AT&T Rolling Out 850 MHz 3G to Improve Service


TiPb reader Jake let us know that he just received the following message about 3G service level improvements from AT&T:

We've enhanced your 3G network to offer more speed, capacity & coverage in Greater Atlanta, North GA & Athens!

Mobiledia has more on the improvements going on:

the 850MHz spectrum now operates with [AT&T's] existing 1900 MHz spectrum -- adding more than 540 cell sites to increase network capacity and improved quality and in-building coverage.

TechCrunch says the same thing is happening in long-beleaguered San Francisco.

If you're in either of these areas and notice any real-world improvements, let us know in the comments. Everyone else, relax, breathe, it's coming eventually. Then you'll just have 7.2 Mbs HSPDA speeds to look forward to next...

[Thanks to Jake and Icebike!]

[via PCWorld]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter,, Google+.

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There are 48 comments. Add yours.

Chris says:

I haven't gotten a message but here in North MS just south of Memphis they have upgraded the tower close to my house to 3G from edge in the last few weeks. Glad to see they are actually doing something.

Rudy says:

What about Anaheim, CA? Any love for us?

Poop Smells Good says:

I hope they swing up through TN and hit the surrounding counties outside of Nashville. Anything outside of Nashville is edge.

Airiq says:

San Francisco: Yes, I've noticed it actually working in one spot the past few weeks that has always been a dead zone before in the North Beach area.
There are other parts of the financial district that are still Edge zones, along Sansome still sucks maybe due to the tall buildings, over in SoMa at Folsom & Second, which ironically is where a freakin AT&T building is at always drops back down.
It'll be great if they improve other areas around here too, I would expect the Bay Area to have better coverage in the city given we're supposed to be a technology hub and Cupertino isn't that far away.

JustinHorn says:

I think someone talked about this about a week ago in the forums b/c I remember thinking that I was going to be in Atlanta in a week and I could test it out.
Now that I'm here nothing seems different from the last time I was here for 4th of July weekend. I have to say that I do get 1.8-2.0mbps (both July 4th and now) speed here. The fastest I get in Miami is about 1.4 and most of the time it's less than that.
Also, at the Americasmart building in Atlanta, which is very "in-building", the service still sucks. I had to make some calls Wednesday using skype over a open wifi I found.

Wally says:

Who cares.....should be working on making MMS available

Chad says:

I live in North Fulton county in Metro Atlanta and I've noticed better signal reception in my building at my desk. I have about 4 bars of solid 3G coverage now when before I had about 1-2 bars of 3G coverage and was floating in and out of EDGE.

Charlie says:

That's nice and all, but my area has yet to see 3G, much less improved 3G.

Memnautikus says:

I'm in south Ga still no freaking 3G!!!

Envetscuba says:

Just checked my network (Schuylkill County, PA) still no 3G, it may happen when pigs fly or hell freezes over.

kittycatspawz#IM says:

I too live in North Mississippi, just South of Memphis. They have upgraded to 3G, true. HOWEVER, it's spotty at best. We have a 2nd house, and are lucky to even have 1 bar on our phones there. Of course to hear AT&T tell it, they have great coverage all over this area. NOT SO!! I would be happy if they could just pump up the signal itself more than the 3G part.
But, a girl can want BOTH, right??

Chris says:

@Stephanie: You're right it is spotty. It just so happens I live right next to the tower so I don't have to worry about that. I blame the former Memphis Mayor for the crappy service here. It's gotta ge his fault some how.

Lowram00 says:

Yea I'm with you chris I live in olive branch ms and I have seen 3g in places around MS they use not have 3g I like wow they getting 3g up more yay but yeah be awesome see a little more speed but I'm happy...

Joseph says:

I know AT&T!!! Do something about mms!!!:( :( :(

Lowram00 says:

Ewwwww yall see his dumbs$$ is runing again for mayor god I hate him he killed Memphis

dwj says:

How about improving service in San Francisco and the Bay area? You know where the damn thing was invented!
I hate you AT&T!

firebear399 says:

I believe that I read a few months ago that AT & T bought Centennial Wireless and that AT & T was going to be utilizing Centennials antennas to make sure the fringe areas of AT & T 's coverage in the Centennial Wireless areas gets better.

Scott says:

Too bad doesn't post frequency bands.

Drake says:

This is bull crap. I still have EDGE. We needs 3G everywhere before you can start improving the 3G that not everyone even has!

Scott says:

@Drake: From a business standpoint, it probably makes more sense to improve the 3G network in areas serving the largest customer base. That being said, I live in an urban area and my opinion is somewhat biased. ;)

Victor says:

Are they gonna leave out the mid-west? Michigan wants the upgraded towers too.

