updated 11:40 am EST, Fri December 18, 2009
VZW exec claims network could take Apple
Verizon has already built up its 3G network in the event it lands an iPhone deal, the company's CTO Anthony Melone said late Thursday. The executive stops short of saying that the network has been upgraded specifically for Apple but that the carrier is "prepared" for the level of data traffic the iPhone would bring. He argues that both the equipment and the company's quality checks should better prepare it than AT&T has in recent years.
"Absolutely, I think we could handle [the iPhone]," Melone tells BusinessWeek. "We understand very granularly where our network performs well and where it doesn't perform well."
Verizon relies partly on a real-world testing system to gauge the performance of its network and has 100 employees that drive throughout parts of the country checking for weak signals or degraded speeds, giving it an idea of where an upgrade is needed relatively close to when customers themselves notice an issue. As such, it can put money into more targeted upgrades.
AT&T at a recent UBS conference pledged ongoing upgrades but has typically focused on broader, whole-area upgrades rather than specific areas. It has been criticized for failing to anticipate the capacity needed to handle 3G iPhones and only this year began adding more capacious, wide-area 850MHz networks to New York City, San Francisco and other cities where data has been an issue.
AT&T has been reached for comment on its specific monitoring methods and should provide comment soon.
Regardless of whether or not the iPhone or a tablet-like device reaches Verizon, the provider is already facing one of its first tests through the Motorola Droid, whose data-centric OS and popularity are closer to 2007-era iPhone levels but enough to add significant demand.