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I don't buy it. My carrier (AT&T) is almost certainly rate-limiting bandwidth to phones in my area, doing deeper inspection on their transparent proxies, or both.

In 2014, as measured by the Ookla app on an iPhone 6, I was routinely 50/17 and 60/20 speedtest to various servers in the region during business hours at home and work. I know this because I took a screenshot in disbelief.

Today, service varies from 1.5/1 to 10/3 during the day, and 10-15/3 at 5AM. I don't buy that usage has increased that much.

Which market?

In the case of the NYC market, AT&T had the worst spectrum planning of any major carrier. They are suffering because they chose to rely on low-band spectrum rather than densifying their network, and are now trying to band-aid the solution by using carrier aggregation of oddball downlink bands. It doesn't change the core problem of having too many people on each sector.

The reason they have to stake 2G dead this early is because they are spectrum starved and already only running it in HSPA guard bands. They need every resource they can get since they haven't been spending money at throwing towers in every possible place in the city for years. They've been using it to buy a satellite company, a Mexican carrier, and WCS spectrum that's worthless without densification. Priorities.

>> In the case of the NYC market, AT&T had the worst spectrum planning of any major carrier.

They've been having a hard time since the late 1990's when they introduced the "one rate" plans and basically oversold their coverage area in NYC.

I distinctly remembering long articles talking about how the networks were so saturated, dealers were still activating phones on their network knowing the customers wouldn't get a signal and would have zero reception in NYC, even after being told by several courts to stop signing up customers.

Here is the text of the class action lawsuit that made it all the way the NYC Supreme Court: http://www.whafh.com/modules/case/docs/2556_cid_3_AT&T%20Cel...

EDIT: some of the articles I alluded to are listed in the class action starting on page 9.

"all the way the NYC Supreme Court"

In New York, the "Supreme Court" is the trial-level court. Above that is the "Supreme Court, Appellate Division" and above that is the "Court of Appeals".

It's been a long time since buying and erecting towers was part of the carrier zeitgeist. I appreciate your frustration- but I don't think your understanding of the fundamentals of how carrier networks operate reflects reality.

You might find this article helpful: http://www.cell-tower-leases.com/Cell-Tower-Lease-Rates.html

For rural markets your logic applies, they simply don't need many new macro sites. The biggest issue in these markets is getting decent backhaul to the towers.

But that logic does not work in an urban market. Which is where the speed complaints are coming from. The other carriers are all beating the drums on densification and focusing on building out DAS systems, what's AT&T doing?

AT&T backed off their densification commitment after their Leap purchase by arguing having more macro cells and spectrum works. The complaints and speedtests speak for themselves.

See this article: http://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/at-t-drops-goal-deplo...

Good counterpoint.

Upstate NY, mostly Albany area.

i've had phone (3g unlimited[0]); business DSL (connected 0.4miles from the trunk!); and Cable service from AT&T.

I can say with 100% of confidence, they oversell like crazy and are limited on both wireless spectrum as their pipes capabilities.

Even if they have much better coverage than Tmobile where i live and work, i will still endure it and not give them my service anymore.

[0] remember they charged extra if you had an iphone? ha! always used android and nokia. Also of note, they managed to overcharge my all-unlimited account for $800 above the contract for two consecutive months.

Netflix, HBO go, those sports streaming things, increased proliferation of smartphones, Pokemon go, web pages are continually getting heavier.

Seems reasonable to me. 2 years is a long time to be comparing against. Your carrier should be upgrading their infrastructure, but if they are not these numbers seem ok.

Our local time warner affiliate has been awesome in contrast, and their network management is awful.

Seems weird.

Mobile data usage has gone up a LOT in two years.

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