in More Places: AT&T Network Upgrades Degrade Service for 2G Phones

I went from a full signal to 0-1 bars,and I am unable to use my phone at all in my cabin on Lake Hartwell.I could give a shit about texting or data.Before reading this I have called tech supt.8 times and if I hear one more dipshit telling me to turn the phone on & off I will scream.I just renewed my contract for two years in January,why is there not a class action suit against these assholes.I have my 81 year old mom's medi alert forwarded to this phone.If I could get out of this contract I would in a heartbeat,and the bad part of this is I am a retired digital tech from AT&T.

Posted by Thurman A. Pearson - Jun 3, 2010 | 0:18

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