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Cingular Wireless page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating Unavailable
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Reviews:
bullet 55 reviews (24 good) (13 bad)
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Review by a333 See Profile

  • Location: Rego Park,Queens,NY
  • Cost: $110 per month (24 month contract)
Good "Decent 3G, good call quality, some very nice phones"
Bad "Branded firmware is a pain in the *ss until you debrand.. see below"
Overall "Good service overall"
Pre Sales Information:
Install process:
Connection reliability:
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Value for money:

My Other Reviews

·T-Mobile US
·Verizon Online DSL
I've had AT&T Wireless since June 2008, so I thought it is about time I reviewed it. My first phone was a Sony Ericsson z750a, on an individual plan. It was a good phone, and also doubled as a nice mp3 player, coupled with a headset and memory card. Call quality has always been fairly decent here in the NYC metro area. I don't remember the last time I got a dropped call, although I have occasionally gotten "network busy" messages down in the lower Manhattan/Greenwitch Village area. However, they are few and far in between.

Fast forward to end of August 2009, I got a new phone when the rest of the family switched to AT&T (My old Sony Ericsson had been stolen in May, and I was using a GoPhone activated on my account in the meantime). This time it was a Sony Ericsson w518a. It has a host of good specs/features, including camera, bluetooth, aGPS, Tri-band 3G, accelerometer, and gesture control. I also got the $15/month Data Unlimited package (discounted to $10 with a bit of social engineering). However, it became apparent that AT&T's default firmware was just too crippling for my needs. For example, the default email client couldn't be configured with push email. Unsigned Java apps were a pain to run, as they asked for permission to use data every few seconds. I therefore "debranded" the phone (i.e. reflashed it to Sony Ericsson's default firmware). However, since the only available non-branded firmware for this phone is the non-aGPS European w508 firmware, I lost GPS functionality. However, the phone is now significantly more responsive. I can get RSS feeds scrolling across the home screen. There are a host of actually useful apps, like a nifty little Youtube app that also allows uploading of videos. The email client can send picture and video attachments. Also, the push email is a big feature for me, along with the ability to install unsigned Java apps without headaches. Along with that, I can finally choose between GSM-only, and GSM/3G modes (this really helps battery life FYI), and also force my phone to roam on different GSM networks. Finally, I appreciate an interface that isn't cluttered with useless AT&T walled garden applications.

As to the 3G service itself, occasional tethering via bluetooth has yielded speeds of about 800-900 Kbit downstream and about 160 Kbit upstream, with latencies hovering around 200-350 ms. (Note: Do this only sparingly, as tethering is technically against the TOS on the Data Unlimited plan.) Speed tests from the default mobile browser usually return roughly 400-700 Kbit download. I am sure the tethering numbers improve a LOT when using USB, but haven't configured USB tethering yet.

Coverage-wise, 3G coverage is pretty much everywhere in the aggressively built out NYC area, although I might occasionally drop 3G for a moment of two. Youtube videos stream pretty smoothly, and downloads/page loads are very good for a mobile connection.

To sum it up: If you're an AT&T customer who owns a Sony Ericsson phone and actually wants to use the data plan they're paying for, DEBRAND!! The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. However, proceed carefully, as flashing the wrong files may very well turn your phone into a very expensive brick. These links are a good start for those interested:

»www.howardforums.com/showthread.···10136377

The files I used for my w518a:

1) W508_R1EA030_FS_APAC-ANZ_RED53.fbn

2) W508_R1EA030_MAIN_GENERIC_BR_RED53.mbn

3) C905_1209-4780_R7A_GENERIC_APAC-ANZ

A Google search for these files should lead you to the appropriate instructions/sources of said files.

-a333

Speed tests done on USB (finally):

»www.speedtest.net/result/583631792.png

UPDATE (06/14/10) :

