“Slim and sleek as it is, the iPhone is really the Hummer of cellphones,” Jenna Wortham reports for The New York Times. “It’s a data guzzler. Owners use them like minicomputers, which they are, and use them a lot. Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user, but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user. ‘They don’t even realize how much data they’re using,’ said Gene Munster, a senior securities analyst with Piper Jaffray.”
MacDailyNews Take: If other so-called “smartphones” are smart, then Apple’s iPhone is pure genius. The reason why Apple iPhone owners use their devices 10 times more is because Apple’s software allows and encourages them to do so.
Wortham continues, “The result is dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds as AT&T’s cellular network strains to meet the demand. Another result is outraged customers… More than 20 million other smartphone users are on the AT&T network, but other phones do not drain the network the way the nine million iPhones users do. Indeed, that is why the howls of protest are more numerous in the dense urban areas with higher concentrations of iPhone owners.”
“‘It’s almost worthless to try and get on 3G during peak times in those cities,’ Mr. Munster said, referring to the 3G network. ‘When too many users get in the area, the call drops.’ The problems seem particularly pronounced in New York and San Francisco, where Mr. Munster estimates AT&T’s network shoulders as much as 20 percent of all the iPhone users in the United States,” Wortham reports.
“AT&T’s right to be the exclusive carrier for iPhone in the United States has been a golden ticket for the wireless company. The average iPhone owner pays AT&T $2,000 during his two-year contract — roughly twice the amount of the average mobile phone customer,” Wortham reports. “But at the same time the iPhone has become an Achilles’ heel for the company.”
“AT&T says that the majority of the nearly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will be diverted into upgrades and expansions to meet the surging demands on the 3G network,” Wortham reports. “The company intends to erect an additional 2,100 cell towers to fill out patchy coverage, upgrade existing cell sites by adding fiber optic connectivity to deliver data faster and add other technology to provide stronger cell signals.”
As fast as AT&T wants to go, many cities require lengthy filing processes to erect new cell towers. Even after towers are installed, it can take several months for software upgrades to begin operating at faster speeds,” Wortham reports. “The company has also delayed bandwidth-heavy features like multimedia messaging, or text messages containing pictures, audio or video. It is also postponing “tethering,” which allows the iPhone to share its Internet connection with a computer, a standard feature on many rival smartphones. AT&T says it has no intention of capping how much data iPhone owners use.”
MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs is simply doing as he’s always done: Pushing forward.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Direct link via YouTube here.
Wortham continues, “But AT&T faces another cost — to its reputation. AT&T’s deal with Apple is said to expire as early as next year, at which point other carriers in the United States would be able to sell the popular Apple phones. Indeed, a recent survey by Pricegrabber.com found that 34 percent of respondents pinpointed AT&T as the primary reason for not buying an iPhone. AT&T might be in the spotlight now, analysts say, but other carriers will face similar problems as they sell more smartphones, laptop cards and eventually tablets that encourage high data usage.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Citymark” for the heads up.]