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AT&T Wireless Data Still Growing At 1000% 137

jfruhlinger writes "AT&T's wireless network came under a microscope when it seemed unable to handle the massive data use boost that came when the iPhone arrived on the scene. The company has since put money into its infrastructure, and that growth rate has slowed somewhat, but it's still gone up 30 times over the past three years."
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AT&T Wireless Data Still Growing At 1000%

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  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @06:28PM (#34261804)

    Perhaps your expectations have altered drastically over the years.

    You were probably happy to get EDGE and were probably amazed by it. I once took a trip guided only by google maps on a Razr for pete sake!!

    Dropped calls have gone virtually to ZERO per month for me on AT&T. Wep page dwnload speeds increased noticeably as well. I first noticed a dramatic drop back in April of 2010.

    Perhaps AT&T made dramatic improvements in Network Reliability and speed in my area. That is the date my Android phone arrived and I retired my iphone. I never worry about bars any more.

    Its still not "fast enough", and it probably never will be, because "fast enough" is a moving target. But for all the flak AT&T gets, in my area is pretty darn good.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @06:48PM (#34262060)

    This is Apple's Achilles Heel. When demand outstrips the AT&T bandwidth, an iXxx will no longer be as desirable.

    Demand has already outstripped AT&T bandwidth. That happened two years ago. That's the whole point of the story.

    With that as the historical base, we look at AT&T exclusivity ending just at the time when AT&T shows signs of catching up with demand.

    Or is that iPhone new contracts actually tapering off. Even tho Apple is selling iPhones like crazy, it hasn't translated into that many new customers for AT&T. They activated a record 5.2 million of the devices last quarter, but gained a net of only 2.6 million new mobile customers. See. [] So clearly the bandwidth demand growth is starting to slow down.

    No one else could have handled the iPhone bandwidth demand back in 2007-2009 period any better than AT&T did.

    The Achilles heel of Apple may be when they release a CDMA iPhone for Verizon and people suddenly realize half the stuff they used to do on the iPhone does not work on CDMA where you get Talk OR Data. For that reason, I suspect Verizon does not get an iPhone till Verizon gets LTE.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @07:32PM (#34262670)

    FantasyLand, Or in the Android world, where I now dwell.

    I'll just come out and say it, even tho the Apple Mod Nazis will mark it troll in no time flat:

    At least 70% percent of AT&T's bad rap came from Infineon chip sets in Apple iPhones.

    Since that was a huge percentage of the userbase, it made the carrier look much worse than it was. AT&T BB users had no where near the same percentage of complaints.

    My problems went away with the iPhone. YMMV.

  • Do not trust AT&T (Score:5, Interesting)

    by straponego ( 521991 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @07:52PM (#34262858)
    Or any telco, but especially ATT. When the iPhone/ATT first earned its reputation as a horribly unreliable phone, ATT said they were going to invest $15 billion in the next year to fix the issue. A year later, they boasted that they'd spent $2 Billion in the last year, yet somehow it still wasn't enough. Huh. Pretty sure the ball got dropped somewhere between engineering's requirements and yacht hookers for executive yachts. Just like when the US government handed out tens of billions for infrastructure upgrades that the telcos translated into record profits and third world Internet speeds. Telcos and cable companies enjoy taking the money, see, but the part about investing some of it seems pointless, given their government supported monopolies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @12:41AM (#34265046)

    "As much as I loathe Verizon I've never seen them make changes to their network that dicked over existing customers. AT&T has done so on numerous occasions."

              Absolutely. Here's some examples:
              Analog -- the phone cos (that had 850mhz spectrum) were required to keep analog running until recently. AT&T would keep the *bare minimum* 1 channel running, even in areas where that channel was consistently busy from either analog roamers or TDMA phones still in service. They also didn't maintain the equipment so some of these channels actually didn't work, didn't have the proper transmit power, or were noisy. Verizon tried to maintain the same level of service for analog as for their current services -- if an area had heavy usage they'd run more analog channels, they kept the equipment maintained, and so on, up until the shutoff point.

              EVDO -- they made a point of not compromising voice service. In areas where they need plenty of 850mhz voice (CDMA 1X) channels for reliable service, it means they'll have like 1 850 EVDO channel and the rest at 1900 -- it's better to have data slow down at the fringe than to have calls start dropping constantly.

              LTE -- they've publicly said they'll keep 1X running until at least 2020, even though LTE will be completed by 2013-2014. (They haven't said anything about EVDO, but once a lot of traffic shifts to LTE they could probably keep 1 channel of EVDO going and it'd be plenty for the remaining EVDO devices) This gives 6 to 7 years for people to switch.

              Contrast this to (pre-merger) AT&T Wireless and Cingular, which BOTH quit selling TDMA phones (switching to GSM exclusively) BEFORE they had even finished building out their GSM network. And contrast it to the current situation, where they keep reducing the service levels for GSM-only customers to improve 3G (reducing number of GSM channels, and moving them to 1900 to free up 850 for 3G), while continuing to offer numerous models of GSM-only (i.e. *non*-3G) phones. When I looked a month or so ago, 50% of the models they had on the web site didn't have 3G! THIS is the root of AT&T's present problems -- it's like, if you want people to use 3G, quit selling non-3G phones! Cost isn't an issue any more, there are cheap and basic 3G phones for those who don't want something fancy.

              I should note, AT&T's excuses really are excuses -- Verizon's data traffic has been increasing FASTER than AT&T's, to the point that it's predicted VZW will carry MORE traffic than AT&T by sometime in early 2011. Android phones use more data than IPhones, and due to huge Android phone sales, there's more of them too.

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