As a loyal Mac addict I am using Apple products everyday, including my phone. One key thing all iPhone users have in common is this little notification in the upper left hand side of your phone… NO SERVICE. That’s just the beginning of the many issues I have, and not from Apple, but rather AT&T.
When the iPhone was released in 2007, it was signed to an exclusive deal with AT&T. The first generation of the iPhone was great, it had tons of great features, and gave you the ability to have access to your phone, music, movies, internet, email, and more where ever you were. This was when we started to see the cracks in AT&T and their service issues.
As time went on the iPhone became more and more capable of sending and receiving more content. So while its technology was skyrocketing, the AT&T network was starting to suffer. With the release of the iPhone 3G new technologies were utilized by the iPhone, including using the 3G network. This was supposed to make mobile internet, email, downloading, etc. faster. The downside? AT&T didn’t have a robust enough network to be the only carrier in the US for one of the most popular phones on the market. A new feature that came with the iPhone now was dropped calls, glacier speed downloads and internet, and all around terrible service.
AT&T failed to support multimedia messaging (MMS) and tethering (using a phone as a laptop modem) now that iPhone itself supports those features. (AT&T finally said last week it would add MMS starting Sept. 25, although there’s still no date for tethering.) Apple’s best customers complain about AT&T’s lousy service and misinformed salespeople. Apple worked hard to perfect the iPhone experience, and AT&T is wrecking it.
This has had an effect on peoples view of Apple, who can’t be happy with how AT&T is handling things, and peoples views of AT&T. The idea that AT&T didn’t have a strong enough network to handle all iPhone traffic has been rumor for a while now…
Finally, AT&T has admitted defeat, and blames users for lousy service.
While iPhone users complain about AT&T’s “dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds,” according to a piece published last week in the New York Times, AT&T blames iPhone users. “Overnight we’re seeing a radical shift in how people are using their phones,” AT&T CTO John Donovan told the Times. “There’s just no parallel for the demand.” Donovan told Fortune magazine that “3G networks were not designed effectively for this kind of usage.”
And, as a BusinessWeek article makes clear, there’s no way AT&T will be able to meet the traffic demands of iPhone users any time in the next few years. (The article also confirms that AT&T has deliberately delayed MMS and tethering because it simply can’t handle the traffic.)
Could this possibly be the beginings of a breakup between Apple and AT&T? I could think of a few other Mobile providers who would love to get their hands on the iPhone…
Questions I have for AT&T are, “if you knew how popular the iPhone would be, why did you take the job even when you knew you couldn’t handle the traffic?” and “seeing how much you are charging for it, do you think you could at least put in the effort to deliver a more robust network, if you’re going to try to continue to hold the exclusive iPhone contract?”
There has been talk of a breakup happening as soon as next year, but for all we know that could just be rumor, so until then we will just have to sit back and take it as AT&T fails.
What gets me, are these advertisements for AT&T boasting its ‘More Bars In More Places’. This whole thing can be filed under EPIC #fail by AT&T.