Jonathan and his roommate both ditched AT&T at the same time in favor of Verizon. They’ve experienced years of spotty coverage and dropped calls nearly everywhere they went, and wanted Verizon’s famed ubiquitous rock-solid coverage. They brought home their new iPhones and discovered that instead of vastly superior coverage, they had incredibly craptastic coverage and even more dropped calls. Verizon representatives told them that was weird… their area is supposed to have great coverage. When Jonathan tried to wrangle a free femtocell out of Verizon for their trouble, Verizon wouldn’t budge. His roommate fled back to the less terrible coverage of AT&T, but Jonathan hasn’t made that leap.
J.D.Power and Associates released a new survey last week that measured customer complaints among national cellular networks, and although different companies excel in different regions, AT&T is still consistently the laggard when it comes to call connections and overall quality. Of the six regions covered in the survey, AT&T places last in four of them. The only part of the country where it does okay is the North Central Region, where it places third, and where the otherwise highly-ranked Verizon comes in last.
AT&T seems determined to fix Mike’s problem. Only they can’t, apparently, because in the past 9 months he’s gone through 8 iPhones and 14 different SIM cards, and still can’t get a phone that does everything it’s supposed to do. (Like ring when someone calls.) Normally an 8-smartphone customer might sound like someone who’s being too hard to please, and maybe that’s Mike, but let’s face it: this is AT&T and it’s the iPhone, so most of the issues he lists below sounds completely plausible.
Last week AT&T, in yet another of a string of PR failures about the health of its network, made things even worse by publicly blaming its customers for, you know, being customers. Over the weekend, though, a new thread was introduced into the narrative: it’s the iPhone’s fault. Not because it’s too popular, which has been the old complaint, but because the hardware doesn’t work right, and AT&T can’t say anything about it for fear that Steve Jobs will reach down through the clouds and smite them.
That sounds pretty tragic and sad for AT&T, but the problem is nobody knows if it’s true, or if this is yet another strategy to shift the responsibility from AT&T.
AT&T has debuted an iPhone app that will let AT&T/iPhone users submit reports when they experience poor phone service. This will be a popular app.
AT&T loves your money and will not give up that money no matter what, even if it means making you waste nearly an hour of an AT&T employee’s time, which surely must be worth more than three dollars. We guess it’s the principal; as long as AT&T refuses to admit they’ve got problems, the problems don’t exist.
Hey AT&T, maybe you should offer some sort of congestion pricing on your iPhone plans in places like New York City. We’ve heard/read all sorts of anecdotal reports on dropped calls before, but today Engadget reported that an Apple Genius said a 30% drop call rate is average for the area. If that’s true, it seems like false advertising to charge for a full-time calling plan that you can only use about two-thirds of the time.
Coincidentally enough, we smashed on cellphone yesterday. We were just trying to bang the desk in anger, because we couldn’t think of anything to post about and someone kept IMing us over and over with silly questions. Unfortunately the cellphone was right below our fist and now our screen is cracked. We wonder if the cellphone insurance we purchased covers rage. — BEN POPKEN