I read with great interest some of the news coverage about AT&T's plans to upgrade and accelerate its 3G network. But it was Om Malik's post on GigaOm - which basically noted AT&T's fear of an iPhone running on Verizon's LTE network in the future - that resonated most with me.
Regular readers of this blog might recall that I bought an iPhone earlier this year but returned it within 30 days - not because I didn't like the phone but because the service was, frankly, horrible. As time went on, it was clear that I wasn't the only one who had major issues with the service.
Just a few days ago, I was talking to a friend in New York City when the call went dead. When he called back, he simply said, "Sorry, dude. I have an iPhone." There was nothing more he needed to say. His friends have all come to expect calls from him to fade out or drop.
Even at the Google I/O Developer's conference today, I overheard one guy who was trying to carry on conversations on his iPhone say, "The AT&T service here is like South by Southwest all over again." It was during that event that users - who arrived in droves with iPhones - overloaded the network and sent AT&T scrambling to boost service.
Under any other circumstance, I might applaud a company like AT&T for acknowledging service shortcomings and scrambling to improve them. But that's not the case here. AT&T has been quiet for a long time about the service issues and has stayed on track with its "more bars worldwide" advertising campaign. AT&T should not be patted on the back for this news.
AT&T, trying to hold on to its role as the sole service provider for the iPhone in the U.S., isn't fooling anyone. It's scrambling now because of the buzz that Apple may be getting chummy with Verizon, which is moving forward on plans for an LTE, or 4G, network that could power the iPhone.
Given the choice between Verizon and AT&T in the future, I'd probably stick with Verizon. AT&T seems to only address problems when it's convenient for them, not their customers.