Survey from AT&T about my iPhone

AT&T Survey Invite

I waited in line for 2 hours to buy the first iPhone the day it came out.  I bought the second iPhone (the iPhone 3G) within 1-2 months of when it came out (AT&T subsidized it)… and I recently bought the iPhone 3GS when I was in San Francisco.

IPhone 3GSAs the story goes, I was leaving Silicon Valley to go to SF when my phone battery died.  Rather than buying a charger, I bought a phone at the Flagship Apple store in Union Square.   Although it sounds like a major exercise in excess, I must add that I had intended to buy the phone when I got back to MN, and the poor battery performances simply forced me to play my cards sooner.

The phone purchase experience from Apple was exemplary, and I really had no problems.  In fact, I’m enamored with Apple for producing such an amazing piece of hardware.  Really, I have no beef at all with the phone; just the service provider.

While my phone is a business expense, and therefore write-off-able, I still think that the charges AT&T force you to pay are ridiculous.  The service charges for voice time are in line (about $50/month for my plan), and the data isn’t horrible ($30 for unlimited usage… about a $50/month savings over the stupid blackberry I used to own), the SMS charges are absolutely out of control.  For those of you who don’t know the lingo, SMS is simply text messages.  From a technical perspective, text messages are simply data points being delivered to your phone… only much more primitive.  Basically, SMS messages are transmitted over a data network (which I am already being charged for), and take far less data to transmit than an open web browser connection.  So why charge $20/month to use it?  For anyone under 40 who actually uses SMS as a part of everyday life, this is a travesty.

The other big issue with AT&T is that it really doesn’t work everywhere.  In fact, it really works poorly across most of America.  As I alluded to above, I was recently in Silicon Valley, which is literally the birthplace of any relevant technology over the past 50 years.  It also has horrible coverage from AT&T in many places.  New York City is also horrendous.  Sure there are a lot of big buildings in NYC, but there are also millions of users.  How about you put a tower on every building and actually make your service usable?

Rants aside, I have another rant for you.  After my recent purchase at the Apple store in SF, I got a survey invite from AT&T to give them feedback about my new phone.  I decided to tell them how I really feel.  When they asked my about the ‘negative’ points of my purchase from Apple, I stated:

The purchase really didn’t have any negative points, but the AT&T Policies are ridiculous.  Separate plan for SMS?  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  This is an old school technology, yet you charge separately for a data plan?  I think that you are completely out of touch with consumers and I hope your company loses exclusive rights to this superior product so that you can understand the repercussions of being such a horribly out of touch company.  Go back to tin cans on a strings, give up your profits/exclusivity with Apple, fire your executives, promote people under 40 who actually in touch with cell phone users, sacrifice a little profit, and then come back in 2-3 years with a service offering that people will resonate to using.  That is really the only way you could make any of us happy, aside from upgrading the service you offer to something relevant to 2009 and quit penalizing me for sending SMS messages.  Also, get MMS to work you idiots.

In addition to my rants, I answered the following question:

Is there anything else about AT&T, Apple, or the iPhone 3G / 3G S that you would like to tell us?

AT&T should do what Japanese businessmen do and fall on their sword and admit that they are horrible people and have no business blemishing an otherwise perfect product.

Maybe a little harsh, but really, the people at AT&T are bad.  Americans should speak their peace, and I have every right to tell a company how bad they are.  AT&T has made hundreds of millions of dollars in profit off of the Apple iPhone, yet they have done the bare minimum to accommodate the users of their service. For this reason, I don’t feel a single iota of guilt for telling them that they are horribly out of touch with the consumer economy.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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  1. Some day I will get an iphone but I refuse to pay all the charges.

    PS I am happy to say that I recently went wireless with my mouse! LOL