Faith-based Networks vs. Hard Network Data: Does it Matter?

July 12, 2010

Do end users of wireless services really care how their network is performing? Or do they just trust that their service provider will do what they say? Those questions came to mind after listening to AT&T’s John Donovan speak at the MobileBeat event Monday morning, and after reading about some new features that Clearwire has added to its network coverage maps.

Donovan, the chief technical officer for Ma Bell, is usually a straight shooter who doesn’t duck the hard questions. But Monday morning he waffled and whiffed a bit on giving the MobileBeat attendees some hard facts to chew on. When asked what specifically might be causing bottlenecks in AT&T’s wireless networks, Donovan didn’t provide any specific answer but did pledge that AT&T would “move heaven and earth” to stay in front of the growing demand for mobile data.

After his talk, we tried to ask Donovan for some updated statistics on matters like AT&T’s previous pledges to fix its wireless backhaul problems — but Donovan declined to answer, claiming such matters would be discussed on AT&T’s upcoming financial conference call. We’d like to give AT&T and Donovan the benefit of the doubt here, but with recent news about how its main partner Apple’s iPhones don’t accurately display the signal they are supposedly receiving, you would have to put Ma Bell’s credibility at about a one-bar level right now.

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