Get better coverage with AT&T Mark the Spot

Aug 29, 2011
Tech

There are a few areas of Chicago where I get zero service on my iPhone 4. No calls, no data, zilch. But, instead of composing an angry tweet in my head and throwing my phone, I can now be proactive about the situation and let AT&T know exactly where their service bites the big one, […]

There are a few areas of Chicago where I get zero service on my iPhone 4. No calls, no data, zilch. But, instead of composing an angry tweet in my head and throwing my phone, I can now be proactive about the situation and let AT&T know exactly where their service bites the big one, thanks to the universal app  for iDevice AT&T Mark the Spot.

Within the app, there’s a section for app feedback, tips for optimizing your device, but really the only thing you’ll ever use in Mark the Spot is the Mark the Spot feature. Don’t give me that look. I know full well that if I have zero service in an area, that submitting a report to AT&T would be impossible. AT&T realized it, too. Mark the Spot lets you use your current location or move a pin around a map to select a location’s lat/lon of a previously experienced problem. After you’ve set the location, select from the menu if you’re experiencing: “Dropped Call,” “Failed Call Attempt,” “No Coverage,” “Data — Can’t Connect,” “Data — Too Slow” or “Report Spam SMS.” Next, choose if the problem was indoors, outdoors, traveling or at home, and enter any additional info you’d like to provide. Hit “Submit” and — if you’re lucky — AT&T could use that information to upgrade service in your area. You’ll be able to see news related to your submissions in the “Network News” section, but there’s no information on how long you’ll have to wait.

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The newest feature in Mark the Spot is reporting spam SMS. I happen to get a lot, but I wasn’t sure what the purpose of reporting the issue in Mark the Spot was. After submitting the report, the app requested that I forward the message to 7726. I then went through a series of text messages with AT&T outside the app, and I’m not confident this exercise will do anything to deter the spammers.

Whether or not Mark the Spot is simply customer-service smoke and mirrors remains to be seen, but there is some usefulness in the app even if you think submitting claims is fruitless. If you open the map from the submission claim, you’ll be able to see all of AT&T’s hotspots in the area. It takes a few seconds for them to load completely, but this is an extremely useful feature for anyone looking for a Wi-Fi connection on the go.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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