Well, time has passed and for my last birthday parents decided to treat me to an iPhone (3GS). Though it's true I didn't wait for the 4th gen model, I'm kind of happy I didn't especially given the new data plans new sign-ups are being forced into. In any case, the switchover was smooth, with the only change being the data plan, which now is the standard $30/month iPhone unlimited data plan. Not much has changed in terms of speeds.. in fact I think I'm currently getting better speeds around my home that I was with my Sony Ericsson. I haven't managed to get tethering fully up and running though... will post a few speedtests from my laptop when I do. Based on Ookla speedtest app though, I have been getting ~ 1.2 Mbps down and ! 200 - 240 Kbps upstream in my local neighborhood, and have gotten roughly ~ 2.1 Mbit/s down and 250 Kbit/s up, with downstream bursts up to 4 Mbit/s, when I'm in and around Lower Manhattan (Battery Park / Greenwich Village area). Sometimes the 3G is a tad bit erratic though, especially inside my high school building.. (yay for ssh-ing into my CS lab from the bathroom and crashing half the computers remotely ... =) ), but for the most part, I have had few of the widely reported 3G issues that AT&T users in NYC have been experiencing. Then again, I don't frequent the much-busier midtown Manhattan area too often, where there might be issues, but then again, I don't expect more, given the limited nature of AT&T's 3G spectrum (unless AT&T starts DRASTICALLY reducing cell sizes and increases frequency re-use).

UPDATE 08/06/2012: Well, in the last two years, it seems my needs have outgrown the service AT&T can provide... latencies and jitter on its network have become far too inconsistent (it's also probably the fact that I now frequent the Downtown Brooklyn area a lot, and AT&T service there is not quite as consistent, especially during peak hours.) I have switched to T-mobile's Monthly4G service for the past few months, after getting a Nokia handset that can use both AT&T and T-mobile's 3G service, and I have to say, the differences in latency on the two networks is very noticeable (read my review for more details.)

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member for 7.2 years, 1591 visits, last login: 283 days ago
updated 2 years ago

Comments:

Review by Jared See Profile

  • Location: Abbeville,Vermilion,LA
  • Cost: $107 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "Excellent coverage, excellent speed, and incredible online interface."
Bad "Customer support is slow."
Overall "Best wireless company out there!"
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I was with Cingular for a few years before AT&T merged. Now, service is still great, but not AS great.

Pros:
+ Excellent coverage (I get AT&T nearly EVERYWHERE I go!)
+ Incredible wireless Internet speeds (ever on EXTENDED! [because we don't have 3G here..])
+ Easy to use online interface for managing your account
+ Convenient billing process
+ Getting better everyday..

Cons:
- Customer service is terrible!
- We can't get 3G service.. and they said they are not planning 3G in our area.

My review:

The only bad things I do not like about our new service is the pricing plans and the customer service, as well as the fact they don't want to offer 3G in our area. Anyways, ever since AT&T merged with Cingular, customer service has gone downhill, while my bill was going uphill instead. I used to pay $70/month for an individual line.. now I pay nearly $110/month because they raised the data and text messaging pricing plans.

The good points are the coverage, wireless Internet speeds, and the easy-to-use online interface. This is what has kept me from switching to Verizon. (aside from my contract..) I can get service nearly anywhere in our area, (just ONE spot is a dead zone, but we're in a rural area) which is a MAJOR gain for AT&T. Additionally, the wireless Internet speeds (counting the extended, since that's all I can get here) are quite incredible for what I'm paying for.

I don't have much to review now.. maybe I'll add more when 3G is finally activated in our area.

Thanks for reading.

member for 7.5 years, 297 visits, last login: 303 days ago
lodged 5.5 years ago

Comments:

Review by lastmile See Profile

  • Location: Robertsville,Franklin,MO
  • Cost: $65 per month (24 month contract)
Good "Cost, good improvement over Dial-Up and Satellite, especially for VPN's. Cost is fair"
Bad "None"
Overall "Beats pants off Satellite / Dial-up. Can't wait for next-gen 3G/4G improvements"
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AT&T (cingular) 3G wireless is a good improvement over Satellite Internet. 3G wireless also improves IPSec VPN performance as compared to Satellite which was a primary motivator for me

The latency seems relatively consistent around 100-200ms but sometimes drops into sub-100's and at times, peaks over 1000ms. It would appear that some games may run over 3G that don't require twitch reflexes, i.e. Quake-like games, i.e. Quake 3 tested in 200ms+ range with some latency-spikes. The only sour-point would be latency-spikes as it would be great to have a consistent sub-100ms ping.

Signal stability has improved since 3G was originally turned-up in the area. Initially experienced occasional dropped connections but as of January 2009 it is maintaining good stability with very few dropped calls -- hope it remains this way.

60.00 is cheaper than some Satellite packages so cost seems fair for customers' with no alternatives. Hopefully the cost will also keep the bandwidth / network utilization at fair levels so they don't get overwhelmed with too many customers.

