iPhone Dead Zone Map: That Would be Zero Bars, AT&T

Last week I was at an NMC Board meeting, hosted at a very special location in Cupertino, and was oh, so overwrought with jealousy as colleagues pawed, swashed, swooshed with their shiny new iPhones. And I would be among the cool kids– if were it not for the utterly ridiculous lock AT&T has on being a sole provider of connectivity. Whatever happened to the old American spirit of competition? Free markets?

I cannot answer the economic theory questions, but my NoiPhone status remains as the sole provider for connectivity has almost no signal in the part of the state I spend a lot of time, and likely a lot more in the future. As such, the iPhone would be all ‘i” and no “phone” (and no “net” unless I was near wifi).

My rant is all about me. Or Them.

AT&T plasters these full color page ads in our Sunday papers letting us know how much they are improving the networks in Arizona, they have these PhotoShopped images of Monument Valley, torqued in the shape of the “more bars” signal.

I wish they’d spend money on actually improving that network rather than telling us it is improved. Cause it has not changed one lick in signal strength in the places I go (which is what matters, right?).

That’s where I love the web tools that provide user data that counter advertising lies- such as Signal Map– a mashup of mobile network signal strength and maps- so anyone can annotate the map with their signal reception and color code by carrier.

In my location, Strawberry Arizona, and really the broader area corridor, there are almost no strong AT&T signals reported (blue), while Verizon (red) is way out in front. Strawberry is small (maybe 200 homes, 800 full time residents), but there is no ATT reported in nearby Payson (population more like 15000+) but lots of red. My carrier, Alltel gets a full 5 bars in the entire town of Strawberry and Pine.


Of course, a user reported information, these are not “comprehensive” data, but hints at the potential this could have as a leveraging point should there a big flood of new data. This is information that can be put out in the public space, and AT&T’s sorry face. My next trip up, I intend to zap a bunch of new data points to the map.

There seems little technical reason why AT&T, a much larger company than Alltel, provides such crappo service. There is a nest of signal towers on top of the Mogollon Rim, within sight line distance from my cabin:

Tower Power

I’ve been squinting, but cannot see AT&T logos anywhere.

There are 2 bars in town (the liquor kind); much more than AT&T provides.

I remain, iPhoneLess for now, no earth shattering kaboom travesty. But I give a collective Pfffffhhhttt to AT&T or Apple for the iMonopoly.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hey Alan. Couldn’t agree more on the monopoly rant. Thanks for sharing the signalmap link–didn’t know about it and it’s great. I added some new data points this morning.

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