Most of us have experienced Berkeley’s cellphone problems. For a reasonably dense city in a hotbed of technology use, there are just too many zones with poor coverage. It may be understandable in the hills, but it happens in non-hilly areas as well. What’s a user to do?
I am finally getting rid of my iPhone in two weeks. Endings are sad but this one has me excited. It’s been a horrible, stormy relationship that lost its magic well before the expiration of the two-year contract. With nary an explanation, Apple replaced the iPhone three times and erased it just as often. For signal problems, they blamed AT&T. I think it just as likely that no single network can handle the bandwidth demands made by such a diva device. As more evidence comes to light about the dangers of cell radiation, building new cell towers is no easy task, either.
Given my concerns and requirements – durable equipment, low radiation from the device, reliable calling, minimizing cell tower use – many of my friends have suggested I just stick to a landline. I wish that would suffice, but with family in multiple time zones, odd work hours, and friends frequently subject to last-minute changes of plans, a cellphone is a necessity. I want a text-friendly device, with a full keyboard, which helps me navigate when call completion is doubtful.
Folks say Verizon and T-Mobile are the way to go for good coverage in Berkeley. Verizon isn’t known for customer service or social responsibility; they don’t offer a single eco-friendlier phone, and rumor has it the iPhone will be on their network by next year. I don’t really want to get locked into a two-year contract and six months in find it requires sharing a network with a bandwidth-hogging “superstar” device. Options, however, are few.
Is there any good Berkeley solution?
Photo of iPhone 4 by Jorge Quinteros/Flickr