For more Q4 2009 numbers: Verizon
AT&T today announced their fourth-quarter earnings, and the numbers were surprisingly strong. Among the data:
These numbers tell me one of two things. Either the perception of AT&T in the consumer arena is entirely different than we see in tests conducted by Consumer Reports, PC World, and the like; or people are aware of AT&T's service issues and continue to sign up for the benefit of using the iPhone.
Do the pundits have an inaccurate view of AT&T's coverage? Are our tests, arguments, and general frustrations with the company's wireless coverage tailored from a "nerd-specific" mentality (i.e. I should have coverage 100 percent of the time, or it's not worth having)? Don't get me wrong, I rely on my cell phone every day as an essential tool, and while I may complain more than the average consumer, a dropped call is a dropped call. Just like I get mad when my phone makes that telltale "call failed" noise, so does everyone I know.
I ask because whenever I spend time in a large city like New York, San Diego, Charlotte, or Las Vegas, I hear frustrations from friends and fellow colleagues about service issues. Whenever I poll readers about coverage, I always hear the most complaints about AT&T. But clearly, the frustrations aren't translating into a mass exodus away from AT&T - in fact, quite the opposite is happening. AT&T's growth is better than ever (as they said in their release).
Have we become a society that is so driven by a particular phone model (read: iPhone) that we're deliberately ignoring the inevitable coverage issues that will come as a result of a two-year pact with AT&T? Or are there areas in the United States where AT&T noticeably excels above and beyond any other wireless carrier offered? Yes, I've worked in wireless for years, and I'm aware that coverage varies with each carrier depending on where you're at. That being said, I've heard a far greater number of complaints about AT&T versus any of the other carriers, and it's not region-specific.
So, I want to hear from you. Is it the devices (well, device) that's driving people to AT&T, or is it the coverage? More importantly, if the service complaints are so high, then why is the company celebrating it's best year ever? Where's the disconnect?
View the full press release here.