Verizon iPhone Threat Makes AT&T Scramble

AT&T, worried about losing its exclusivity with the iPhone later this year, is scrambling to upgrade and improve its much-lamented network. The company plans to double its network capacity this year, which comes at a price tag of about $2 billion. The Wall Street Journal has more:

In mid-December, AT&T executives set up a 100-day plan to dramatically improve the company’s network in densely-populated cities, according to people familiar with the plan. Since then, AT&T has added new network spectrum to better handle traffic, repositioned antennas to improve reception in office towers and wired more neighborhood cell towers with faster connections.

But even with its recent efforts, the network still has not met customers’ quality standards everywhere. While some third-party tests have given AT&T nods for having a faster network, a poll last month by J.D. Power & Associates found AT&T still ranks poorly against Verizon Wireless in call quality.

AT&T defended its wireless efforts, and said this year it expects to spend $2 billion more on build-outs for its wireless network and add twice as much capacity as it did in 2009. A spokesman declined to provide details on its spending last year. It argues that its growing pains with the iPhone position it to provide better service than any rivals picking up the smart phone for the first time.

This certainly substantiates rumors of a Verizon iPhone later this year, doesn’t it? (That rumor, of course, was initially broken by the Wall Street Journal.)