How Much Less AT&T Is Sucking

Sure, sure, AT&T added another 1.9 million subscribers and activated 2.7 million new iPhones. But the most interesting slide in their earnings statement was the one detailing, statistically, how much less they suck. With graphs and stuff.

The improvements are indeed caveat-loaded. Dropped 3G calls in Manhattan, one of AT&T's admitted trouble spots, are down 6 percent, and 9 percent overall in NYC. That's great, especially if you consider they've been adding subscribers. But note that's not calls on EDGE, which some people are stuck with, or resort to in an attempt to pull a more reliable signal—which, since AT&T's mostly focused on improving 3G, presumably haven't gotten any better.

Faster 3G speeds via AT&T's deployment of HSPA 7.2—32-47 percent faster downloads—are only happening where they've actually deployed fiber backhaul. Thing is, limited backhaul—the pipes that actually run to cell towers—has always been a huge aspect of AT&T's data crunch. The fact the boosts are only happening where they've deployed new fiber backhaul shows how tapped out they are. Given that they made nearly a billion dollars more in data revenues vs. last year, this is non-trivial. [AT&T]