Thursday, April 15, 2010

AT&T's Rethinks Possible. Possibly.

So AT&T announced that it's completely revamping its ad campaign to emphasize innovation. What innovations are unclear. But the campaign, details of which are sketchy so far, is called:

Rethink Possible. Hmm… seems like Uncle Bell is going to have a lot to make fun of and ridicule in the months ahead as this new campaign rolls out.

The new campaign comes with PR flacks saying how AT&T is dumping it's old campaign attacking Verizon, trying to end the cell phone coverage/speed war, or perhaps just admitting defeat. Best not to compare cell phone service when your service sucks. Instead, stress "innovation."

Speaking of which, here's a good piece explaining why AT&T's ad claims that it has the "fastest" network don't mean it's any good:

Basically, measuring the speed of a network isn't a good indicator of how well it serves customers. It's more important to have more coverage (which is what Verizon has been saying all along). Funny the timing of these two pieces. AT&T gives up on the war against Verizon (where it claimed it's network was the "fastest") just as a detailed study reveals that fastest doesn't mean anything. Or worse. It actually might be a result of AT&T simply not having enough towers and too many customers. More people using one tower means it is moving more data per minute, but not in any way that helps customers. It's kind of like McDonald's saying, we have the fastest lines of any fast food restaurant. It might be true because you have the longest lines, and thus move more customers per minute. It doesn't mean you have the fastest "wait" in line. So AT&T might have the "fastest" network simply because it's servicing too many people with too small an infrastructure.

Another very interesting piece of information from this article is that AT&T doesn't move as much raw data as Verizon or Sprint. In fact, it's moving quite a lot less. Verizon and Sprint are handling a lot more raw data because they have more mobile laptops users and those users consume a great deal more data per customer than iPhone users.

This blows holes in AT&T's iPhone "data hog" argument where supposedly greedy data hogging iPhone customers are responsible for all it's network problems. Nope, iPhones consume a lot less data than laptops, so your network problems are because your network sucks compared to Verizon and Sprint.

It also predicts that there are going to be lots of problems for AT&T's network once all those iPad's start accessing it. iPads are likely to use lots of data like laptops (I suspect even more) so AT&T is going to start having some serious problems keeping up with them. (Creating a huge opportunity for it's competitors.)

The statistics showing how much more data laptops use might explain why AT&T has refused to offer iPhone tethering. They know data traffic would explode, and their network couldn't handle it. The problem with that is, if you can't service a device like the iPhone that technically allows tethering, then don't service it. Don't charge a fortune and not deliver. (And lie that you're going to offer tethering service "soon.")

AT&T should have spend a hell of a lot more money upgrading it's networks, but instead it focused on executive bonuses. Maybe that's what it means by: Rethink Possible. You think it's possible? Time to Rethink.

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