Is AT&T's Network Improving?

For months now, AT&T (NYSE: T  ) has been promising network upgrades to frustrated iPhoners. On Friday, Ma Bell made good. Wired, TechCrunch, and a handful of other outlets report that multimedia messaging -- or MMS -- is now active on the iPhone.

If this seems like a "well, duh" moment, you're right. MMS should have been available a lot sooner, especially with the iPhone's level of interactivity. YouTube support is standard for the device, for example.

You'd think both AT&T and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) would blush at the thought of selling a smartphone that's able to play videos, but not send them. Whether they were chagrined or not, this "issue" is no longer an issue. And that suggests AT&T is fulfilling earlier promises to spend $18 billion to add network capacity.

Ma Bell's spending spree will surprise no one. Search the Web, and you'll read the complaints about AT&T service. Or better still, spend some time at Twitter, the billion-dollar-microblogger that hosted more whining than the set of [Name Your Favorite Reality TV Show Here].

Service issues -- including dropped calls and missing voicemail -- may explain why rumors persist that Apple is talking with Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , and why Apple refused to be boxed into exclusive carrier deals with China Unicom (NYSE: CHU  ) in China, and KT (NYSE: KTC  ) in South Korea. Why be married to a network that's not ready for the commitment? AT&T certainly wasn't.

Now, with MMS support, that's begun to change. Finally.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy sees this story splitting the uprights. Disagree? Leave a comment in the box below.


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  • Report this Comment On September 28, 2009, at 6:15 PM, Agnes09 wrote:

    iPhone users have to be the most unrealistic fools out there, not to mention being the biggest babies in the world. AT&T has spent billions on their networks trying to keep up with iPhone user's voracious appetites for bandwidth which, by the way, accounts for 50% of all wireless traffic on all carriers in the US. Verizon and Sprint networks would buckle in a heartbeat.

  • Report this Comment On September 29, 2009, at 4:30 PM, windozeluser wrote:

    "You'd think both AT&T and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) would blush at the thought of selling a smartphone that's able to play videos, but not send them."

    That's why they DID ship it with a way to send them. It's called "email." You know, something that isn't limited to a tiny payload of relatively low-quality, short videos, that carriers notoriously change extra for, even beyond a normal data plan?

    It appears Apple figured that with email being technically superior solution, and more and more phones getting email capability, MMS was a low priority. User demand seems to have changed their minds.

    I like MMS, but somehow I was able to live without it for the last few years. Apparently, millions of other people around the world did as well. It bothered some people more than others, but it's over now, so the whiners can move on and find something else to complaint about.

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