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Is It Really the Wireless User’s “Fault?”

Posted by susabelle at 6:43 AM on June 2, 2010

“And just 3% of AT&T’s smartphone customers account for as much as 40% of its data traffic, contributing to slow transmissions and dropped calls.”

Quotes like this just make me want to scream!  This came from an article in USAToday about ATT’s intention to start charging new customers on a tiered basis for their wireless data usage.  The last part of that quote, “contributing to slow transmissions and dropped calls” is the thing that bothers me the most.  Really, are they going to blame users for using the service they are buying, the service that ATT is selling?

When are these providers going to get off their hind-ends and start beefing up their networks?  And this doesn’t just apply to wireless, in my book.  It applies to any ISP offering broadband of any kind, including DSL and Cable.  The ability of these networks to provide increased bandwidth has not changed in years.  And in some cases, the user’s experience is decreasing as more users are added to the already overloaded networks and neighborhood pipes. The same pipe that served 10 households five years ago is now serving 200 households.  The experience degrades for everyone.

Wake up, ATT, Verizon, Sprint, etc.  It’s not the users’ fault that the network can’t take the traffic.  It’s time to invest those billions of dollars you’re making in profits back into your network architecture, instead of complaining that we’re using up what you’re offering.  Do you really think that if you don’t make any changes to your network infrastructure, that you’ll get more users?  Aren’t you proving, by statements just like this, that you don’t have room for more users?

5 Comments

  1. From cman at 9:48 am on June 2, 2010

    Well said! These companies need to realize that increases in bandwidth usage are due to more people accessing more services and being more connected through their devices, not to some lunatic fringe going ape-crazy.

    In my own experience, my DSL provider informed me that “reasonable use” of their service was 2GB per month. What? I recently downloaded xp SP3 which was 500MB, a quarter of my monthly usage in one evening!

    So now I’m switching back to cable, with a 50GB usage (still too small IMHO). In a few years as people defect from this DSL provider due to their small usage limits, I’ll bet they increase it, lay down more wire, etc.

  2. From Todd Cochrane at 11:05 am on June 2, 2010

    It is like we go two steps forward and five steps backwards. The only solution to fix this is for Apple to allow the iPhone to be sold by all carriers.

    I will hold up my middle finger to AT&T as soon as I can move to Verizon.

  3. From HunterA3 at 11:17 am on June 2, 2010

    In the mean time, Sprint and T-Mobile have true unlimited smartphone data plans and Verizon offers a 5GB plan. Apple better wake up or find their vehicle for pushing their iPhone OS products being dropped in favor of competitors that do not have access to Iphones and Ipads.

  4. From Mike Wills at 12:47 pm on June 2, 2010

    Playing Devil’s Advocate here:
    What if the problem isn’t their network, but the internet network? The pipes are only so big and adding fatter pipes come to a significant cost. They just hide that problem by blaming the users.

    An excuse? No! They need to realize that people will be using more and more bandwidth (especially with the new iPhone OS 4 and background streaming). They need to expand to handle this growth because no matter what you do, use will only grow.

    I like the idea of the $15/chunk of data, but 200 MB is far too small. Maybe $5/GB would be more affordable for the common person.

  5. From Jeremy at 2:48 pm on June 2, 2010

    Surprised that no one here has mentioned the elimination of the unlimited data option for the iPad.

    http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=4800&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=30854