Verizon Wireless and Sprint each carried over 16 billion more megabytes of mobile network data than AT&T in 2009. But yet in major cities iPhones brought AT&T's network to its knees.
That is the closest to a flat out indictment of lack of network equipment spending and network engineering you're ever going to see. A servant cannot serve 2 masters... nor can AT&T. Pick one... serve your customers or serve your investors.
Other wireless and landline carriers should take note. If you serve the interests of your shareholders over the needs and future needs of your customers, it will eventually catch up with you. You cannot systemically short change the capex of your network and hope to cover it up with marketing.
Just imagine how many potential customers AT&T lost due to the network problems and news/insinuation of network problems. Those losses equate to squandered mindshare, marketing and acquisition dollars. I don't have exact figures (b/c AT&T would never in their right mind release them) but I'm sure those squandered dollars amount to at least double what they spend on capex in 2009.