Print 29 comment(s) - last by mlZr.. on Jun 23 at 12:01 PM

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is quite pleased with himself. He says his company is greatly improving its call quality.  (Source: AT&T)
Says it has come a long ways in figuring out how to deal with the iPhone strain

Thanks to the success of Apple's iPhone, AT&T's customer base has increased over the past three years. However, the network has also been pushed to the breaking point.  In terms of data speed, AT&T appears to be the fastest network in the U.S., but its voice network has been plagued with reports of dropped calls and poor voice call quality.

However, starting this year AT&T has been beefing up its network, investing an additional $2B USD in infrastructure.  Company Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said in a CNBC television interview which aired Tuesday that those efforts are paying off.

He said his company is close to bringing its mobile voice call quality close to where it wants it.  He states, "We've been going hard at the voice quality issue."

Stephenson did not discuss dropped calls, but AT&T spokespeople have expressed to us previously this year that the company believes dropped call rates are falling.  Those claims are at odds, though with a recent study that claims dropped call rates are actually 
going up.

Its voice network has reportedly had dropped call rates as high as 30 percent in recent years (AT&T's own statements have indicated a much lower rate of < 5 percent of calls dropped, but AT&T has continually been unable to provide us with dropped call rate studies that focused exclusively on urban areas).

AT&T is bracing itself for a massive surge in subscribers with the release of the iPhone 4. Hopefully the investments in its wireless network infrastructure will show some real world benefits once these phones start reaching customers later this month.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

How about...
By quiksilvr on 6/16/2010 9:57:58 AM , Rating: 5
Just putting up more 3G towers? I mean, the iPhone has been out for over 3 years now and time and time again, people kept saying "Just put up some more 3G towers." It's not hard, its not crazy difficult.

Don't think we don't know what's going on. You don't want to spend the money to improve your towers until it is absolutely necessary to. Until your exclusivity deal gets close to ending or until the PR gets shaken to its core. Because you know that consumers will cling on to the iPhone and put up with your bullcrap 3G network.

And hey, how about a 2GB data plan for $25 a month? Oh, and here's the kicker. Let's charge people an extra $20 a month just to tether. Not to tether unlimited data, no no. Just the SAME AMOUNT OF DATA THEY'RE USING IN THE FIRST PLACE!

And don't think we're falling for your stupid orange cloth commercials. AT&T covers 97% of America (with EDGE cough COUGH).

RE: How about...
By spwrozek on 6/16/2010 10:33:30 AM , Rating: 3
It is not as easy as "put up more towers!!!!". There is a lot more going on then you realize. In many areas they are not allowed to put up towers. Cities, counties, townships have zoning rules and many times will not allow it. They will say "there is a transmission line, put it on that tower". Which starts a long process of dealing with the tower owner to get approval to be located on the tower. Once they get approved to go there a structural analysis has to be done on the transmission tower. Many times the structure will not pass due to the latest version of the NESC. This leads to $25,000 or more being for nothing and having to go a different route.

People can be mad and think that AT&T does nothing but they do a lot to improve networks, it can be a long process with push back on many fronts.

RE: How about...
By Cobra Commander on 6/16/2010 10:45:24 AM , Rating: 4
Yup, the whole 'not in my backyard' concept applies.

Everybody wants someone else to get the tower.

RE: How about...
By aharris on 6/16/2010 10:49:09 AM , Rating: 1
Thanks for that insight Mr. AT&T employee.

RE: How about...
By spwrozek on 6/16/2010 11:05:19 AM , Rating: 2
I don't work for AT&T and I have Verizon phones...

I am involved with some of the processes that are described above. Dealing with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Just wanted to point out that it is not easy to put up another tower or even another cell site on an existing location. And it is certainly not cheap.

RE: How about...
By quiksilvr on 6/16/2010 11:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well if that's the case, why not then improve the towers they have now? Boost the signal strength, upgrade the servers. Do something noticeable.

