AT&T admits network problems, releases iPhone app

AT&T has finally admitted to iPhone users that it has serious problems in New York City and San Francisco (oh, the pain of dropped calls), and released an iPhone app called Mark the Spot. The application lets users tell AT&T where and when they encountered network problems. See the screenshots below. AT&T also says that 3 percent of smartphone users are generating 40 percent of the data traffic. I wonder if AT&T will start metering use.

AT&T Mark the Spot iphone app screenshot 1AT&T Mark the Spot iPhone app screenshot 2AT&T Mark the Spot iPhone app screenshot 3

But Andy Abramson takes the company (and the US regulatory authorities) to task, reminding us that AT&T knew this was going to happen, but did nothing about it (excerpt from his excellent blog post):

“The revelation about San Francisco is only shocking if you never tried to get anything done in that city. Government moves like molasses. Planning takes years. AT&T could have leveraged the idea of WiFi very quickly in SF, but instead was more concerned about selling old style 1.0 era DSL . . . How could the AT&T veterans from PacBell not know how long it would take to wade through all the red tape to get better locations for bigger and faster cell sites? How could the AT&T engineers not realize that backhaul was going to be an issue . . . How can they as a company, who buys from Cisco and other giants in the technology plumbing business, not understand that they were going to have a capacity issue? They did and they went into self denial mode . . . These spin control statements at investor conferences are designed to shore up the confidence of the investors, and the analysts. But when you read between the lines you can clearly see that they royally screwed up. Misjudged the market by a country mile and are now asking their customers to pay for their mistakes . . . What I don’t understand is this though. Why can other nations’ operators who are all offered the same equipment, software, hardware, infrastructure components, and so forth, all build a working network without the hassles and AT&T can’t in the same number of years? To me, the answer is simple. As AT&T has rolled itself back into what it was before, one giant phone company, the vision of break up, divestiture and the future was erased. Instead of rabid competition, we have a limited choice of options. It’s time for the FCC to step in and become the playing field leveler. Take some things away from AT&T, create a hotbed of competition, and open up the airwaves. Start by trimming their lobbying efforts. Then, hold them accountable for their intentional misdeeds.”

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  1. I agree 100% with the thoughts of Abramson…make AT&T accountable for their lax quality and misinformation.