Don't Live Near A Big City? Here's Something You Should Know Before Upgrading Your iPhone

The new iPhone is 3G–but AT&T’s 3G network isn’t exactly “nationwide,” so you might want to check the coverage map to make sure that there’s a 3G network in your area.

For example, Des Moines, Iowa is big enough to have an Apple store — but there’s no 3G coverage yet. (If you’re wondering what 3G is, you can click here.) Without 3G coverage the new iPhone will use the more widespread EDGE network, and you won’t see an improvement in speed.

You can check out AT&T’s data coverage map by clicking here. Zoom in to see if there’s 3G coverage in your area. Silicon Alley Insider also has a good map that you can check out.

Where Apple’s New iPhone Doesn’t Help: AT&T’s 3G Dead Zones [Silicon Alley Insider]
AT&T Coverage Map [AT&T]

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  1. costanza007 says:

    the iPhone is 3G now? welcome to 2005.

  2. Coder4Life says:

    Hey I live in Des Moines, IA. Yeah AT&T coverage is useless around here..

  3. mikedt says:

    Yeah when I saw the coverage areas yesterday my first thought was ATT had gall to charge people extra for 3g when the odds of you being able to use it are pretty slim.

  4. Zeniq says:

    I wonder if the people selling this thing at the ATT and Apple stores are even telling people this? I can just imagine:

    “Welcome to the store, you want an iPhone 3G? Oh, you live in the middle of freaking nowhere and will never be able to use the 3G capability? Oh, and you already have a standard iPhone? Sure, we’ll take your money for a product that will be of no benefit to you! Oh. We don’t accept cash, sorry.”

    hem hem.

  5. tfvdw2at says:

    Um, I live in a non-3G area, but am still upgrading as I want the GPS and I travel to where there is 3G on a regular basis. Is the GPS, not a benefit. I thought the battery was better too.

  6. timmus says:

    That AT&T map viewer isn’t working for me. The site comes up and everything, but when I try to zoom in or put in a city, it keeps saying “an error occurred”. Seems it is very script heavy.

  7. sleze69 says:

    @tfvdw2at: /agree. Having GPS in your cell phone is HUGE. I wish I had waited a couple weeks and got the Tilt instead of my 8525.

    Tower triangulation works pretty well with google maps but having turn by turn would rox.

  8. That map on their site isn’t up to date. When you go to the map, there is a link below it that says “in select areas”. Click on that link if you want the most up to date coverage areas.

    For example, I’ve had 3G in my area for about 10 days now, but it does not show up on the map at all. However, it does show up when I click that link and click on the appropriate area in my state.

  9. lusnia says:

    sons of bitches dont support firefox 3 with their 3g mapping as far as im concerned they can bugger off ill wait for android thank you very much

  10. primechuck says:

    @Coder4Life: Hey, both qwest and ATT said they are bringing massive infrastructure changes….when hell freezes over. I’ve wondered why they delay so much in the markets with 400,000 Upper Middle class insurance people running around the city.

  11. MFfan310 says:

    @lusnia: It isn’t working in Safari 3 (Mac) or MSIE 7 (Windows XP), either.

    Normally, I’ve gotten AT&T’s coverage viewer to work fine in Firefox 3 until today. Server overload, perhaps?

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    Wait. I thought the midwest was still stuck using dial-up.

  13. @Zeniq:

    I wonder if the people selling this thing at the ATT and Apple stores are even telling people this? I can just imagine:

    “Welcome to the store, you want an iPhone 3G? Oh, you live in the middle of freaking nowhere and will never be able to use the 3G capability? Oh, and you already have a standard iPhone? Sure, we’ll take your money for a product that will be of no benefit to you! Oh. We don’t accept cash, sorry.”

    hem hem.

    I’m sure some fanboy has jumped your case already, but you should know what 3G isn’t the only improvement to this iPhone.

    The new iPhone has GPS capability for one, but there are several other improvements as well.

  14. @InfiniTrent: Dude, quit being a fanboy.

    It’s been stated numerous times in many different places that the GPS on the iphone is gimped as all hell. Here’s the deal.

    It can plot where you’ve been, and to some extent tell you where you are. It’s useless for turn by turn, and useless in cities, and useless where there’s not a clear view of the sky (think hiking or backpacking).

    Please explain to me what good that is, because I’ve got a 30 dollar garmin job from 10 years ago that can tell me my lon/lat.

    Every other one of the iphone 3g’s “improvements” are software, which are available to people with 1st gen iphones, and should have been there in the first place.

    It’s still got no keyboard, it still needs to be jailbroken to run any non official software, and it’s still stupid expensive. I just got a Kaiser (tilt) from ATT for 50 bucks on Tuesday, and it’s got about 100x the capability that the iphone does.

  15. mikedt says:

    @tfvdw2at:

    Be that as it may, forcing all their customers to purchase a “3g data” contract (at an extra $120yr) when in all likelyhood they won’t get 3d in their area for quite some time strikes me as thievery. Yes the new phone is nicer, but ATT is still ripping people off in this scenario.

    But I have to admit as soon as the iphone is avaiable on Verizon I’ll be standing in line too :-)

  16. baristabrawl says:

    I got my iPhone in April and I’ve been underwhelmed. I love all things Apple but I will most likely go back to Verizon when my contract runs out.

  17. warloc66 says:

    @mikedt: You said it. I would love to get the 3G iPhone for the GPS, but without 3G in my area, it is just not worth the extra $20/month (for the 3G and text messages) just for GPS. Guess I’ll stick with my old 1st Gen iPhone (which works just fine with the 2.0 firmware, thank you very much)

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    @RamV10: Wow, the tilt is one ugly phone, thick as a brick, lacks real web browsing, has awesome retro ’70s styling (ironic, right? RIGHT?!), doesn’t play music as well as an iPod, lacks photo management/display as iPhoto or internal iPhones use, calls itself “touchscreen” yet has ’80s VCR style controls on its ugly face.
    Did I say “thick”? Like, stack three iPhones on each other thick?

    Reviews say the keyboard’s too small to type except using index fingers and the battery life is for crap. It doesn’t play movies or TV shows. It doesn’t sync with your computer effortlessly as an iPod does. Anything you get on your Tilt doesn’t sync to your computer. So any media you have to buy twice thru AT&T?
    Its GPS doesn’t compare with a stand-alone GPS box (which since you’re comparing this to iPhone, it damn well better). And they charge you $120/yr for the telenav GPS.

    And it runs that dwarfish Downs Syndrome version of Windows, which – eww – makes Vista seem advanced and spectacular. Even the reviews say it’s craptacular.

    Oh, and yours runs for the same $300 w/ a 2-yr contract according to the same CNet reviews that bemoan its pygmy keyboard and miserly talk time. EndGadget calls it “the same old, cranky curmudgeon, heavy, thick.”

    In short, from skimming the reviews, I have the notion that you’re a owner of a Crown Victoria boasting loudly about how much better your car is than an Acura RSX. Just… No.
    Be happy in your CrownVic but allow those that enjoy a real car that looks good to be happy in theirs. Jesus.

  19. thrillwill says:

    @Trai_Dep: As the owner of the far superior Integra I will gladly put my Samsung SCH-u740 up for your analysis.

    Oh and I’ll add it’s GPS holds up quite well with my Garmin – even from a boat. I would have ended up out to sea the last time I was in Charleston without it.

    With my Verizon subsidy – 50 bucks.

  20. @Trai_Dep: Cnet tried one out in att’s stock tune and you listen to them?

    The best part about windows mobile is the community. I’m running the diamond rom (scaled to qvga), which addresses all of the SOFTWARE issues you bring up.

    It’s also the thinnest phone out there with a full keyboard, and I’ve got big fingers and have no problems typing rather quickly.

    You’re saying that it costs 120 a year for telenav, when you can pick up TomTom for cheap, and yes, I have a cradle in each of my trucks, and I use it for turn by turn, and it’s as good as the in-dash unit in my pickup.

    I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with syncing either…I turn bluetooth on on my laptop and never touch my phone. Pulls everything I need from outlook.

    The tilt is about 8mm thicker (75%) than the iphone, which is pretty good considering the keyboard is thicker than that.

    I can make the same sort of gestures as you can to swap screens, though I will admit it was first, and better implemented on the iphone. Touchflo doesn’t suck though, and had you ever used a tilt you would know that.

    Also, cnet says 300 bucks, but if you shoot on over to amazon, you’ll notice that the price on it is 50 bucks. cnet doesn’t sell phones, and amazon does, so I tend to side with amazon (and I have one in my hands that I paid 50 for).

    And, I spent 3 hours on the train last night watching youtube videos without a problem. ATT gimps the shit out of the tilt out of the box, and the only reason they don’t do that to the iphone is because apple has them by the balls. If HTC was able to do what apple does, and att had their way with the iphone, the reviewers would talk about it being slow too.

    I don’t own a crown vic, but I do believe in american muscle, so whenever you wanna go, I’ve got 488 cubes waiting for you.

