So what ended up happening with “Operation Chokehold,” the plan last Friday to protest unreliable iPhone coverage by having a bunch of people simultaneously run a bunch of data-intensive apps to bring the AT&T network to its knees? We’ll tell ya.
If anything, some users, myself included, noticed improved reception and download speeds since Operation Chokehold. Possible answers:
Unhappy U.S. iPhone customers can’t just switch to another network, not unless they’re willing to not be able to use an iPhone anymore. The price of the handset, the 2-year contract, and the network exclusivity are an extremely high barrier to taking their business elsewhere. AT&T already factors into their projections the number of people who are willing to do so, it’s called churn. As for complaints, they’ve designed the system to take care of those people too. They’re placed on hold, discouraged by indifferent reps , supervisors perpetually at lunch, and perhaps, if they’re really persistent, placated with a few bonus minutes or a waived fee. Lobbying, the placement of industry-friendly individuals inside regulatory agencies, and the gutting of their budgets have nerfed those government agencies; if you followup on your complaint letter through the FCC it eventually gets investigated and determined on by the mobile company itself.
The game is rigged. The house always wins. The only choice for the pro-active consumer is to alter the rules of engagement.