AT&T is apparently not alone in struggling to cope with the demand that data hungry devices like the iPhone have placed on its network. Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 UK, has publicly apologized to Londoners for the poor performance of its network over the past 6 months, blaming the explosion of demand for data by smartphones such an Apple’s iPhone for its woes. Londoners on O2 have struggled with intermittent data outages and occasional periods where they could not make or receive phone calls, a scenario all too familiar for AT&T customers in the US. To cope with this surge in usage, O2 UK has dumped 30 million pounds ($48 million USD) into its network and has added 200 mobile base stations. O2 is also working closely with Nokia Siemens to help better equip its network infrastructure and is in talks with both RIM and Apple to help identify data-intensive applications, a strategy which sounds a bit troubling. With a bit of good news, Mr. Dunne claims O2′s London network has shown improvement in the month of December and that any “short-term blip” in their network reputation will be ameliorated by these efforts. More →
AT&T continues to boast of “the nation’s fastest 3G network” while many customers in various regions across the country seem to think differently. Dropped calls, outages, network congestion and general reliability issues continue to plague the carrier’s 3G network but today we have some good news for those of you currently with AT&T. According to one of our ninjas, AT&T is set to begin a rolling launch of its Network Settings (N-SET) Solution across all networks in the US. The roll out will begin this month. N-SET will balance traffic between the carrier’s 2G and 3G networks, thus reducing the load borne by its 3G network. Essentially, a customer who primarily uses voice services will connect via 2G even if 3G is supported by his or her handset. If and when said customer begins to actively use data services, the network will bounce him or her over to 3G. BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G users will not be affected by the change. Assuming all goes according to plan, N-SET stands to have a pretty immediate impact on network performance by freeing up 3G bandwidth for heavier data users. Whether or not it will be enough to impact urban and populated areas — especially once the new iPhone is released this Summer — remains to be seen.
As anyone following at attendee or two of South by Southwest 2009 on Twitter can attest to, AT&T’s network down in Austin Texas is completely hosed. The tweets speak for themselves; Dropped call number 833, AT&T’s data network is down again, ^*%)*&%^)% AT&T!, and so on. Apparently the complaints aren’t isolated to Twitter as AT&T has responded publicly to the situation and stated that it intends to address its troubled network by upping capacity immediately. In fact, it expects the improvements to be felt already today:
To accommodate unprecedented demand for mobile data and voice applications at SXSW, we are actively working this afternoon to add capacity to our cell sites serving downtown Austin. These efforts are ongoing, but we anticipate that customers should see improved network performance this evening and for the remainder of the event. We will continue to monitor network performance throughout the event, and will do everything possible to maximize network performance throughout. We apologize to customers who were inconvenienced during this surge in local network demand.
Wow. If it’s that easy, AT&T, how about doing something about the disaster your 3G/3.5G network in the New York Metro area has become?