AT&T’s Inability to Handle the iPhone

Spot-on, must-read piece by MG Siegler:

AT&T is constantly promising that network upgrades are coming, but Apple keeps selling more and more iPhones. While it would never admit it, I think it’s beyond time to wonder if AT&T can handle the exclusive iPhone partnership anymore. I’m not saying that the situation would be different had it been Verizon who got the exclusive deal, I’m simply stating what is on everyone’s mind: AT&T is simply not working the way it should be for customers who are paying close to, or in excess of, $100 a month.

Siegler’s piece is titled “Can AT&T Handle the iPhone?”, but it needn’t have been posed as a question. They have shown that they cannot. However much they’ve improved their network over the past two years, it hasn’t been enough to keep up with the growing demand from iPhone users. Coverage here in Philadelphia has gotten far worse over the past few months. iPhone users were unhappy with AT&T’s network quality in 2007; it has only gotten worse since then.

Of course, AT&T is said to be working hard to extend the exclusive deal with Apple beyond next year. But that will be a nightmare for everyone involved. We have no shortage of sources, some very close to Apple, now telling us that as mad as all of us (the customers) are with AT&T, Apple is just as mad, if not more so. Apple can speak in platitudes all it wants during earnings calls about its partnership with AT&T — behind the scenes, trust me, they hear our complaints loud and clear.

Apple slagged AT&T twice during the WWDC keynote, for their inability to offer iPhone users either MMS or tethering. These are not advanced cutting edge mobile phone features. That was seven weeks ago, and AT&T still hasn’t said a peep about making either feature available. Of course Apple is furious. They are dependent on an incompetent partner in their biggest market.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009