How AT&T Will Deal with iPad Data Traffic

Today’s launch of the Apple iPad came with a big surprise to those of us following the sad story of the iPhone’s network issues: The new device will stick with AT&T as the cellular data provider. We can argue forever about whether or not AT&T set sail with the iPhone in a leaky boat, how it should have started bailing the boat at the first signs of trouble, or if it should have set the iPhone free to sail with better networks — but that’s not going to change anything. AT&T has faced a 5,000 percent increase in data traffic over the last three years, and its experience is a cautionary tale for carriers in the age of superphones and iPad-like devices. Here’s what we can learn from AT&T’s experience.