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AT&T miffed at third-place ranking in mobile data report

AT&T miffed at third-place ranking in mobile data report Do Sprint and Verizon really carry more mobile data traffic than iPhone-exclusive AT&T? Let the arguments begin. By

ABI Research raised a bit of controversy this week with its finding that the mobile networks of Verizon Wireless and Sprint accounted 63 percent of mobile data traffic in the U.S. market—each carrying about 16 million megabytes more than were moved by AT&T.

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AT&T came in third, which could generate further questions, after a cacophony of complaints from iPhone users already, about the carrier’s ability to handle its data load when, according to ABI, it doesn’t even have the busiest network.

However, AT&T has firmly disputed the numbers, issuing this statement:

“It is not clear how ABI Research reached its conclusions, but I can tell you that our research and analysis of other third-party data indicates that AT&T carries more mobile data traffic than any other U.S. provider. We handle nearly 50 percent of the mobile data traffic in the U.S., according to our research and analysis of other third-party data. Mobile data traffic on our network has increased 5,000 percent over the last three years.”

The company statement also said that AT&T’s mobile data traffic has increased 5,000 percent over the last three years. In addition, the carrier claimed it has more smartphone customers than any other carrier, a claim that seems to dovetail with another of ABI’s findings, that AT&T had the “most activated data devices in 2009,” according to an ABI press release on its research.

ABI has not yet responded to a Connected Planet inquiry about how it compiled its research, but its release adds, “Analysis includes traffic adjustment for operator 3G and 4G network deployments,” and also says that the “U.S. Mobile Operator Traffic Report,” that the press release promotes also includes “an examination of the factors that drove AT&T’s mobile network capacity issues.”

AT&T also did not provide more detail on what its own “research and analysis of third-party data” entails.

ABI practice director Dan Shey did say in ABI’s press release that the edge for Verizon’s Sprint’s traffic levels may lie in the greater numbers of laptop mobile data connections on their networks, the perception being that laptops are connected to the Internet for longer than phones, and for more bandwidth-consuming applications.

ABI further predicts that Verizon continue to carry more data traffic than other mobile carriers over the next five years, but that AT&T’s share will continue increase, putting it ahead of Sprint for the No. 2 slot by 2012.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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