AT&T Finds New Ways to Annoy Its Customers


AT&T System Upgrade
New iPhone Customers Got Another AT&T Surprise


As an AT&T and iPhone user I am often surprised at the poor level of service the former “Phone Company” monopoly provides to its customers. For example, although I can see the AT&T cell tower from my Tucson home, I frequently experience failed calls, dropped calls, choppy reception and other poor quality phone service. At my vacation home in Pinetop, Arizona there is no 3G service and I am charged the same data rates as I’d incur if I were traveling overseas. I recently “solved” these problems by purchasing an AT&T MicroCell tower, an expensive device that AT&T sells to its hapless customers to improve call quality. At least I get decent call quality at home (of course, I still burn my plan minutes even though there is no usage of AT&T’s cell network.)

Today, June 7, AT&T went to new lengths to annoy existing and potential customers. A few hours ago Apple announced its new iPhone 4.0. My grown son has been wanting an iPhone for quite some time and I had the thought that I could add him to my plan and save a few bucks. I also wanted to know if I could grandfather him in on my unlimited data plan. AT&T announced a few days ago that they were discontinuing the unlimited data plan and charging new customers for data usage. Of course, I learned that I couldn’t grandfather my son in. However, I thought there might be some option that could save us a few dollars. After listening to the agent on the phone for a while I became confused by all of the options and decided to do some research online. Alas, all I could see at the AT&T site was the message “Due to a system upgrade the site is temporarily unavailable…” In other words, on the day that Apple upgrades the iPhone, which is used by more AT&T customers than any other phone, AT&T decides to upgrade their wireless site in the middle of the day.

Apparently “The Phone Company” has yet to understand that they now have competition. Hopefully Apple will seriously consider allowing some of that competition to carry their phone. Until then I’ll be looking at the silver lining: my AT&T customer experience will certainly continue to provide fodder for this blog!

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Author: Thomas Pyzdek

Consultant, author, owner of The Pyzdek Institute