As AT&T Complains, People Notice That It Has Decreased Infrastructure Investments, But Wireless Revenue Is Way Up
from the ooops dept
Don’t mess with a fake CEO. That’s the lesson of the week. At the beginning of the week, “Fake Steve Jobs” (aka Dan Lyons) got a lot of attention for his rather funny fake phone call with AT&T boss Randall Stephenson where he tells him to fix his wireless network that has been receiving so many complaints from iPhone users. As that post got more and more attention, FSJ came back with another satirical idea: Operation Chokehold. The idea is that at noon Pacific time today (Friday, the 18th) iPhone users around the country should turn on the most data intensive apps they have and run them for an hour, to signal their displeasure with the problems with AT&T’s network.
Remember, this is a fake online persona who has blogged outrageous satire for years.
But AT&T apparently took it seriously, calling it irresponsible and pointless. And then, the FCC got into the game, again calling it irresponsible and warning of public safety concerns. Of course, all this has done is draw a lot more attention to the whole thing.
But even more interesting? It got people to actually look at the details of AT&T’s operations, and its “woe is me” position on its wireless network. Except… well, the numbers tell a story AT&T doesn’t want you to hear. Specifically, they keep making more and more in the way of money, but they’re spending less and less on investment in its wireless network. While there’s obviously a lot more that goes into those sorts of numbers, the numbers don’t make AT&T’s claims sound particularly convincing (Update: Email from AT&T PR wants to reinforce the fact that the numbers shown include more than just direct network investment, such as real estate, call centers and IT support. They also claim that the real numbers — the ones we don’t see — are going up, but provide no evidence. Of course, why AT&T reps don’t comment on this post and explain that to people… remains unknown). While we agree that creating a denial of service attack is not a good idea, AT&T’s response to all of this has only sunk the company in deeper. It’s making a ton of money, and its network sucks… and despite claims of fixing it, they’ve been spending less and less on the network. It seems like that’s a lot more irresponsible than worrying about a random fake CEO.