If you are one of the 15+ million iPhone owners sharing AT&T’s network you probably have at least one story (or 50) to share regarding the company’s service. The majority of complaints are usually directed at AT&T and related to dropped calls, spotty 3G coverage, and tethering. Then there are complaints directed at Apple for not paying attention to countless consumer requests to make the iPhone available on other carriers. The concerns continue to fall on deaf ears.
Back in ’07 Apple and AT&T worked out a trial arrangement that would last a year. With the release of the next gen iPhone the deal was renegotiated and AT&T was again given the exclusive to both the iPhone and the iPhone 3G. In 2009, Apple released the iPhone 3GS and again announced they were sticking with AT&T. Tomorrow, Apple releases their shiny new iPhone 4, and AT&T remains the device’s exclusive carrier. Why? Hasn’t AT&T proved they can’t handle the iPhone? Apparently not.
Perhaps if Apple saw how things have unfolded over the past three years they might change their mind. Lucky for them, I’ve put together a little timeline of mishaps events. Have a look.
- June 29, 2007. Apple releases the first gen iPhone (2G) and AT&T is made the only authorized carrier in the U.S.
- July 11, 2008. Apple releases the second gen iPhone (3G) and renegotiates the exclusivity deal with AT&T (who lacks a sufficient 3G network).
- Mar 26, 2009. AT&T begins selling the iPhone without a contract, but the devices are still SIM-locked to their network (while the rest of the world enjoys their pick of carriers).
- June 19, 2009. Apple releases the third gen iPhone (3GS) and OS3.0, promises MMS and tethering, and keeps AT&T as their exclusive vendor (son of a…).
- June 22, 2009. Apple sends out $30 iTunes Store credit in response to AT&T activation issues (thanks AT&T).
- Sept 25, 2009. AT&T makes MMS available to iPhone users (3 months after the WWDC announcement). Tethering said to be coming “in the future.”
- December 7, 2009. AT&T releases their Mark the Spot iPhone app to help customers pinpoint locations where coverage is lacking.
- December 31, 2009. By year’s end, AT&T upgrades their network adding 2,000 new cell sites and moves more 3G traffic onto 850MHz spectrum (Awesome!).
- Mar 6, 2010. Jobs says “No,” iPad won’t tether to iPhone (wait, what?).
- Mar 25, 2010. AT&T offers a $150 solution in the form of the 3G MicroCell in order to improve AT&T network quality in homes where coverage is lacking (uh, thanks.)
- May 6, 2010. AT&T offers unlimited data plans to iPad 3G users in exchange for iPad exclusivity.
- June 2, 2010. AT&T gives up on the iPad 3G unlimited data plan for iPads purchased after June 7, kills the iPhone unlimited plan to make data more “affordable”(current users are grandfathered in) and offers 1GB/2GB data plans in its place (with $10 per GB overage charges), and makes tethering available for an additional $20/month (with no additional data – WTF?).
- June 3, 2010. AT&T says no to tethering the iPhone to the iPad to share Internet access (wait, what?).
- June 9, 2010. AT&T network is hacked leaving 114,000 iPad users exposed (woops).
- June 13, 2010. AT&T issues an apology (how nice).
- June 17, 2010. AT&T tells 3G MicroCell users they will be charged for data that goes through the MicroCell even though the device routes its data through the user’s home broadband connection that is already paid for (double dipping is a huge party foul).
- June 18, 2010. AT&T begins notifying customers that areas reported in the Mark My Spot app are about to get better coverage (in 60-90 days).
- June 21, 2010. AT&T and Apple sell over 600,000 iPhone 4 devices despite a system malfunction, security is breached (again), and several orders are canceled for no apparent reason.
- June 22, 2010. AT&T and Verizon join forces in a push for WiFi interoperability (good). Unlimited data plans iPhone 3GS users, after upgrading to iOS4, mysteriously get disconnected from AT&T’s network (bad).
- June 24, 2010. AT&T infrastructure implodes due to iPhone 4 usage.
Jobs, what about the above is confusing? If I’m an employer and my employee continues to screw up I must fire that employee or my business will lose customers and money. How is this different from the situation you are currently facing? I’ve heard plenty of friends over Facebook and Twitter and even those in the F2F world tell me they are not going to get an iPhone until you let another carrier in on the game. How is customer satisfaction (and profit) not a good enough incentive? Seriously, it’s time to use the force and blow up the AT&T Death Star.
Btw, I don’t mean Apple should literally blow up the AT&T network (ahem, lawyers), but they need to consider how AT&T is limiting their iPhone product line. What do you all think? Did I miss an event? Am I way off? Post your comments below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.