Skip to: [ search ] [ menus ] [ content ] Select style [ Aqua ] [ Citrus ] [ Fire ] [ Orange ] [ show/hide more content ]

An encouraging word?

CNET reported on a keynote address for the CTIA Fall 2009 trade show, given by AT&T‘s CTO, John Donovan, in San Diego today.

The (possibly) “encouraging word”…. to me? It was the bolded (and in RED) quote in the CNET article:

“There have been big changes in usage, which has <sic> forced us to throw our traditional planning models out the window.”

If you have ever experienced the planning models of some of AT&T’s precursors, you might share my sigh of (some) relief. At the same time, you and I do not have access to the data and insider knowledge that Mr. Donovan has, so we cannot presuppose to be able to interpret his comments. I only hope that some parts of AT&T are better at doing statistics than some of AT&T’s precursors were.

While not admitting that there is even a problem with AT&T’s network, Mr. Donovan also stated, according to CNET, that “I’m well aware of what’s being said in the press, in blogs, and on Twitter. But I don’t base my network plans on what I read in blogs.”

Well maybe he should, in some small part… provided that he chooses the right blogs. It is good to drink in data from many, varied sources. Otherwise it is like talking to yourself in a mirror… especially if there is a lot of “groupthink” in your company.

Mr. Donovan and Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, downplayed the iPhone’s role in the rapid increase in data usage, pointing instead to “integrated devices,” mobile devices that can connect to the internet, including quick-messaging devices like the LG Neon.

Why the crypto-speak, “integrated devices?”

A couple categories of device crossed my mind – the GPS device that is built into every modern cell phone, and who knows what else? It takes a lot of bandwidth to track all of those devices. Not to mention all of the (many more) RFID tags and readers….

One paragraph of the CNET article disturbed me – the rollout priorities for the 850MHz spectrum upgrade by AT&T, which is now 90% complete. Donovan said, during his speech, that New York (understandably), Atlanta (home to AT&T Mobility), Houston, and Denver were already done, and that six major cities will get the faster network speeds this year, including Charlotte (huh?), Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami.

My question about the city list is, why are NONE of the Bay Area cities (including San Francisco, San Jose, and other Silicon Valley cities) on the list? I know that AT&T has a big presence here. (Note added October 16, 2009: …and its iPhone partner, Apple, is located here, and one of its interfaces [see this PBS document] with the National Security Agency [NSA] is/was located here.)

Although Mr. Donovan and Mr. de la Vega said that AT&T is doing everything it can to stay ahead of customer demand, business in general does not work that way. If customers are LUCKY, they work with businesses that RESPOND to customer demand. Historically, some businesses have been very slow to respond to customer demand.

(Note added December 20, 2009: I have personal experience with a few of these latter companies. In them, there appeared to be a “shared delusion” (as the result of “groupthink”) that the management was comprised of “innovative leaders” guiding the development of products that were “driving change.” What they SHOULD have been doing was listening to customers, since the companies were not innovative, but could have “made a nice living” by responding to what customers thought that they needed.)

So what do we know for sure? There seem to be, for whatever reason, problems with AT&T’s network that have been reported by smartphone users, but not acknowledged by AT&T upper management. (Note added December 15, 2009: The head of AT&T’s wireless unit, Ralph de la Vega, has stated since this blog entry was written that Manhattan and San Francisco, particularly the city’s financial district, “are performing at levels below our standards.”)

My question remains, “Now that the traditional planning models have been thrown out the window, what are the planning models that have taken their place?”

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

No Comments to “An encouraging word?”

  (RSS feed for these comments)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

InspectorWordpress has prevented 52153 attacks.
Get Adobe Flash player