Monday, October 12, 2009

Crowdsourcing digital signal strength

AT&T promises "more bars in more places" — but which places? Verizon Wireless proclaims "it's the network" — but does the network cover you well in the places you live, work and travel? Until now, cell phone users have had no detailed and impartial way to assess and compare which network offers the best data and voice service where they use their phones. Root Wireless Inc., a Bellevue, Wash., startup, aims to change that. Root's colorful online map, which debuted last week on and is currently usable only by consumers living in the eight U.S. markets analyzed so far, shows voice and data signal strength for each of the four major U.S. carriers. An intriguing plan calls for building out map coverage through 200,000 volunteers nationwide, all armed with a data-gathering app on their smartphones.
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