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Rumor — AT&T Losing iPhone Exclusivity Next Week 353

MojoKid writes "An inside source over at HotHardware reports that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on 1/27, coincident with Apple's upcoming press event next week, though it's not yet clear what other carriers will be stepping in to pick up the iPhone. For anyone who has followed the saga, you may notice that you haven't seen AT&T fighting to extend their original exclusive agreement as of late. In fact, they have spent most of their time fighting Verizon's negative ad campaigns. This may not be all that surprising. Inside of AT&T, word is that the iPhone is causing more trouble than ever before. On some level, having the iPhone is hurting AT&T's image. Do you remember hearing about AT&T's 'horrible network' before the iPhone? The iPhone itself doesn't really handle the switch from 3G to EDGE very gracefully, so calls that are in-progress tend to fail whenever 3G connections aren't optimal and the phone attempts to step down to EDGE. It seems that AT&T may finally be tired of taking the heat."
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Rumor — AT&T Losing iPhone Exclusivity Next Week

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  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:23AM (#30878000)

    I work in NYC and have the choice between Verizon and ATT for my "company" phone service. I use the data features fairly frequently and when our group of 40-50 folks sits down and chats (we're pretty equally divided between ATT and Verizon users) it seems to me that ATT data service is usually faster and more reliable. Of the people who are most vocal about their Verizon support there, they seem to be mostly voice users and only casual data users.

    As far as the iPhone goes, I'd MUCH rather have a Nexus One if I was in the market for a fancy smart phone.

  • AT&T Sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Derpnooner ( 1606505 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:24AM (#30878018) Homepage
    Howdy, I worked with AT&T/Cingular right at the release and that is when "it" happened. From what I was told, AT&T reduced the range of their network to make data transmission more "reliable" for the iPhone, and in so doing, they pissed off a number of end users. We had so many complaints from people about their service no longer working in their homes, work, etc. I was there for the switch to 3G in OH and though the service is fast, the batteries don't last (heh); my phone(s) would be dead with very limited surfing. Oh well, maybe AT&T will rebrand again - back to Cingular and become completely Open Source... and monkeys might flight out of my butt. Bye iPhone.
  • Verified (Score:5, Informative)

    by deadend44 ( 1728576 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @10:45AM (#30878166)
    My fiance works for an AT&T reseller and just verified that they are losing exclusivity this week.
  • Droid vs iPhone (Score:5, Informative)

    by adairw ( 1338775 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:04AM (#30878294)
    I have a Droid on Verizon and my girlfriend just got an iPhone on at&t. Nearly all my friends have iPhones and honestly I've always wanted one. However I didn't want to carry two att phones, as my work provides me a phone. So I've stuck with alltel/verizon for my personal phone. As a self proclaimed nerd I really enjoy what I can do on my android device and I see a ton of potential in the future but as far as end to end experience goes, the iPhone's interface is a lot cleaner/smoother. As far as apps go on android I've found just about everything I want as far as apps go. Even most of the ones my friends have on iPhone. One thing I really like about my droid is the quality of the calls both on speaker and on the hand set. Sounds really nerdy but I have a friend who works for a bank and he also has a droid, before he got it if he was in his server room on the phone I could hear the noise from all the servers and other equipment...Not with his droid, it sounded DEAD quiet. I kept asking him if he was really in the server room and he kept laughing at me saying he was. I like at&t and the iphone, I also like android and verizon. When it came down to it for me I wanted something new, not what everyone else had.
  • Not really. (Score:4, Informative)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:14AM (#30878354)

    That's GSM's fault, not the phone's.

    Maybe due to the US-implementation of GSM, but GSM can handle this just fine.

    You don't see this problem in Europe.

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:16AM (#30878368)

    To get the iPhone, I would need to sign up for a VERY expensive and long term contract. There is no way I'm spending a thousand dollars a year for a friggin phone. To get the Nexus One I can buy a prepaid sim from T-mobile and pay $100/year, using WiFi for network connectivity. This price advantage alone is enough to give the Nexus One an enormously larger market than the iPhone.

