With Apple's media event just hours away, there is plenty to indicate that AT&T's exclusive iPhone deal might finally be coming to an end. AT&T's nemesis, Verizon, is likely to partner with Apple to sell iPhones though there are indications of Apple opening up the iPhone to other carriers as well.
Earlier this week, we had written on how an end to AT&T's exclusivity could be consensual and not necessarily forced upon Ma Bell. At that point, we had noted that the company's network had grown 7000% in the two years since iPhone was launched. While the growth indicated the success of the iPhone, it also underlined the inability of the network to grow its capacity commensurate to the exponential growth in bandwidth usage.
Given the circumstances, it is likely that Apple has given AT&T the benefit of doubt and is willing to continue its partnership with the company till things are sorted out. An indication of this was recently provided by Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook. In the conference call organized to announce Apple's quarterly earnings, Cook expressed his company's confidence in AT&T's strategies to overcome the carrier's network congestion challenges. He said:
"First of all, AT&T is a great partner. We’ve been working with them since well before we announced the first iPhone. And I think it is important to remember they had more mobile broadband usage than any other carrier in the world.
And in the vast majority of locations we think that iPhone customers are having a great experience, from the research that we have done. As you know, AT&T has acknowledged that they are having some issues in a few cities and they have very detailed plans to address these. We have personally reviewed these plans, and we have very high confidence that they will make significant progress toward fixing them"
AT&T has been in the process of building additional capacity which is expected to be rolled out nationwide by the end of this year. The HSPA 7.2 3G network technology is expected to help AT&T overcome most of its current infrastructure challenges.
What do you think? Will AT&T live up to Apple's expectations? Let us know in the comments.