According to The Unoffical Apple Weblog, AT&T's dropped call rate for iPhones in New York City are the exact same percentage as Apple gets in profit sharing from apps sold in the App Store: 30%. I'm not sure what AT&T's overall percentage of dropped calls is in New York City, but for the iPhone it's 30%. Wow. Not surprising though.
Ever since I got my iPhone, I've always said that AT&T is the weak link in the iPhone chain. I guess you can't say that I have any objective evidence from which to back that up. My previous few phones were Windows Mobile. You can read my rants on Windows Mobile in my archives. Windows Mobile is such a piece of crap that my phones never really ran well enough to notice whether or not I was having problems with AT&T. Once I got my iPhone, and I finally had a phone that ran stable enough, I noticed all kinds of problems. My work-issued Verizon BlackBerry didn't seem to have the same problems, although "the network" isn't without it's issues.
I live in South Jersey, and work in Philadelphia. About every other time I take my iPhone out of my pocket at work, my cell status says "Searching..." Other times, I have 5 bars and no data, or I have no bars and supposedly 3G data, but I can't connect to anything. The last two days have been a freaking nightmare getting a cell signal at work, at least on AT&T. My wife was having the same problems at the same time (she has a 1st gen iPhone), leading me to believe that the problems are AT&T's "fewest dropped call" network. (Where do they stand on CONNECTED calls? I guess you can have the record for the fewest dropped calls if none of them connect properly in the first place).
Case in point: yesterday morning, I walked back to my office after a meeting and took my iPhone out of my pocket. I had a text from my wife from about 15 minutes earlier stating that her mom had been taken to the ER. That's not good. I tried to text back to tell her to keep me posted, but my cell status said "searching". It stayed like that for the next half hour. I called her from my BlackBerry, but got her voice mail. When AT&T finally decided to deliver a signal, I sent a text to my wife. About an hour later, she called my BlackBerry. She said that all of a sudden, a bunch of text messages and missed call notifications and a few voice mails came through her phone out of nowhere. It makes me wonder if AT&T had network problems yesterday afternoon.
After I talked to my wife, I took out my iPhone to do something or other. I noticed that the text I thought I sent earlier hadn't gone out. I sent it again.
When I had Windows Mobile, every time I had a problem with my phone, I just assumed it was Windows Mobile. One time, I hard-reset my iPaq 6945 three times because I couldn't get a data connection. I later learned that AT&T's data network was down for the entire East Coast All MORNING. I just assumed it was a Windows Mobile issue somehow. When I have trouble connecting with my iPhone, I assume it's AT&T. I long for the day when the iPhone is no longer tethered to AT&T. With the exception of iPhone 3.1 and iTunes 9 (and 9.0.1, which didn't fix anything and introduced new problems), I like the iPhone.