Gear Diary created a minor stir Thursday when it posted the map at left (click to enlarge) purporting to show the extent of AT&T’s current 3G coverage. On the map, blue represents 3G, dark orange is AT&T’s old EDGE network and light orange its original GPRS data service.
Not much blue there, which could be a concern for the customers expected to line up outside Apple and AT&T stores next week. The iPhone 3G, which goes on sale Friday July 11 at 8:00 a.m., is Steve Jobs’ answer to complaints about how slow the original iPhone was when downloading data over AT&T’s sluggish EDGE network. Customers who don’t have 3G would pay AT&T’s new rate for data ($10 more per month) but get it at the same old speed.
“If you live in one of these uncovered areas and already have an iPhone, I wouldn’t jump on the iPhone 3G wagon,” writes Christopher Spera, who posted the map. “I’d stick with my current iPhone (WITH my grandfathered data plan) and save $200-$300 bucks.” (link)
Is he right?
Perhaps, but it would be a mistake to base your decision on Spera’s map. First of all, it shows 3G voice coverage, not data, as Scott McNulty of The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) discovered after he posted virtually the same map on June 10 (see here). [We have since been informed that there is no difference between voice and data coverage on AT&T’s 3G network.] Second, both maps were created using AT&T’s coverage viewer tools using data that were last updated March 31, 2008, before AT&T’s big spring build-out (see AT&T: 3G network will be ready in 275 markets by June 30).
You can use AT&T’s tools to zoom in on your particular corner of the U.S. Here, for example, is a map that shows 3G (dark blue) and EDGE (light blue) data coverage from Jackson, Miss., to Albany, N.Y. But these maps, too, are presumably out of date.
If you really want to know if you can take full advantage of the iPhone 3G’s capabilities where you live, your best bet is to see if your hometown appears on AT&T current list of “cities supporting AT&T 3G/mobile broadband” here. The list, current as of Friday, July 4, appears below the fold.
Note that neither Apple (AAPL) nor AT&T (AAPL) can guarantee 3G reception in any particular area. There is too much radio interference and too many tall buildings to consider.
Cities Supporting AT&T 3G/Mobile Broadband
Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery
Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson
Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock
Anaheim, Arden-Arcade, Bakersfield, Berkeley, Burbank, Chula Vista, Concord, Daly City, East Los Angeles, Escondido, Fairfield, Fremont, Fresno, Glendale, Hayward, Irvine, Lake Tahoe, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Modesto, Monterey, Norwalk, Oakland, Oceanside, Ontario, Oxnard, Pasadena, Pomona, Richmond, Roseville, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sunnyvale, Vallejo
Colorado Springs, Denver
Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London
District of Columbia
Cape Canaveral, Clearwater, Coral Springs, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Hialeah, Hollywood, Indian River, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Pembroke Pines, St. Petersburg, Southwest Florida, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Keys, West Palm Beach
Athens, Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah
Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui
Boise, Coeur d’Alene
Bloomington, Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Springfield
Evansville, Gary, Indianapolis
Kansas City, Olathe, Overland Park, Topeka
Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Metairie, New Orleans, Shreveport
Boston, Cambridge, Hyannis, Lowell, Springfield, Worcester
Clinton, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Livonia, Sterling Heights, Warren
Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Cloud
Columbia, Independence, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis
Carson City, Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Paradise, Reno, Spring Valley, Sunrise Manor
Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Long Branch, Newark, New Brunswick, Ocean County, Trenton
Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Hamptons, New York, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown
Cary, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Winston-Salem
Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo
Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Eugene, Medford, Oregon Coast, Portland, Salem
Allentown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Northeast-Scranton, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, State College
Bayamon, Carolina, Ponce, San Juan
Charleston, Columbia, Greenville
Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville
Arlington, Austin, Beaumont, Bryan, College Station, Carrollton, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, Grand Prairie, Houston, Irving, Longview, Marshall, McAllen, Mesquite, Pasadena, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio, Tyler, Victoria, Waco
Logan/Cache Valley, Provo, Salt Lake City, St. George, West Valley
Alexandria, Arlington, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond
Bellevue, Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver