customer named Manoj Gupta took his iPhone to the local Apple Genius
Bar when he became frustrated with its tendency to frequently drop
his calls. The Genius Bar gave Mr. Gupta some good news -- his
iPhone was perfectly fine and working and needed no repairs.
bad news? The phone dropped over 22 percent of the calls it
made in the test routine. But the Genius Bar printout reassured
Mr. Gupta that 22 percent call drop rates were actually quite good --
and that most of AT&T's iPhone customers have 30 percent or more
of their calls drop.
Granted, Apple may be getting more than
the fair share of its criticism for this egregious claim, but its
lack of concern and its customers plight and its decision to partner
with AT&T, whose network is obviously not up to snuff, are an
invitation to such critique. As for AT&T, it seems hard to
believe that it will be able to retain many customers in areas where
its dropping 30 percent of their calls. While call drop rates
are traditionally higher in New York City, they're seldom that
AT&T is offering a solution to their customers --
their own 3G hotspot for $150. AT&T will soon be
rolling out its MicroCell, a femtocell device that will offer a
bubble of 3G coverage. It is unclear, though, whether customers will be required to subscribe to one of AT&T's unlimited calling bundles ($20/month) to use the device.
AT&T and Apple are confident that their
customers will stick with them -- even if they drop 30 percent of
their calls in some areas. And AT&T feels that it is giving
customers plenty of options, allowing them to subscribe to an extra
service to help fix the shortcomings of its network.