Users Reportedly Seeing Improved AT&T 3G Network Performance in New York and San Francisco

Reports coming in from iPhone owners in New York City and the San Francisco Bay areas that much-needed improvements in the quality of AT&T’s 3G network have begun to appear according to reports received by Electronista and TechCrunch. Recently, AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom recently indicated that parts of New York City have received 3G over the 850MHz frequency on their network and that some users are noticing a much more reliable signal than they have before. Which areas have been upgraded haven’t been detailed, nor has the timetable for remaining updates.

Per TechCrunch, the South of Market area of San Francisco also appears to be much better than it has in the past. The wider Bay Area, and particularly downtown San Francisco, has gained a reputation for poor and often completely non-functional 3G due to a network oversaturated with iPhone 3G and 3GS units. However, it now seems to be at least mostly functional in at least small regions of the main city.

“People started telling me they were noticing the same thing,” the site’s MG Siegler writes. “It would go in and out at certain times, but for the most part, AT&T’s network actually seemed to be working in the area.”

AT&T has taken to filling out the gaps in 850MHz coverage since at least late spring, with updates in major cities such as Atlanta, Las Vegas and San Diego. Many of the areas suffering from severe slowdowns have been relying on 3G over the 1,900MHz band, which has considerably less available bandwidth than 850MHz data, a shorter range that requires more towers, and weaker penetration indoors. In Canada, where 850MHz 3G is much more widespread on Rogers’ service, such slowdowns are rare.

The 850MHz upgrade is expected to be completed in the next few months and should be matched by the long-promised 7.2Mbps HSPA update as well as upgrades to the backbone to ensure that 850MHz access isn’t hamstrung by the underlying infrastructure.

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