Signal boosters causing some of AT&T’s dropped calls

AT&T has been getting hammered in the press lately for a new wireless customer survey from ChangeWave on dropped cell phone calls.  But in a company policy blog posting, AT&T says that they’re petitioning the FCC about improving rules regarding wireless signal boosters interfering with its cell towers.  In just one example, a luxury yacht using a cellular signal booster pulling into a port in Florida caused 2,795 dropped calls and 81,000 blocked or impaired calls.

One other possible contributing factor is the iPhone 4 antenna design which is more susceptible to signal loss than other smartphones or the older iPhone 3GS because of its exposed antenna.  Anandtech reported that a natural grip caused the iPhone 4 to drop 19.8 dB versus the iPhone 3GS dropping 1.9 dB with the same grip, and that’s almost a 64 fold decrease in wireless signal strength.  The ChangeWave survey showed that customer satisfaction for the iPhone 4 had dropped to 93% for very and somewhat satisfied customers, and that’s down from 99% satisfaction with the iPhone 3GS.