  • by jjo ( 62046 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:18AM (#30878374) Homepage

    I have an iPhone and it's OK in the Boston area, but I'm fairly often in central New Hampshire, and AT&T sucks big time. A few months ago, I had to take my wife to the emergency room, and wait for several hours. Inside the Laconia hospital, my iPhone signal was zero, zippo, nada. My wife's Verizon phone had a 4-bar signal strength. While both AT&T and Verizon have dead zones, AT&T's seem to be much more prevalent.

    I laugh when I see AT&T's claims of having the "fastest" network. It's not very fast when you have NO SIGNAL AT ALL!

  • by mejogid ( 1575619 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:19AM (#30878382)

    The Nexus One is manufactured by HTC, not Google - they have a lot of experience making OEM phones (many of the network-branded phones of the last 15 or so years were designed & built by them).

    As for software, it's give and take - I like Android for the multiple concurrent apps (allows some very clever add-on features, such as automatically switching on your wifi when the cell identifier indicates you're in an area you normally use it), the widgets (especially calendar), the open app store (so emulators and alternate browsers are allowed) and the google integration & syncing. On the other hand, the app ecosystem isn't as good as the iPhone and the UI isn't always as fluid/good looking.

    Depending on your use case, I can see how Android could be far better suited.

  • Re:About time... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Xenious ( 24845 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:23AM (#30878406)

    Of course other countries have mobile networks that all use the same frequency and technology. Only here in the US are we blessed with 2 diggerent HSPA frequencies and CDMA networks. I suggest the CDMA networks change over all their towers and join the real world. ;)

  • Or, go look at a Nokia N900. I find it amazing how little press this wonderful mobile computer that has phone functions is getting. I have been a fone freak for years, the N900 is like the parting of the Red Sea in a CB DeMille movie.

  • Re:Uh, excuse me? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @11:36AM (#30878516)

    Not true. At least in Finland (Sonera's network) iPhone is a total fail when it comes to being a phone. You get dropped from the network daily even in central Helsinki. I've never before had such problems and I've been a cell user since 97.

  • by adairw ( 1338775 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:04PM (#30878782)
    I doubt it, I think the verizon network in general is better built. If they started feeling the squeez I think verizon would invest money into the network instead of ignoring it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:11PM (#30878864)

    15 years ago I drove through Austria, Switzerland and Italy. I drove through the Alps and made crystal clear calls to the US in deep canyons in the middle of nowhere and never dropped a call. It has nothing to do with the population of the country because it relates to the number and location of towers relative to the number of users. Europe has a higher density of cell phone users than the US, so they should in theory have more network problems, but they don't. Cell phone service just works. You don't get charged for incoming calls and you rarely, if ever, drop a call.

  • by BoiledNotScrambled ( 1636925 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:18PM (#30878946)
    Thank goodness I'm replacing my iPhone next week. Of course, I haven't been able to receive a call over 3G for weeks, so it's hardly like I even had a phone.
  • Re:3G on T-Mobile? (Score:2, Informative)

    by qwertyatwork ( 668720 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:30PM (#30879054)
    I have an iPhone with t-mobile and no 3g doesn't work. Different radio frequencies. PLEASE someone prove I'm wrong show me how I can get 3g working on my iPhone :)
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by karnal ( 22275 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:49PM (#30879266)

    No one in the US (except for TMobile customers?) gets a discount on the actual service if they buy their phone outright. From recent postings on other cell phone threads - and my own personal experience with ATT - once your "contract" is up, where the subsidy should disappear... it doesn't. We get to pay the same rates as if we were still subsidizing a phone.

  • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:56PM (#30879342)
    The USA really has extremes in population density. We have NYC and we have North Dakota. This is why CDMA was, at one time, the favored technology here in the U.S. GSM cell sizes are fixed at 45km. CDMA can go much larger (for greater coverage area, less capacity), and of course, can also go much smaller (for higher capacity).

    It is no wonder that Verizon has the best coverage in North America.

