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AT&T expands 4G LTE coverage to 9 new markets, 44 more coming in 2012

post #1 of 60
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AT&T on Thursday announced it has expanded its high-speed 4G long-term evolution coverage into 9 new areas of the U.S., with 44 more markets coming before the end of 2012.

AT&T's massive expansion of its 4G LTE network comes as Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone at a media event next Wednesday. Currently, the third-generation iPad is Apple's only 4G LTE device, but it's anticipated that the company's next iPhone will also be compatible with the latest high-speed cellular networks.

The nation's second-largest wireless carrier, AT&T, has boasted that its 4G LTE network is capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. The company has invested more than $115 billion into operations and acquiring spectrum and other assets enhancing its wireless and wired networks over the last five years.

As of Thursday, AT&T's 4G LTE network is now available in:
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Bridgeport, Conn.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Modesto, Calif.
  • North Montgomery County, Md.
  • Northern New Jersey
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Syracuse, N.Y.

The company also sent out a flurry of press releases on Thursday, revealing that its 4G LTE network will launch in the following markets before the end of the year:
  • Albany, N.Y.
  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Allentown, Penn.
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Charleston, S.C.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Columbia, S.C.
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • Denver-Boulder, Colo.
  • El Paso, Tex.
  • Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Ft. Myers, Fla.
  • Gary, Ind.
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Green Bay, Wis.
  • Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Hawaii
  • Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Lancaster, Pa.
  • Little Rock, Ark.
  • Louisville, Ken.
  • Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Nashua, N.H.
  • New Haven, Conn.
  • Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Pittsburgh, Penn.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Reading, Pa.
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • Salinas-Seaside-Monterey, Calif.
  • Seattle, Wash.
  • Springfield, Mass.
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Tucson, Ariz.
  • Tulsa, Okla.
  • Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
  • Wilmington, Del.

AT&T


There is a distinction between AT&T's HSDPA network, which it began advertising as "4G" to iPhone 4S users starting with iOS 5.1, and the carrier's "true" 4G LTE network currently rolling out. The iPhone 4S is capable of 4G-like speeds thanks to AT&T's HSDPA network, however it is not a true fourth-generation network.

The change has allowed AT&T to further differentiate itself from competitors Verizon and Sprint, both of which carry the iPhone but run CDMA networks with slower 3G speeds.

Apple has addressed this distinction by displaying a connection symbol of "LTE" in the upper left corner of the iPad when connected to a 4G LTE network. iPhone 4S owners connected to AT&T's HSDPA network still receive a "4G" indicator on their device.
post #2 of 60

They are still way way way behind Verizon. Not to mention their roll out makes no sense. Now available in Anchorage Alaska, yet a city like Philly (5th largest) is still coming soon. Good going guys.

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post #3 of 60

I can't believe Minneapolis/St. Paul is not no this list - Anchorage Alaska gets LTE before Minneapolis - makes no sense!!

post #4 of 60

Given that our metro area is over a million people, I'm always surprised they wait as long as they do for Louisville KY.  I am pleasantly surprised it isn't super far down the list for their LTE rollout tho.  I know Sprint's WiMax never had us on their radar and Verizon didn't get here till last November w/their LTE.  Of course, I have an iPhone on Sprint so it all means jack to me heh

post #5 of 60
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Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

They are still way way way behind Verizon. Not to mention their roll out makes no sense. Now available in Anchorage Alaska, yet a city like Philly (5th largest) is still coming soon. Good going guys.

I'm sure it has more to do with working the bugs out of the system on a small implementation than anything else. Think of it like this, the original LTE Cities were "1.0", Anchorage is "1.1" and the newer cities will be something like "1.2".
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post #6 of 60
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Originally Posted by Michael Mpls View Post

I can't believe Minneapolis/St. Paul is not no this list - Anchorage Alaska gets LTE before Minneapolis - makes no sense!!

 

There are likely good reasons for the way any provider plans its rollout: market size, existing subscriber base, backhaul infrastructure already in place, and likely lots more that we don't know. We have Vz LTE here in Fort Wayne, IN, the second largest city in the state at about 250K population. However AT&T rolled theirs out in Muncie and not here, despite that being a much smaller market.

 

I guess the good news is that the rollout pace is really gathering momentum.

post #7 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

They are still way way way behind Verizon. Not to mention their roll out makes no sense. Now available in Anchorage Alaska, yet a city like Philly (5th largest) is still coming soon. Good going guys.

