Thursday, December 10, 2009

AT&T call quality – down the tubes in the Twins

Until recently Minneapolis and St. Paul AT&T customers were spared the misery of the San Francisco and Manhattan iPhone users.

Alas, our day has come. Even as AT&T makes more noises about transaction-based pricing dropped calls have become a serious problem for me. I just had 3 drops in a 60 minute conference call.

I’ve installed AT&T’s free “Mark the Spot” app and submitted my first report. It makes me feel better, even if all it does is generate an SMS response from the death star. In the old days I’d have the more satisfying experience of joining a class action lawsuit, but the Bushies more or less cut that option off. Now we have to hope more US Senators start using iPhones. Those customers can get satisfaction.

I’m sympathetic to AT&T’s problems. The industry’s business model was predicated on their customers owning crummy phones that used very little bandwidth. That “tragedy of the commons” model collapsed when the iPhone landed. I doubt Verizon would have done much better.

AT&T does need to switch to bandwidth, transactional or tiered pricing. Problem is, they won’t be able to resist the temptation to shaft their customers during the transition. For example, if AT&T introduced tiered pricing but made SMS messaging a bundled component of transaction use, they might fashion a win-win for us and them.

I don’t see them being that smart however.

Sigh. I’ll put “Mark the Spot” on my home screen.

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