Why Doesn’t My AT&T Phone Work at a Baseball Game?

One of the great things about smartphones is their ability to supplement real-word experiences with additional information, perspectives, or entertainment. Unfortunately, I’ve found that AT&T’s network simply fails in large public venues, denying me access to the internet on occasions that I want or need it most.

This is not a new phenomenon: ever since the iPhone was released as an AT&T exclusive in the States, the carrier’s network has buckled under the weight of its popularity, with some cell sites regularly over capacity and unable to accomodate the traffic. It was especially frustrating for those AT&T customers who didn’t join the iPhone craze, as they were suddenly fighting a hoard of new smartphone owners for now-scarce bandwidth.

My hope was that Verizon’s adoption of the iPhone 4 would alleviate this issue somewhat, but that doesn’t seem to have happened so far. At a Phillies game this week I was simply unable to connect to AT&T’s network despite my own iPhone teasing full bars; even after dropping down to EDGE in its struggle to find some spectrum, it still couldn’t pull in any data. Embarassingly, I had to use my friend’s Droid X to look something up.

In other words, Verizon’s network was working fine at the game, despite that operator having added the supposed network-killing iPhone to its lineup. Granted, Verizon doesn’t have four generations of iPhones populating its airwaves, but it does have the most subscribers, many of whom utilize equally data-hungry devices.

I know that I’m not alone here: Brandon had a bad experience with AT&T at CES, too.

So my question is pretty straightword, although I’m not sure the answer will be: why does my AT&T phone (still) not work at a baseball game?

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Evan Blass
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