Friday, September 4, 2009

Apologism from AT&T

AT&T has posted a video on YouTube where their resident blogger, "Seth", claims to "take head on" our complaints as AT&T users.

The explanation sounds okay...

That is, if you don't actually let your brain function while "Seth" talks. The fact that AT&T conveniently left out of their explanation is that all that massive growth they've been seeing equates to massive growth in their monthly income. In other words, they had the resources, but they didn't plan well enough or spend enough of that massive gross income to actually provide the service all those people are paying $100 a month or more for. Their competitors in this country and all over the world somehow managed to do what AT&T didn't, and they try to make it sound like it's not AT&T's fault.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't find this video particularly satisfying or mollifying. In fact, to me, it looks like apologism of the worst sort. Don't make lame, after-the-fact excuses. Tell me when it's going to be better and say you're sorry for fucking up. Say you're sorry for taking gobs of cash from all of us each month and for not providing even halfway decent service much of the time.

Own up or don't bother talking. Don't tell us that by sending you all this money every month, we caused this problem. That's over-the-top ridiculous.

I don't put much faith in rumors, but I really do hope the ones about AT&T's exclusivity ending soon are true, because I'm about fed up with AT&T.


darrelplant said...

"Seth." Reminds me of the "Seth Speaks" series of books by psychic Jane Roberts that were popular waaay back when I was working in a sci-fi/fantasy bookstore in the early '80s. Something about a multi-dimensional, time-traveling, entity on a mission to deliver peace and goodwill or some such...

But seriously, this guy's "nerd" persona is just too unbelievable and calculated. Even I could never have looked that dweebish on camera, and I come by my geekishness naturally, not via the mountain of cash AT&T rakes in.

Jeff LaMarche said...

The sad thing is, if they had just had the CEO or somebody like that come onto YouTube and say "we're sorry, we goofed", I'd have cut them quite a bit of slack for being honest.

Hunter Hillegas said...

There's no way to know this but I honestly wonder if the same thing would have happened if the iPhone was on Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.

It's academic of course but possible that these problems are unique to the iPhone's usage patters and sheer volume.

Oh, and ATT sucks.

Berko said...

I agree wholeheartedly. The CEO saying "We messed up and we'll make up for it" would have definitely been the way to go.

The thing that really bugs me, though, is that we're talking about mms. MMS!! I understand that we're all data hogs, but what about all the other millions of cell phones users who have been able to send MMS message for years....even on AT&T?!

Jeff LaMarche said...


Well, in the U.S., none of the other carriers were put into the same position that AT&T was, but in other countries, there are many carriers that were exclusive carriers for the iPhone, many in large countries, and AT&T was one of the few, if not the only, that didn't roll out MMS and tethering shortly after it was announced.

Are any of them as large as AT&T? I don't know. There certainly are logistical issues, but AT&T had plenty of notice and has plenty of resources to do the job, so any way you put it, they screwed up somewhere, either in planning or execution. By continuing to pretend that this just happened, or that it's somebody else's fault is inane.

Jeff LaMarche said...


Personally, I don't give a rats ass about MMS. I don't even care about tethering. As nice as it would be to have that feature, I'm not giving AT&T another $50 a month for bandwidth I'm already paying too much for.

And, yes, if being a few days late on MMS was the only thing AT&T had screwed up on in the last two years, I'd probably cut them a bit more slack, but they've shown a pattern and practice of treating their customers like crap and of not upgrading their network to deal with increases that should have been predicted, so I feel it's my duty to ride them when they try to engage in spin like this.