I went through an "online chat" with an ATT tech rep. He said it was out of his hands and agreed that it was strange that the phone sees a network and maintains 90dB. Ofcourse, he suggested buying a new phone.
I have noticed that this phone immediately displays a - in Manage Connections rather than a green checkmark or a red X. It knows something is wrong as soon as it initializes the radio.
I tried running the RF Gain test from the status screen, everything else on the phone checks o.k. but the Call won't go through to check the radio.
If I hold the junk phone next to the good one, their reception matches dB exactly.