AT&T Fires Marketing Shot At Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

11:03 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

AT&T Fires Marketing Shot At Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

AT&T brings out its bloviated marketing bazooka and takes aim at its competitors' network speed claims.

T-Mobile recently whipped up a firestorm of criticism for re-branding its HSPA+ 3G network as "4G" instead. T-Mobile did this in order get on the same marketing page as competitors AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless, which are all touting 4G networks of their own.

T-Mobile isn't the only company making shady claims. Some say their network is the largest, others the fastest, and yet others the "most advanced." AT&T's note to the press today doesn't make the message any clearer.

According to AT&T, third-party tests "scientifically prove" that AT&T's mobile broadband network is the country's fastest by a wide margin. AT&T claims its network is running at least 20% faster than its closest competitor in terms of speed, and 60% faster than its "largest competitor by subscriber count" (a.k.a., Verizon Wireless). The study also concluded that 98.59% of all voice calls made through AT&T's network go through without interruption. (I have to wonder of New York City and San Francisco were completely omitted from the test regions.)

AT&T said these results were derived from Global Wireless Solutions, which drove some 950,000 miles across 400 major U.S. markets, covering 88% of the U.S. population.

AT&T shares some speed comparisons for us to ponder.

For example: based on national average speeds, AT&T customers could download an MP3 album (40 megabytes) more than a minute faster with AT&T than the next-fastest wireless network. An 80-megabyte video file would download about 2 minutes faster on average with AT&T as opposed to the next-fastest network. The same video file would take more than 5 minutes longer to download on average with AT&T's largest competitor's network.
You know what AT&T doesn't share? Actual speed test results. Nowhere in its press note does it reveal what those average and peak download/upload speeds are, not for AT&T's network, not even for its competitors' networks. If the proof is in the pudding, AT&T isn't sharing the pudding.

AT&T did say that it is spending gobs of money to update and improve its network, however. By the time 2010 comes to a close, AT&T says it will have spent between $18 and $19 billion, which includes adding more cell sites, improving the backhaul capabilities at its cell sites, and improving the performance of its cell sites.

Fast is a relative term. AT&T doesn't say anything about the bandwidth capacity at its cell sites (number of connections each site can handle), which is an extremely important factor in using the mobile Internet. AT&T also doesn't say anything about latency, which is how fast the network responds to requests for a connection.

Right now, AT&T officially offers HSPA at 7.2Mbps to properly equipped phones. T-Mobile is offering HSPA+ at 21Mbps, and has two smartphones capable of hitting absurd download speeds.

Maybe AT&T's network truly is the fastest (on average), when you weigh the 950,000 miles of data generated by the study. I don't know, I haven't seen the data.

Fast, large, advanced, whatever. What matters most to consumers is that their network works when and where they need it.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
Tech Spending Climbs as Digital Business Initiatives Grow
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  4/22/2021
Optimizing the CIO and CFO Relationship
Mary E. Shacklett, Mary E. Shacklett,  4/13/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll