A candid letter to AT&T

To whom it may concern (sorry, it clearly does not concern anyone over there, but for giggles, let’s continue)

I am the proud owner of an iPhone. I have actually owned three of them. Truth be told, this could be the single most interesting and useful pieces of technology I have ever owned bar none. I can literally do things on this phone that were previously unimaginable. My somewhat complicated and fast-paced life has been made exponentially more convenient by the advent of this wondrous little machine. The single most irritating *feature* of this device is, you guessed it, you.

In what world is it not a crime to take my money for several years and continue to fall miles short of what can even be close to construed as service? In what world is it not absurd to think that a company should not be allowed to get away with dropping 5+ calls in a stretch of road not more than 50 miles long in a single afternoon? Let me clarify this: I am not speaking of some rural goat path in the middle of nowhere, I am talking about the New Jersey Turnpike. This road is quite possibly one of the most traveled roads in the area and to drop this many calls religiously is inexcusable. (I make this trip several times a month for work and this is now, regrettably, standard operating procedure for my travels).

Let’s take this frustration one step further. Do you know what my unavoidable fix for this irritation is? I will tell you. I have to turn my phone to Edge (disable 3G). In other words, when on this road, I have literally two choices: one, drop my client calls every few minutes or two, disable a service that I am paying through the nose for. Are you offering a refund for the time I physically cannot use that which I pay for? If you are, I have not been told. My guess is though, that you are not. The only amusing aspect of this is that after I have forgotten to disable 3G and drop a few calls, the client and I have a frustrated laugh over the fact that they too have an iPhone and are almost as likely to drop my call at any moment as well. We vent our mutual hatred of your service, a brief awkward silence fills the air as we both let our blood settle down a few degrees, and we move on with our conversation.

In no particular order I have some other non-dropped-call observations and corresponding complaints. Based on your continued lack of ability to remedy any of these things despite the clearly stated frustrations of countless iPhone subscribers for several years now I do not anticipate this will resonate but what the hell, I will list them anyway:

– Why did you lower the all-you-can-eat plan for calls by $30 or so and not let me know? I had to find out through a client, who found out from a friend, who found out from goodness knows who. Why in the world would you add insult to injury here? In other words you continue to give it to me good by dropping an almost unimaginable amount of calls and to top it off, you relieve some of the financial pressure of this thing and don’t even tell me? To be perfectly honest it may have made me hate you a little less. Now, just the opposite. As hard as this is to imagine I actually hate you more.

– Why oh why would you offer an unlimited plan only then to complain that people are using it too much? At some point in the process of signing with Apple to an exclusivity contract you would think that someone on your side would have got your hands on an iPhone, hooked it up to one of your testing devices, figured out just how much bandwidth this thing is capable of, and figured out your potential risk ahead of time. This should have come as no surprise that X percent of the user base would use Y percent of bandwidth. You had to know that based on the demographic of who buys these types of devices that SOMEONE was bound to wake up in the morning, flip on Hulu and stream it all day long. I mean seriously, this could not have been shocking. Why you didn’t have your ducks in a row with this one is simply laughable.

– To expand on this a bit, now that iPhone 4 is coming out I can tether. (don’t even get me started on the fact that your company, in their infinite wisdom, could not come up with an adequate method for tethering when it actually came out on the phone). However, to tether, I have to pay you an extra $20, a notion I agree with as it does use more bandwidth. However, I have to sacrifice my unlimited plan to do so. Ok, so let’s lay this out. I go months paying you $30 more than I had to because I had the audacity to not check your rate card to see if it went down or not. Now, I have to give up my unlimited plan (something I do not abuse by the by, not even by a long shot), AND fork over an additional $20? You have got to be kidding me. At this point in the story I find that the bar by which I gauge my hatred for your service is truly a moving target; and it has moved again.

I think my sentiments can be summarized by a few closing words. When your exclusivity ends, and it will, I will literally pay any amount of money to rid you from my life. Turns out I am not alone either. A simple Google search on the topic will fill you in. (While you should already know this, I mention it simply because it appears as though no one over there is actually paying attention). If it were not for the fact that I love this device and make apps for clients for a living, I would have rid myself of you long ago. It is criminal how you treat your customers and I for one am sick of it.

Looking forward to the day where I no longer have to deal with you.