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Why Ford, Microsoft, Pandora Should Hate AT&T

Stocks in this article: T F MSFT P SIRI NOK AAPL RCI BCE

But, as is often the case, all else is not equal.

I hate to admit it, but some of the SIRI bulls I spar with from time to time had a point. Actually, I don't hate to admit it. That's a force of habit saying. It's healthy to recognize where you might have been off the mark.

Long story short -- the streaming experience via Sync stunk. None of the streaming apps I used during the week and a half I drove the Taurus worked reliably. In fact, the experience was just north of horrendous.

I do not blame Ford, Microsoft or any of the apps I used for this. They all do a fine job of coming through. In fact, allow me to reiterate how much Sync impressed me. And the alternate streaming audio services I used all performed just as well as my preferred selection, Pandora.

I blame AT&T for my less-than-perfect experience. And companies such as Ford, Microsoft, Pandora and others should start doing the same. With aggression. The viability of their innovative efforts depends on AT&T providing more than string-tied-to-bean-can level of service.

I gave AT&T the benefit of the doubt. I was in Niagara Falls, New York. I ventured into larger Buffalo several times. Maybe I could rarely achieve more than three bars because I was visiting a relative backwater. Maybe I only received 4G LTE service some of the time because of this.

That's not the case, though. In Manhattan -- the hub of the world -- my AT&T-powered smartphone worked reliably maybe 25% of the time. And that's being kind.

When I roamed in Canada, however, the Rogers Communications (RCI) and BCE (BCE) networks provided near flawless coverage. My family and friends across the country, including the parts of New York State I roll in, have hardly any issues with Verizon (VZ) and especially Sprint (S) service.

In Southern California, the same holds true. AT&T tells me that I have towers located within a half block of my house, yet my signal still stinks. Often, my phone will show four or five bars with 4G LTE service when idle. Once a call comes in, however, it dumps the LTE and shows one bar or less, sometimes two on a good day. I can rarely stream consistently from my phone in my home and it's wholly unreliable on the road.

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