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News tagged: Cingular Wireless


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by Karl Bode 05:56PM Friday Sep 04 2009
AT&T's new self-proclaimed "blogger guy" Seth Bloom has been tasked with damage control in the face of AT&T's recent wireless network congestion PR problems. While Bloom put a welcome human face on a company that's traditionally seen as anything but during the iPhone 3GS launch, he's now being asked to play PR point guard on what's becoming an increasingly volatile public relations problem for AT&T. It's a problem fueled by high prices, poor connectivity, missing functionality, and slow speeds.

As we noted yesterday, AT&T's finally given a September 25 launch date for bringing belated (an understatement) MMS functionality to the iPhone. To accompany AT&T's announcement, the carrier posted a new YouTube video featuring Bloom that insists the carrier is listening to your complaints, with Bloom repeating the company's now familiar statement that they're busy upgrading both backhaul and tower capacity. Judging from the YouTube comments, people aren't exactly buying the "apology:"
quote:
Click for full size
The iPhone has been out for more than two years now, and I STILL can't tether my iPhone. If I bought a Blackberry today, I can use AT&T to send MMS and tether it to my computer, so why am I penalized for buying the iPhone. If AT&T can't keep up with the traffic, then you should let Apple market the iPhone to other carriers who can.
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68 comments


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by Karl Bode 06:30PM Thursday Jul 23 2009
It's not clear yet whether AT&T's recent missteps have Apple reconsidering their iPhone exclusivity arrangement, but judging from AT&T's earnings, there's no doubt AT&T would like to extend the deal, which expires next year. That said, CEO Randall Stephenson was realistic today that the deal may be nearing its end, telling conference attendees at Fortune's Brainstorm: Tech conference in Pasadena that he at least acknowledges the deal won't last forever.
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81 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:05PM Wednesday Jun 24 2009
iSuppli's bill of materials (BOM) cost estimates are always an event, riling up armchair CEOs and brand fanboys into a lather after every new smartphone release. iSuppli's latest analysis of the iPhone 3GS finds the 16GB version costs $178.96 to make -- just $4 more than the iPhone 3G.
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59 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:32AM Wednesday Jun 24 2009
Everybody but AT&T now officially has some kind of indoor broadband wireless phone range extension system (T-Mobile's @Home, Sprint AIRAVE, and Verizon Wireless Network Extender), but apparently AT&T's launch of their own femtocell service is getting close. According to an AT&T executive, the company is preparing to expand their 200 home trial of femtocell UMTS service, and will launch the service by the end of the year. Femtocell technology creates a micro cell tower in your home that improves coverage and allows you to make calls over your broadband connection. Easing strain on local towers is the primary perk for carriers; the benefits for consumers depending on price and whether the service eats your wireless minutes.

29 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:17PM Wednesday Jun 17 2009
Last week, we noted how one crisis management expert gave AT&T 24-48 hours to manage the bad PR they were getting from a series of iPhone 3GS launch missteps. In addition to being unprepared to handle new iPhone 3.0 functions such as tethering and MMS, the carrier took a lot of heat for the less egregious offense of not offering the new 3GS at the subsidized price point to older iPhone users still under contact.
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47 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:15PM Monday Jun 15 2009
Like the iPhone, the Pre doesn't officially support tethering, which leads people who just spent a significant amount of money for a "next-generation" device to naturally explore how to make it happen. Pre Thinking notes that Palm has "politely" warned the folks behind the Pre Dev Wiki that they can't talk about unofficial Pre tethering -- for fear of angering the people at Sprint.
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47 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:30AM Friday Jun 12 2009
AT&T's had about as bad of a public relations week as you can have, taking a beating across all fronts for delayed support for new iPhone features (MMS, tethering), poor wireless network performance, application crippling, and steep upgrade costs for existing iPhone users eager to buy the new iPhone 3GS. One "crisis communications" expert for a PR firm says AT&T had about 24-48 hours to respond to all of the criticism, and that was yesterday.
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103 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:46AM Thursday May 28 2009
A class action lawsuit against AT&T has been given the green light, the suit complaining that Cingular's 2004 acquisition of AT&T resulted in poor service, overcharged users, and new high ETFs for users who attempted to flee. Users who couldn't afford the high ETF had to ride out the spotty service problems caused by integration until the end of their contracts -- paying $18 handset upgrade fees in the process.
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49 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:41PM Wednesday May 27 2009
As was broadly expected ahead of a new, more video-centric iPhone launch, AT&T this morning announced their plans to upgrade the carrier's wireless broadband network. According to AT&T, the latest HSPA 7.2 upgrade will begin later this year, and bumps the network's currently maximum theoretical downstream speed from 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps.
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52 comments


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by Karl Bode 04:49PM Friday May 08 2009
To gain approval for their acquisition of Alltel, Verizon was forced by the FCC to divest a number of Alltel markets by May 9, in order to maintain something vaguely resembling competition in the mobile market. The divested markets, which include all of North and South Dakota and chunks of sixteen other States, make up a decent-sized chunk of Alltel's former footprint -- though most of the 85 markets are in less profitable areas. Stocks rallied a bit late today on the news that -- not too surprisingly -- AT&T will be buying most of these markets for a cool $2.5 billion.

