1. ShayneCampbell's Avatar
    Why AT&T Is the Biggest Loser of 2009

    Mike Schuster Dec 10, 2009 11:50 am

    The tape's been broken and the race is over. With second place off in the distance, it's not even close. Squeaking one last indiscretion in before the end of the year, AT&T (T) has clinched the series and boldly stands as the year's most reprehensible company.

    Speaking with investors on Wednesday, Ralph de la Vega, head of AT&Tís mobile division, did the unthinkable: He actually acknowledged the performance issues with the provider. He didn't go so far as to address the Consumer Reports survey that ranked his company last overall in cellular customer satisfaction, but he did note that coverage in New York City and San Francisco are "performing below our standards." Case in point, New York City has a 30% dropped-call rate for the iPhone, which Apple (AAPL) deemed acceptable, according to tech site Gizmodo.

    Just as everyone was beginning to wonder if we're seeing a more lucid AT&T -- one that recognizes issues and actually does something about them -- de la Vega shifted blame onto customers.

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    Yes. The CEO of a lackluster provider just blamed the increasingly dissatisfied user base for being the source of the problem.

    "We need to educate the customer," de la Vega smugly said. "We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data."

    De la Vega trotted out a statistic -- largely targeting iPhone users -- that 3% of smartphone customers on AT&T comprise 40% of data usage, namely high-bandwidth activity like streaming video and audio. He added, "The amount of growth and data that we are seeing in wireless data is unprecedented," and described that the US is unique in such exponential usage increases.

    Without specifying what changes would need to be made, de la Vega mentioned certain measures that would need to be addressed to decrease traffic "in a way that's consistent with net-neutrality and FCC regulations." In other words, goodbye unlimited data plans. Hello, tier-based data plans.

    The shift from a flat rate for unlimited data to pay-per-megabyte would be devastating for smartphone customers used to the casual access of the mobile web. If such a change in contract terms voids existing phone plans and allows customers to walk away free and clear, this could be the start of The Great AT&T Mass Exodus. And if Apple has an iota of marketing forethought and opens its iPhone onto other providers, it won't be pretty.

    De la Vega's comments are the topper for a year filled with AT&T's egregious behavior: Whining over Verizon's (VZ) ads but not disputing the facts; influencing Apple to drop Google (GOOG) apps from the iTunes Store which spawned an FCC investigation; announcing MMS capability but delaying the roll-out; having bugs that prevented voicemail delivery for weeks; and releasing an iPhone app to record bad coverage points -- which fails itself. (See AT&T's Lawsuit Only Magnifies Spotty Service and Economic Snapshot: AT&T Still iPhone's Biggest Flaw.)

    And now, citing poor performance and blaming customers while still producing attack ads which denigrate Verizon's coverage and boast its own, it reaches the absolute zenith of hypocrisy and hubris.

    The facts remain: Apple's iPhone exclusivity contract with AT&T ends soon. Customers are unhappy with poor service. Motorola (MOT), Samsung, and Nokia (NOK) have released some very attractive Android phones on Verizon, Sprint Nextel (S), and T-Mobile (DT) with more on the way.

    The very last thing AT&T should be doing now is criticizing its users with itchy early-termination fingers.
    12-14-09 03:33 PM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    Almost sounds like a press release!
    12-14-09 03:40 PM
  3. BergerKing's Avatar
    Yeah, and it is bad form to multi-post the same atricle.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-14-09 03:42 PM
  4. sorlipm's Avatar
    12-14-09 03:44 PM
  5. amazinglygraceless's Avatar
    A link for complete attribution: Why AT&T Is the Biggest Loser of 2009-Minyanville
    12-14-09 03:54 PM
  6. silenttt123's Avatar
    Hey atleast they are accepting it now...

    Sucks for AT&T users though... Now they are going ot have ot start paying more and get less data.

    It really does make you wonder how VZW doesnt have these problems and yet they have more customers?
    12-14-09 03:58 PM
  7. pkcable's Avatar
    And a little reminder for the OP from our Posting Rules & Guidelines....

    Cross/Double Posting
    Please post to the MOST relevant forum. Double or cross forum posting or other attempts at flooding the forum with a stream of posts will be removed. If you find that you have posted in the incorrect forum, please contact a moderator to have it moved to the correct location.
    12-14-09 04:09 PM
  8. R1cE's Avatar
    At least ATT's basic coverage is awesome

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-15-09 12:25 AM
  9. Chaldo's Avatar
    Hey atleast they are accepting it now...

    Sucks for AT&T users though... Now they are going ot have ot start paying more and get less data.

    It really does make you wonder how VZW doesnt have these problems and yet they have more customers?

    Go look at Verizon's data price changes in semtember 2009 for the 9.99 25 mb data, and 19.99 75mb data and overage fees ontop of those and mandatory for all "enhanced multimedia phones" the change they made, then tell me they don't have data capping problems. WTF am I going to do with 25Mb's a month. AT&T's 9.99 plan is unlimited data with a family messaging plan, if not its 14.99 a month with UNLIMITED data. Again who caps more harder?

    I don't think at&t is going to cap anytime soon IMO.

    Also anyone hear about Fake steve jobs article haha apparently he wants to take down the at&t network December 18!!
    12-15-09 01:08 AM
  10. Gawain's Avatar
    Hey atleast they are accepting it now...

    Sucks for AT&T users though... Now they are going ot have ot start paying more and get less data.

    It really does make you wonder how VZW doesnt have these problems and yet they have more customers?
    To answer that last question it's a matter of capacity. CDMA has the advantage. GSM has defined channels and time slots for callers. CDMA simply relies on code with no spectrum waste, whereas GSM requires channel spacing across the spectrum. Overall, in terms of capacity, CDMA has about an 8:1 advantage.

    Depending on frequency and load though, CDMA coverage can actually shrink. This is more common in the PCS bands though. This can be abated with power management, but my understanding is that this is not actively managed (I could be wrong). Also, EVDO/3G is not as battery efficient, so we don't get as much talk time/data time as a GSM device. This is not necessarily the case in the 1X/2G segment versus EDGE, but the differences are minuscule.

    GSM being a more broadly deployed standard worldwide has benefits as well. However, AT&T in pursuing GSM made a critical error. They did not concentrate enough on network saturation like they have in GSM "havens" like Europe. I do not believe any 3G devices running in Europe encounter problems to the extent they are reported here in the US. One of the reasons is that literal network saturation which AT&T did not vigorously pursue. That would have solved many of these issues. Unfortunately, the stance of "blaming the customer" indicates to me that they are not equipped to fix these issues as quickly as everyone wishes.
    12-15-09 03:00 AM
  11. SHoTTa35's Avatar
    There is plenty of evidence to suggest lots of people are having problems with 3G all over NYC and SF but there's also plenty to say otherwise too. I have a Bold and i never have problems placing calls in the city even on the weekends when all the tourists come to town. I'm in the usual "tourist" spots and Staten Island and BK and it's fine for me.

    On the other hand, my friend on Verizon hates it since it just so happen that her house, in Staten Island has problems holding a signal. She had a BB and still the samething, her sister and I both have AT&T and it works great there. She's now looking forward to getting an iPhone in Feb.
    12-15-09 08:37 AM
  12. TrendyProfessional1's Avatar
    Thats all I can really say...............
    12-15-09 10:22 AM
  13. dcgore's Avatar
    Well i don't think AT&T will be able to cap data. Now that Google annouced that their branded phone will come with no locked cellular provider, the consumer will be able to choose the carrier of their choice (most likely the one that offers unlimitied data for an attractive price).

    I have to applaud google for taking the risk of doing the above. I think that this could change how carriers price their phones and costumer service has to improve if this practice is widely adopted.
    12-15-09 10:31 AM