Mobile operators in Europe have been under the cosh as their networks crumble due to smartphone traffic. Those operators distributing the iPhone, particularly O2 UK, came in for harsh criticism and were forced to make hasty upgrades to parts of their overstretched infrastructure.
However, it has revealed that US-based AT&T, which was also lambasted for poor iPhone service in many cities, spent time with Apple helping its engineers to redesign aspects of the handset due to the company's relative inexperience in building mobile phones.
Specifically, AT&T worked with Apple to remodel how the iPhone worked with AT&T's network, in particular how they found the nearest base station or checked for text messages, and how the signalling burden placed by iPhones on the network was drastically reduced.
Many operators have been pointing out recently that 'signalling storms' are almost as serious as huge data volumes in their impact on the network, and have become a problem because handsets like the iPhone are very "chatty," continually setting up communications with the network.
AT&T CTO, John Donovan, was reported as saying that AT&T had given Apple designers a crash course in wireless networking.
However, the beneficiary of this effort--given the damaged reputation of AT&T for poor network support for the iPhone--could be Verizon Wireless as the company prepares to launch the Apple device on its heavily upgraded network.
For more on this story:
O2's network in meltdown from smartphone usage
Dongle users hit by falling download limit, iPhone blamed
Vodafone: No network problems if we'd had iPhone exclusive
iPhone not benefiting operators, claims analyst