AT&T Prepares Network For Battle
MARCH 30, 2010
With a new version of the iPhone in the works, the clock is ticking for AT&T Inc. to get its much-criticized network ready for the looming battle.
新しいバージョンのiPhoneが準備される中、AT&T Inc(AT&T)は今まで批評を受けていたネットワークのバトル準備を急いでいます。

The carrier has taken a beating from consumers who have complained about poor coverage in major cities including New York and San Francisco. Now, AT&T is racing to reduce its dropped calls and speed up Web-surfing before Apple Inc. releases a new version of the iPhone that could run on Verizon Wireless's network.
(携帯)キャリア(AT&T)は、消費者からNew York(ニューヨーク)やSan Francisco(サンフランシスコ)を含む大都市のカバーが弱いと批判されてきました、Apple Inc(アップル インコーポレイテッド)がVerizon Wireless(ベライゾン・ワイヤレス)ネットワークで使えるiPhoneを発表する前に、AT&Tは通話切断を減らし、Webサーフィング速度を高めるべく急いでいます。

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.
しかし、これらの最近の努力にもかかわらず、全てのエリアで顧客の品質基準を満たしている訳ではありません。幾つかの第三者検査では、AT&Tが速いネットワークを持っているとされていますが、J.D. Power & Associates(JDパワー)による世論調査では、AT&TはVerizon Wirelessに対し、通話品質ではかなり劣っています。

Some analysts say the scramble to add more capacity might still fall short. "They haven't fixed the network and they're going to see a huge exodus to Verizon" when it gets the iPhone, said Edward Snyder, managing director of Charter Equity Research, a financial research firm that studies the cellular phone industry.
アナリストの何人かは、(ネットワーク)許容量を急いで増やしたとしても、まだ不足と言います。VerizonでiPhoneが利用可能になると「ネットワークをまだ修繕していません、大量に(顧客が)逃げていくでしょう。」と携帯電話市場の金融調査をするCharter Equity Researchの管理部長Edward Snyderは言いました。

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.

AT&T "is managing volumes that no one else has experienced," said John Donovan, the company's chief technology officer. It has improved service in big-city markets and expects "continued improvement in those markets in the coming months," he said.
AT&Tは、「過去に誰も経験した事のないボリュームを管理しているのです。」と技術部長のJohn Donovanは言いました。(AT&Tは)大都市商圏のサービスを向上させ、「これらの市場での向上を向こう数ヶ月継続していく」予定ですと彼は言いました。
For example, AT&T said when iPhone customers started checking their email and surfing the Web from their high-rise offices, AT&T repositioned its cellular antennas to point up, instead of down. Rivals will start the process of making the same changes only after the phones hit their networks, it said.

The iPhone taught AT&T other lessons its rivals will discover through customer trial-and-error. Before the iPhone, it used to be able to accurately forecast to the minute the type of phone usage each new customer would add to its network based on basic demographics such as age and income levels. The forecast always held true across cities and towns.

But with the iPhone, such bets are off, AT&T executives painfully learned. It now looks at a broader set of customer profiles to forecast behaviors. For example, in a metro area with a large proportion of students, the phone operator schedules network upgrades to occur outside of colleges' nine-month academic terms.

"I'm as interested now in what you're doing when you're not on the network," said John Stankey, head of AT&T's operations arm.
AT&Tの事業計画を担うJohn Stankeyは、「今は、ネットワークに接続していない時に何をしているかも興味があります。」と伝えました。

A Verizon-compatible iPhone is slated for mass production as early as September, according to people briefed on the matter. On Tuesday, several analysts said they expect that AT&T's exclusivity will last only until the end of this year.

"It probably won't ship in 2010 because of the extension on exclusivity that AT&T got but they'll be sitting on trucks ready to roll," said Charter Equity's Mr. Snyder.
「AT&Tの優勢が延びている2010年には発送されないでしょう、しかし出発を待つトラック内で待機しています。」Charter Equity社のSnyderは言います。

A Verizon Wireless spokesman declined to comment. Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.
Verizon Wireless(ベライゾン・ワイヤレス)広報はコメントを控えました。Verizon Wirelessは、Verizon Communication(ベライゾン・コミュニケーションズ)とVodafone Group PLC(ボーダフォン)が合同で所有しています。

Of course, there are some network roadblocks even AT&T can't steam roll. Getting permission from municipal councils to tear up streets or convincing landlords to provide access to buildings to add more radio boxes takes time, executives said.

Laying down higher-bandwidth cables to cell towers is labor intensive. And installing special radio-routing equipment can only be done in the middle of the night to prevent network outages.

At times, the carrier has gotten help from Apple. Last year, as its network came under heavy strain, AT&T flew Mr. Stankey and Mr. Donovan to California. Their job: assure Steve Jobs they were working on the problems and to provide Apple designers with a crash course in wireless networking.
時々、キャリアはAppleから支援を受けました。昨年、ネットワークが重くなりつつあった時、AT&TはMr. StankeyとMr. DonovanをCalifornia(カリフォルニア州)へ行かせました。彼らの任務:Steve Job(スティーブ・ジョブズ)へ彼らが問題解決をしていることを確実に伝える事、Appleのデザイナーへワイアレスネットワークの短期集中講座を行う事でした。

They ended up returning regularly, and Apple even helped with new technologies to limit the load that iPhones put on the network.

Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T's towers. As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.

"They're well past networking 101, 201 or 301," said Mr. Donovan. Apple, he said, is now "in a Master's class."
「彼らは、ネットワーク101、201、301などは十分に習得済みです。」Appleは今では「院生のクラスです。」とMr. Donovanは言います。

Of course, that's just the sort of know-how that help AT&T rivals chart their own network roll outs. The need for AT&T to dramatically improve its performance isn't lost on the company or Mr. Donovan.
勿論、これはAT&Tのライバルがどのようにネットワークを出してくるかのノウハウのようなものです。AT&Tが品質を大きく向上させる必要があったという事は、社内やMr. Donovanの中では失われていません。

A health fan who uses his iPhone to track an exercise and diet routine, he checks an iPhone app from the Weather Channel for ideal biking conditions before heading out. A pedometer he keeps at his hip counts how many steps he takes a day, and another iPhone app keeps track of how many calories he eats.
健康に関心のある人は、iPhoneを利用し運動やダイエットを記録し、iPhoneアプリケーションを利用しWeather Channel(天気予報チャンネル)で出かける前にバイクに乗る理想のコンディションを確認します。お尻に付けた万歩計で歩数を数え、またもう1つのiPhoneアプリケーションで食べた食事のカロリーを記録します。

But since late last year, Mr. Donovan has felt the heat. The challenge of quickly addressing network shortcomings has his blood pressure up 20 points.
昨年末から、Mr. Donovanは熱を帯びていました。ネットワークの至らない部分を短時間で処理する挑戦で、彼の血圧は20ポイントも高くなりました。

"We're in a new era," he said. "The stress is on everyone."

Write to Niraj Sheth at




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