AT&T Ready to Move Heaven and Earth for Network Improvements

Cell service provider AT&T has been the target of consumer complaints over its voice and data coverage issues, but the company is working to address concerns company CTO, John Donovan said in an interview at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat 2010 conference in San Francisco. AT&T “will move heaven and Earth” to handle customer wireless data needs, he said.

Responding to questions about what’s hampering network quality improvements, Mr. Donovan said “I’ll tell you the things it’s not been. It’s not been capital, it’s not been conviction and commitment.”

The real issue, he said, is that the company is facing component supply shortage issues for network upgrades, and that traditional device testing and roll-out procedures can’t handle the market’s new fast-paced mobile phone release cycles.

Mr. Donovan expects subscriber wireless data usage is going to continue growing at dizzying rate, and that 2014’s wireless data usage will make 2008 numbers essentially zero in comparison.

“Our world gets very complex very fast,” he said.

Assuming AT&T can ramp up its network to support the demand Mr. Donovan is predicting, that will be good news for customers. The company’s iPhone user base is still growing, and the number of competing smartphones customers are buying is on the rise, too.

Whether or not AT&T’s plans to move heaven and Earth to improve its network translates into better coverage and networks speeds, however, remains to be seen.