Got a fresh anecdote for you. It involves AT&T and failure. Ready?

All right so I found myself in midtown Manhattan today around 4pm needing to make a call real bad, a call that had dropped a half hour earlier, as it was business-related, you dig? I had a full array of bars yet there wasn’t even enough data bandwidth available in order to initiate a Google Voice dialing (just the call initiation over IP, not the voice) so I figured, well, that’s AT&T for you, and proceeded to make the call sans Google Voice, so just plain old voice this time, somewhat confident the call would go through as voice data gets prioritized. Negative. Couldn’t even make it to the ringing. Rebooted just to make sure it wasn’t my phone (it wasn’t my phone, it was AT&T sucking — their choice behavior in my city).

I made my way into Central Park where there weren’t too many people around on account of impending rain and the call went through fine. Business taken care of, AT&T forgiven somewhat. Crossing the park I figured I’d better fire up a Google Reader sync to give me something to do on the subway as I exited the park — only to find the reader client thing had only downloaded twelve out of eighty articles over a good ten minutes’ worth of walking. To put that into perspective for you, that sucks.

No matter, twelve would be enough, short ride. Get in the station, the C train shows up perfectly on time as declared by Google Maps Mobile (I love it when it happens), get on, start enjoying the AC (I was sweating my ass off so much that one lady asked me if it was raining), bust out the Google Reader client, start flipping through and bam I land on this article which reports that AT&T announced today, maybe around when I couldn’t make that damn call, that they’ve beefed up their New York infrastructure, 3G this and 7.2Mbps that, promising “improved 3G wireless voice and data connectivity and performance, especially during peak hours,” noting call quality improving 47% by their measurements and data speeds 25% better.

Double digit percentages of improvements, AT&T? Yeah, well, I guess the math on that could check out when the calculations are relative to your own stunning and embarrassing history of mediocrity — at least in midtown Manhattan during business hours. Look AT&T, lay off the bullshit press releases, jack up the network noticeably and watch everyone else do all the talking for you.

Doug Simmons

10 COMMENTS

  1. Chin up, fellow AT&T prisoner. This is the price we pay in order to talk and surf at the same time.

    Did you try holding the phone with your other hand?

  2. I live in Dallas and Doug you’ve been here, you know how we roll. AT&T is fast fast fast. I tether Touch Pro 2 all the time. 3G all bars most of the time. I laugh at yall yankee problems with AT&T. Been with AT&T since 94 and no problems. You can’t beat it with a electric hammer.

  3. @doug shucks. figures. I got to this page via a post on the fuzemobility rss feed, so I assumed you were on winmo.

  4. RowdyC: Nice, we got a regular here. Due respect but the best thing that struck me about Dallas was AT&T’s performance. On the other hand it was cold and I was there during an extended layover due to US Air sucking so I wasn’t in the best mood to judge a city. But you Dallas folk are very helpful on Google Buzz, gotta hand it to you there.

    Buji: Yeah I’m trying my hardest to flood this pond with Android and Google, this article only being subtle in that sense. The Google Reader client for WinMo you probably want is Speeed Reader.

    ATT_fan: So it’s the customers’ collective fault? AT&T could either continue to fail to improve their infrastructure to keep up with increasing data demand (they have the money, no?), put the squeeze on customers with different billing plans as they just did, get the likes of Apple not to do this and that over cellular but only wifi including webcams and decent quality youtube and video streaming etc, or a combination of these plus the occasional press release to try to stir up a little excitement maybe to keep people from defecting were the iphone ever to lose exclusivity to them. Or all of that.

    Alternatively, unless there are some laws of physics I don’t know about preventing AT&T from accommodating more wireless data over the same air that a few other carriers are doing it quite comfortably from what I hear, they could blast money at the problem, telling their shareholders that the next quarterly report may show less profit but hey at least their shareholders who are AT&T customers and who use e-trade can invest more in AT&T from their phone thanks to the newly usable performance and how that performance is a good investment as it would lower attrition and maybe bring in more customers.

    Can’t say I know which is best from a business standpoint, but from a consumer standpoint I express my angry feelings, typically regarding AT&T or Microsoft, and when I do that I categorize the thing as being a rant. I understand that my writing that will in all likelihood not change how AT&T does business and the odds aren’t great that anyone above the retail level of the totem pole may not see it. On the other hand, that was a pretty good shop job of the turtle so who knows.

    I’m actually serious about the talk/surf GSM thing. That and that it can be faster depending on your time and place. Just like knowing I can, it’s not like I talk and surf all the time (very rarely — though I do like that if I get an email during a call I know about it and there’s no interruption) and as I don’t tether I don’t really need blazing speeds, speeds that after faster than the >500 level I see with Verizon. And I’m not in midtown Manhattan during peak business hours too often. But can you not understand what went through my mind yesterday?

    Also the Verizon logo is not as versatile as AT&T’s for cute shop jobs.

  5. I get it, we all want great coverage for the money we give AT&T. But you do realize the problem is PEOPLE whoring data, right? Easiest way to get better signal, leave NYC and avoid SanFan. Of all the major carriers, only AT&T has good coverage in the mountains of MD/PA/VA/WV area AND great DC metro coverage. Why don’t you switch to t mobile or us cellular? heck, sign up with Verizon and just tether your GSM to it all the time. Whining feels good but doesn’t solve a anything.

  6. […] densely populated area if the network is getting strained, though that’s just a wild guess from a disgruntled AT&T […]

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