    Of course you can make a reliable GSM network that covers a vast area and has high capacity. It just costs a lot of money.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by anethema ( 99553 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:59PM (#30879364) Homepage
    I have run over 10 apps in the background on my iPhone (jailbroken of course) and it lost not a single iota of its smooth fluid handling.
  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:15PM (#30879490)
    You see the thing is, a carrier in Finland only has to compete with another carrier in Finland. In the U.S., you have to cover the whole country if you want to compete. Are there any carriers who offer the same level of service for the same price no matter where one goes in Europe?
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Informative)

    by gb506 ( 738638 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#30879608) Homepage

    "Have you tried the HTC phones with the sense UI (which, by the way, has multitouch)?"

    Yes, I have an HTC with the sense UI - it's an incredibly lackluster interface, and it's only skin deep, all the guts of the thing are still WinMobile trash. You don't know what you're talking about.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @01:30PM (#30879622)

    I have never, ever had this problem on my iPhone, and I live in an area of the UK with mixed 3G and Edge/2G coverage - my house is in an area with no 3G, and driving a couple of miles down the road gets you into the 3G zone due to the town nearby. I have never had an issue with dropped calls due to going in and out of 3G coverage.

    Whether this is due to the network (I am on O2 in the UK), or the phone I am not certain.

    Put it this way, that sentence makes an assertion about what the iPhone does when it tried to fall back to Edge. My own experience is different. The truth is therefore likely somewhere in between, and the call issue may just be related to AT&T and may affect android phones in the same way.

    I also think that the "who cares?" post is a little bit naive - clearly a lot of people *do* care, since they are selling iPhones hand over fist. I welcome the introduction of the Android phones - more competition will drive the market (hopefully) to be better for all consumers, but outside of the most hardcore of geeks who have some sort of axe to grind about Apple, the iPhone is still a long way from a "who cares?" device. Proponents of Android that treat the competition that way would do well to be careful (and vice versa - Droid-based phones are going to offer some serious competition to iPhone).

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @02:49PM (#30880624)

    I should say that since I have owned the phone I have never experienced the call dropping, regardless of whether I start in a 3G area, or an Edge one or vice versa. The fact that I live right on the fringe of a 3G area would suggest that I'd be constantly plagued by the problem if it happened. I think it is an issue with At&T if the problem is so apparent in the US, or a bad interaction between AT&T and the iPhone if it only occurs on the iPhone there - it really doesn't seem to be an issue in the UK.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @03:04PM (#30880834)

    To get the iPhone, I would need to sign up for a VERY expensive and long term contract. There is no way I'm spending a thousand dollars a year for a friggin phone.

    Who modded this flaimbait? From ATT's own website [], only the very cheapest plan (maximum 15-minutes-per-day average) is under $1000 / year, not counting the upfront price and miscellaneous ripoff fees I'm sure they add to the monthly bill. Overtime on that plan is 45 cents per minute (vs tracfone minutes at 20 cents per minute with no plan after the one-time $20 "double minutes" add-on).

    The iPhone Unlimited Plan plus Unlimited Texts is $150 / month = $1800 / year (plus initial costs and miscellaneous monthly ripoff costs.) Wow!

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:42PM (#30882512)
    Typically once you've finished the two years or whatever it is specifically on that plan, you're then eligible for another subsidy. The only advantage you get for buying your own phone is that you're able to get service without the contract.
  • Re:About time... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @05:53PM (#30882638)

    The real problem is that the folks at AT&T, Verizon, et al., are allowed to provide the cell service and own the infrastructure. In this part of the country there's more than enough towers to provide good service all over the place, however largely because the towers are owned by different networks there's no guarantee that the tower a block away is the one your phone is connecting to.

    Actually, most of the towers aren't owned by the carriers but by a company that specializes in towers (Crown Castle and American Tower are teh two big players); who then leases space on the tower to the phone company for their antennas. So the lack of antennas is because companies don't rent space; not because a competitor owns the tower.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @08:21PM (#30884006)

    I'm pretty sure you didn't quite understand it correctly then.

    No, I understand it completely. The OP stated that "no matter how you swing it, it is cheaper to buy your phone outright". He is wrong.

    When the original iPhone was launched, the data plan was $20/month. When the 3G launched, it jumped to $30/month. No change when the 3GS hit the shelves.

    That's because the data service is different. 2G/EDGE was $20/month, 3G is $30/month.

    I've been paying $15/month for unlimited data on AT&T for years now.

    Grandfathered? On a smart phone? On an iPhone?

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson