I complain about this a lot. So do other people. Today I'll try to stick mainly to citing others' complaints, with only a hint of my own kvetching.
TechCrunch's MG Siegler went on a rant today about his iPhone's Visual Voicemail being down. For two weeks. Without any notice from AT&T. That's worth mentioning for a few reasons:
1. You can't get voicemail on a (locked on AT&T) iPhone unless it's visual
2. A cell phone without voicemail is not nearly so useful as a cell phone with voicemail
3. MG is apparently far from the only person who's been missing voicemail on his iPhone as of late
As Siegler wrote:
In my mind, the most recent AT&T failure is completely inexcusable. Its visual voicemail system ? which is the In my mind, the most recent AT&T failure is completely inexcusable. Its visual voicemail system ? which is the only way to be notified of voicemails on the iPhone ? has been down for many users for days, if not weeks. And AT&T apparently didn't bother to tell anyone. What does this mean? Thousands, or hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of missed connections, that could be vital for personal lives, business and a host of other things. I?m simply dumbfounded by the failure.
I personally am in a down-cycle of AT&T-inspired anger, but only because my latest up-cycle peaked about two weeks ago. As some of you know, I bought an iPhone 3GS on launch day and am paying for service with my very own money, as Apple didn't get me a review unit.
I called AT&T two weeks ago to complain about the utterly terrible service my wife and I had been experiencing (we have a two-line family plan), including the fact that neither one of us had been able to send or receive text messages for several days. AT&T fessed up to accidentally turning SMS service off for the entire account, and to the fact that several 3G towers in our area were down (which, according to Molly Wood, is still the case). I wound up with a $90 credit on my account, but the service hasn't gotten any better.
Siegler's advice about the situation is two-fold:
1. Don't buy an iPhone:
I often get asked by people if I think they should get one now or wait to see if it ever gets on another carrier. That answer becomes easier everyday: If you can, wait.
2. Apple should ditch AT&T just as fast as they can:
AT&T's exclusive deal with Apple is set to expire next year, and they?re trying to extend it right now. I will say right now that if Apple does re-up with AT&T it will easily be one of the most disappointing things it has ever done. And I think ultimately that would prove to be a huge blunder from a business perspective.
He then conjures up that most precious of mythical beasts, the Verizon iPhone, going so far as to say:
The iPhone will eventually be on Verizon, on Apple's terms. It's just a question of when.
If it's not next year, will I consider switching carriers and getting another phone? Yes.
If that's by the end of next year, many of us will be happy campers. I don't care what I have to pay to break an AT&T contract, I will do so in a heartbeat.
You know what? I'm almost in concurrence (which is a rare thign for me to be with a TechCrunch article). I'm not so sure that a Verizon iPhone will work out as well as everyone assumes it would, if it ever happens. But I would advise would-be iPhone buyers to consider other carriers and options before signing up with AT&T. Especially if they live and work near where I live and work.
AT&T service is and has been a joke around these, the San Francisco Bay Area, parts. Period. And even if it's better where you live and work, you can't do MMS or tethering on that iPhone 3GS yet, now can you?
I'm a big fan of iPhone's hardware and software. But others are catching up, and as soon as I get that HTC Hero to call my own for a week, I may be rewriting that sentence to read, "but at least one other has passed it." Apple didn't really do much with iPhone OS 3.0 to match what Palm and Google, in particular, have been doing with their mobile platforms, and to say that Pre on Sprint outperformed iPhone on AT&T when I tested it last month would be an understatement.
Thing is, I can't in good faith recommend Pre to everyone who asks because it lacks things I use everyday, like an RSS feeder and widescreen keyboard. And my review unit was plagued by terrible battery life (though that has changed at least some in the past month). T-Mobile's myTouch 3G looked really nice when I saw it last week, but it lacks a 3.5mm audio jack which, for me, is a deal-breaker. So what should I - or we - do in the meantime, while we wait for a better iPhone alternative to emerge and/or mature?
According to Siegler, you're lookin' at it right now:
Let's all do what we can to ensure that happens ? to ensure Apple gets the message. Every time there is one of these ridiculous AT&T failures, tweet about it, blog about it, write Apple about it, or scream about it. Do whatever you can, but don't just sit there and take it any more.
It's time to send a message, since AT&T can't provide us with ours with any sort of reliability.
Message sent. AT&T, are you listening?