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AT&T CTO denies network problems

AT&T has gotten beat up in the press for poor coverage and iPhone data overload, and it's not that John Donovan, chief technology officer, hasn't noticed — he just isn't concerned. Despite what some think, the company has its customers at heart. Donovan said to blame the incredible surge in data — not AT&T — for problems in the network.

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“For those of you thinking I'm ignoring our criticisms, I've read the blogs and I monitor Twitter occasionally … but I don't plan our network based on blogs,” Donovan told CTIA IT & Entertainment attendees. “I plan it based on the needs of our wireless customers.”

AT&T has more smartphone users to account for than any carrier, too, Donovan said, and its data traffic has grown exponentially as a result. Wireless packet data has grown 18 times in the last two and a half years while voice merely doubled, he said. AT&T has been addressing these issues with 2008 being an unprecedented year for investment. The carrier has invested more than $38 billion in the past two years to enhance its wireless and wired network infrastructure, Donovan said. Music applications like Pandora on the iPhone have been among the highest traffic drivers, but it's not an iPhone-only story.

“I know you are thinking iPhone and you are partly right, but only partly,” Donovan said. AT&T has also added a slew of new devices, including netbooks and navigation devices, as well as popular applications such as e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, he said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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