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  • FCC's Got A Point. Can AT&T Handle The iPad?


    It's an obvious question - even though it's an ugly one Apple may wish to ignore. Can AT&T accommodate the likely burdensome data demands of the iPad?

    While many of us wondered about this to ourselves, some folks at the FCC are now wondering the same thing aloud. A blog post by Phil Bellaria, director of the National Broadband Task Force at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission suggests that the governmental body may also doubt how much more the overextended AT&T network can handle.

    Of course, if speculation proves accurate that the iPhone won't jump ship in expansion to Verizon after all, the FCC might sound a full-blown red-alert regarding AT&T's ability to shoulder any more network demands.

    Apple’s iPad announcement has set off a new round of reports of networks overburdened by a data flow they were not built to handle.
    Although the iPad will most likely be available by the end of next month, let's not forget that these contraptions require approval by the FCC. If the FCC is worried (which the blog post suggests) the approval process may not go as smoothly as Apple would like, especially if the prospect of mobile networks crashing is now more of a probability than just a possibility.

    With the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband on the horizon, we must ensure that network congestion doesn’t choke off a service that consumers clearly find so appealing or frustrate mobile broadband’s ability to keep us competitive in the global broadband economy.
    Sounds like the FCC is issuing a subtle challenge - and potential warning - to both Apple and AT&T. Yes, the iPad will be grand. But it's clear that the FCC won't let AT&T push itself to the brink without some form of possible intervention by the FCC first.

    Are we getting ahead of ourselves here? Maybe. But Bellaria made it perfectly clear that a modern "dial-up style congestion" simply won't be acceptable.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FCC's Got A Point. Can AT&T Handle The iPad? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Depends on the Wifi only/Wifi 3G sales ratio. More people will opt for the Wifi only version IMO due to the fact that a lot of people aren't with AT&T.

      The reality is that no carrier can handle the onslaught of data hungry smart phones(and now other devices).
    1. SquareWheel's Avatar
      SquareWheel -
      It's a good thing that the iPad won't support too many bandwidth-hungry programs, except maybe streaming videos. I assume AT&T wouldn't have made the deal if they couldn't have handled the contract. But I guess we'll just see how it plays out.
    1. southfrisco's Avatar
      southfrisco -
      Well I have ATT with the iPhone 3G data plan. I am around broadband WiFi almost daily. I use my WiFi almost exclusively and hardly ever use the 3G with ATT as the WiFi connections that I am around are much faster.

      But this brings up a point. People who don't have ATT will most surely get WiFi only unless they absolutely know they have to have 3G. But those of us that already have ATT 3G data and pay $30/mo for an unlimited data package will probably not jump for another ATT "unlimited" data package for $29.99 regardless of no contract. I know they are two devices but I am not going to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. These carriers have to stop with the "unlimited" bs and start specifying these packages. It doesn't make sense to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. Unlimited should be unlimited no matter what device I use on their network. They are gouging customers as it stands now.
    1. GadgetX's Avatar
      GadgetX -
      Quote Originally Posted by southfrisco View Post
      It doesn't make sense to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. Unlimited should be unlimited no matter what device I use on their network. They are gouging customers as it stands now.
      I have to disagree with you here. If you have two iPhones on your plan you wouldn't expect to only have to pay $30 for one and get unlimited data on both. The fact of the matter is, the iPad and the iPhone are two separate devices and thus require two different monthly fees.
    1. addictedto3gs's Avatar
      addictedto3gs -
      Quote Originally Posted by southfrisco View Post
      Well I have ATT with the iPhone 3G data plan. I am around broadband WiFi almost daily. I use my WiFi almost exclusively and hardly ever use the 3G with ATT as the WiFi connections that I am around are much faster.

      But this brings up a point. People who don't have ATT will most surely get WiFi only unless they absolutely know they have to have 3G. But those of us that already have ATT 3G data and pay $30/mo for an unlimited data package will probably not jump for another ATT "unlimited" data package for $29.99 regardless of no contract. I know they are two devices but I am not going to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. These carriers have to stop with the "unlimited" bs and start specifying these packages. It doesn't make sense to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. Unlimited should be unlimited no matter what device I use on their network. They are gouging customers as it stands now.
      That is pretty weak logic. I am getting the WiFi only iPad only because its the first iPad to come out. If AT&T also offers a 2 year agreement on a discounted iPad I will most definitely get the 3G model and get unlimited data on it as well. And I'm pretty sure a good majority of the consumers would feel the same way. The only solution I see is people modding their existing SIM cards and cut them down to Micro SIM and use other carriers.

      The problem is AT&T needs to step up their game they have been given a second chance to rectify their issues and they think throwing down 2 Billion dollars extra for 2010 is going to make everything better??? We as loyal AT&T customers should not have to shoulder the burden of AT&T's cheap "solutions". AT&T needs to show that they are in this game and show that they can compete with the rest of the carriers out there. When the FCC has to get involved because your network is shotty and might not be able to handle the added stress of additional handsets and devices, its pretty sad for both the company and the consumer. 2 billion dollars, AT&T? A little low don't you think?
    1. Frostbite's Avatar
      Frostbite -
      Wow this just shows how sad AT&T's network is right now. I can not wait for the day where all phones are available on all carriers. It means that phone makers can't rely on carriers to selll a phone and carriers can't rely on phones to sell service. This boost competion and allows for the pair of the best phone on the best network, and right now that's the iPhone on verizon.
    1. Rescuer's Avatar
      Rescuer -
      the Dell Mini 5 is also going to hit AT&T's 3G network

      Dell Mini 5 earns FCC approval, AT&T 3G coverage assured -- Engadget
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rescuer View Post
      the Dell Mini 5 is also going to hit AT&T's 3G network
      hey dude, the dell mini 5 is just a tablet right? not a phone?

      cause i want one of them

      Quote Originally Posted by Frostbite View Post
      I can not wait for the day where all phones are available on all carriers.
      android is tryin that, but apple be hatin
    1. NetMage's Avatar
      NetMage -
      Even though I don't intend to use the 3G, I will be getting the 3G model for GPS.
    1. mobilexile's Avatar
      mobilexile -
      I won't bother with the 3G iPad unless AT&T ramps up their network prior to launch -- something I doubt will happen.

      Where I live, just west of Minneapolis, MN, the network is in need of a serious service boost. My iPhone data speeds range from outstanding to dial-up modem speeds.

      I want to believe in AT&T but then I wanted to believe in Santa Claus as well. And I think we all know how that dream ended up.
    1. Ticko's Avatar
      Ticko -
      i thought since the ipad will support any sim worldwide you should be able to use 3g service of your choice not just att?
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      I doubt AT&T will have an issue with the iPad. The usage of iPads will be minimal compared to the usage of iPhones on their network.
    1. XFaega's Avatar
      XFaega -
      Maybe there is something we don't know about AT&T network. I have notice lately that my 3G connection has been much faster and more reliable then before. There were areas that I couldn't use my internet on the AT&T 3G network and allot of drop calls. But like I said lately all that has pretty much gone. So I know AT&T is heading the right direction but I'm afraid they might be a little to late. But I do hope with the push of the FCC looking at if AT&T can handle the iPad it will open AT&T's eyes.
    1. Sol Munition's Avatar
      Sol Munition -
      We really won't see the impact on the fabled $2 Billion dollar increased infrastructure when the 3G version of the pad comes out - the first ones are Wi-fi only right? They said 90 days(approx) from the reveal last week, so nothing immediate - an then they'll be releasing tht 4th gen iphone a few months later. Glad the FCC is looking into it now...they might of wanted to start that a lil sooner when AT&T was claiming it was the fault of the iphone users for the dropped calls and coverage issues
    1. ty22's Avatar
      ty22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      I doubt AT&T will have an issue with the iPad. The usage of iPads will be minimal compared to the usage of iPhones on their network.
      Yea. After all the iPhone is a phone and the iPad is an expensive tablet.
    1. battlecrushr's Avatar
      battlecrushr -
      Most jailbrekers with AT&T will probably just get wifi. Then they can tether with mywi or something else
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      I average about 200k speeds max where I live, but yourtube maxes out at about 5k when I download a video. I get zero coverage on any state highway and interstates between here and Savannah, saw a serious wreck and it was a good thing I wasn't the only one around because I had absolutely no service for about a 10 mile stretch on that road. Going down to Hilton Head I get 2 bars max and no data very frequently. There isn't any 3G or reliable EDGE for 40 miles in any direction. AT&Ts network is a joke. I can't cancel my contract without the ridiculous fee and I had no clue it would be this bad when I lost my job and had to move here for employment. What's really damning about this area is that everywhere I go, Verizon has 5 bars of 3G covering every single square inch around here while AT&T can't give me even 4 bars reliably. I drop service at my place of work and around town on errands at least 15 times a day, and that's no a lie. The other two people I know in this town have the exact same problems and they don't have iPhones. AT&Ts network sucks, plain and simple.
    1. iphone-doc's Avatar
      iphone-doc -
      A Jailbroken iphone 3g that can share its 3g goodness with an iPad via wifi tethering (as in MiWi) solves this problem nicely. It is the main reason I need/want a jailbroken phone.
    1. giancarlo's Avatar
      giancarlo -
      I believe many users wont be using the 3G on their iPad. I agree with most that you are going to be seeing these tablets only in use in WiFi spots.....local starbucks, barnes and noble and such. No1 will be walking down the mall with this in their hand and for GPS? Get yourself a garmin or Tom Tom for $299 and make sure you always have signal and clear directions. Trust me when I say this but the 3G iPad won't be popular because in my opinion, if you need something with data access wheres theres no wifi then get a netbook with a full operating system and not just a book reader. Just my .02.