RE: How about...
By spwrozek on 6/16/2010 1:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
Ok so say you have a tower with older antenna and TMA that support the edge network. The 6 antenna and 6 TMA weigh 250 lbs with no ice and wind load. Upgrading to 3G network support will result in a weight of say 400 lbs. 4G you have to throw more stuff up there. You also have 9-18 coax cables running from the ground unit to the antenna.

The thing to consider is that, at least as far as transmission towers go, they are designed to hold power lines not cell antenna. Very small additional loads can push it over the limit. In engineering you do not design in capacity for no reason as it costs money. Towers put up in the 60's or 70's were not designed with cell antenna in mind.

The question now is who owns the site? Does this company want to make modifications to the tower? In many cases the answer may be no. Which can put the cell company in a hard place, they may have to try another tower or approach the city showing they can't be in a certain place and need their own structure. Then wait for that to be approved. which leads to them doing something that is not noticeable.

The public cannot expect that the problem will be made better overnight. We can decide to go with another company (like me since Verizon has 3G in my area and no one else does) or continue to support AT&T with hopes for the improvements to come quickly.

RE: How about...
By quiksilvr on 6/18/2010 9:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that the problem cannot be fixed overnight, but that doesn't mean it's an excuse to have these same problems for 4 years and when the competition show's your spotty network, you don't waste millions on stupid commercials!

You bite the bullet, pay the $100k and put up a 3G cellphone tower. Put up 100 a month! What's $1.2 billion in one year when you're making $20 billion a year? And instead they come out with this MicroCell 3G as if it's going to magically solve all the problems? To hell with AT&T. T-Mobile gives me better 3G coverage, and I can't think of an insult worse than that.

RE: How about...
By cduchamp on 6/16/2010 12:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
spwrozek.. can you contact me offline about the processes involved in putting up a tower? I find this debate interesting and want to learn more from someone with firsthand experience. thanks- cathyduchamp [at] hotmail [dot] com

RE: How about...
By mlZr on 6/23/2010 12:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
But you see, here's the thing. Verizon has great service. Like - really really really great service. They have the exact same situation as ATT when "putting up more towers". Because of this, customers expect zero dropped calls. No one thinks it's easy - but when you have millions of people paying 100$/month for one device people expect a solution.

Out of Context Title
By SSDMaster on 6/16/2010 10:33:41 AM , Rating: 2

Sensationalism +5
Credibility - Down the crapper.

RE: Out of Context Title
By muhahaaha on 6/16/2010 10:43:52 AM , Rating: 4
time for a Luke Wilson advert. That will fix things.

RE: Out of Context Title
By 67STANG on 6/16/2010 12:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
I prefer truth in advertising. Their ads should say: "AT&T covers 97% of all Americans with our mediocre Edge network. We cover 27% of all Americans with 3G coverage."

Of course, you'll never hear them say this, but it would be refreshing for them to not be selling their service "with sawdust in the transmission", so to speak.

RE: Out of Context Title
By Brandon Hill on 6/16/2010 11:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
AT&T CEO: "We've been going hard at the voice quality issue."

Ummm, OK... Your problem is?????

RE: Out of Context Title
By SSDMaster on 6/16/2010 11:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
lol, if you don't get it then you don't get it.

Yeah right....
By yomamafor1 on 6/16/2010 10:00:59 AM , Rating: 3
Last year when I got my iPhone, I have numerous dropped calls in malls, on the streets, and even my home.

June of 2010, I'm still getting the same dropped calls in malls, on the streets, and in my home.

As an AT&T user, I've seen NOTHING improved over the last few months in terms of drop rate and 3G speed. I always get this kind of connection everyday, regardless of peak time or not.

RE: Yeah right....
By Quadrillity on 6/16/2010 11:24:29 AM , Rating: 3
Last year when I got my iPhone...

That's where your problem began. I have several friends with iPhones, and they SUCK with call quality and reception. They drop calls left and right in places where I have full signal and no dropped calls.

