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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

AT&T: The Communications Company That Failed to Communicate in 2009

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/12/att-communication-failure/



First, AT&T has not had any problems that any other cellular carrier has not had. There is nothing special about the company, no matter what the ads might suggest.

The company had, however, a series of challenges all of which stem from what might be the absolute worst community
communication strategy in corporate history.

The article presents 2009 in detail. I'll just hit the high points. In particular, those points that grandly ticked me off.

Bear in mind that AT&T had exclusive right to sell the most popular phone on the planet. Despite that leg up on the competition, AT&T had managed to handle its affairs so poorly that it's perception with the public places it at the bottom of the carrier heap.

I think raw graduates with only a minor in the area could have done better.

Tethering: Tethering is provided by 22 iPhone-selling carriers around the world. AT&T is not among them. It was promised for 2009, but not delivered. One might ask how tethering on an iPhone consumes more bandwidth than tethering on any other smartphone. Answer: It does not.

MMS: MMS was available on the iPhone through 29 carriers worldwide. AT&T was not among them. After a series of missed delivery deadlines, we received MMS capability a few days after the end of summer.

No offer of a fee reduction for reduced messaging was offered to iPhone users who were denied a functionality that nearly every other phone in the country could do.

Here's a class action suit waiting to happen.

I find it impossible to believe that immediate MMS on iPhones would have presented a problem to AT&T's network. Had I bought a different phone, my MMSing would have been the same as it was with the earlier Moto Q, and that phone did not bother the data network.

Unlimited data: AT&T has mentioned publically that it had plans to reduce the availability of the data network to some users, those who used more. I'm not sure how one rewrites a contact in mid-cycle, but it does sound like a way to promote turnover when contracts mature.

It also sounds like a good way to motivate a class action suit.

IPhone sales in NYC: This week for a day or so, AT&T suspended online sales of the iPhone. Bloggers cited reports of reasons varying from some sort of online fraud to not enough towers for the data network. "New York is not ready fir the iPhone" was one quote.

Erstwhile unlimited data: In addition to the previous roblem with unlimited data, many apps in the app story are refused release unless they are written to only function when the iPhone is connected to WiFi.

For example: SlingBox only streams TV over WiFi only. Skype also functions only on WiFi. The word is that a few iPhone running those apps would disable the network for everyone else.

If that is true, AT&T should liquidate now.

The article closes with: Will 2010 Be Better?

Here's what they say: Despite damage to its brand in 2009, AT&T is still seeing massive subscriber growth, so the company is still doing great from a shareholder perspective, said Tero Kuittinen, an MKM telecom analyst. According to the company’s financial results, AT&T generated $40 billion in revenue and $10 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2009.

Not bad for what has been characterized as the worst carrier of the year. Someone should be thanking Apple for those iPhones.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

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