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AT&T muscles up San Francisco LTE with new cell sites

A high-tech city notorious for poor network coverage gets a big boost from AT&T.

Now playing: Watch this: 4G networks: How they're tested

AT&T has announced today that it's added support for new cell sites in downtown San Francisco, a city notorious for its infamously stringent network-building rules.

Coverage in San Francisco has been a thorn in AT&T's side since the carrier's exclusive iPhone launch back in 2007, when the carrier received sharp criticism for poor reception and dropped calls.

How could it be that the big city for high-tech products like Apple's iPhone also offered some of the worst coverage in the nation? It doesn't help when it takes years to approve a new cell tower.

Over the years, AT&T (and other carriers) has invested in improving its network presence in this difficult city, adding a total of 24 new cell sites last year. In my experience, AT&T's speedy, usually double-digit 4G LTE network has wiped away much of the network's previous 3G troubles; however, CNET readers have reported higher LTE speeds elsewhere in the country.

AT&T is using an upgraded distributed antenna system, or DAS, in the new cell sites. The carrier also reported that it spent $2.4 billion improving service in the San Francisco Bay Area over the past two years.

According to a RootMetrics report from August 2012, AT&T edged Verizon for the faster download speeds.