•  Shawn
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You've all heard by now that AT&T's network isn't exactly the greatest. Many have no issues whatsoever, but in large, congested cities, the network has been known to get so crowded that 3G services simply don't work at all. For better or worse, Verizon Wireless has generally been viewed as a company with a superior network. Granted, only select Verizon phones can operate outside of North America (given the CDMA nature), but here in the States AT&T is definitely fighting a battle.

According to a new research report on the two networks, AT&T would need to spend around $5 billion (billion, with a 😎 on its wireless network upgrades in order to catch up with Verizon. That's a big gap, and the fact that AT&T only has one US roaming partner (T-Mobile) isn't helping either.

AT&T has been upgrading its cell networks at what seems like a break-neck pace, but evidently it still isn't enough. The company has more smartphone customers than any other operator in America, but smartphone users are the ones sucking down the most bandwidth. It seems that AT&T really needs to get its network in order if it plans to position itself as a smartphone user's carrier.

Of course, that's all easier said than done. Spending $5 billion on a whim isn't smart at all, and when you think about it, it'd be the customers that foot the bill in the long run. The same customers that are yelling for more cell towers aren't seeming to realize that it would be their bills increasing in order to see the service levels rise. AT&T claims that it covers 97% of the America population, and that it's 3G network is faster than the others. That may be true, but a fast 3G network isn't worth much when it's overcrowded. To spend or to suffer--that is the question.

$5 billion?! How did they fall so far behind Verizon? I guess there was something to those Verizon ads after all! Saying that Iphones are a problem is an understatement. AT&T activated 3.2 million Iphones just in the third quarter of 2009!

The major advantage AT&T has over Verizon is the phone offerings...specifically the Iphone. Even with the bandwidth issues the top 3% of users create, it's helped their bottom line substantially. Also, Iphone users tend to be a lot more loyal, so once you go Apple, you don't go back.

If Apple doesn't resign with AT&T, it very well could spell doom for them.


Generally gibbersome I believe its called greed which atat has been accused of before. But I think it is a combination of that and land lines and stupidity. The real sad part about it is this if the upgrade there network or start doing so this late in the game (Sprint is already 4G, and I am pretty sure Verizon is working on it as well) and they are still working on 3G rather than LTE. I still don't quite understand why no carrier has a certified IEEE 4G network in America, but a somewhat handicapped LTE seems to be the norm here.


@rapid1 Verizon isn't too far behind Sprint, they planning to launch 4G later this year sometime. This means 4g in around 30 major markets covering 100 million people.

I've been hearing rumors that a Verizon iPhone is to be announced together with Apple Tablet and Iphone OS 4.0 next Wednesday. This will Iphone 4G. I think we're in store for more than one shocker on the 27th.

Also Verizon would love a partnership with Apple. Remember Apple went to them first with the Iphone. Also, Verizon must be resigned to the fact that no smartphone they have is going to make a dent in Iphone sales. The Droid, Nexus One, both largely failed to impress the mass public. 


The fact is that AT&T is going to have to eat the cost of building up their network. If they raise their prices too much over Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile then people will just jump ship, especially if one or all get the next generation iPhone. If they just let their network sit and fall behind then people will jump ship to get better coverage. AT&T is in a worst case situation and the only thing holding them up is having the iPhone exclusive, once that is gone, they are going to have major trouble getting back in the game due to poor executive decision making.

If I were a share holder of AT&T wireless, I'd be looking for the heads of all the people who called the shots this past technology (3G) cycle. They aren't going to be able to buy their competition like they did with cingular.


The ridiculous part is this I am studying high bandwidth cellular network wireless right now, as well as have watched this stuff for a couple months online while I've been studying on it. At&t need 5-7 billion dollars to catch up on 3G in there cellular network. The 4G that sprint has rolled out a few months back (Don't forget Sprint and Verizon partner their networks as well) and Verizon LTE (Long Term Evolution where 3G is just Evolution) is rolling out now. At&t is saying they won't be finished with 3G until 2011 when the other major players in the US anyway will be finishing 4G completely. LTE 4G can be upgraded much easier than 3G can and in many cases is just a software upgrade and minor components to be IEEE certified 4g which LTE is not. So At&t is throwing dollar bills at a fire trying to put it out by 2013 they will be 2-3 levels behind everyone else (Cellular provider wise)in the USA. Oh and another thing Verizon was part of At&t and split off well after the monopoly crap because they wanted to. They thought At&t was going the wrong way (they were some developemental subgroup of the company or something) so they left. On top of all this they also bought Alltel wireless which pretty much blanketed the South anywhere At&t wasn't and many places they did and that south from kentucky to California or at least Texas.


I remember Alltel, they had a very large presence in the South, South-east region. After Verizon acquired them, Verizon's network became the largest in the US by area covered, primarily because Alltel covered a lot of smaller markets.

Apple has realized what you've said about their network falling behind Verizon. It's rumored though that Verizon wants apps to be sold through V-Cast and that may be one of the largest hurdles going forward with the partnership.


there is a solution for this have all the smartphone use the wifi. I am in chicago and so far everyone that i see have a iphone like myself.

By using the WIFI you could keep using your internet and don't have to be waiting for 3g to act. in the phone area i have notice that the peak time is always after lunch :)


AT&T announced today or yesterday that they will be adding $2 Billion to their wireless budget (for 2010), so maybe they will make up 40% of the ground they need to catch up to Verizon by the end of the year (doubt it, I wonder what % of that extra is going to be pure advertising).