Operation Chokehold and the AT&T Notwork | IT With IQ

Operation Chokehold and the AT&T Notwork

. December 17, 2009 . 0 Comments

So, this week fake Steve Jobs popped up all over the mac landscape. He, like most of us, is constantly frustrated with the ongoing AT&T network debacle. Dropped calls, lousy voice quality, huge coverage dead zones have become the daily norm for iPhone users. In this day and age of technological marvels it’s nothing short of embarrassing.

And the cause of the lousy service suddenly seems a little up in the air. The New York Times ran an article this past week about how AT&T is actually the highest rated wireless network worldwide. An odd statement until you read on to find out that when the network was tested, iPhones were not used in any of the tests. Which shines a light on a possibility that it’s not the network that’s the problem, but rather Apple’s hardware. I’ve verified that separately with several clients and friends of mine who have AT&T, but don’t use iPhones and they all seem to have good call quality and fewer dropped calls than I do. So maybe there’s something to it.

Then there’s also the fact that AT&T has the most smartphone, and that their data network experienced a 4000% increase in usage after the iPhone 3G was released. That’s a big enough increase to stretch any network a bit thin, even Verizon…

Which brings me to Verizon’s dirext attacks on AT&T and their network with the very funny island of misfit toys ad that features the iPhone next to the misfit toys from the old Rudolph the red nosed reindeer Christmas special due to AT&T’s spotty 3G coverage. AT&T tried to sue to get the ads taken of the air, but lost the injunction order because the judge didn’t see anything false about the ads. AT&T has a spotty network and we all know it. Just AT&T’s karma that they would end up with a judge that’s probably been suffering with his own iphone’s lousy service. Serves them right.

But to at&t’s credit, comparing their network to Verizon is not exactly apples to apples. AT&T has a faster 3G network first off, and also has a network that allows both voice and data connections simultaneously. That’s important for a road warrior like me who frequently will be on a call and checking email or getting maps at the same time. So until Verizon adds that capability, I’m not taking my patronage anywhere.

Which brings us to fake Steve Jobs. While the light is on AT&T and their network, the execs at AT&T had a brilliant (not really) idea. If they could curb the high end data consumer’s massive drain on their network, they could improve the service for everyone else. The concept is that a relatively small percentage of iPhone users (and I am probably in that group) devour the vast majority of data on the network. These users have streaming apps or are downloading YouTube videos en mass, or are app junkies, or email-aholics and are bringing AT&T to their knees. So if those users (who are currently all on an unlimited data plan) were either charged more for their usage, or given a usage cap, it would male room for the rest of the lower end users to have better service and performance. That’s a huge assumption, and unfair to us upper end users. It hasn’t been put into effect yet, but it was discussed… which is what pissed off Fake Steve. He called out for a protest of aorta on his blog. Asking all AT&T users to run their biggest data munching apps all at the same time for a full hour. He hoped to bring down AT&T’s entire network to make a point. AT&T responded by calling the attempt irresponsible. It would cut out service to millions of users an could prevent emergency communications from occurring. It’s true. It’s pretty irresponsible, and even fake steve withdrew the request, bit it’s an interesting idea and brings up an important point. How do we, the perennially suffering iPhone users let AT&T know how we feel abou their network?

AT&T surprisingly has provided is with an answer and a method to speak out our gripes. When apps first came out, I had an idea for a great one. I would call it “AT&T sucks”. And it would be a simple app. When you dropped a call, had lousy service, encountered a cell black hole, or a data failure you would click the app and choose from a list of common AT&T complaints, and the app would send the complaint along with your account info, and your gps location directly to AT&T’s customer relations department. It wa a brilliant and simple idea, but I never got around to it. Fortunately, AT&T did. This app, called “Mark the Spot” debuted last week. It allows you to quickly inform AT&T of where there network is lacking. Whether they use this info and improve their network or not remains to be seen, but I intend on deluging them with my own personal issues wert time I drop a call. I have used the app hundreds of times already, and don’t plan on slowing down. I vow to let then know EVERY TIME I drop or hit a dead zone or bad call quality. And I just hope they listen and fix it. And I hope everyone reading this will do the same. Let’s give them the info they sorely need that will tell them exactly where to strengthen their service. I have another 2 years on this service. Hopefully they can fix it well before then.

Let me know your thoughts. As always, your comments make this all worthwhile.

MacWhisperer out.

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