"Don't blame the iPhone," that's what AT&T representatives said about the wireless data outage on AT&T's network Monday.
iPhone users were among many smart phone subscribers complaining of a noticeably slow AT&T data network on Monday, but a spokesman for the company said the issue had nothing to do with the onslaught of people activating their iPhones.
Voice service and text messaging was not impacted. But some customers using AT&T's 2.5G and 3G wireless networks complained that they could not get any data service on their mobile handsets. All smart phones, including the iPhone, were affected. The only exception was Research In Motion's Blackberry devices, which routes Internet traffic through RIM's own servers. (RIM has had its own network issues and outages.)
The problems were a result of a computer glitch that forced wireless traffic in Texas to be rerouted to other parts of AT&T's network, according to Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T. Subscribers mostly in midwestern and western states were impacted, whereas subscribers in other parts of the country were not affected to any large degree, he said. Service is working normally as of Tuesday afternoon, he added.
While some people have speculated that AT&T's network issues were due to the pressure of thousands of people activating their new Apple iPhones over the weekend, Siegel said that was absolutely not true. AT&T has spent $50 million over the past few months to upgrade the capacity of its data network in anticipation of the iPhone, which launched Friday night. And he said the network is able to keep up with the demand.
"More and more people use wireless services everyday," he said. "Yesterday was no different than any other day when people sign up for new service with AT&T. There was a technical issue in the network, but it had nothing to do with the iPhone."
And even though Siegel is adamant that AT&T's network is up to the demand for the iPhone, many people, including CNET News.com's own Declan McCullagh, experienced huge problems activating their new iPhones. But as of Tuesday, AT&T says those issues have been solved and activation should be smooth sailing for any new iPhone users.