Verizon loses 3G; AT&T defends itself

Verizon had a national and global data outage last night. All 3G service went dead for at least 6 hours. Verizon simple acknowledged the issue and its resolution without going into detail as to what caused it directly or the factors surrounding it. Speculation says this is alongside the upgrade procedures to the 4G LTE network.

The outage is not what is really important. The timing is what seems more relevant. Just days ago Glenn Lurie who is AT&T’s head of emerging devices sat with Walk Mossberg on the stage for All Things Digital’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference. When asked about  the possibility of a Verizon iPhone (which we all know will happen at some point), he said “We’re not concerned about it at all.”

AT&T has come under fire about the quality and stability of its network over the last 3 years. Users have cited experiences where the network could not keep up with their demands. AT&T has experienced a 5,000% growth in data consumption since the arrival of the iPhone. Verizon, like any other carrier, has not experience this explosive growth.

AT&T, as a brand, has suffered as users remain frustrated, however the exclusive ownership of the iPhone all this time gives them an edge. Lurie’s most important quote was “We’ve managed a massive amount of data on our network for several years. Many of our competitors have not.”

  1. If Verizon got the iPhone in 2007, would they have suffered the same slings and arrows of outrageous data consumption and be seen the way AT&T is?
  2. Will they go through the same growing pains when they do get the iPhone?
  3. Having an objective viewpoint watching AT&T, has Verizon been given an advantage of preparation that AT&T did not have?
  4. Will the iPhone split over multiple carriers mean a less outrageous jump in usage?
  5. How has effect has the proliferation of Android devices had on easing into the new mentality of ubiquitous, constant, massive amounts of data?

I’ve seen AT&T’s issues since day 1 of iPhone in 2007. I had an iPhone 2G that day and each successor on launch day. It has changed the way we do business and AT&T has struggled under the weight of the success of this device.

Every day, I try to keep in mind that they had no roadmap for success. They could not possible expect the response to be as great as it was. For a company flying blind, in uncharted waters under unprecedented strain, I feel they have adjusted well. With $18billion invested into their network this year and last year, it’s obvious they are working at it.

I hope Verizon users do not go through what AT&T users have, but I won’t fault Verizon if it happens. This is a major time for wireless technology and growing pains are to be expected. They are signs of amazing advancements.

Keep all of this in perspective before you scream about a dropped call on AT&T’s network, if you can.

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