  21. sleze69 says:

    @Trai_Dep:

    I actually own the OLDER version of the tilt (8525) but anything it can do, Tilt can do better.

    lacks real web browsing,

    I use Opera mobile. I can see any page that you a desktop can see. I also use Opera mini because it is faster.

    doesn’t play music as well as an iPod

    I can play any mp3 I want just by dragging it into the explorer window using ActiveSync. I can also just pop out my 4 GB microSD card and drag songs onto it through explorer. No ITunes OR ActiveSync for that.

    lacks photo management/display as iPhoto or internal iPhones use

    True – Iphoto is pretty. But you can download TONS of photomanagement apps for Windows Mobile.

    Reviews say the keyboard’s too small to type except using index fingers

    Not true, I use two thumbs. And ANY app will allow me to use the landscape keyboard unlike Iphone note.

    the battery life is for crap

    I get two days of infrequent texting and phone use. Maybe 5 hours of heavy internet use.

    It doesn’t play movies or TV shows.

    Here’s a google search that will help you with that one.

    [www.google.com]

    It doesn’t sync with your computer effortlessly as an iPod does

    Ipod requires ITunes. Tilt requires activesync. Works just fine (USB is flawless. Bluetooth sync is only complicated with non-microsoft drivers).

    Anything you get on your Tilt doesn’t sync to your computer. So any media you have to buy twice thru AT&T?

    I have never bought a song/ringtone from AT&T. Everything on my phone is an mp3.

    Its GPS doesn’t compare with a stand-alone GPS box (which since you’re comparing this to iPhone, it damn well better). And they charge you $120/yr for the telenav GPS.

    My 8525 doesn’t have a GPS but anyone who pays for telenav is a chump. Google maps+cell tower triangulation works fine.

    And it runs that dwarfish Downs Syndrome version of Windows, which – eww – makes Vista seem advanced and spectacular. Even the reviews say it’s craptacular.

    You might want to look at the 50+ custom builds of Windows Mobile that are VERY slick. They range from extremely thin clients that are fast performing to extremely feature filled ones that have everything you could ever ask for preloaded.

    [forum.xda-developers.com]

    Oh, and yours runs for the same $300 w/ a 2-yr contract

    That’s true. Actually, when I got it, it was $40/month for mobile internet because it was actually 3G. Amazingly, my feature filled phone was released 8 months prior to the release of Iphone 1.0.

    After all of my boasting, the IPhone is still a very slick phone and 2.0 improved a lot about it. It is something that I would considering giving my girlfriend when her contract allows it.

    I, on the other hand, like having Office Mobile, like having a full qwerty keyboard with real keys, HATE having to using a program to transfer music (like the bloated Itunes) and love that I can change my phone’s operating system if I need to.

    IPhone has its place. It’s just not the end-all, be-all of phones.

  22. Trai_Dep says:

    @RamV10, sleze69, thrillwill: “IPhone has its place. It’s just not the end-all, be-all of phones.”

    That’s all that I’m saying. I don’t want to get into a features/review war here. They’re both great phones in different ways. If I didn’t place a premium on design and UI, or was more of a gearhead type of phone warrior, I could see going for a Windows Mobile solution, even with the tradeoffs.
    I’m not in the market for either of these phones, btw. I’m waaay too wired at home and work and 90% of the time I’m out, I’m with friends w/ an iPhone. Voice-only cellies (and their vastly cheaper plans) are fine for me.
    It’s simply a plea to stop the bashing – two can play that, easily. Different people buy based on different, valid reasons and instead of flaming other’s choices*, we should simply shrug and let them.
    I like Sleaze’s response the best – informative, cited, less emotional, even ceding to the iPhoners out there. More a discussion than a war. Well done! And your guys’ recent responses are more persuasive because there’s less heat, more information. Perhaps mine is as well. :)

    * yeah, upon a night’s sleep, my attempt to reduce the flames by peeing gasoline on the fire was probably not the best. Sorry.

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    @RamV10: And, when I raced, I raced canyons, not straight-aways. Rice-burner driving skill over muscle-car flooring on a straightline. But also, to each their own. :D

  24. amdinator says:

    @Trai_Dep:
    I hope that comment on dialup was in jest- I’ve had Cable internet since the late 90s. Local carriers are now advertising speeds in excess of 20 megabit, which although not quite FiOS, is still quite respectable.

    I also have an HTC Wizard phone (upgraded to the latest WM6.1), which has been very dependable and the keyboard is anything but too small to type on. I’ve written parts of papers on this thing. Compare that to the iPhone- I think you have the two mixed up.


    I live in Des Moines and I’m amazed that AT&T doesn’t have 3G service in the area. Verizon and Sprint have had high speed data services in the area for ages, why not them?