AT&T's 3G upgrade: It's about time but is it too late?

AT&T's 3G upgrade: It's about time but is it too late?

Summary: I read with great interest some of the news coverage about AT&T's plans to upgrade and accelerate its 3G network. But it was Om Malik's post on GigaOm - which basically noted AT&T's fear of an iPhone running on Verizon's LTE network in the future - that resonated most with me.

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I read with great interest some of the news coverage about AT&T's plans to upgrade and accelerate its 3G network. But it was Om Malik's post on GigaOm - which basically noted AT&T's fear of an iPhone running on Verizon's LTE network in the future - that resonated most with me.

Also see: AT&T plans 3G upgrade; Promises 'considerably' faster mobile broadband speeds

Regular readers of this blog might recall that I bought an iPhone earlier this year but returned it within 30 days - not because I didn't like the phone but because the service was, frankly, horrible. As time went on, it was clear that I wasn't the only one who had major issues with the service.

Just a few days ago, I was talking to a friend in New York City when the call went dead. When he called back, he simply said, "Sorry, dude. I have an iPhone." There was nothing more he needed to say. His friends have all come to expect calls from him to fade out or drop.

Even at the Google I/O Developer's conference today, I overheard one guy who was trying to carry on conversations on his iPhone say, "The AT&T service here is like South by Southwest all over again." It was during that event that users - who arrived in droves with iPhones - overloaded the network and sent AT&T scrambling to boost service.

Under any other circumstance, I might applaud a company like AT&T for acknowledging service shortcomings and scrambling to improve them. But that's not the case here. AT&T has been quiet for a long time about the service issues and has stayed on track with its "more bars worldwide" advertising campaign. AT&T should not be patted on the back for this news.

AT&T, trying to hold on to its role as the sole service provider for the iPhone in the U.S., isn't fooling anyone. It's scrambling now because of the buzz that Apple may be getting chummy with Verizon, which is moving forward on plans for an LTE, or 4G, network that could power the iPhone.

Given the choice between Verizon and AT&T in the future, I'd probably stick with Verizon. AT&T seems to only address problems when it's convenient for them, not their customers.

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, AT&T, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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2 comments
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  • Support my new AT&T Slogan

    I posted this on the related AT&T article yesterday. AT&T loves moving their customers to whatever the "new" network is, even before it is built-out. This was true of their move to digital and the move to 3G. They always promise how quickly they're working to improve. I've been told on more than one occasion that all the growing pains would be done withing the "next two years." So I give you my proposal for the new slogan for AT&T.

    AT&T: Today's Network Tomorrow.(TM)
    bmgoodman
  • Verizon has a much better business model than ATT

    They seem to actually "get it". If you look at Fios and the initial reaction was disbelief from most. It's expensive to roll out, it seemed like it was crazy. However once it's installed Fios costs Verizon almost nothing and is scalable far past what any other ISP can currently offer. AT&T? U-Verse and their "fiber to the neighborhood". They took the cheap way out up front and it will cost them in the long run.

    The really amazing thing is Verizon rolled out their current network, which AT&T can barely beat in speed now (although not latency), in 2003-2005. 5 years later and they're rolling out the 4G network, which will probably serve them well for another 5-10 years. Verizon's motto seems to be "Built it right and concentrate on providing the best service available to people who are willing to pay a little bit more." You ever notice Verizon almost never advertises rates in their commercials? They don't need to, they're just better than everyone else.
    LiquidLearner