AlcaLu Takes Blame for AT&T 3G Slowdown

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is blaming slow 3G uplink speeds on some of its network over the July 4 holiday weekend on a software bug in Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) gear.

AT&T 3G users have been talking about crawling 3G uploads that started this Saturday in the US. Upload speeds fell from 500-Kbit/s averages to around 100 Kbit/s, making firework photos and other multimedia uploads painfully slow.

Some users and bloggers had suggested that the slow speeds were down to AT&T capping uplink speeds. The carrier decided to refute this on Wednesday afternoon:

"AT&T and Alcatel-Lucent jointly identified a software defect -- triggered under certain conditions -- that impacted uplink performance for Laptop Connect and smartphone customers using 3G HSUPA-capable wireless devices in markets with Alcatel-Lucent equipment," AT&T said in a statement.

AT&T claims that the problem should affect less than 2 percent of its customers. The problem has been noted in Boston, New York, New Jersey, Seattle, and other cities.

The problem may well have affected some high-value customers, however, as the iPhone 4 and fast 3G laptop data cards are supported on the HSUPA network upgrade. Certainly, the news of the bug won't be good news for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or AT&T after recent news of signal problems with the new Apple phone.

A temporary fix for the software issue is now said to be in place.

Echoes of New Zealand
The latest bug will be equally bad news for Alcatel-Lucent. The vendor's CEO had to apologize for routing problems on Telecom New Zealand Ltd. (NYSE: NZT; New Zealand: TEL)'s 3G network earlier this year. (See New Zealand's 3G Network Nightmare.) The operator put in place an independent review after outages in December 2009 and January and February this year. Analysys Mason was tasked with analyzing the network, which was built by Alcatel-Lucent, and found that the network and supporting operations were "not ready" to handle large amounts of data traffic on the network. (See AlcaLu Still 'On Notice' in New Zealand.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:30:34 PM
re: AlcaLu Takes Blame for AT&T 3G Slowdown

Anyone happen to know what brand of radio network controllers AT&T replaced in NYC? I'm wondering where the source of this problem lies...

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