Macworld points out that AT&T has two weeks left to deliver on its promise to support the iPhone's new Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) capabilities. Apple originally announced the feature back in June with the release of OS 3.0, however the company didn't say anything in regards to AT&T's support. However AT&T eventually came forth and admitted that it was finalizing system upgrades, and that MMS support would eventually come late summer. AT&T also said that the missing MMS support--a feature most carriers already support--had nothing to do with its 3G network.
The New York Times is reporting otherwise, claiming that the iPhone is actually overloading AT&T's network. In fact, the NYT calls it a "data guzzler," allowing consumers to download applications, stream video and music, and browse the Internet at higher rates than the "average" smartphone user, 10 times more in fact. As a result, AT&T subscribers apparently suffer "glacial" download speeds, dropped calls, and spotty service, and are thus outraged by the data-guzzling iPhone owners. Out of the 20 million smartphone users currently subscribing to AT&T, 9 million of those are iPhone owners.
As AT&T reported earlier, the $18 billion it plans to spend this year will be dumped into upgrades and expansions to better handle the high demand. The company is addressing spotty service by erecting 2,100 additional cell towers, and revamping existing towers with fiber optic cable to deliver the data faster. Unfortunately, AT&T is hitting a slight snag, as many cities require time-consuming paper work in order to install new towers. With that said, AT&T expects to complete the upgrades by next year.
Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless analyst, said that owners of the new iPhone 3GS have probably increased their usage by 100-percent which will probably only make things worse for the mobile carrier. "It's faster, so they are using it more on a daily basis," he said.
UPDATE: AT&T now says that MMS will arrive on September 25, however the service is only available for the 3G and 3GS model.