WIRED Explains the iPhone #attfail

Longtime tech biz journalist Fred Vogelstein goes deep for WIRED Magazine on why the iPhone has so many network problems. Spoiler alert: AT&T claims that it's not all their fault, and with the recent Antennagate revelations, perhaps we should start to believe them.

AT&T executives discovered that Apple wasn't playing by traditional wireless rules. It wasn't interested in cooperating, especially if it meant hobbling what had quickly become its marquee product. For Apple, the idea of restricting the iPhone was akin to asking Steve Jobs to ditch the black turtleneck. "They tried to have that conversation with us a number of times," says someone from Apple who was in the meetings. "We consistently said 'No, we are not going to mess up the consumer experience on the iPhone to make your network tenable.' They'd always end up saying, 'We're going to have to escalate this to senior AT&T executives,' and we always said, 'Fine, we'll escalate it to Steve and see who wins.' I think history has demonstrated how that turned out."

Indeed it has. Just as Rinne and her colleagues predicted, AT&T's network proved unable to cope with the deluge of data traffic generated by the iPhone, particularly in cities like San Francisco and New York. Even as the #attfail meme burned up Twitter, AT&T accelerated its network upgrades -- it has spent nearly $37 billion on new equipment and capacity since the iPhone launch and expects to invest around $13.5 billion in 2010. The effort may have already boosted performance, with at least some independent studies showing that the carrier's network has improved. And yet AT&T's image remains deeply damaged, and the body slams keep coming -- including insults from mischievous blogger Fake Steve Jobs, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

Read the fully story at WIRED.


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