AT&T's (NYSE:T) John Donovan promised the carrier will move "heaven and Earth" in order to meet the data demands of its customers. However, during comments at VentureBeat's MobileBeat 2010 conference in San Francisco, AT&T CTO Donovan said the carrier and the wider wireless industry in general face a range of challenges in preparing for the mobile data future.
Specifically, according to VentureBeat, Donovan said traditional device testing methods have "broken down" in the face of a flood of new chipsets, gadgets and applications. Further, in reiterating past comments from AT&T executives, he said the carrier has suffered from shortages in network components, hampering its ability to add capacity and coverage.
Donovan, who in the past has addressed criticisms of AT&T's network, said he expects to see three phases of mobile network evolution. The current and first phase, the "traditional data world," will soon evolve into a second phase Donovan has dubbed "application readiness." The third phase, he said, will involve point-to-point video and other bandwidth-intensive applications that will require high-speed networks like LTE. (AT&T has promised to roll out LTE next year.)
Interesting, according to IntoMobile, Donovan also posited on the future of mobile devices. He said he expects consumers to move away from franchises, and instead make purchases based on apps, screen sizes, devices and other factors.
Finally, Donovan addressed the always-present question about operators becoming dumb pipes. He said carriers like AT&T won't fall into the dumb pipe trap as they will provide value to the ecosystem.
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