 

Agreed.  I have had AT&T since my first iPhone (3G) and now continue on with the 4.  I have already decided I am bailing and going back to Verizon when I order my iPhone 5.  My wife and I are on a family plan, but I've "served my time" on my contractual obligation, so I think I alone can bail.  

 

The fact that Philadelphia doesn't have LTE is absurd.  But it's worse than that.  It will be YEARS before the Philly suburbs and exurbs get it (where I am).  I am in the very last Western suburb of Philly...halfway to Lancaster, PA...and Verizon already has LTE coverage here.  Add that to AT&T's bogus mobile share pricing and absolutely UNRELIABLE, CRAPPY NETWORK and my decision is easy.  

 

 

 

 

  "Bye Bye..."

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post #8 of 60
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Originally Posted by razorpit View Post

I'm sure it has more to do with working the bugs out of the system on a small implementation than anything else. Think of it like this, the original LTE Cities were "1.0", Anchorage is "1.1" and the newer cities will be something like "1.2".

The number of users on a tower at a given time is an issue but a city like Philadelphia might also have regulations that make it harder for AT&T to setup new equipment, especially if that requires them to use new tower placement because of the different frequency band.

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post #9 of 60
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Agreed.  I have had AT&T since my first iPhone (3G) and now continue on with the 4.  I have already decided I am bailing and going back to Verizon when I order my iPhone 5.  My wife and I are on a family plan, but I've "served my time" on my contractual obligation, so I think I alone can bail.

I'll be going to Verizon because their LTE is faster. This assumes that the new iPhone will have LTE and will allow for simultaneous voice and data.

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post #10 of 60

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid, especially if you do the prepaid through an MVNO. The payback is something like 6-8 months. The only frustrating thing will be that none of the first tier operators allow MVNOs to access their LTE networks. However, HSPA+ isn't actually that much slower than LTE in actual practice. In fact, between my iPad 3 on AT&T's LTE network and my iPhone 4S's HSPA+ I can't tell much difference.

post #11 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

 

There are likely good reasons for the way any provider plans its rollout: market size, existing subscriber base, backhaul infrastructure already in place, and likely lots more that we don't know. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


The number of users on a tower at a given time is an issue but a city like Philadelphia might also have regulations that make it harder for AT&T to setup new equipment, especially if that requires them to use new tower placement because of the different frequency band.

 

This argument makes no sense. If you can cover the largest, most congested city in the US, you should be able to cover one 80 miles away that's 1/4 the size and a smaller area.

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post #12 of 60
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Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid...

 

      I am confounded by this too.  Do the math people, you are throwing away money when you buy on contract!  Yes, I paid over $600 for the iPhone 4S, but compared to a 2-year AT&T contract I will save $1000 on H2O Wireless.

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post #13 of 60

I completely agree. Been with AT&T since the beginning. AT&T is definitely trying to keep up with the Jones' in this case. They are behind, yet still charge as much or more than their competitors. The whole FaceTime debacle has proven to me AT&T doesn't care about their customers any way shape or form. I'm gone (with unlimited data plan) soon as the iPhone 5 comes out. Going to an unlocked no contract carrier.

 

 

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post #14 of 60

Thank God Albany is on the list....  BUT, how MUCH of Albany will be covered is the REAL question!

AT&T has a knack for saying that they are available in certain cities only to find out that it is the most downtown section of a city that has LTE.  News flash AT&T not many people actually reside in downtown metro areas...

post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

This argument makes no sense. If you can cover the largest, most congested city in the US, you should be able to cover one 80 miles away that's 1/4 the size and a smaller area.

There is no blanket set of laws that govern the entire world or a nation. As we've seen many times before building a new tower in SF is lot more difficult than building one in Dallas.

You seem to be looking at it as if the carrier is out to piss you off when you should be looking at it from their PoV and wondering why would they choose one city over another.

Cost for equipment for a low population node compared to another city? Perhaps they have a bunch of older LTE equipment they can ship up there. Equipment that wouldn't be suited for a congested city with thousands of people on a node at a given time. Perhaps deals with tower purchases, leases, or other deals have gone through more quickly.

The bottom line is no company is out to get any of us, but are out to get our money so they will build in a way they think will increase their bottom line. It's that simple.

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post #16 of 60

Funny how many people posting here are saying adios to AT&T yet their subscriber base keeps growing. I guess only stupid people use AT&T just like only stupid people buy Apple products. Is that the argument you really want to make? 

post #17 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid, especially if you do the prepaid through an MVNO. The payback is something like 6-8 months. The only frustrating thing will be that none of the first tier operators allow MVNOs to access their LTE networks. However, HSPA+ isn't actually that much slower than LTE in actual practice. In fact, between my iPad 3 on AT&T's LTE network and my iPhone 4S's HSPA+ I can't tell much difference.

 

and what prices are you actually getting for your usage?  Last I did the math with what I do, I would be paying just about the same monthly fee either way... if thats the case why not get the discount off the purchase price?  Its not like I'm going to stop using the phone in under a couple years.

post #18 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


There is no blanket set of laws that govern the entire world or a nation. As we've seen many times before building a new tower in SF is lot more difficult than building one in Dallas.

 

My point is it's all marketing spin. It's in their practical interest to cover more people at once: more customers, more perceived coverage, more revenue,  (as Verizon mostly did with their rollout), but instead they'd rather pat their backs and say hey we even have LTE in Alaska! My parents reside less ~50 miles from NYC, they were on EDGE until last year, only a few months shy of Verizon flipping the LTE switch. What a joke.


Edited by thataveragejoe - 9/6/12 at 6:43am
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post #19 of 60
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Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid, especially if you do the prepaid through an MVNO. The payback is something like 6-8 months. The only frustrating thing will be that none of the first tier operators allow MVNOs to access their LTE networks. However, HSPA+ isn't actually that much slower than LTE in actual practice. In fact, between my iPad 3 on AT&T's LTE network and my iPhone 4S's HSPA+ I can't tell much difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

      I am confounded by this too.  Do the math people, you are throwing away money when you buy on contract!  Yes, I paid over $600 for the iPhone 4S, but compared to a 2-year AT&T contract I will save $1000 on H2O Wireless.

For the service I get with some regional carrier or MNVO it's not worth any slight gain in the TCO. I could buy my iPhone for, what $900(?) instead of $400 and then pay the same per month for a contract with a carrier with a decent data plan. Not having a contract gain me any advantage, it just costs me $500 more a year for the phone.

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post #20 of 60
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Originally Posted by Michael Mpls View Post

I can't believe Minneapolis/St. Paul is not no this list - Anchorage Alaska gets LTE before Minneapolis - makes no sense!!


If you look at the map, it looks like Minne/St Paul is listed as a coming soon LTE city.

 

Also cities that already have LTE:

LA

SF

Miami/Ft Lauderdale/Palm Beach

Houston

Dallas/Ft Worth

Atlanta

 

...and btw I pay about $125 a month for 2 phones, unlimitted data (of which I usually use between 2 and 3 gb per month).  Haven't seen a no contract plan that compares

post #21 of 60

No matter how desirable Verizon's 4G speeds may be, they don't even have voice coverage in my neighborhood.   They're useless to me.   And they're doing everything they can to delay Voice over LTE.   So I guess, I'm sticking with AT&T, despite their poor 4G LTE coverage.  At least i can use the phone on their network.

post #22 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

My point is it's all marketing spin. It's in their practical interest to cover more people at once (as Verizon mostly did with their rollout), but instead they'd rather pat their backs and say hey we even have LTE in Alaska! My parents reside less ~50 miles from NYC, they were on EDGE until last year, only a few months shy of Verizon flipping the LTE switch. What a joke.

I've been to NY and there are plenty of towns of decent size that had EDGE for a lot longer than one would expect. Do you really think these places are ignored because they think it helps them to market to Alaska first? I don't see that as an option. I see it as it much easier (i.e.: cheaper) to setup an Alaskan city than certain cities of certain states for a wide variety of reasons.

These hardships are not the same between Verizon, AT&T et al. because the spectrums and number of towers each already uses alter the game. This is not a chess game between Verizon and AT&T where each has the exact same number of pieces and types. There is a distinct advantage to Verizon's presence and spectrums coming into the LTE market.


PS: I think a more important concern is how Apple will handle LTE in the iPhone since there are so many operating bands for LTE. The US has 3 bands just for Verizon and AT&T. Note that we only got penta-band chips for 3G as of 2010.

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post #23 of 60
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Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

 

Agreed.  I have had AT&T since my first iPhone (3G) and now continue on with the 4.  I have already decided I am bailing and going back to Verizon when I order my iPhone 5.  My wife and I are on a family plan, but I've "served my time" on my contractual obligation, so I think I alone can bail.  

 

 

 

The thing that keeps me from going to Verizon is if I travel outside of and LTE area and I get dropped back to CDMA speeds and the lack of simultaneous voice and data. 

post #24 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I've been to NY and there are plenty of towns of decent size that had EDGE for a lot longer than one would expect. Do you really think these places are ignored because they think it helps them to market to Alaska first? I don't see that as an option. I see it as it much easier (i.e.: cheaper) to setup an Alaskan city than certain cities of certain states for a wide variety of reasons.
These hardships are not the same between Verizon, AT&T et al. because the spectrums and number of towers each already uses alter the game. This is not a chess game between Verizon and AT&T where each has the exact same number of pieces and types. There is a distinct advantage to Verizon's presence and spectrums coming into the LTE market.

 

I think you're full of excuses honestly, as AT&T is getting their tail whipped. It absolutely is a chess game between the two. I mentioned my parents because it wasn't until Verizon announced LTE for their area that suddenly AT&T had 3G a few weeks later, the intentions were obvious. I'm sure you'll tell me it was a coincidence. AT&T has plenty of spectrum for their rollout, don't buy into their spin that they're some underdog. Verizon is far from some white knight, but they did this right.

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post #25 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract.
Specifically who will save you $18/month over Verizon/AT&T for comparable usage, without resorting to Sprint's network? As in, all-in for $55/month with at least 1GB of data and 120 minutes? That is the zero cost-of-capital cost; the monthly cost really should be under $50.
post #26 of 60

Verizon has Massive LTE coverage in Philly. They better catch up quick to keep me.

 
post #27 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

 

There are likely good reasons for the way any provider plans its rollout: market size, existing subscriber base, backhaul infrastructure already in place, and likely lots more that we don't know. ..

 

Yeah, like getting "mapped" by Verizon. AT&T's 4G/LTE rollout strategy is about not having another Verizon ad campaign where AT&T's coverage map looks silly next to Verizon's.

 

It's not about market size (just look at the cities in the list, and the ones that aren't), subscriber base (refer to list, again), back haul infrastructure (ditto), availability of tower sites, ... It's simply about marketing.

post #28 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

There are likely good reasons for the way any provider plans its rollout: market size, existing subscriber base, backhaul infrastructure already in place, and likely lots more that we don't know. We have Vz LTE here in Fort Wayne, IN, the second largest city in the state at about 250K population. However AT&T rolled theirs out in Muncie and not here, despite that being a much smaller market.

I guess the good news is that the rollout pace is really gathering momentum.

I agree. Market size isn't necessarily the primary reason for prioritizing LTE rollout, but rather feasibility- adequate spectrum, cell sites, & backhaul in place.

Verizon got a couple years head start because it had too. It's 3G CDMA is painfully slow. and the CDMA air interface technology had basically reached it max (3Mbs). The GSM upgrade path allows LTE speeds. albeit with less spectrum effeciency and next generation services. From my experiences, AT&T 4G is pretty good. I average around 6-7Mbs download speed. On Verizon 3G, I rarely get speeds above 1Mbs. For Verizon LTE, I average 8Mbs down, but occasionally see 10,15, or even 30Mbs download speeds. However, in everyday use, I don't really notice a huge speed difference between LTE & 4G, unlike the considerable difference between 4G & 3G & 2G. While LTE speeds are much faster, things like the time it takes for the browser (CPU) to render a webpage, or time it takes for an app to process downloaded data, overshadows the faster transmit speeds since it's the weakest link. For smaller bursts of data transmissions, we are only talking about fraction of a second, or maybe couple of seconds faster for the user. Where LTE does make a huge difference is for large downloads, such as email attachments and app downloads where the unnoticeable speed differences for small downloads add up to a significant difference. The difference for video streaming is that LTE can basically Blu-Ray quality, since broadcast quality is determined by available throughput. The upside is amazing video quality, but the downside is massive data consumption. With the paltry, expensive data caps offered by carriers today, sometimes it's more desirable to accept lower quality video for less data consumption.
post #29 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid, especially if you do the prepaid through an MVNO. The payback is something like 6-8 months. The only frustrating thing will be that none of the first tier operators allow MVNOs to access their LTE networks. However, HSPA+ isn't actually that much slower than LTE in actual practice. In fact, between my iPad 3 on AT&T's LTE network and my iPhone 4S's HSPA+ I can't tell much difference.

only if you're single

post #30 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


Specifically who will save you $18/month over Verizon/AT&T for comparable usage, without resorting to Sprint's network? As in, all-in for $55/month with at least 1GB of data and 120 minutes? That is the zero cost-of-capital cost; the monthly cost really should be under $50.

straight talk has $45 a month unlimited everything and they go over AT&T. their fair use policy is 2.5GB a month data.

 

figure $150 a month for a 2 line plan on AT&T you "save" $60 a month. but then you have to pop $650 at once for each iphone or other phone. if you have 4 or more lines on a mobile share plan then you can mix and match high voice users to high data users and get more data in the end than with prepaid.

post #31 of 60
post #32 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Specifically who will save you $18/month over Verizon/AT&T for comparable usage, without resorting to Sprint's network? As in, all-in for $55/month with at least 1GB of data and 120 minutes? That is the zero cost-of-capital cost; the monthly cost really should be under $50.

 

Straight Talk. $45 a month (no taxes or fees added on) for unlimited voice and SMS, and 2 GB of data. On the AT&T network.

post #33 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

I still don't understand why anyone enters a cell phone contract. It makes no financial sense when compared to buying an unlocked device and doing a prepaid, especially if you do the prepaid through an MVNO. The payback is something like 6-8 months. The only frustrating thing will be that none of the first tier operators allow MVNOs to access their LTE networks. However, HSPA+ isn't actually that much slower than LTE in actual practice. In fact, between my iPad 3 on AT&T's LTE network and my iPhone 4S's HSPA+ I can't tell much difference.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doh123 View Post

 

and what prices are you actually getting for your usage?  Last I did the math with what I do, I would be paying just about the same monthly fee either way... if thats the case why not get the discount off the purchase price?  Its not like I'm going to stop using the phone in under a couple years.

 

$45/mo for unlimited talk/text/data (which is really 3GB) plus $30/mo for AT&T LTE on the iPad. My wife on the same smartphone plan. Our monthly cost went from $190/mo to $120.
post #34 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

only if you're single

I'm definitely not single and it got cheaper.

post #35 of 60
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post
They are still way way way behind Verizon. Not to mention their roll out makes no sense.

 

Ah, on this topic, could any AT&T user (or anyone closely following this) tell me if they've given up on 3G rollout entirely and are focusing on just replacing all existing hardware with 4G (specifically real 4G—LTE)? 

 

Because I live somewhere that used to be a few miles from where their 3G service ends. Now it's somewhere that is a few miles from where their 4G service ends. We're still EDGE, it just jumps straight to 4G instead of any 3G being in between…

post #36 of 60

I'm not happy that Salt lake city Utah isn't on that list. They told us that we were suppose to get LTE this year... Looks like I'm gonna jump ship to Verizon. 

post #37 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

This argument makes no sense. If you can cover the largest, most congested city in the US, you should be able to cover one 80 miles away that's 1/4 the size and a smaller area.
It isn't that simple. A carrier has to deal with a whole host of issues. Local and state regulation play a big part as does local corruption. Do not underestimate the impact of corruption in getting approvals to install transmitting towers.

Then you have issues of geography. You need to get leases on land or structures to install your equipment. On top of that towers need infrastructure including high speed data connections. finally local communities can either be hostile or embracing of the technology.
post #38 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

 

Agreed.  I have had AT&T since my first iPhone (3G) and now continue on with the 4.  I have already decided I am bailing and going back to Verizon when I order my iPhone 5.  My wife and I are on a family plan, but I've "served my time" on my contractual obligation, so I think I alone can bail.  

 

The fact that Philadelphia doesn't have LTE is absurd.  But it's worse than that.  It will be YEARS before the Philly suburbs and exurbs get it (where I am).  I am in the very last Western suburb of Philly...halfway to Lancaster, PA...and Verizon already has LTE coverage here.  Add that to AT&T's bogus mobile share pricing and absolutely UNRELIABLE, CRAPPY NETWORK and my decision is easy.  

 

 

 

 

  "Bye Bye..."

I'm with you (Exton, PA here.) I can't get AT&T coverage inside my house even though I live on a hill. Where I work in Wilmington, DE, data throughput on my iPhone goes out daily at 2:30. You can almost set your watch by it. So I too want to give Verizon a chance. It's time.

post #39 of 60

Thanks for the links - I googled for this info but didn't come across these - 

post #40 of 60
1.2 million people in the Greenville, SC Upstate region, and no LTE for us!
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