Everybody Hates AT&T

It is no secret that those in the online geek community have a large disdain for AT&T Wireless service.  This has only grown with AT&T’s exclusive rights to the iPhone, probably the best thing to come to geeks since the very idea of a smartphone.

Being someone who is all three; a geek, iPhone owner, and AT&T Wireless subscriber, I have to ask: Why is there so much hate for AT&T.  And I’m not really focusing on the whole iPhone 3GS pricing.  I get the arguments there (both for and against).  But I’m more focused on peoples hatred for AT&T Wireless’ service.

A Little History

Let me start by saying, I live in the Houston, Texas area and others people’s mileage may vary.  I’ve used just about every current cell provider on the market today.  The only exception is T-Mobile, because they’ve never had good service where I’ve lived.  I was on Verizon when they bought out GTE mobile down here in Texas, and at the time I lived in Simonton, TX (about 30 miles West of Houston and 10 miles South of I-10).  The service bit.  You were lucky to get a single at all and keep a conversation online for longer than 15 minutes at a time.

I then switched to Sprint, mainly because most of my friends at the time had the service.  Even convinced a few people to swith to Sprint.  This was when Sprint wireless was known as Sprint PCS and its service was actually decent in most major cities and off major freeways.  Over the 5 years I was on Sprint, the service in the Houston area degraded more each year.  To a point where I would be in the middle of town, on a major road and lose a call multiple times.  Also, calls had a tendency to not come through to my phone at all.

In 2003-ish (maybe even 2004) I switched to Cingular Wireless (knowing that they were going to buy AT&T Wireless in the next few months).  I originally wanted to go with AT&T due to fact that a touring musician (someone who had just spent a good year touring the country) told me that the only person who always had a signal was the guy who had AT&T service.  But when AT&T asked for a rather large deposit, I opted for Cingular (post AT&T purchase news).

The Verdict

Instantly I knew I had gone with a service that was going to make me happy.  I could make a call from my home in Simonton with zero issues.  This encouraged my parents (on Verizon at the time) to switch to AT&T.  My father, who was traveling all over the southeast region of Texas for his job had signal where ever he went, making him reachable.

The end result was the entire family switching to AT&T.

So Why the Hate?

So I have to wonder, why is there so much hate for AT&T’s service?  In my personal experience (and those that I have convinced to switch to AT&T) I couldn’t be happier.  I can make and send phone calls, get internet service on my phones, and my phone works out in the country (where my parents still live).  I have been all over the state of Texas and have had little to no issues when it comes to connectivity with AT&T Wireless.

One thing I’ve noticed when people complain about their AT&T service is that they never turn their phones off (even for a few seconds).  Doing this each day ensures that your phone has the latest tower information (this confirmed by multiple AT&T support reps at various levels).  When you’re phone turns on, that’s when it gets tower information, if you don’t do this regularly, you’re reception will begin to tank.

I understand that a lot of the issues with service have to do with region.  Some areas a different provider is going to have better service.  But from my experience, AT&T Wireless has been some of the best wireless service I’ve ever had.  Especially when it comes to the whole “more bars in more places” thing.  I have pretty  consistant service wherever I’ve taken my AT&T phone.

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4 Responses to Everybody Hates AT&T

  1. Peter your coworker says:

    They may be the lesser evil depending on your circumstances, but any phone company that does:1. Forced 2-year contracts,2. Usage plans that stick it to you if you go over (the infamous $500+ phone bill),3. Price gouging for free things like text messages and MMS,4. Little evil things like signing you up for new 2-year contracts every time you call them, 5. Little evil things like charging fake fees on your phone bill which are not included in the advertised price and, even if you ask the phone rep, they're unlikely to be able to tell you how much you'll be paying…I hate all the phone companies that do this. AT&T is just one of them. The only reason I re-subscribed with AT&T is for the iPhone, and given their new policy on laptop tethering price gouging, I'm even regretting that decision.Believe me when I say that I would have preferred to pay $500 for an iPhone and then signed up for a pay-as-you-go plan.

  2. Peter your coworker says:

    Oh yeah, point 6 is: becoming progressively more evil over time. It used to be the case where you could sign up for a plan without buying a contract; they just wouldn't subsidize your phone. Or you could do the 1-year contract for a smaller phone subsidy. AT&T (and Verizon I think) eliminated those options.So they're getting worse, not better.I hope Google Android puts them all out of business and they die in flames. The end.

  3. kurtwithyou says:

    Because people love to hate. It's like a cancer. Let me put it in perspective. I have an iPhone, AT&T service, and I love it. I pay my bill and in return, they give me a way to get all my work done from wherever I am. I can call anyone in the world, check email and 99% of the time, it just works. I realize that you get what you pay for. I love the fact that I am giving money to AT&T. They employ people and because of customers like me, they can eat and put their children through college. It's wonderful. People who complain about this, in my opinion, just want to get one over on the system. They want their free movie and music downloads, the free software, and they don't want to pay for anything. Sad comment on the state of people these days.

  4. kurtwithyou says:

    Because people love to hate. It's like a cancer. Let me put it in perspective. I have an iPhone, AT&T service, and I love it. I pay my bill and in return, they give me a way to get all my work done from wherever I am. I can call anyone in the world, check email and 99% of the time, it just works. I realize that you get what you pay for. I love the fact that I am giving money to AT&T. They employ people and because of customers like me, they can eat and put their children through college. It's wonderful. People who complain about this, in my opinion, just want to get one over on the system. They want their free movie and music downloads, the free software, and they don't want to pay for anything. Sad comment on the state of people these days.

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