Is AT&T a better network today than it was a year earlier?
Executives at Ma Bell would definitely say so. The company is noted to have been working on improving the network infrastructure in several high iPhone density areas in the past few months. The results have been positive with many of our readers noticing fewer dropped calls and better reliability on an average.
Despite the improvements seen in AT&T's network, the company is yet to allow iPhone tethering to their customers. The feature, that was introduced in iPhone OS 3.0, allows users to connect their iPhone as a wireless internet modem to surf the internet on other devices like the laptop. AT&T has noted that iPhone tethering may lead to a terrific rise in network data usage that could potentially cripple the company's wireless infrastructure. This is despite promises made by AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega in November 2008 that tethering on iPhone shall be made available "soon".
Apparently, AT&T users are still some time away from seeing the functionality enabled. In a recent conversation with Engadget, an AT&T spokesperson has said:
"We understand that there is great interest in tethering but cannot provide any details at this time. We know that iPhone users love their devices and mobile broadband, and that they're likely to embrace tethering just as they have other features and apps – by using it a lot. iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we're able to deliver excellent performance for the feature – over and above the increases in data traffic we're already seeing – before we will offer the feature."
This could come as a huge disappointment to iPhone users who may have expected the feature to be made available soon.
AT&T is also Apple's exclusive partner for iPad 3G, which will be available from tomorrow. With several hundred thousand iPads expected to be sold over the next few weeks, AT&T has its task cut out in ensuring that their wireless infrastructure is not crippled due to the excessive data usage.
Though we agree with AT&T that it should not release the feature until it has the required infrastructure to support it, it has been more than 10 months since the feature was introduced in iPhone OS 3.0 and it is disappointing that they haven't addressed the infrastructure issues to bring one of the most requested features to its iPhone customers. It might be the reason Apple is working on two new iPhones, including one for Verizon as non-availability of such features will end up affecting them as well.
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