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AT&T Might Use Bridgewater to Ease iPhone Congestion

Congested networks have become a fact of life for iPhone users on the AT&T network, and with the 3G iPad due out later this month, the demand on network space will only increase.  In the hopes of alleviating some of the burden, AT&T is in talks with Bridgewater Systems Corp to develop software that will help ease the congestion.

The Canadian based Bridgewater Systems is known for its software designed to help wireless carriers manage data traffic.  Their specialty is social networking and easing the demands of mobile video.

“An iPhone user generates about 30 times the data traffic of other smart devices,” Bridgewater Chief Executive Officer Ed Ogonek told BusinessWeek in a recent interview.  He also confirms that the iPad may use up to four times as much bandwidth as the iPhone.

Bridgewater already lists Verizon as a customer since 2008, and with the exclusive deal between Apple and AT&T in its final year- and rumors soon putting the iPhone in the hands of Verizon users- AT&T is pulling out all the stops to keep their existing customers and win over new ones.

Just yesterday AT&T announced that it would invest another $1 billion to their network, raising their 4 year investment total to over $4 billion.

This is the most recent move by AT&T to help ease the congestion on their networks that is especially pronounced in densely populated areas such as San Francisco and New York.  In December, Dallas based AT&T that it would attempt to reduce, or at least temper the usage of high-bandwidth user.  Currently about 3 percent of smartphone users account for roughly 40 percent of AT&T’s network capacity.

Update:  We were recently contacted by representatives of Bridgewater who issued the following statement:

“AT&T has not stated that they plan to use Bridgewater to ease iphone congestion. What our CEO Ed Ogonek said is that: “We’d love to have AT&T as a customer…You can assume we’re talking to every major operator who is having challenges with their 3G network.”

Update:  AT&T recently contacted us in response to the amount of expenditures they plan on network upgrades in 2010.  Their objection seems to stem from the fact that we point out the increase of $1 billion in investments, which was the focus of the story, rather than printing their full upgrade budget.  Our point was to illustrate the additional investment planned by AT&T, not the total they intended to spend overall.  Their response is below:  

The $1 billion network investment we announced yesterday was focused on enhancement of our network and its capabilities for business customers specifically, including global enterprises and U.S.-based small businesses. 

“Overall in 2010, we plan to spend between $18 billion and $19 billion in total capital expenditures, a 5 to 10 percent increase over 2009, including an increase of approximately $2 billion in wireless network and backhaul investment over 2009. (Note that’s an *increase* of $2B.)  In our 2009 Annual Report we released last month, we stated that our wireless-related capital expenditures in 2009 were more than $5.9 billion.”

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