I commute on weekends to the farm about 55 miles west of Washington, DC and have tried Pandora a few times with my iPhone plugged into my Jeep’s sound system. During rush hour, it’s hard to even complete a phone call on this route (the iPhone’s carrier is AT&T 3G), so of course streaming Pandora is spotty, too. But tonight, when I drove back from there to my condo in Falls Church, I was able to listen to my “Bonnie Raitt station” all the way from Hillsboro with no drops at all. It was flawless. The difference, of course, is that I left Hillsboro at 10:00 p.m.
It worked so well because contention for the network was low then. If there were as many 3G streams going on at that time as even a low-rated Washington radio station has listeners at that time of night, you can bet it would have brought the wireless system to its knees. We’re a long way from being able to scale listening over smart phones and dashboard IP devices. Consumers will want to do that, so it’s also a safe bet that the appetite for spectrum will continue unabated. --Dennis