Gizmodo put out an amazing graphical representation of the current AT&T situation. As previously reported, Ralph de la Vega, head of AT&T's consumer services, said that AT&T is upgrading their network to handle the demanding iPhone and its growing customer base, but it may come at a cost to consumers who use a lot of data. The statement came in response to complaints about AT&T's poor network quality.
As seen in the images below, AT&T's "commitment to improving their network" claim could not be further from the truth. Since the release of the original iPhone, AT&T has consistently spent less money on network construction. This seems very strange, considering they beefed up construction right before the iPhone's initial release. With such a high demand phone, AT&T should be expected to continue investing in their network, especially considering the fact that the iPhone was upgraded twice already, allowing it to consume more data, and ultimately bring more customers to the carrier.
Since the release of the iPhone, AT&T's revenue has consistently increased. They now make approximately 80% more revenue from wireless data than they did when the iPhone was initially introduced. This increase doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon, as it has been steadily inclining for the past two years. The post also shows stats regarding the economy's negative effects on AT&T's net income. Guess what? There weren't any. AT&T was able to increase their cash, and cash equivalents on hand by 4.375 billion dollars since the start of 2009. They've seemed to keep profits fairly steady, considering the times.
So why does AT&T complain so much and threaten to charge users more money for less service? Data hungry phones, like the iPhone, are the sole reason for their substantial profit increase. Further scaling back construction will surely cause the network to cripple under the weight of the iPhone.