Interestingly, my upload speed consistently seems to be better than my download speeds with and without VPN -- see below. Have not ran into issues with 5GB monthly cap yet.

I'm currently using an AT&T Mercury USB (Sierra Wireless Compass 885U) for the USB ubiquity, an available external antenna jack and the modem's upgradeability. Sierra indicates prospective download speed up to 7.2 Mbps and upload to 2 Mbps (upgradeable to 5.76 Mbps) so hopefully with firmware and 3G network updates, the card will have upgradeable throughput for awhile.

Also using a Cradlepoint MBR1000 Wireless-N router which is a tad pricey ($239.00) but works well as a mobile broadband router to share the connection for several computers. It is equipped with two USB ports, one Express Slot, one 10/100 WAN, and four 10/100 LAN ports.

The router has many configurable options, WAN failover, logging, SNMP and several firmware updates to support newer broadband modems. It also appears to have pretty good reviews over a few sites.

Some tests during Internet prime-time:

Normal ISP test
:::.. testmy.net test results ..:::
Download Connection is:: 1128 Kbps about 1.13 Mbps (tested with 1024 kB)
Download Speed is:: 138 kB/s
Upload Connection is:: 1495 Kbps about 1.5 Mbps (tested with 2992 kB)
Upload Speed is:: 182 kB/s
Tested From:: »testmy.net (Main)
Test Time:: 2008/12/09 - 9:04pm
D-Validation Link:: »testmy.net/stats/id-9WX32TOFE
U-Validation Link:: »testmy.net/stats/id-JMLPCNAB4
User Agent:: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1) [!]

IPSec VPN tests:
:::.. testmy.net test results ..:::
Download Connection is:: 147 Kbps about 0.15 Mbps (tested with 512 kB)
Download Speed is:: 18 kB/s
Upload Connection is:: 362 Kbps about 0.4 Mbps (tested with 748 kB)
Upload Speed is:: 44 kB/s
Tested From:: »testmy.net (Main)
Test Time:: 2008/12/09 - 9:02pm
D-Validation Link:: »testmy.net/stats/id-Q4K719LAY
U-Validation Link:: »testmy.net/stats/id-FNVCJIH6Z
User Agent:: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; InfoPath.1) [!]

member for 6.9 years, 935 visits, last login: 1.5 years ago
updated 5.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by tm2924 See Profile

  • Location: Labadie,Franklin,MO
  • Cost: $68 per month (24 month contract)
Good "Great Service!"
Bad "none yet"
Overall "3G is speed is great option."
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Our area just got 3g and I got my modem within days of it going live. I am getting 1.7 down and 500 up. The ping times are fast. I have coupled the modem with a mobile broadband wireless router. I now have broadband throughout the house. My only other options for internet are dial-up and satellite. This beats both hands down.

member for 6.7 years, 69 visits, last login: 5.8 years ago
updated 5.8 years ago

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Review by roughstuff99 See Profile

  • Location: Springfield,Greene,MO
  • Cost: $60 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Good speeds for service, more upgrades coming"
Bad "Pricey"
Overall "All I can get here in a rural area for the cost"
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I live on the Northern outskirts of Springfield MO, so DSL is not available. I took ATT wireless broadband which uses the USBConnect 881U because it is all I could get for the price. I like it and I understand there are more speed upgrades coming. I usually hit around 2 Mbps down and close to 1Mbps up. I did have to download a firmware upgrade because the speeds were reversed. I get a great signal on my home PC so that makes a big difference too. Over all I enjoy it, and anything is better than dial up.

A few things I forgot to mention were that what I have is an Air Card, it hooks directly into my USB port and it runs off of the 3G network. It is now free after rebate, so you really can't beat the price. I use it on my home pc but it is also mobile, which means I can use it anywhere. I am on the unlimited plan which also means no limit on usage. Also of note is that my throughput is considered exceptional for the area.

member for 6 years, 41 visits, last login: 6 years ago
updated 6 years ago

Comments:

Review by ravensfan55 See Profile

  • Location: Severna Park,Anne Arundel,MD
  • Cost: $100 per month
Good "Clear calling, fast broadband"
Bad "None I can think of"
Overall "Great wireless service."
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After previous stints with Verizon and Sprint, I have to say that AT&T/Cingular has been the best wireless service I have had. Verizon was reliable, but the horrid software and locking of features drove me crazy. Sprint on the other hand was full of problems and have the most incompetent customer service of any company in any sector. I canceled in 15 days. Cingular has great phones, and great plans. Calls are crystal clear and they have great coverage, it's always 4 or 5 bars for me. 3G speeds are very fast. Our business uses them for mobile broadband and we have no compaints. All the phones I have had with them have been great. I give an A+ for Cingular/AT&T.

