Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mark the Spot - iPhone Application - Share Your iPhone Call Dropping Frustrations

I am a huge fan of my iPhone as a mobile device, but find it exceedingly disappointing as a traditional mobile phone, which is why I have dubbed it the iRate. I have replaced my phone 3 times, updated the software on numerous occasions, and spent countless hours with both Apple and ATT to try to determine the source of my frustration - which is the iPhones propensity for serial call dropping.

Who is at Fault?

In my opinion, the culpability resides with ATT. The runaway popularity of the iPhone has outstripped the capacity of the ATT Network and that is why the iPhone stinks at its primary purpose of being a simple phone. I would be better off with a throw away pre-paid phone if a phone was all that I needed.

A Great Deal for ATT and Definitely a Crummy Deal for the Consumer

I once thought that ATT's iPhone exclusivity arrangement was a brilliantly negotiated deal by ATT executives that would not impact the consumer much because I wrongly assumed that the ATT Wireless Network could handle the most basic task of providing universal dial tone and phone service (Flat Rate Commoditization in the US Wireless Market). OH HOW WOEFULLY WRONG WAS I!!!

My calls to ATT have been in vain. I have repeatedly been fed lines like the ones below by the ATT Customer Service Reps, aka the ATT Shock Absorbers:
The issue reported has been investigated and no network fault found.
The ATT Executives who artfully crafted this bit of CorpSpeak must have forgotten that we live in the age of social media and EVERYONE has a voice.

ATT Knows all about the Problem

The reality is that ATT knows internally how woefully inadequate their network is for the level of traffic that they are attempting to manage. Why else would Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive for mobility and consumer markets at AT&T, be talking to the NY Times about how they are going to "incentivize" heavy data users to curb their iPhone usage.
ATT's Solution

ATT has even created an iPhone Application called Mark the Spot to address the issue and determine where the network needs enhancements. This is an official iPhone app from ATT letting you report dropped calls, failed calls, lack of coverage, data failure, and poor voice quality.
What Can You Do?

It is time for iPhone users everywhere to unite and break ATT's monopoly on our coveted devices connectivity. ATT service is so bad that I also have a Verizon phone to ensure that I can make imporant calls.

I personally have filed complaints with the Federal Communication Commission, Department of Justice, my US Senators and Congressman, and even filed a complaint with the Office of the President (see below)
Sample Letter Below:
Dear Senator XXXXX:

I am writing you to express my discontent with what I believe to be an antitrust arrangement between ATT and Apple regarding their five year exclusivity arrangement tying anyone who wants to use an iPhone in the US to the ATT Network. I encourage you to vigorously investigate this arrangement on the grounds of its anticompetitive nature, homeland and national security implications and consumer protection principles.

I have found my the mobile phone service on ATT's network to be prone to dropped calls and spotty coverage. Consumers deserve to have a choice when it comes to their wireless carrier and the tying arrangement between ATT is proving grossly unjust to consumers from a quality and choice of competitive carriers in the marketplace.

Thank you for your attention to this matter in advance.

The Department of Justice has launched a preliminary inquiry into this arrangement, but it is my belief that additional voters "encouragement" will help to move their investigation forward.
It is time for everyone to make their voice heard. The chains of ATT need to be broken from our iPhones.

Responses Received to Date
Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for contacting the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Departmentof Justice. The Citizen Complaint Center has reviewed your complaint, and we have forwarded it to the appropriate legal staff for further review. We have your information on file and should legal staff need further information, they may contact you in the future.

We appreciate your interest in the enforcement of federal antitrust laws.Sincerely,

Citizen Complaint Center
Antitrust Division
Department of Justice

I am praying that rumors of an an Apple approved iPhone for the Verizon Wireless Network.
As my Russian friends say "I will be out of here (ATT) like Vladimir."