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Apple says it takes 3 years to get a new cell tower in San Francisco

Lingering reception issues in San Francisco, Calif., are exceptionally difficult to rectify because the local approval process for a new cellular tower takes an average of 3 years, Apple revealed Friday.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, at Friday's iPhone 4 press conference, discussed some of the difficulties cellular companies like AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., experience when trying to improve their coverage. San Francisco is one city where coverage is notoriously bad.

"It's one of the toughest spots to get approvals," Jobs said. "Sometimes I think they should enlist the support of all the iPhone users in the community."

He said that Apple is constantly asking about reception in San Francisco and the surrounding bay area, but that AT&T is caught up in the "long process" of trying to get new towers approved.

When AT&T wants to add a new cell tower in Texas, Jobs said, it takes about 3 weeks. But adding a new cell tower in San Francisco has an average turnaround time of 3 years.

"Not all of us want cell towers in our backyard, but we all want good reception," Jobs said. "(AT&T has) tried to make them look like banana trees, but still, it's a problem."