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AT&T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the sky-is-blue dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "AT&T has admitted that the rise of tablets and smartphones like the iPad and iPhone has taken a major toll on its network. In its public filing to the Federal Communications Commission yesterday, the company admitted that its network has been under increasing strain as more and more high-bandwidth devices have been connected. This not only includes smartphones like the iPhone, but tablets like the iPad as well. AT&T says that in many cases tablets put a greater stress on their network (PDF) than smartphones do."
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AT&T Admits Network Can't Handle iPhone, iPad Traffic

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  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:28PM (#35909076)

    You sign the customers first, work out the details later. Customers are committed for 2 years, will likely be on for 4 or 6. They'll be stuck with you.

  • Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:29PM (#35909084) Homepage

    So it's the fault of the devices and not the retarded telcom that refuses to build out it's network, besides the fact that there is an obvious demand. Fuck them.

  • by straponego (521991) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:33PM (#35909138)
    $3.4 billion in profit last quarter. And yet their network is garbage. I have an idea, but it's an engineer idea, not a suit idea, so... never mind.
  • Crazy idea here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:33PM (#35909156)
    Uh, if all of these new devices are causing a strain on your network, how about upgrading your network infrastructure? I know, this sounds crazy. Spending money like that will just eat away at profits. Maybe if you're lucky you can wait long enough to where phones'll barely work on your network and you can get the government to subsidize the improved network.
  • Re:Geee, wiz. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:34PM (#35909168)

    It only took them 4+ years to figure it out.

    No....it took them 4 years to ADMIT it. Very different things. One makes them incompetent, the other makes them a douche.

  • Great Example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Palmsie (1550787) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:35PM (#35909176)

    For why we need larger quantities and higher quality carriers and ISPs. It's not like this is the first time hardware advances have put pressure on specific sectors to improve their services. Most providers are already giving the US some of the worst bandwidth you can get in the modern world. And now non-tech users (read: smartphone and tablet users) are becoming complacent with data plans and shabby speeds that it's becoming this pathetic norm. The one recent ray of hope is Google's Kansas City project where they're getting some of the best stuff in the country while someone in LA is sitting there twittling their thumbs with 3mpbs Internet speed. Oh boy...

  • by cpotoso (606303) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:35PM (#35909182) Journal
    Luckily you can just take your cell phone or pad and use it on another network. Oh, wait! In the retarded US we can't because each company has its own system mutually incompatible with all others (except ATT and T-M, but that fortunately will end soon). Way to go! You are locked in for sure, unless you want to shell another several hundred $$ on a new (and incompatible with anybody else) device. !#@$!@#$
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:36PM (#35909188)

    If AT&T is selling these phones, then they are the ones who should be responsible for supporting them, which IMO includes providing adequate bandwidth and network capacity to deal with the demands of the devices that they sell. I purchase a phone and data package. I should be able to get the capacity that I have paid for. If that is an unlimited data package (mine is), then this is NOT my problem. It is AT&T's problem in promising more than they can deliver, which in any terms is fraud.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:36PM (#35909190)
    Is to justify their purchase of T-Mobile to the FCC. After the purchase is approved, exactly NOTHING will happen to improve their network.
  • They made $3.5B last quarter (net profit). If they only invested half of that, maybe their network wouldn't be under so much strain and the economy would prosper. How much people can YOU employ for $2B? I would say at least 40,000 people that would then be able to reinvest their money in you know, $500 cell phones and $120/mo data services.

  • Small wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dazedNconfuzed (154242) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:38PM (#35909206)

    Small wonder they dropped the "unlimited flat rate 3G" plan a month after the iPad 3G was introduced.

    Makes me wonder how far the gap between the wonder and the reality of "cloud computing" is. Sounds great to keep all your data/music/video in the "cloud", but throwing around that much data grinds any capped data plan into the ground.

    (Advantage to the early adopters: some of us still have that glorious "unlimited 3G" plan. Yay! FYI: they're transferrable.)

  • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:46PM (#35909284)

    That's why they bought T-Mobile. Much cheaper and faster to buy existing infrastructure.

  • Re:Geee, wiz. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bberens (965711) on Friday April 22, 2011 @03:48PM (#35909306)
    I think the raking in tons of profit disqualifies them from being incompetent, at least from the perspective of a stockholder.
  • Re:Geee, wiz. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday April 22, 2011 @04:25PM (#35909648) Journal

    Two different problems.

