After $2 Billion Spent, AT&T Reception Still Poor

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Dec 22, 2010  |  Updated 12:15 PM PDT
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After $2 Billion Spent, AT&T Reception Still Poor

AT&T just spent $2 billion on upgrades to its cellular network -- but don't try making calls just yet. The improvements won't take effect until the next generation of phones arrives.

The money will go towards buying bandwidth from Qualcomm in the 700 MHz band. That bandwidth will be used to support 4G phones, which have yet to appear on AT&T network.

The company is notorious for its San Francisco dead zones such as the Haight and the Outer Mission. But that may not be entirely AT&T's fault: San Francisco has made it very difficult for companies to install new antennas.

Neighbors have raised concerns about the safety of cellular towers, despite the lack of evidence that the towers present a hazard. But there are other, more substantiated, objections to cell towers: the companies that maintain them often let them deteriorate into eyesores, neglecting landscaping and graffiti abatement obligations.

That's what happened a few weeks ago in Bernal Heights, where an attempt to add cellular capacity was nixed when Supervisors discovered that the existing facilities were overgrown with weeks and littered with waste.

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