AT&T CTO admits carrier unprepared for Apple iPhone 3G success

“AT&T chief technology officer John Donovan last week confirmed the US carrier had been unprepared for the US success of the iPhone 3G,” Jonny Evans reports for Macworld UK.

“Speaking at the Goldman Sachs technology conference last week, Donovan admitted that the network had seen demand for 3G services in some areas exceed expectation to the point AT&T was forced to build up capacity,” Evans reports.

Full article here.


  1. It’s not rocket science.
    1). Take total number of iPhones initially sold.
    2). Compare current 2.5G usage data to pre-iPhone usage.
    3). Multiply the two, map out where it’s needed most, and plan accordingly.

    This guy needs to be fired.

  2. @Gunboat Smith

    Could you imagine what most parents would have done if they knew how badly their kids would have treated them when the little darlings became teenagers?

    Get a life! Or were you perfect?

  3. DanielM,

    Good comeback!

    However, raising kids is a labor of love and many mistakes are forgiven by both party. Though some people hold grudges for waaaaayyyy too long.

    In the business world, there is money being exchanged and as such there is a responsibility to anticipate and deliver as promised.

    What this CTO is basically saying: “We screwed up, but good luck getting your money back, suckers!”

    Or to phrase it using your analogy:
    “Hey kid, I know you are being a rebel right now but I’m your father, so you will get nothing AND like it.”

  4. @ ragarcia
    Thank you. But a little more:

    re “In the business world, there is money being exchanged and as such there is a responsibility to anticipate and deliver as promised.”

    So we hang our parents, President, teachers, ministers, our friends, etc. Even the Patriots, Yankees and 2004 Olympic Dream Team. Sounds like Nazi Germany, doesn’t it.

    Or our teenagers are basically saying, “We are screwing up for the next few years, but good luck getting your life back.

    I don’t think so.

    Bottom line: Real easy to second guess, isn’t it.

  5. Second guess my butt ! We damn well know that Apple staff sat down with AT&T;staff and told them what their sales expectations were. AT&T;should have anticipated the ramp up and planned accordingly. They had a track record with the first generation of iPhones. Their plan should have been to ramp up as sales volumes increased, but most importantly, AT&Ts;infrastructure should have been designed to handle the increase in traffic.

  6. @ Gunboat Smith:

    Apple has sold FAR more iPhone 3Gs than the first model. Plus, with expectations on 3G speeds, more people could have been expected to use them. Simply looking at where 1st Gen iPhones were used does not determine where 3G iPhones will be used.

    However, AT&T;should have planed for more demand. The number of iPhones and thus 3G usage is only going to increase, and AT&T;’s network is going to have to expand to cope.

    This may be simply a manpower/time problem for AT&T;, but unfortunately it looks bad for both Apple and AT&T;.

  7. Very good conversatioin.

    I’m in bind, because, if you are going to keep comparing items of “passion” with business, then I have no way of swaying you.

    I believe, we have passion for our sports teams, family (even our country’s leaders) that makes us ignore (for the most part) the calamities they put us through.

    I also believe that because they are businesses, ATandT and Apple should not get that benefit from us.

    There is no second guessing the fact that the 3G network should have been better prepared such as there is no second guessing that MobileMe should have been better prepared.

    At least Apple extended our MobileMe accounts because they realized they were unprepared.

    Is ATandT going to provide us with 3G credits even though they admit they are unprepared?

  8. @Conspiracy

    Re “and he tells this to Macworld UK??? How about some US reporters!!

    Something wrong here. According to article, this comment came from the Goldman Sachs technology conference last week. which, however, was linked to a meeting actually held on February 27th, 2008.

    I can’t confirm that there was another conference this year, and in particular last week anywhere.

  9. I live in San Francisco and gotta admit that voice reliability of the 3G is FAR worse than that of the original iPhone…even after the 2.1 update (though that has helped a little). I understand SF is a hard terrain to cover with all our hills and buildings. But with so many iPhone users (not to mention bloggers) here you’d think AT&T;would get their shit together and focus on coverage here. In my neighborhood I get 0-2 bars on 3G and a solid 5 under Edge. This is not Apple’s fault. It is clearly AT&T;’s!!

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