Whose Fault are the iPhone 4 Reception issues; Answer: The Government

By David Fekke
January 17th, 2011

Full disclosure here, I own an iPhone 4. I also develop software for the iPhone, so I have a vested interest in the iPhone succeeding as a platform. I have seen where you can drop the radio reception of the phone when you press on the lower left hand corner. Any phone you where you hold your hand on the antenna will reduce the reception. Between my previous iPhone 3Gs and my new iPhone 4 I have not been able to see a difference in call quality or data performance. If anything, the iPhone 4 seems like it may be a little better.

The office where I work is in downtown Jacksonville, FL. The AT&T coverage is horrible here, but my iPhone seems to have a better time making phone calls than my 3Gs.

Steve Jobs had a press conference today to discuss the iPhone 4 reception issues. A lot of blame has been placed on Apple for their antenna design, but the iPhone in the United States has always had reception issues and dropped calls. In the past much of the blame has been put on AT&T, but even then there are only certain areas that have bad reception. San Francisco and New York are always mentioned.

So whose fault are the reception issues. The Answer is the Government. In particular, local and state governments. One of the key take aways from that press conference was the amount of time it takes to add a cell tower. Here is an excerpt from the press conference today;

When AT&T wants to add a cell tower in Texas, it takes about three weeks... when they want to add one in San Francisco, it takes three years. That's the single biggest problem they're having. They're spending a lot expanding their networks, and our data rates are way better on the iPhone 4, but AT&T has to expand its network, and that's a long process. I know because we're constantly asking about it. They're trying really hard, and sometimes I think they should enlist the support of the users in the community.

-Steve Jobs

The reason it takes three years to add a new cell tower in San Francisco is the amount of government required red tape you have to go through to add a new tower. Steve Jobs is hardly an anti-government Tea Party Republican. I don't believe he would have brought it up at the press conference unless the government red tape was really creating problems resolving network issues.

AT&T should enlist their customers to call and right their local representatives to remove the red tape for adding new cell towers.

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