AT&T, let's review the facts

AT&T blames users for AT&T's own problems.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

Let me see if I understand the facts properly.

  • Apple creates a internet-centric handheld device and gives AT&T the sole right to sell it in the U.S. The first generation of this device does less than competitive devices and costs more (hand set price combined with price of telephone and data service). The iPhone didn't offer features such as removable battery, external storage, cut and paste, MMS messaging or tethering that were common features on most high-end devices available at the time. The user interface, however, breaks new ground and people love it.
  • Apple brings out better device, the iPhone 3G, allowing more extensive use of the network. (AT&T must have known about the characteristics of this device.) The new device still doesn't have a removable battery, external storage and many software features. People using the combination of iPhone and AT&T increasingly complain about lacking features on the device and bad AT&T performance including dropped calls, slow internet service or no internet services in major cities. AT&T is largely silent about the problems with its network.
  • Apple brings out an even better device, the iPhone 3Gs and software updates, that offer the promise of improved performance, software features such as cut and paste, MMS messaging and tethering. The device still doesn't offer a removable battery or external storage. AT&T doesn't support either MMS or tethering at product launch (once again, they must have known about this device and the software update prior to their launch). AT&T starts  blaming its users for their network problems rather than owning up to its own bad planning and bad execution. The device and unlimited data plans continue to be extensively advertised and sold.
  • AT&T's MMS support comes months after the iPhone 3Gs and iPhone OS 3.0 product launch and tethering has yet to appear. The device and unlimited data plans continue to be extensively advertised and sold.
  • iPhone users complain even more bitterly about AT&T's bad performance, dropped calls and the like.
  • Consumer Reports rates AT&T last in all of the cities considered in a report on cell phone services.
  • AT&T blames performance issues on iPhone users for using the device's much advertised capabilities (advertised by AT&T) and for actually using the unlimited data plans AT&T sold as if they didn't have an idea that people would actually use the devices in that way. AT&T continues to extensively advertise and sell the devices and unlimited data plans.
  • AT&T suggests that they will soon select certain heavy users of the iPhone and AT&T's data plans, plans that AT&T heavily publicized, for punishment in the form of either capped services or higher fees.

Is it just me, or does AT&T just not understand that they need to live up to the promises that they themselves have made rather than just castigating customers?

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