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Apple's Jobs Sees AT&T Quality Fix

Steve Jobs, answering questions at the All Things Digital show, says he's told networks should improve by the end of summer.



) -- Apple's Steve Jobs seems to have called the bottom on


(T) - Get Report

network quality.

Speaking on a variety of hot Apple topics at the

All Things Digital show

yesterday in southern California, Jobs also addressed the complaints of iPhone users about Ma Bell's lousy service. The Apple chief told the crowd that AT&T is making improvements in areas like backhaul and switching to improve its network's performance.

"Things in general, when they start to fix them, get worse before they get better. That's what I'm told," Jobs said, referring to the AT&T effort. "And if you believe that, things should be getting a lot better soon," Jobs added, sparking audience laughter.

The uncomfortable embrace of AT&T comes as tech watchers and iPhone fans scan for signs that the exclusive iPhone sales agreement may be ending soon. But judging from Jobs' comments, the marriage will continue.

Understandably, Apple would like to distance itself from the complaints that iPhone users have about AT&T call quality. What Jobs doesn't acknowledge is that

Apple's battery-conserving signaling scheme

has been blamed for part of the underlying problem.

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But all that is behind Apple now, says Jobs.

"I'm told a lot of places are getting a lot better certainly by the end of summer," Jobs said.

The comments come as Apple gets set to release its redesigned iPhone Monday. The new phone is sure to trigger another round of

iPhone buying


The ongoing concerns about network quality has also stimulated a grass is always greener speculation that


(VZ) - Get Report

may soon be joining the iPhone party. As


reported last week, production plans for a CDMA version of the phone are in place and some analysts expect to see a

Verizon iPhone

as early as November.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.