A smartphone generates 24 times the mobile data traffic of a conventional wireless phone, and the explosively popular iPad and similar tablet devices can generate traffic comparable to or even greater than a smartphone. AT&T's mobile data volumes surged by a staggering 8,000% from 2007 to 2010, and as a result, AT&T faces network capacity constraints more severe than those of any other wireless provider.
AT&T is using up its spectrum at an accelerating rate, and the wireless broadband revolution is just beginning. Over the next five years, data usage on AT&T's network is projected to skyrocket as customers "mobilize" all of their communications activities, from streaming HD video and cloud computing to a range of M2M applications like energy management, fleet tracking, and remote health monitoring. In just the first five-to-seven weeks of 2015, AT&T expects to carry all of the mobile traffic volume it carried during 2010.
AT&T says that this deal will improve their service across the board: faster data speeds, better reception, fewer dropped calls, yada yada (who knows, you might even run faster, jump higher and live longer).
This isn't the first time AT&T has taken this stance. Before they formally instituted data caps and the death of the unlimited plans, they expressed fears that the smartphone onslaught would ruin them.
This merger will definitely help service in NY and SF, the two cities most affected by the lack of spectrum. But we're still not fans of the idea. And let us not forget that it could take as long as three years to see any noticeable improvement from this merger, which is enough time for an entirely new crop of poor reception excuses to pop up. [AT&T]