The network could use improvements sure, but who has perfect service?! Stop blaming poor call quality and reception on sh***y phones!

RE: Yeah right....
By npoe1 on 6/16/2010 3:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
I was about to say that.

Can you hear me now? Good!
By phatboye on 6/16/2010 10:07:51 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's a Verizon thing so I must have been left out of the loop, but can someone please tell me what a "dropped call" is? I think I may have experienced one of those "dropped calls" a few times in the past before but it was so infrequent that I just ignored it.

RE: Can you hear me now? Good!
By acase on 6/16/2010 12:10:47 PM , Rating: 5
Sure thing. A dropped call is when --

Different Picture?
By JMC2000 on 6/16/2010 11:30:30 AM , Rating: 2
Does DailyTECH have a less-evil looking picture of AT&T's CEO? Seriously, the man looks like he could be the devil in human form...

RE: Different Picture?
By thrust2night on 6/16/2010 11:51:33 AM , Rating: 3
They tried emailing him to get a better one but were given a cease and desist notice from AT&T's legal department. :P

Total BS
By Enoch2001 on 6/16/2010 10:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
I've had an iPhone since the 1st gen on day launch, and I can tell you now that AT&T's network reliability has gotten *WORSE* around my house. My 3G (and 3GS) used to get 5-bars in my basement. Now it gets 0-1 bars in the basement and the 1st floor. It's like they're shutting towers down in my area! WTF?!

RE: Total BS
By HrilL on 6/16/2010 2:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
That's likely because before they reported turning the antennas up instead of down so now the signal is going up better than down.

AT&T service sucks
By viperfl on 6/16/2010 2:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have AT&T here in GA and the service sucks. About as worse as when I had Sprint back in the day. The cell phone tower is about a half mile down the road, and I still get dropped calls or no service at all. If you look on AT&T's coverage map, I should have excellent service. I am only a year into a 2 year contract but at my whits end. I feel like taking my losses and going with someone else.

RE: AT&T service sucks
By Quadrillity on 6/16/2010 3:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
What phone do you have?

Whats your areas population density?

They "believe"?
By SublimeSimplicity on 6/16/2010 9:57:04 AM , Rating: 2
the company believes dropped call rates are dropping.

Maybe if they hope and wish too, along with rubbing a bunny foot, reality will change for them. Or maybe they can invest in some Magic 8 balls that only have lines like "5 bars", "Fast 3G", "No dropped calls today", that might help them deceive themselves... err... believe it's getting better.

I can tell you first hand, I'm getting more dropped calls in the last 3 months than 3 months before then. I don't "believe" that's the case. I know it to be true, based on the number of times I immediately call someone back on my billing statement.

By theapparition on 6/16/2010 12:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T is bracing itself for a massive surge in subscribers with the release of the iPhone 4.

Is that true or just speculation.

I have a feeling that many current iPhone customers will upgrade as well as current AT&T subscribers. I don't see other people "jumping ship" because of the new iPhone. Especially since the other carriers are offering new handsets that rival the iPhone. Oh course there will be some, but plenty of thier customers will leave to other providers as well.

Thanks to the success of Apple's iPhone, AT&T's customer base has increased over the past three years.

Here's why some facts can be misleading. AT&T's subscriber base has indeed increased, but it's market share has not increased as much as other providers. That's the prime indicator of business performance.

haha what a joke
By lolmuly on 6/16/2010 10:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
as i said in the last article, AT&T's service still sucks balls.

I don't have a 3g phone (yet), but they still manage to drop 50% of my calls, and it sometimes takes hours for me to receive a text message. My girlfriend gets mad at me when she calls, because most of the time it doesn't go through to my phone, it just goes to voice mail and I don't even receive a missed call notice to tell me who it was from.

The worst part is I live in the middle of phoenix, the average building here is 2 stories tall, I can't imagine what it's like in new york.

I wouldn't even consider buying a 3g at&t phone, based on what my friends have told me the service is even worse.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki