The cell phone signal is always greener…

Do you suffer from the sneaking suspicion that your iPhone isn’t getting all you pay for from AT&T? Is it possible that you live or work in a cell-coverage zombie zone?

Wonder no longer. There’s an app ready to check on AT&T and show you what you’re missing if only you had an iPhone with service from one of the other providers. Or not.

icon of Cell Phone Covereage MapYou can use Cell Phone Coverage Map from RootMetrics, described in this article from TidBITS journalist Michael E. Cohen, to come to grips with the facts.

  1. Download the app from the App Store.
  2. Go to the iPhone’s Settings and turn WiFi to Off.
  3. Launch CoverageMap and allow it to use your location. (Double tap to zoom in on the local map.)
  4. Select the Test icon in the lower navigation bar and then tap Start Test. You’ll get a screen with the test results for your carrier (AT&T).
  5. Select the Map icon. Then, at the top of the screen, tap the arrow in the blue circle that follows AT&T Rootscore. Then tap the Compare button to see how AT&T service compares with that of the other local carriers.

In my case, the test reveals that the signal strength in my office is two bars (just as my iPhone display indicates). My download speed over AT&T averages 320 kbps, with an upload speed of 139 kbps. Interestingly, if I place my phone flat on my desk, both data speeds drop by 50 percent.

But not to be  alarmed: The comparison screen shows that AT&T shares with Sprint the highest ratings (4 of 5 points) for my neighborhood. I’m in a green zone! T-Mobile and Verizon service in my area scores only 3 of 5 points. (All ratings are based on more than 1,000 test reports.)

So excuse me while I walk into the living room to stick my thumbs in my ears and waggle my fingers at my neighbor, the guy who snottily informed me that he’d chosen an Android over an iPhone because he wanted the superior Verizon coverage. I think I see him out out on his porch, trying to get a signal, now.

About Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"
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