Optical/IP Networks

AT&T CTO: We Know What's Best for You

SAN DIEGO -- CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment -- In his CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2009 keynote on Thursday morning, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) CTO John Donovan addressed customer dissatisfaction, and media interest, in the issues that his company has faced in managing network capacity for 3G iPhone users.

Late in his speech, he told the crowd that he wasn't ignoring the capacity issue and was well aware of it. "I've read the blogs," he told the assembled throng in the auditorium.

"I don’t plan our networks based on blogs, I plan it based on the needs of our wireless customers -- and no one knows more about the needs of our wireless customers than AT&T."

The CTO gave a wide-ranging speech that dealt with the transition of wireless from a voice-centric medium to one that is becoming much, much more packet-focused. "Data growth is outpacing subscriber growth" on AT&T's network, he said.

Data is much less predictable than voice traffic is, being much more "bursty," with massive traffic flows up and down that can dwindle to nothing quickly, as opposed to the steady flow of voice.

"We no longer have the luxury of predicting where and when we might see [traffic] growth."

This means that, while Donovan stressed that "customers demand openess," he also pointed out the carrier needs to maintain control: "We have to be able to manage our networks so that everyone gets a good experience."

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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