AT&T’s network, which is crumbling under the pressure of the high iPhone traffic, seems to be the reason why we haven’t seen MMS and tethering.  Should AT&T have noticed about two years ago that iPhone traffic was starting to tax their network?  Should they have waited until now to roll out some upgrades?  That’s what they are claiming as the reasons for holding back MMS and tethering.  

AT&T said today that MMS messaging, which has been a glaring omission on the iPhone 3G and new 3GS, will arrive on Sept. 25. It’s not quite the "late summer" launch that we were told about, is it?

Why the delay? Well, AT&T said earlier that it was because the company was "finalizing internal system upgrades".  They say that tethering will be announced sometime in the future.

Really? We have to wonder why all of the other industrialized world telcos and some of the third world iPhone carriers have had MMS and tethering since launch.

Full Press release:

An Update on iPhone MMS for our Mobility Customers

We know many of our iPhone customers are eager for an update on our rollout schedule for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). We’ve been working for the past several months to prepare our systems and network to ensure the best possible experience with MMS when it launches – and that launch date is: September 25 for iPhone 3G and 3GS customers. MMS will be enabled through a software update on that day.

We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end.

We’re riding the leading edge of smartphone growth that’s resulted in an explosion of traffic over the AT&T network. Wireless use on our network has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and is projected to continue at a rapid pace in 2009 and beyond. The volume of smartphone data traffic the AT&T network is handling is unmatched in the wireless industry. We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.

We thank you for your business and look forward to keeping you updated on our initiatives.

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Seth Weintraub

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