September 3, 2010

681 words 4 mins read

Ok AT&T, I'm offically sick of you

Look, I understand that cell phones are imperfect devices.  Hell, everything computerized is imperfect.  That being what it is, I only have so much patience and I’ve reached my limit with AT&T Wireless.  They suck, and they drive me up a mother loving wall.  All I want to do is be able to make a bloody phone call, and I can’t.  For years, I’ve accepted a multitude of dropped calls and dead zones, it is imperfect after all…  When I can’t even walk down the damn street without losing my call, you’ve lost me as a customer.

Let me explain my geography.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the (arguably) most tech friendly areas of these United States of America.  Up until recently, I’ve not been in San Francisco much, and AT&T has done me well enough.  I had one house that the phone didn’t work in, but it worked out… annoying but understandable.  My new location has fantastic cell coverage with great speeds.  I run speed tests and get 2 megabits down and 1 megabit up.  Damn fantastic on a cell phone, upload beats my home DSL line.  Sure, I’ve got dropped calls here and there, but life is good enough.

That is, of course, until I started traveling into The City (translation: San Francisco proper).  Suddenly, I almost never have service and for those times that I do… GPRS would be faster.  No not EDGE, GRPS… yea… it’s that slow.  I can accept that San Francisco has a lot of people using their cell phones, and therefore the speeds suck… but I can’t even make a phone call.  Let me give you an example…

In my office in the city, we get basically no AT&T service.  Verizon and T-Mobile work just fine, just not AT&T.  Fine, whatever, we’re indoors after all.  Last night, I left for the day and on my way home, I called my mother.  She had been borrowing my truck and I wanted it back.  I talked to her as I was walking to BART, no big deal.  As soon as I walk down the stairs to the main level of BART, my call dies.  Now, according to my phone… I have service.  According to AT&T, they have service in the stations and on the platforms and in the tunnels of SF AND in the transbay tube.  So I go down to the platforms and try to call my mother back.

Operative word: Try.  My phone shows full coverage, 3G and everything.  I try making the call, nothing happens. I try again, the call dies again.  I ended up trying 6 times (eventually to different numbers too), and I couldn’t make a call.  The last thing my mother had said is “So I’ll be there in 15 minutes” because she thinks I’m already at home.  If I can’t contact her quickly, she’s going to spend the next 45 minutes at my house, wondering where the hell I am.  What’s a guy to do?  Well luckily for me I carry a spare pre-paid phone that is NOT AT&T.  I power on that phone, punch in my number, and my call goes through with absolutely no problem.

It is absolutely, totally, and utterly unacceptable to have service so shitty, that someone cannot even call their own mother (or anyone for that matter).  What if it was an emergency and I had needed to call 911?  If you’re in San Francisco and have AT&T, you’re better off walking to the nearest hospital (even if it is 5 miles away).  I’ve read that AT&T knows that their service sucks in San Fran & New York, too many iPhones or something like that.  Well if the iPhones are sucking up so much bandwidth that I can’t even make a call, TAKE AWAY THEIR DAMN DATA.  I’d rather have absolutely no data service at all, then not be able to make a phone call.  A CELLULAR PHONE is of very little use to me if it can’t even be a PHONE.

I’m going to Verizon. They’ve got Droids.