Everyone by now has seen the Verizon Ads about their chief rival, AT&T, and their lack of coverage. My personal favorite is Santa checking the Reindeer –
Needless to say, Verizons commercials have generated a great deal of angst at AT&T.
AT&T has had a chokehold on what is arguably the best cell phone in the market, the IPhone, since it’s introduction. They have been able to charge premium prices for the phone, as well as add ons for the service. The service quality has been less than stellar, despite the premium prices. Subscribers are hopping mad – and at least some, are striking back…
Thanks to the runaway success of the iPhone, AT&T has the largest wireless network in the country—and the lousiest. Fed-up subscribers, who pay the telco about $30 a month just for data (and another $40 or so for voice), are planning an assault this Friday called Operation Chokehold.
The idea is to cripple AT&T’s network in order to draw attention to its weakness. To do so, participating iPhone users will run data-heavy applications over AT&T’s 3G network on Friday from noon to 1 p.m. Pacific time.
The plan was apparently launched by the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, a popular blog that satirically impersonates the Apple CEO, but Operation Chokehold has since gained steam with notices popping up on other tech blogs.
It shouldn’t take much to buckle AT&T’s network—it has trouble functioning under normal conditions. Whether the company will do anything in response is another matter. Verizon has blanketed the country in ads mocking its chief rival’s network—ads that wouldn’t be so effective if they didn’t ring true. AT&T tried to sue, but gave up in the end.
The company promised to improve its network in New York and San Francisco—two known problem areas—but don’t hold out hope. AT&T appears as if it is looking for ways to discourage users from using its product—the network—or at least charging them more, according to wireless chief Ralph de la Vega.
Is this the beginning of a new level of consumer rage, kicking back against the dubious business practices of American Corprations which over the last 20 years have become more similar to organized crime than capitalist enitities competing with better products and prices?
Wireless companies have also benefited hugely from a Bushit era Federal Communications Commission run by Michael Powell which couldn’t see a merger or acquisition that could possibly lead to a a monopoly – shrinking the number of competitors and eliminating smaller more technically inventive companies along the way (as well as a few million high-tech jobs). They have also benefited from the evisceration of the Federal Trade Commission, virtually eliminating any semblance of consumer rights, allowing draconian cancellation fees, abusive contract terms, and deceptive practices – leading to “$20,000 phone bills“.
Consumer push back?
What took so long?