AT&T CTO Talks Network Fixer-Upper Plans
Last week Apple and Infineon were getting all the heat for shoddy 3G performance. Now AT&T is getting its share of the blame with a dizzying array of combinations. First it was Wired's fairly damning survey and the Swedish antenna tests that pointed further fingers at the network, and now Gizmodo head-honcho Brian Lam has had the chance to chat with AT&T CTO John Donovan:
I asked Donovan if caution was the overriding strategy behind waiting to match Sprint's initial 3G rollout, he replied, "I'd like to say we're deliberate. " He added that initially meeting the voice quality and data rates of Sprint's 3G network would have been both technically and financially impossible, despite the customer benefit. (One only needs to look at Sprint's financial weakness now to appreciate the wisdom of his point.) He also pointed out that by waiting, they got to leapfrog the limitations of Sprint's EVDO networks, referring to the extended data rates their network will eventually run at, at a better value. "The most astute thing you can do is be as late as possible and as fast as possible. Because it's going to cost you more if you do it too early, and if you do it too late, you don't get the features you want."
Well bully for AT&T, but where exactly does that leave frustrated customers with dodgy 3G reception? According to Donovan, they have a multipart plan to make sure AT&T really, truly, eventually delivers on the "more bars in more places" promise.
Lam likes having them on the record, so they can be held accountable. We think customers would prefer having them simply get the job done, so that dead zones, dropped calls, downgraded connections, and basically everything else that's currently broken about AT&T's 3G network is fixed and fast.