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In annual ritual, AT&T declared worst wireless service (arstechnica.com)
18 points by Quekster 1697 days ago | hide | past | web | 11 comments | favorite

Anecdote time!

Last week I got a missed call. Called back, they guy asks me who I am, and then he remembers -- "Oh! I remember why I called -- I work for AT&T and I accidentally disabled a phone on your account. I'm really sorry." It was my brother's phone and we'd have to get a new SIM card at an AT&T store because the rep couldn't reactivate it remotely. He gave me his AT&T ID, something like "kiloB" plus some numbers.

The AT&T store in our area doesn't carry SIM cards, so we had to order one from them and it took about a week to arrive. Meanwhile my brother had no phone and no voicemail.

What he didn't tell us was that he had also mistakenly added a phone to our account (used by a stranger) and which did not have a data or text plan - the stranger didn't know this, and we were billed for his data and texts.

They refunded my account eighty dollars to cover the texts, data, and some inconvenience, but what the fuck.

My question is that if it's so bad why aren't they still seeing new subscribers? I understand they have a lot of churn, but obviously the poor customer service and poor quality of service continues to be unimportant in the buying decisions of their customers.

So what is it that they are doing right that continues to allow them to sign up new customers?

One thing they have done is bought up a significant portion of the available cellular spectrum licenses in the U.S.

People really really want a Lumia 920?

Oligopoly with monopoly market segments (handsets, geographical, demographic (what family and friends have -- at times, more relevant in the past, providing more favorable pricing and usage caps)).

And yes, poor and uninformed purchase decisions. But not always.

AT&T loses points with the rest of the bunch for charging a "one time upgrade fee" of $36. But they do gain points by refunding it to me without too much hassle when I complained.

When this type of company gets too big they tend to behave like governments. People go to work just to get paid, they just care about politics and the bottom line. Then these companies become costumer traps.

Here's a great opportunity for Worldwide disruption. Anyone up to it?

Yes. And...?

The article only says what was said last year, the year before that..... And there are no solutions other than

"Don't buy a phone on contract with AT&T. Or better yet, don't do business with AT&T."

How many of us (in the US) didn't know that?

It really depends on your location. I lived in Dallas, TX for 3 years & it worked just fine for me. I use my smartphone more as a portable computer than for voice, & to me data speeds matter more.

AT&T edged out VZ in data throughput. I also happen to be grandfathered in an unlimited* plan. I won't give that up for a marginal improvement in voice quality.

As a fun anecdote: Try driving by the AT&T building in Farmers Branch while on a call. As of about a year and a half ago (I've switched to Sprint), it would drop my call right as I drove by the building. Always made me chuckle.

To your point, it's really dependent on where you are. AT&T in Dallas works better than Verizon. Sprint is more reliable than AT&T, but the data throughput isn't as good.

105.9 million according to Wikipedia.

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