    In areas of low population density, their towers don't reach far enough, so there are huge areas with no signal at all.

    In areas of high population density, their towers don't have enough frequency slots or time slots to handle the number of simultaneous users (and the added multipath problems caused by mostly-concrete high-rise structures make things worse).

    Both problems are real problems. The problem with the U.S. is not that the density is too high or too low, but that the density has too large a standard deviation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 22, 2011 @04:27PM (#35909660)
    This is exactly the reason the FCC should block this purchase. Without T-Mobile you remove one of the few remaining players that are in place to compete with AT&T such that if AT&T as a company wants to survive and retain its customers (without breaking trade laws) their only alternative is to improve their product. Allowing them to buy up their competition will certainly help AT&T, but it will hurt the consumer because they've gained nothing material and actually lost market pressure for AT&T to continue to invest in itself.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday April 22, 2011 @04:33PM (#35909718) Homepage

    This will unquestionably be bad for all consumers. Not only from the obvious potential for ever-increasing prices, but an almost certainty that service quality will decline. AT&T has a long running history of not building out their infrastructure as they should. Demonstrably, T-Mobile has been able to despite their lower ranking in the market place and their presence has been a a limit on customer abuses by all wireless carriers.

    Letting T-mobile get absorbed will not bring this "great quality" to AT&T. AT&T is an extremely powerful and capable company. If they wanted to improve their infrastructure, they would. They would rather provide less service and abuse customers for cash. This sort of operation should be discouraged and even inhibited given that they are given the "right of way" to use the government (by the people?) licensed air waves in exchange not only for money, but with the promise that they will provide a benefit to the people and the nation. They are consistently failing in much of that and clearly where it comes to keeping their infrastructure in an improving and developing state as they should.

  • Re:Geee, wiz. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Friday April 22, 2011 @05:23PM (#35910170) Journal

    But that is why day traders and quick turnover is so bad for this country! hell the day traders wouldn't give a shit if you burned the company down for the insurance as long as it bumped up the stock price. You do ANYTHING smart like invest in infrastructure? watch the price fall. Just keep the money and let shit fall apart? Stock rises. What we need to do is tax the living shit out of the short termers so if you buy stock you would have to be INVESTING, not treating Wall Street as Vegas with nicer clothes.

    As for TFA any of us that has had to deal with AT&T knows their infrastructure sucks ass, full stop. In my area everyone gets reamed by the cableco because even one week on AT&T DSL will make sure you NEVER want to deal with them again. Every time I start to bitch about the cableco prices all I have to do is get called out to a customer that can ONLY get AT&T DSL to go "Wow, thank God cable is in my area!". We are talking a TOP speed of 756k, most of the time sub 200k, and when having to deal with them for a customer got basically told "tough luck we have NO intention to upgrade now or anytime in the future". Monopolies must be nice.

    As for their wireless the shit is so bad I had to wire my dad up his own mini cell tower just so his damned phone would work without him having to go stand outside and point at the tower, and this is in the middle of town? Frankly if it wasn't for the fact they were the only game in town I'm sure they wouldn't have ANY customers at all! Piss poor signal, piss poor speeds, piss poor service. Hell they might as well change the logo to Goatse with a new tag line of "AT&T: we own this area so bend over bitch"

  • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday April 22, 2011 @05:26PM (#35910206)
    I thought that was because they didn't care for a competitor having superior service at a lower price. All I know is I am not the slightest bit please to see my carrier gobbled by those bastards. If the FTC doesn't block the sale I'll likely be switching after it finalizes.
  • Re:Geee, wiz. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Friday April 22, 2011 @11:44PM (#35912526)

    If a country like the Philippines (about 100 million - 20m of which live in the greater NCR give or take) can handle 10 million+ internet subscribers over 3G, with about 50 million more that use data on their cell phones daily, then I think the USA can handle it. Filipino's send 140 billion text messages every year on top of this too - sure, everywhere you look there are cell sites, most larger buildings have them inside on every floor too - but that's how you do it. Make your footprint smaller, add in more cells, blanket the country in fiber, job done.

    What you suggest is certainly one solution, however I think the world has established that such steps are not necessary when you actually spend some of your billions on better infrastructure.

What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying. -- Nikita Khruschev

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