About a month ago, I started a new job. I left my job at RealTravel to move on to a new gig working for a much larger, non-startup, but still in the web industry company called Patch. For those that might not know much about Patch, it’s owned by AOL and is a great site for local community news near your hometown. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Patch for Appomattox, or near me for that matter. But I digress; this is not about Patch, which I will save for another time, but instead how much AT&T service is hard to come by in rural Virginia.
Patch (AOL) was gracious enough to allow me to still work remote and in doing so, hooked me up with an iPhone to keep in touch. I had never owned an iPhone, have always wanted one after seeing a lot of my buddies have them, but I kept to cell companies that actually had service around here — AT&T barely reaches the house. For the past year and a half, I have been a happy customer of Sprint with an Android HTC Hero. Loved my Android phone, but the iPhone form factor and apps are so much better. Anyways, for the past month, I have been using solely my iPhone on the AT&T service that is the suck.
One reason why Sprint just works is because they do cell tower sharing. They don’t own the towers, but instead “rent” service from the companies that do. That way I can be anywhere in the country and still have great service on my phone.
Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is awesome, it’s just the service around here. I am now afraid, well, not seriously, to venture out to more remote parts of rural Virginia knowing that I may or may not have cell service. Just today, my phone calls were dropping in and out as I was driving — yes, we are still allowed to do that in Virginia, but definitely ready for the law to be passed — on a major highway. My Sprint phone would have held up like a champ, even if I was in some deep bush country.
So, I have to say, what gives AT&T? I’m not in New York City or a larger metropolitan area where everyone is using their new iPhone tethering to download the latest Justin Bieber release.
All of this leads me to wonder, what did we do without cellphones fifteen years ago?