Misframed says:

No 3G here in Southern Illinois... the nearest 3g coverage is St Louis, MO or Evansville, IN and both are about 2 hrs away.... the local ATT store says our area "is on the list"... right...

Kevin says:

Whoa speak of the devil! I live in Duluth ga (about 1 hr north of Atlanta) AND I attend the university of Georgia (Athens)! I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with the 3G speed for my 3GS iPhone... I both cities and this post explains why! Just the other day I was comparing web browsing speed with a friends 2nd gen iPhone running on wifi and my 3GS iPhone running on phone was at least twice as fast, if not faster! W00T! :)

Watchful says:

You know, it kinda doesn't make sense to me to upgrade their currently small 3g footprint. To me they should be focusing on rolling out 3g to all their coverage areas. Frankly, while I have seen the 3g footprint improve dramatically, it's still a joke compared to Verizon! Verizon's 3g EVDO footprint is like 3/4 or more of their network. I do some traveling and most places expect metropolitan areas are still EDGE only. It's a joke!
I live outside of Nasvhille, and I can drive about 8 or 10 miles toward Nashville and have 3g. But ask any AT&T rep about when 3g is coming to my area and they suddenly get uncomfortable and want to change the subject.
And then to top it off and show just how they've let this get away from them, it's time to start rolling out 4g and they haven't even anywhere near completed 3g... sigh. Just how many battery sucking chipsets is my next phone going to need to support in order to be able to go anywhere within the coverage area?

Jesh says:

I live in Colorado Springs CO, me and my Friends noticed a massive upgrade to the 3g service here about a week ago. 5 bars of 3g anywhere in the city! All the time! I don't think I saw a Speed increase but there is definitely better service!

iNelton says:

I'm in Albany, GA... And still waiting for 3G service....

BarryL says:

MMS lol. Waiting on tethering... I get 3G coverage in my city of Huntsville AL and Birmingham AL but in between it's edge garbage.

P2hero says:

Sorry to ask a ? That might sound dumb but how fast is 3g over edeg ??

Jesh says:

@P2Hero it's like dialup verses a slower DSL connection. For me it's a massive difference!!

Jaredkaragen says:

Barryl: e.0 os has thethering built in, no hack req'd, just apply a settings patch from the web... Painless free tethering!
@the world: I frequent San Bruno, near sf and I always get a weak edge signal at the top of the hill where he
lives (rollingwood). I'll report when I see 3g :)

Boilermaker says:

I live in Lexington, KY and my 3G is solid in my office. I use to only get 3G 10% of the time and now I am 100%. Also, I would drop to EDGE at my house. Now it is 3G 100% of the time. Where's that MMS???

Graysonio says:

I live northeast of Atlanta and got this email alert from AT&T yesterday. I've not noticed any improvement in speed.

Dev says:

I suppose I have noticed the static in my calls starts up faster. I guess that is an improvement...

rayray173 says:

mms soon as apple comes out with 3.1 update in jersey 3g works great

YourMobileGuru says:

To hell with making their 3g faster/better! Just finish deploying it already! There is no excuse for them not having 3g in large cities like Duluth mn

Jojo10040 says:

Anyone having problems with data in LA? I try to load a Twitter or see a webpage and takes forever and sometimes it won't load anything!!!

OmariJames says:

I think some areas of NY And Long Island got 850Mhz a long tine ago. I noticed increases in speed in the spring. Now when I do tests I sometimes get 1.3-1.5Mbps. On adverage I get like 800-900kbps.
On the 3GS the pages load faster so it feels like I'm getting a lot more than 800kbps on average.

Josh says:

Everyone is talking abou mms. I got my iPhone 3g activated yesterday with AT&T and I can send picture messages...... I thought everyone could

Charlie says:

I was bitchin' yesterday because my area has no 3G service. Well, it's on today, finally!

Pascal says:

If you want to know if your iphone is covered by a 850MHz cell, follow these steps:

Diq says:

Just got an iPhone 2 days ago and I don't have service in my apartment. There are also a lot of dead spots around my neighborhood where nothing will connect (no Internet or phone). If they're expanding their service I'm not seeing it.


3G? LOL MMS?! TETHERING???? ... pick up the fucking pace ATT... close to losing a customer here...

NL says:

Still here in San Francisco with so many dropped calls I can't call this iPhone 3G a phone. Turned off the 3G network today until they figure out this mess. Bottom line---still waiting for you AT&T!

Scott says:

Ugh when is Duluth MN getting 3G?!?

Bill says:

NEVER ATT SUX. I am dropping today Verizon is better for 3g

Nunyo Bizness says:

AT&T launching 3G in Duluth, MN area in March 2010. WOOT!!

Waffles107 says:

Nunyo, where did you read the info about Duluth 3G? Exciting if true!

Mike says:

its on now in Duluth, MN finally after 18 months of promises