AT&T defends itself on dropped calls claims

When Apple’s Steve Jobs stood up to defend his broken iPhone flaw from charges that it dropped calls he told his tame hacks that AT&T wouldn’t let him reveal its proprietary data about dropped call statistics for competitive reasons.

The implication was that it was AT&T’s network that dropped calls rather than Jobs’ iPhone 4. AT&T has had lots of complaints about its network, especially as Apple fanboys started to put pressure on it.

In March analysts at ChangeWave claimed that AT&T had much higher dropped calls than its US competitors: 4.5 percent compared to 2.8 percent for T-Mobile, 2.4 percent for Sprint, and just 1.5 percent for Verizon Wireless.

Now Apple Insider  reports that AT&T is not happy about the way it is being cast. It has hinted that the ChangeWave figures differed from “actual quantitative results derived from millions of calls made during extensive drive-testing of the AT&T mobile broadband network by a highly respected outside firm”.

Of course the argument is based on what makes a decent test of a network. Does a boffin in a white coat driving through town equal the experiences of millions of swearing users?

But AT&T insists that its network dropped only 1.44 percent of calls nationwide, within two-tenths of 1 percent of the industry leader and “a difference of less than two calls out of 1,000.”

Using its figures AT&T is dead heat as the market leader.

Jobs on the other hand has a problem with trying to make AT&T the scape goat for his broken phone. Even he acknowledged that there is a difference between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

Jobs claims that the the difference as being less than one dropped call per 100, but if it was that low he would not even have to offer a rubber band to protect users from dropped calls.

Many analysts think that AT&T’s network problem is related to a large number of users located in an overburdened area. Sadly for the telco San Francisco is one of the worst and this is caused by residents who are worried about the health concerns of having towers close to them.

Jobs said it takes AT&T to get three years to apply for new mobile tower sites in San Francisco, compared to just three weeks in Texas where there is the belief “that which does not kill you makes you strong”. Unfortunately for Apple, San Francisco is its target market.