Has AT&T's network improvement plan helped enough?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that senior executives at AT&T established a 100-day plan last December, with a singular goal: to improve its cellular network’s capabilities, particularly in major cities.

So, what changes has AT&T made over the past 3 months? The Journal says that the company’s made various technical improvements—like repositioning antennas much like you might adjust your TV’s satellite dish—but that the service still fares poorly when compared to competitors like Verizon Wireless.

AT&T obviously saw huge success as the sole official U.S. carrier for the iPhone. But complaints about the company’s service are frequent, and often venomous. If rumors about the iPhone becoming available on Verizon are true, AT&T now has more incentive than ever to upgrade its network to compete.

In fact, the company says that it plans to spend $2 billion on improvements to its network this year. And AT&T says that its performance-boosting maneuvers—like the antenna-tweaking mentioned above—will need to be recreated by companies like Verizon if it starts offering the iPhone. AT&T thinks its head-start will prove significant.

To date, Apple has continued to defend AT&T’s service and plans for expansion, and the Journal mentions that Apple even optimized the iPhone’s communication scheme to put less load on AT&T’s cell towers for frequent tasks. And it’s possible that AT&T’s service really is getting better. But if Verizon truly does get on the iPhone bandwagon, AT&T may find that it starts dropping iPhone customers even more often than it drops iPhone calls.

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At a Glance
  • Third-generation Apple mobile phone


    • Bright, high-quality fingerprint-resistant touchscreen
    • Built-in GPS and compass
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    • Soft-looking video
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