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AT&T Setting New Low for Customer Service

As a follow up to my previous article about mobile operators and data, let me now show you how NOT to deal with customers wanting to use data services.  I travel frequently, thus have multiple SIM’s, including one with AT&T which I’ve had for 5 years.  One of my phones is an unlocked iPhone from Australia, which since I do demo’s of my company’s Storyz application, need to run with an AT&T SIM.   AT&T emailed me and said I needed to have an iPhone data plan or they would shut down my data capabilities. I complained to customer service and said this is not an AT&T iPhone, and only used ocassionally, thus I should not be forced into an iPhone data plan.  This is the response I got:

stupidity“Unfortunately, because the iPhone is a data specific phone you are required to have an iPhone data plan on the account if you are going to use it. This would include using it temporally or even occasionally. All our data specific phones require a data plan and that is not limited to where the phone was purchased or unlocked or even if it was not exclusively used on the AT&T network originally. Since the iPhone is used without the correct data plan your data services will be blocked in the fall of 2009.”

Hey, AT&T, get this:  This iPhone is not your data specific phone. I have been a customer since 2005. I once racked up $200 in data usage for 5 days use at a conference. You should be very happy to have me as a customer.  We’ll now I am leaving. And I am actually a bit sad that I have yet another example of behavior from a mobile operator that many people feel is killing the market for mobile content and data.   A side note is that I actually have a data plan on this subscription too, just not an iPhone data plan.

I would like to point out that this kind of practice would be deemed illegal in several markets in the Western world. So while I am still a proponent of pushing data plans, this kind of approach simply will not do as it puts subscribers off it completely.

Posted in The Business of Mobile.

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One Response

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  1. Lynne Gregg says

    What you describe is clearly a huge gap in AT&T’s roaming strategy. As iPhone is now sold in some 80 markets outside US, AT&T needs to figure out if they want any roaming revenue associated with these devices as they roam onto their US net. If I were running that show, I’d not only say “you bet”, but actively market it within the foreign markets.