Responding to a local TV report polling users to report their own dropped call rate on the major US cell networks, an AT&T spokesperson responded:
Statistically valid drive test shows the AT&T network continues
to deliver the nation’s fastest 3G network and near best-in-class
call retainability nationwide. AT&T’s network dropped only 1.44
percent of calls nationwide, within two-tenths of 1 percent of
the industry leader and a difference of less than two calls out
That’s from May, this year. But it’s not specific to 3G, and not specific to the iPhone. For all we know, the iPhone 3GS is far better or worse than AT&T’s overall average. The other thing that’s interesting is that this 1.44 percent number comes from a “statistically valid drive test” — according to Steve Jobs last week, AT&T logs all dropped calls, so they should be able to state their actual dropped call rate, not just the rate from a “drive test”. One can only presume their actual dropped call rate is at least a bit higher than this 1.44 percent rate.
Update: On the other hand, a couple of readers suggest that drive tests are actually a better gauge, at least if you’re trying to judge the network itself. They isolate the test from problems that might be from the phones. So I think this 1.44 percent number might be a good baseline for judging phones on AT&T’s network.
★ Wednesday, 21 July 2010