By Adam Shull (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Having an iPhone and not having 3G service for it is like having a Ferrari but not the keys.
At least that’s how Alex Roman of Paducah feels.
“You can still do all the same stuff on your phone but with the 3G it’s so much better,” Roman said.
But iPhone users, and other AT&T customers, in Paducah will have to wait a little longer for 3G to come around.
Paducah and the surrounding area does not receive 3G service from AT&T and won’t until sometime in 2010, according to Cathy Lewandowski, AT&T spokeswoman.
“We plan to launch 3G in Paducah in 2010,” Lewandowski wrote in an e-mail. “We’ve been working for several years to bring 3G to our customers in Paducah.”
Lewandowski said she couldn’t comment on exactly when the service will be available in Paducah.
She said part of the reason it is not offered now is because of Federal Communications Commission guidelines that kicked in after the merger of Cingular and AT&T Wireless in 2005.
“We would have launched Paducah sooner, but we were required by the FCC to divest part of our spectrum, at the time of the Cingular-AT&T Wireless merger, and we did not have enough spectrum remaining to launch 3G even though Paducah was high on our priority list.”
Cell phone companies pay for rights to use the finite spectrum of wireless frequencies, and the FCC regulates how much of the spectrum companies own as part of anti-trust laws.
The 3G service from AT&T is available in most major cities, and as close to Paducah as Hopkinsville, Madisonville and Cape Girardeau, Mo.
It takes its name from being a third generation telecommunications service. It allows people to download and upload photos and video via the Internet with their mobile phones at speeds consistent with a cable modem. It also uses a larger network of cell phone towers to prevent dropped calls and enhance the voice quality during calls.
Verizon Wireless began offering 3G service in Paducah in November 2007, according to Michelle Gilbert, Verizon Wireless spokesperson.
But the iPhone, created by Apple, is only offered on the AT&T network. The phone revolutionized the way people access the Internet and share multimedia data with phones, which is what drew Roman to the iPhone.
“I bought my first (iPhone) in early 2008,” Roman said. “I work at Regions Bank and use the mobile banking where I can go online (on the phone) and check my balance and send e-mails.”
Roman can access the phone’s functions without 3G, just at much slower speeds.
“Speed is the biggest issue,” Roman said. “When you go to Nashville (Tenn.) or Atlanta, which have 3G, the Internet works so much faster. It’s so much nicer.”
Some iPhone users in the area are particularly irked since their phones, costing between $100 and $300, are marketed to take advantage of Web applications and Internet browsing, functions that require longer download times if not operated on a 3G service. One iPhone model even carries the 3G title in its name, the newer Apple iPhone 3GS.
Matthew T. Patton wouldn’t have an iPhone without 3G service.
Patton, who lives in Philadelphia, visits family in Crittenden and Lyon counties.
“I travel home to Kentucky to visit my family several times a year,” Patton wrote in a message on Facebook.
“The lack of 3G service (on his iPhone) is incredibly frustrating when I’m there. It’s nearly impossible to conduct any type of data transaction like sending an e-mail or uploading a photo to Facebook.”
“Certainly, if I moved back to Kentucky, I think it would be impossible to have an iPhone since I’m so used to using it with a 3G network.”
The good news for Patton and local AT&T customers is that 3G is coming sometime in the next 365 days.
Lewandowski said AT&T will also either upgrade or install new equipment in the Fremont area and just southwest of Lovelaceville in 2010 to enhance cell phone coverage.
Contact Adam Shull, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.
(Source: The Paducah Sun, Jan. 2, 2010. Photo by John Wright. Used with permission).