Analysts: AT&T’s issues would have happened on any network that carried Apple’s iPhone

Year-End Clearance & Tax Saving Sale “Consumer outrage about AT&T’s 3G service for iPhones is boiling over, but the dropped calls and spotty service reflect a greater lack of foresight in the wireless industry,” David Goldman reports for

“Analysts say AT&T’s problems would have happened on any network that carried Apple’s iPhone because of the enormous amount of data downloaded by iPhone users. Over the past three years, AT&T’s data traffic increased 5,000% because of the iPhone,” Goldman reports. “‘The challenges that AT&T has are being faced by a lot of operators around the world: Very rapidly growing usage coupled with dense populations,’ said Daniel Hays, wireless expert and partner at consultancy PRTM. ‘Would it have been different on Verizon? Probably not.'”

Goldman reports, “AT&T accurately states that it has the nation’s fastest 3G network but it “probably bit off more than it could chew,” said Doug Helmreich, program director at consultancy CFI Group. ‘Now some of their customers are paying the price.’ iPhone users in New York and San Francisco in particular have been up in arms about frequent service interruptions.”

“Verizon has had a field day at AT&T’s expense,” Goldman reports. “‘There’s a map for that’ commercials have poked fun at AT&T’s smaller 3G footprint. And that has helped Verizon take market share, according to Piper Jaffray. But studies show that AT&T’s network is actually faster than Verizon’s, and Verizon’s ad campaign may be a bit misleading.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. AT&T;will have to charge for usage – like most telecoms do everywhere else in the world… bandwidth is a limited resource – allowing a small minority of users to use huge chunks of capacity without paying for it is unsustainable…

  2. After years of dictating to manufacturers as to what “features” were permissable on their networks, ATT et al have effectively forced to admit their networks gave suffered from chronic underinvestment in infrastructure. They only have themselves to blame.

    Now we can all understand why Apple absolutely refused to give any carrier the right to dictate what functions were on the iPhone.


  3. “allowing a small minority of users to use huge chunks of capacity without paying for it is unsustainable…”

    Without paying for it? Then what the hell is the 80 or 90 some odd dollars per month the average iPhone customer pays to ATT?

  4. More Goldman BS, first Laura now this guy. “Over the past three years, AT&T;’s data traffic increased 5,000% because of the iPhone,….” The iPhone has not been on the market “the past three years.” I’m not on ATnT, but it sure seems like VZ and maybe Sprint are planting all sorts of stories. Does anyone have any real proof that ATnT network can’t handle the iPhone? Are all the reports from “analysts”? I’m a disbeliever in the hype against ATnT. Honest, I don’t work for them, own any stock or anything else. I’m happy on T-Mobile-I don’t even own a iPhone.

  5. Why not look at O2’s announcement today in the UK and make a comparison? O2 apologized for having such poor service with iPhone, and are actively upgrading their network in London. I have yet to hear AT&T;do something similar for NYC or SF. Of course, AT&T;doesn’t have competition. In London you can now get iPhone on Vodaphone as well as O2, and I think Orange isn’t far behind.

  6. Darkness,

    “I have yet to hear AT&T do something similar for NYC or SF.”

    The “related articles” are your friend, you moron.

    And, BTW, this is how it’s done: AT&T

  7. People can make all the excuses for ATT they want. The fact is they couldn’t handle the previous crop of 10-11 million iPhone customers a couple months ago and probably signed up another 2-3 million over the past two quarters. The picture only gets worse for them. The “improvements” to their network can’t outpace the addition of new iPhone users so we won’t see a noticeable difference no matter how many billions they claim to invest.

    By this time next year they’ll have around 20 million iPhone customers, double the amount that brought their cruddy network to its knees. Can ATT upgrade and build out enough to compensate for that? Not to mention the unforeseen load from future iPhone updates, like running third party apps in the background.

    The iPhone is doomed unless it becomes available on all four major networks in America.

  8. Gee, R2, I think any company would love to be “doomed” with 20 million additional customers…

    Oh, by the way, anyone see that the cypher for phones has been cracked?

  9. Remember all that “Dark fiber” out there cause people over build.??

    Well, companies make bad choices after bad choice cause they are cheap, over priced, over paid executives. However, things will stabilize out.

    AT&T;is already building home mini cell tower units. More and more places are having free wifi (athough it really sucks in most places…. they think like MS and have software and systems to match… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> )

    Anyway, I think we will get there slowly with every overpaid exec fighting tooth and nail to slow down progress…. LOL

    Just a thought,

  10. Verizon has a much better record of capital investment and infrastructure upgrades than AT&T;. Case in point: FiOS vs. U-Verse. Verizon would have done a much better job at scaling up 3G service than AT&T;has.

    It’s simple. Ask AT&T;when it plans to catch up with Verizon Wireless on 3G coverage. The answer is: Never! Instead, they try to change the subject to their crappy 2G network.

    I hope that Verizon gets the iPhone soon so I can buy one. AT&T;shareholders will get what they deserve when that announcement is made. Until then, I’m sticking wth iPod Touch with WiFi access, which is a much better value than AT&T;’s 3G service.

  11. If you want to see Verizon’s 3G network that is fast enough to broadcast video, look at the map that they show where Vcast TV is available. It’s so tiny, it makes AT&T;’s 3G network look huge. In other words, Verizon’s 3G network may be wide, but not necessarily much faster than EDGE in most areas, since the area where it can actually give you enough bandwidth for video is tiny.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.