San Francisco is know for its strict network building regulations which is one of the reason why it’s not easy to deploy wireless networks there (it’s probably true for most sizable cities though…), but AT&T is still finding ways to add more “cell towers”, and over $2.4 billion was spent by AT&T in the past two years just to improve service in the Bay Area. They’ve now added new cell sites in downtown San Francisco, a move that should greatly improve reception on AT&T’s LTE network – the downtown area has been spotty in previous years, but there were steady improvements ever since. The carrier is using upgraded DAS, or distributed antenna system, in these cell cites.
It usually takes a couple of years for new cell towers to get approved in San Francisco. This obviously creates hurdles for carriers who want to improve their service ASAP in the city. Users complain of weak signals and dropped calls, but the new cell sites are pretty much the only way for taking care of this problem. Its not only AT&T, other mobile carriers face similar problems and they have all invested a lot to improve their presence in San Francisco which is home to numerous start-ups and established technology companies. LTE speeds in other U.S. cities are reportedly higher, though the current set up has eliminated a lot of problems that users faced with AT&T’s 3G network.