AT&T executives had good news for Apple iPhone customers - particularly those in New York - during the carrier's first-quarter earnings call April 21.
Pointing out that a key to driving wireless growth is a great data network, AT&T CFO Richard Lindner noted that, with AT&T's January update to HSPA 7.2 software, and its backhaul deployment taking shape, the carrier is seeing significant improvements in data speeds.
"Company wide, our 3G average data download speeds are up 25 percent versus a year ago, based on internal data, and up 14 percent in just the past 90 days," Lindner said during the call. "In areas where we've completed the backhaul in support of HSPA 7.2, internal data is showing speed improvements in the 32 to 47 percent range, and that's very encouraging."
On the voice said, Lindner said that independent tests have shown improvements in call retainability, as well as voice metrics in New York, where AT&T faces both a high data volume and high concentration of data users.
These figures are essential for the carrier, which has been challenged to meet the data-devouring demands of its iPhones users and criticized for its poor performance - particularly in New York City and San Francisco.
It has been suggested that the iPhone itself, and not the AT&T network, are to blame for some of the issues pinned on AT&T, but that offers little comfort to AT&T executives faced with the prospect of iPhone customers abandoning AT&T for Verizon Wireless, should that carrier receive an iPhone of its own, once AT&T's exclusivity contract with Apple expires.
Lindner added that AT&T continues to add additional third carriers, as well as fiber backhaul and Ethernet to cell sites in support of HSPA 7.2, to focus on a migration to 4G LTE (long-term evolution) technology and to do more with WiFi, including deploying it in-building and in venue sites, as necessary.
"We've got a terrific technology path going forward for customers," Lindner said, "and we believe the best path going forward to capture the next wave of wireless growth."