68 comments


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by Karl Bode 03:44PM Wednesday Apr 29 2009
Earlier this month, AT&T modified their 3G terms of service to seemingly ban Slingbox functionality to "any mobile device" across their HSDPA wireless broadband network. Less than a week later, the company informed us that those changes were made "in error." The AT&T 3G TOS were again changed last night or this morning (ChangeDetection.com is a handy tool to track such changes), this time using more concise language.
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34 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:04AM Wednesday Apr 15 2009
There have been rumblings that in 2010, when AT&T's exclusive deal with Apple ends, Verizon would begin offering an EVDO version of the iPhone to their customers. But AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson tells the Wall Street Journal that he's in negotiations with Apple to extend AT&T's exclusive iPhone contract until 2011. That may be sorry news for iPhone users in markets where AT&T 3G connectivity either hasn't been deployed, or isn't particularly robust. Apple so far isn't commenting, only saying "we have a great relationship with AT&T."

37 comments


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by Karl Bode 01:02PM Thursday Apr 09 2009
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a cut fiber line in California has resulted in a fairly significant outage for landline and wireless customers in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. AT&T has confirmed the outage via Twitter, saying they have crews on the scene with more detail forthcoming. The outage is impacting not only AT&T customers, but wireless and DSL customers with Verizon, Sprint and other competitors such as Sonic.net, which also offered a tweet on the outage.

Update: It appears that "sabotage" may have been responsible for the outage.

60 comments


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by Karl Bode 08:48AM Monday Apr 06 2009
Last week we noted that consumer advocates were annoyed with two things: AT&T changing their TOS to further restrict streaming, and the release of a new version of Skype for the iPhone that limits the application to only working via Wi-Fi. AT&T has since reached out to us to claim that the TOS changes were a mistake. "The language added on March 30 to AT&T’s wireless data service Terms and Conditions was done in error," spokesman Seth Bloom tells me. "It was brought to our attention and we have since removed it," he says, adding that "we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused." Of course like most 3G service fine print AT&T's is still wildly restrictive, just not that wildly restrictive.

17 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:05PM Wednesday Apr 01 2009
Calling the economics "terrific," AT&T is already offering subsidized netbooks by both Aspire and Dell, with the goal of locking customers into long-term 3G data contracts. According to a company announcement, the carrier is going to expand their efforts into selling both "mini-laptops" (netbooks to anyone under 70) and more expensive laptops in their stores -- starting in Philadelphia and Atlanta.
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15 comments


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by Karl Bode 09:17AM Friday Mar 27 2009
While such deals have been common overseas for a while, AT&T just started offering users subsidized netbooks from both Dell and Acer if they're willing to sign two-year wireless broadband contracts. Now reports indicate that Verizon will be joining the trend as well, and is in negotiation with multiple hardware vendors to release $100, subsidized netbooks sometime this year. Such plans are a nice deal for the telcos, who subsidize $200-$300 of the netbook cost, but make more than $1,440 over two years by locking the user into a $60 per month contract. But as carriers start pushing users onto more capable devices, you'll start seeing more users run into the 5GB data cap. AT&T already faces a lawsuit from one netbook owner who was confused by overage charges.

24 comments


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by Karl Bode 12:20PM Thursday Mar 05 2009
Since 2005, AT&T has been giving customers rebate cards instead of checks during rebate promotions for wireless services. While portrayed as debit cards, the cards were not redeemable for cash, couldn't be used for cash withdrawals, and expired 120 days from the day they were issued -- with little of this actually made clear during promotions. This apparently annoyed New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who this week announced that as part of an agreement with the AG's office, AT&T will be paying out $2.63 million to consumers (you'll be alerted if you're impacted) and must be more transparent in rebate offers in the future.

32 comments


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by Karl Bode 02:32PM Tuesday Feb 24 2009
The past few years have seen a ridiculous flood of stories about customers who didn't read the fine print on their wireless 3G broadband contracts, and were hammered by wireless data bills that almost require second mortgages. The Chicago Tribune has the latest tale of a man who decided to watch a "Slingboxed" Chicago Bears game while on a cruise ship, in the process racking up an AT&T HSDPA bill of $27,788.93.
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153 comments


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by Karl Bode 11:28AM Monday Feb 09 2009
Last Friday the The Communications Workers of America applied some pressure on negotiations with AT&T Mobility, by voting to authorize a strike if necessary. Over the weekend negotiations hit a standstill and CWA supposedly walked away from the table. According to a statement issued by the CWA this morning, the union asked for a thirty day negotiation extension -- something AT&T refused. The negotiations impact some 20,000 AT&T Wireless employees. The Boy Genius Report has a leaked e-mail with details of AT&T's "last, best and final offer" to the union.

79 comments


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by Karl Bode 01:34PM Wednesday Feb 04 2009
JD Power and Associates has released their latest Customer Care survey, which tracks wireless satisfaction among some 13,000 customers. The rankings place T-Mobile highest in wireless customer care performance with a score of 755 out of 1,000, thanks largely to short hold times.
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54 comments


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