The fact is, I don't. I have no plans whatsoever to use MMS. I'd like tethering, but I'm not willing to pay an additional charge to use it; I'm already paying for "unlimited data transfer" on my plan. I'm not exactly sure about the math involved, but I'm pretty certain that tethering won't cause me to use more than "unlimited" and it's not really AT&T's business just how I use that transferred data. Even when they do get it working, unless AT&T changes their policy with regards to tethering, I'll just forego it.
But, my earlier rant wasn't really about MMS. It wasn't about AT&T missing a deadline by two days. Hell, I've missed deadlines by two days before; I'm behind schedule on More iPhone 3 Development (which is why I'm sitting at my desk on a Sunday morning). At its core, my rant was s about something bigger.
It's about AT&T's approach to interacting with their customers. It's about the way they treat us and the complete lack of respect they show for us. AT&T has no qualms about flat out lying to their customers. They have a pattern of never taking any responsibility for problems their customers have, even ones that can't possibly be anybody else's fault but theirs. If you talk to customer service, it's like they all took a course in Defensive Talking as part of their employee training.
Here's just one little example. I logged on to AT&T to pay my iPhone bill this morning. This is the message we all get when we log on to pay (you've probably seen it):
You can click on the image for a bigger version if it's too small to read, but it says:
Your login is being verified. Depending on your Internet connection speed, it may take a few minutes for this process to complete.
And it does take a fair length of time to login - much longer than any web site that I use on a regular basis. But, that has nothing to do with my Internet speed, and the person who typed that message almost certainly knew that. I'm on a cable modem, and I paid this bill very early on a Sunday morning. Cable modems are shared bandwidth, so the less people online, the faster your service:
The transfer speed for pages, like AT&T's payment page that are mostly text, is meaningless when you're pulling down 12 megabits per second. Of the twenty seconds or so it took to log in, less than a second was due to my "Internet connection speed" Pinging that server resulted in a ~25ms round trip, which is 0.025 seconds. Worst case scenario, maybe a second or two was eaten up by transfer time and latency, or about a tenth of the time it took to log in.
AT&T obviously realized that logging in to their system would take longer than most users would expect it to take. Instead of fixing it, or just saying "hang on a second, we'll be right with you", they try to push the blame off of themselves and onto their customer and their customer's ISP. Believing, possibly rightly so, that most of their customers either wouldn't be savvy enough to realize that they were being lied to or just wouldn't care.
When it comes down to it, I don't hate AT&T because of their spotty coverage, failure to predict reasonable growth in 3G usage, or any of the other things that I've complained about here. Those are all just symptoms of a much bigger problem.
I hate AT&T because they seem to hate me (and you, too). At very least, they don't respect me, and they certainly don't take responsibility for their actions. We wouldn't accept this type of behavior from the real people in our lives. If I went to my publisher and told them I was behind on the book because of something my publisher did that was only tangentially related to my writing, they wouldn't believe me, and they'd be pissed off at me to boot.
Why don't we hold corporations like AT&T to that same standard we hold individual people? Why have we become so tolerant of abuse and disrespect from large corporations?