AT&T's numbers are in and, with the exception of their last several quarters of profits, they're not pretty. In the wake of executive Ralph de la Vega's comments that AT&T might offer high-bandwidth users incentives to curb their data usage, reports have emerged that AT&T has spent less and less per quarter on network expansion and construction.
This flies in the face of the company's quarterly profit reports, which have risen each quarter with data traffic now accounting for 80% more revenue from wireless data than the last quarter of 2007. In addition, the company has reported profits around $3 billion per quarter since the launch of the iPhone.
Gizmodo's compiled a great infographic to illustrate what we know about AT&T's numbers:
Following significant attention for his comments last week suggesting that the company is looking at tiered pricing for data plans to rein in high-use customers, AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega appears to now be downplaying that suggestion.
Instead, de la Vega has stated that the carrier will give customers incentives to limit their use of its wireless network for surfing the Internet or downloading mobile applications.
As if AT&T's comments accusing users for poor network quality weren't absurd enough, AT&T is now terminating the accounts of two users for costing the company too much money. Penny Alexander and her husband John say they got a letter from AT&T in late November saying their accounts were being terminated because AT&T doesn't have their own coverage in that area, and roaming costs were costing the company too much money.
Late last week Fake Steve Jobs asked all U.S. iPhone users to take a stand against AT&T's proposed solution for improving their network quality by bringing it to its knees. The plan — dubbed Operation Chokehold — calls for every AT&T iPhone user to simultaneously use a data-intensive application for one hour on Friday to teach AT&T a lesson.
Upon hearing about FSJ's plan, our friends over at Cult Of Mac contacted an AT&T rep, who described the protest as "totally irresponsible."
So my question to you all is, will you be participating in Operation Chokehold?
When we first read Randall Stross's article proclaiming that the iPhone was actually to blame for AT&T's network problems, we just figured the author was perhaps just uninformed or naive. Now we know that Stross has been gunning for Steve Jobs since day one, and has a long history of largely unwarranted bashing and grossly underestimating his potential for success.
AT&T has been taking a lot of criticism as of late for the quality of their network, but the New York Times today suggested that they are actually the victim of problems caused by shortcomings in the iPhone's hardware. The story by Randall Stross cites Roger Entner, the Senior VP for telecommunications research at market research firm Nielsen who says the iPhone's "air interface" (his term for the radio component in the device that communicates with cell towers) has problems that "affect both voice and data."
User reports are starting to come in that AT&T users in the San Francisco area are experiencing an SMS and data outage. AT&T recently confirmed the issue with an official statement saying they are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it: "We are seeing a hardware issue in downtown San Francisco that is causing some degradation in service. GSM and EDGE voice and data services are still accessible. Our experts are aware and working to resolve as quickly as possible. Further resolution is expected this evening."
Following up on comments from AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega that the company may charge more to bandwidth-heavy iPhone users, iSuppli Corp has offered the view that an industry-wide behind-the-scenes struggle between wireless providers and hardware makers. As growth opportunities in voice service revenue have disappeared, cell phone carriers must turn to revenue from data.
In turn, services like iTunes and the App Store, the firm said, have allowed Apple to usurp control of subscribers from AT&T. In other words, customers are now more tied to their phone than they are their carrier, which results in lost revenue for AT&T.
AT&T is shifting gears from suing Verizon to adjusting data pricing as part of their fight to save their reputation and repair their patchy network. The company has been heavily criticised for their network quality in certain densely populated areas, but Ralph de la Vega, the man in charge of AT&T's wireless division, remained optimistic. In official statements made today, he stated with certainty that the poor network quality in those areas would be remedied. His solution, however, might be controversial for heavy data users.
If AT&T's network has quit on you when you needed it most, there may be some good news on the horizon. AT&T on Monday released Mark the Spot [App Store, free], a free application that allows users to report problems with AT&T's network in the same way that crashes are reported in Windows or Mac OS X. Just mark where you encountered your problem on a map, select the type of problem and how frequently you encounter that problem, and type in as many details as you wish.