member for 6.2 years, 693 visits, last login: 3.7 years ago
lodged 6.2 years ago

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Review by OSUGoose See Profile

  • Location: Columbus,Franklin,OH
  • Cost: $80 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "Great Speeds When in 3G"
Bad "3G Coverage in Columbus is not fully consistant"
Overall "YMMV depending on area"
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I've came back to wireless from AT&T, for 2 reasons, 1 was the Moto Q Global now available (big motorolla fan here) and 2 I discovered that verizon and sprints coverage was no better where i had issues with at&t. My job as a sat installer requires me to be in some "rual" areas, if you call Marysville,Marion,Newark to be rual. And with both a AT&T & verizon phone and a sprint/netel hybrid phone, i had the same or no coveage across the board. So since i prefer the GSM tech, i came back and happy i have. However at&t needs to even out the 3G coverage in columbus, as its hit or miss in some areas. However the speeds are good, and were good as well when i had a laptop a few months ago with a built in aircard, i was getting near express dsl speeds.

member for 6.6 years, 2518 visits, last login: a few hours ago
lodged 6.6 years ago

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Review by joe94395 See Profile

  • Location: Taylors,Greenville,SC
  • Cost: $20 per month
Good "Good coverage and technology"
Bad "A little slow when not in 3g"
Overall "Good value"
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I'm tethering to my computer through my Motorola v3xx on the MediaMax 200 plan for occasional surfing when not at home. Tethering with this plan is against the terms of service so if you're looking at using the connection a lot I would reccomend getting the broadband connect plan for $60 a month which does support tethered use. I've never heard of anyone getting their data plan cancelled due to usage though. I'm getting anywhere from 100 to 210kbps down and 50 to 100kbps up on the EDGE network. Latency in around 500ms. We're getting 3g HSDPA service in Greenville, SC sometime in 2008 which will hopefully improve latency and speed. Coverage with AT&T is better in my experience than any other provider in my area. I've never been in a spot where I haven't had signal and I've had the service for about a year now.

member for 8.3 years, 151 visits, last login: 6 days ago
lodged 6.6 years ago

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Review by Jammer726 See Profile

  • Location: Jasper,Jasper,TX
  • Cost: $59 per month (24 month contract)
Good "Highly portable, better than dial up, no usage cap"
Bad "miss my dsl! High latency, 24 month contract"
Overall "I can live with it"
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seeing as how I moved to the country, DSL and Cable is not available. I had AT&T DSL which I loved. I currently use a HP ZE4920 laptop. I was using a stand up PC with my DSL for my HAM Radio equipment and radio software and VOIP software. Since moving I checked into satelite service but read about the usage agreement and limits and decided not to go with that type service. After carefully considering I decided to take the AT&T Wireless plunge, I now have a Aircard 875U (USB version). It was a pretty easy install. The speeds arent as good as DSL however considering the circumstances, if I decide to hit the road, I can take the net with me and dont have to worry about setting up DUN connections if WI-FI is unavailable. I am currently getting about 100k down and about the same up on 3 bars and 1 3g bar. Overall I am happy with its portability. A bit pricey and the contract term sucks but oh well. Short story, I am happy..no phone line, better than dial up speeds and I am not limited by daily usage and I can take it anywhere.

member for 8.8 years, 23 visits, last login: 5.2 years ago
lodged 6.7 years ago

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Review by joepercussio See Profile

  • Location: Plano,Collin,TX
  • Cost: $120 per month (24 month contract)
Good "Great Reliability and has iPhone avalible"
Bad "Slow MEdia Net without EDGE or 3G"
Overall "Great Network, but needs to get data transfer speeds better to people without EDGE or 3G"
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Have family plan w/ 5 lines. Text messages travel really fast. Always have 5 bars and never had a call drop in over 4 years! Ordering is easy at CORPORATE STORES, NOT AUTHORIZED!!! Good variety of add-ons and additional downloads/extras. Overall good service!

member for 7 years, 77 visits, last login: 2.7 years ago
lodged 6.9 years ago

Comments: