So much for blaming AT&T's poor network performance on the iPhone. ABI Research today released a report that says, of the big three major carriers in the United States, AT&T actually saw the least amount of data traffic. Verizon Wireless and Sprint each carried more than 16 billion more megabytes of mobile network data than AT&T in 2009, the firm says.
According to the report, Verizon Wireless carried the most data traffic, followed by Sprint. Customers of these two operators generated 63 percent of the U.S. market’s mobile network data traffic.
“Interestingly, AT&T had the most activated data devices in 2009. But it is laptop mobile data connections that have the most impact on operator data traffic levels. Mobile broadband laptop connections to Verizon and Sprint each far exceed AT&T’s laptop connections,” said practice director Dan Shey.
The report found that a high proportion of Sprint’s and Verizon’s laptop connections are to lower-data-consuming business customers, as well as expansive 3G coverage areas, which helps moderate their network traffic loads across any cell sector.
ABI projects that Verizon will maintain the top data traffic position over the next five years. AT&T’s share of mobile data traffic will increase, and by 2012, AT&T will take the No. 2 position. The final three spots for top mobile data traffic levels will be held by Sprint, T-Mobile and then all other operators.
Shey quips that operators can glean two different messages from these results. “Verizon Wireless and Sprint can claim that data network coverage is as important as data network speed. But AT&T can claim that it makes the most money per MB!”