Poor AT&T

Poor babyWhen AT&T came back into being in 2005, it did so as a shell of its former self. It was able to scoop up much of the old mega-corporation, but technology had opened doors to many new competitors since 1983. However, that didn’t stop the company from trying to pretend it still was the cat daddy of the telecom industry. I have written previously about my experience with them in moving into an apartment complex in 2006 where AT&T had “exclusive” phone, Internet and cable rights.

Everything was borrowed from somebody else. The service was crappy and the worst thing was the convoluted customer service system. I was also one of those Cingular wireless users who found the notion of its network being the “most reliable” to be absurd. When AT&T bought Cingular, I felt it was a deserved marriage of idiots, the offspring of which would be predictable.

I’ve been a Verizon customer for many years and have enjoyed the on-air battle between Verizon and AT&T over who has the best coverage. Frankly, it’s no competition, and I’ve known very few AT&T customers who don’t complain.

So it’s worth a smile to see yet more affirmation that AT&T’s marketing is full of crap. This time, it’s a report from ChangeWave Research and published in Fortune Magazine that shows AT&T is dropping more calls than ever, three times that of Verizon:

Verizon (VZ) customers reported losing only 1.5% of their calls over the past three months, the lowest in the smartphone industry and the lowest percentage for a carrier ever recorded by ChangeWave.

AT&T customers, by contrast, reported 4.5% of calls dropped in the last three months. That’s one out of every 22 calls — three times as many as Verizon’s and the worst percentage ChangeWave has ever seen.

This is not good news for AT&T or for Apple, which has cited AT&T’s plans for improving its network as the reason it is sticking with the carrier — at least for now.

In January, AT&T announced a $2 billion program to upgrade its system. Frankly, the only thing keeping them in the game at all is the iPhone, and we keep hearing rumors of a Verizon iPhone coming this summer. If that happens, it’ll take more than $2 billion for AT&T’s business to flourish.


  1. Here in NYC, AT&T’s dropped call rate has to be at least 20% in my experience. Is it a dropped call when only one party can hear the other, btw? As far as customer service goes, I have yet to deal with a telecom supplier that isn’t just awful. I’ve always marveled at the enormous marketing $ they spend to acquire me as a customer, and the seeming eagerness to then piss me off to the point where I leave once they have me. I mean, try to have an intelligent conversation with someone who can do anything about a problem with your account. You better have a lot of time, and even more patience.

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