Back In The Belly Of The Beast

Yes, I’m back on AT&T. Yes, I hate myself.

I still look back upon January 19, 2011 with much fondness. After years of dealing with AT&T’s awful service (simply because I had no choice if I wanted to use an iPhone), I finally snapped. While the much-rumored Verizon iPhone was not quite a reality, I couldn’t wait any longer. That’s the day I quit AT&T.

And I actually cancelled my AT&T service using Google Voice, which was an especially brilliant maneuver, if I do say so myself. It was a wave goodbye with a middle finger.

Or so I thought.

Here we are, nearly three and a half years later and I come back to you with my head held low. As of this week, I’m an AT&T customer again.

For shame, I know. Believe me, I know. I never thought this day would happen and I really did try to avoid it. But the reality of the situation is that Verizon is now just as bad in San Francisco as AT&T once was. Possibly even worse when you consider the differences in speed between AT&T’s LTE network and Verizon’s. By my own tests, AT&T’s network here is something like 20-50x faster. And in terms of reliability, it’s now not even close.

Yes, the situation has reversed. I’d like to try to take some credit for it, thanks to all my bitching about AT&T’s shitty network five years ago. But the reality is likely that while it did take quite a bit of time, AT&T was finally able to roll out significantly more stable and upgraded infrastructure in San Francisco.

Still, the network left me with such a bad taste in my mouth, that I really had no desire to go back, even if it now had the better network in San Francisco. But traveling around the country, I’ve found the same thing mainly to be true. Verizon sucks in New York City. Verizon is basically unusable in Los Angeles (by many accounts, LTE is completely unusable, you have to switch to 3G to get any service). Etc. Etc.

Basically, everywhere I go with some frequency, AT&T is now superior. Far superior. That includes overseas in Europe, where the AT&T model of the iPhone seems to roam significantly better than the Verizon model.

Believe me, if I was going to ditch Verizon, I would have loved to go to T-Mobile. While I get that their borderline-crazy rhetoric is just as much a marketing tactic as anything else (and something they can only do because they’re in fourth place in the carrier race in this country, of course), they have several “uncarrier” perks and services that I wholeheartedly support.

Alas, when I indicated my desire to ditch Verizon, the Twitters told me that T-Mobile’s network is simply not widespread enough to switch to full time. And so I was left with choosing the lesser of two evils. Or really, just the evil with better connectivity.

And so I’m back on AT&T. And I begrudgingly report that the service in San Francisco is now as good as I had been told. It’s arguably as good as it used to be bad.

I hate myself a little bit. But at least I can hate myself while checking Twitter.

And now, a retrospective: