Apple: AT&T to be exclusive provider of 3G wireless access for iPad

AT&T, Apple

Contrary to widespread speculations that Apple might discontinue iPhone’s US exclusivity with the complaints-marred AT&T, Apple has actually doubled down on its exclusive deal with the carrier, recently revealing that AT&T will also be the sole provider of 3G wireless access for the forthcoming Internet-capable iPad.

Addressing analysts during a recent earnings call, John Stankey, AT&T Operations’ president and CEO, said that the January 27-unveiled Apple iPad is one of the new 7.2-enabled devices that will have connectivity on the AT&T network. Stankey further added that the AT&T network is a “natural fit” for the iPad tablet device.

Stankey also said that AT&T has a comprehensive technical understanding, and can fully gauge iPad’s characteristics and usage requirements.

Last year, the AT&T addition of 1,900 new cell sites has helped the carrier expand its 3G coverage to more than 360 markets; thereby reaching out to almost 75 percent of the population. AT&T has also speeded up its network by enabling HSPA 7.2 throughout its network.

However, the news of Apple’s iPad exclusivity with AT&T has been received with evident apprehension, chiefly because AT&T’s wireless network still fails to meet the iPhone users’ requirements.

Noting that the iPad’s AT&T exclusivity underlines “potential for more consumer dissatisfaction,” analyst Shira Levine, telecommunications market research firm Infonetics, said: “Consumers may expect more from their iPad than the network can deliver at this point.”

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