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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.

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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.

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

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