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3G is Finally Here October 13, 2009

Posted by Conrad Hubbard in : The Chip , add a comment

As always, the up front statement: I really like my iPhone 3G. Previously, however, I have repeatedly complained about the fact that AT&T’s promised 3G simply wasn’t actually available in my neighborhood. AT&T kept telling me that it was, but that was fairly insulting when I was typically sitting there looking at barely one bar on Edge, and regularly getting dropped calls at the time.

In the interest of fairness, I have been meaning to post an update. Sometime in late September, AT&T finally put 3G in my neighborhood. Now I have the same coverage at home that I could get in the middle of nowhere at Lake Lanier last time I visited. Seriously, it has been really nice. I can normally get 3G at home, at my local bar, and all around my local area. My dropped calls have drastically decreased as well. With the exception of the periodic outages on the 3G network, this is the coverage I imagined when I bought the phone.

Then, this past weekend, AT&T sent me this advertising circular in the mail. Get the AT&T 3G MicroCell, they proclaimed. It will improve your wireless experience at home. Basically, you buy a miniature tower to keep in your house, at a price of $150, and it uses your DSL or cable modem Internet connection to give you 3G. Sounds like voice over IP (VoIP) to me. Okay, but it costs about $15 a month for a single phone, and increases the traffic on your internet connection.

Seriously, when I first saw that they were offering some sort of “mini-tower” thing, I thought that maybe they were letting you purchase this item that boosted their network. That seemed sort of clever to me. Except that wasn’t the bottom line. You weren’t purchasing a booster. You were buying a specialized modem that entitled you to paying $15 extra every month to get the service that they keep saying you are already getting.

Folks at AT&T, I appreciate the 3G finally being in my neighborhood. It is finally starting to seem like it could be pretty awesome. I probably would even have paid some sort of one-time purchase-fee to boost my personal access. However, I don’t like this new plan you have introduced. It feels like you are asking me to pay extra to get the service you already claimed you were giving me.