AT&T is attributing recent slow speeds of some of its 3G HSUPA-capable smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, to faulty software on Alcatel-Lucent equipment. A fix is planned but not yet scheduled.
iPhone 4 owners and other AT&T customers who've recently experienced a
debilitating slowdown in data speeds have Alcatel-Lucent to blame, the carrier indicated
in a July 7 statement.
According to AT&T, a software problem in some equipment made by
Alcatel-Lucent is stunting the performance of devices on AT&T's 3G HSUPA
(High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) network.
"AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software
defect-triggered under certain conditions-that impacted uplink performance for
Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices
in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment," AT&T said in a statement.
An AT&T spokesperson declined to comment on what those defect-triggering
conditions are. The Alcatel-Lucent equipment, according to CNET,
is being used in areas that include New York,
Salt Lake City and Seattle.
"This impacts less than 2 percent of our wireless customer base,"
the statement continued. "While Alcatel-Lucent develops the appropriate
software fix, we are providing normal 3G uplink speeds and consistent
performance for affected customers with HSUPA-capable devices."
In mid-2008, AT&T completed the deployment of HSUPA technology across
its existing 3G network. It was said to result in an increase of uplink speeds
from what was a high end of 800K bps to 1.2M bps. As for when AT&T customers
can expect the situation to improve, AT&T spokesperson Jenny Bridges told
eWEEK, "We don't have a definitive time for a software fix at this point.
We expect to know that soon."
That the problem was on Alcatel-Lucent's end likely came as an enormous
relief to AT&T, which has suffered a number of barbs about its network as
it struggles to keep up with the data needs of iPhone customers. (In late June, AT&T improved its
coverage in New York,
which has proven
to be one of its toughest-to-support service areas.)
Following the debut of Apple's iPhone 4, AT&T ducked another blow, when
users complaining of sudden drops in service bars were told that Apple
had been using the wrong formula for determining signal strength.
addressed the matter, saying its staff was as stunned as anyone to discover the
problem, it didn't prevent AT&T
from being included in a lawsuit filed by iPhone 4 owners,
and AT&T of knowingly selling defective devices.