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AT&T EDGE, Vodafone HSDPA and business practices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 30-Jun-2007 08:27

If the stories coming out (RCR NewsGizmodo, Gizmodo) that AT&T has beefed up its EDGE network because of the Apple iPhone launch are correct, I can only think of one question: why networks won't offer the best service these days, being happy with sending customers awya the "best effort" excuse?


An AT&T employee who works on Operations tells us that the carrier ordered a last-minute beefing up of its EDGE throughput, latency and coverage in anticipation of the iPhone. The operation, internally referenced as "Fine Edge" will continue until June 15th, and has been going on for as many as 6 weeks.

EDGE is slow, but at least at AT&T, the implementation isn't limited by the protocol itself. Rather, the limiting factor is, according to our source, the data backend and the way the towers are configured to allocate bandwidth to data and calls. And according to an internal doc, they're dropping in more T-1s in their poorest performing towers, hoping to get that paltry 40kbps performance to a new minimum of 80kpbs. (EDGE's real world max is about 200kbps.) That's still painfully slow, but we're not ones to look a gift WWAN upgrade in the mouth.


Hmmm. Isn't this the same problem that Vodafone New Zealand is facing? Good HSDPA infrastructure (up to 7.2 Mbps in some places), but a backhaul providing poor performance overall? Or are these just the rumours I hear?

UPDATE: Verizon Wireless (which Vodafone PLC is one of the major shareholders) has upgraded 100% of its U.S. network to CDMA EV-DO Rev A - which leaves any EDGE network in the dust, by a factor of ten. Competition is good...



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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