Brief mention of small cells in article on AT&T and their progress in their network
AT&T isn't nearly as bad as you think
By David Goldman @DavidGoldmanCNN July 8, 2013: 6:08 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Here's a shocker in case you've been stuck under a rock since 2009: AT&T's network is really good now.
AT&T's 4G-LTE network has been rated faster than Verizon's network by four independent studies. Its coverage area is growing rapidly, and it will be available to just as many Americans as Verizon's 4G network by the end of next year.
That's a far cry from where AT&T (T, Fortune 500) was just a few years ago. After failing to anticipate how much bandwidth iPhone users would suck up with app downloads, Web browsing and video streaming, AT&T saw its 3G network became practically unusable in major cities such as New York and San Francisco.
AT&T has consistently been rated the worst network by Consumer Reports readers since the iPhone launched six years ago. The network has ranked dead last in the magazine's customer satisfaction survey for three straight years.
But perception and reality are diverging.
RootMetrics, Consumer Reports, PCMag, and PCWorld/TechHive have all measured AT&T's 4G-LTE network as the nation's fastest. In some cases, those independent studies have shown AT&T reaching download speeds of up to 19 Megabits per second (that's blazingly fast). AT&T was consistently between 4 and 6 Mbps faster than Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) and T-Mobile's (TMUS) 4G networks, and was found to double or triple Sprint's (S, Fortune 500) speeds.
Rehbehn notes it's not quite as simple as "more users, slower network." Different speeds also have to do with network plumbing, policy decisions, a company's investment in backhaul, the number of cell sites it has, network capacity, and how effective a company is at deploying new technologies like small cells. Still, network congestion is a major factor that AT&T will likely soon face.