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You are here: Home / Mobile Industry News / AT&T Network Gets Apple's Support
AT&T Gets Support from Apple on iPhone Complaints
AT&T Gets Support from Apple on iPhone Complaints
By Patricia Resende / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
AT&T, the exclusive wireless carrier for the Apple iPhone in the U.S., will improve its 3G network. The San Francisco-based company's network has been at the core of many iPhone user complaints since the smartphone's launch in 2007.

AT&T, however, argues that between 2008 and the third quarter of 2009, the company spent $19 billion toward its wireless program. Its investments have resulted in providing 3G national call retainability of 98.92 percent, meaning that only 1.08 percent of calls are dropped nationwide, according to internal company data.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced plans to enhance the network with an upgrade that would improve consistency in accessing data and prepare the network for faster speeds and network efficiency. The plan is to work on this upgrade throughout this year and 2011.

Why Now

Apple COO Tim Cook mentioned the planned network improvements during Apple's earnings call on Monday.

"AT&T is a great partner and we have been working with them since well before we announced the first iPhone to get it out," Cook said. "AT&T has acknowledged that they are having issues in some cities and have detailed plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans and have very high confidence that they will make significant progress toward fixing them."

It has been more than two years that AT&T has held exclusive rights to the iPhone in the U.S. and iPhone owner complaints, including dropped calls and not being able to access the network, have been mounting since. So why take so much time to improve the network?

Analysts say AT&T may not have been prepared for the amount of data usage by iPhone owners, and Cook echoed those thoughts.

"Seems like the trend is that there is so much data being used and I think they anticipated the volume of users, but not the amount of data usage," said Richard Murphy, an IDC mobile analyst.

"I think it is important to remember that they had more mobile broadband usage than any other carrier in the world," Cook said.

Upgrading the network will definitely help iPhone users and improve customer satisfaction, according to Murphy.

Exclusivity Negotiations

AT&T's network-improvement plans come at a time when Apple is deciding whether to keep its AT&T exclusivity or open it up to additional carriers. Already Verizon Wireless has said it hopes to have Apple's iPhone in its suite of offerings.

Cook didn't answer questions about whether Apple's deal with AT&T will end this year and whether other carriers will have a shot at selling the iPhone. Neither Apple nor AT&T has provided details of their deal since first agreeing on one in 2007.

"I think {making network improvements} is an attempt to convince or play a role in the negotiations with Apple," Murphy said.

Read more on: Apple, Tim Cook, AT&T, iPhone
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