Originally Posted by SpamSandwich
at&t needs to really feel the consumer's disgust and wrath to light a fire under them.
ATT/Cingular has been feeling the consumer's disgust and wrath for many years now, and it never seems to change or improve them all that much. Mainly because, they don't have
to change or improve much to do reasonably well.
The last big carrier merger (Cingular buying the old ATT Wireless) reduced the number of national carriers in the US to only four, which isn't a lot for such a big country, especially considering that there are plenty of places/markets where not all four are going to have quality coverage.
ATT, through its sheer size and better coverage, can handle T-Mobile. And Sprint has been imploding of late, thanks largely to an ill-advised merger with Nextel.
There's only one carrier that ATT/Cingular couldn't really handle, and that was Verizon. And now they've got the iPhone to beat Verizon about the head and shoulders with.
So... what reason does ATT have to really step it up? Apple yelling at them? Apple signed a five-year exclusive apparently (though one hopes for a loophole)... its not like they can just walk.
Ironically, the iPhone may give ATT less
incentive to improve. Sure, they did some EDGE network upgrades primarily for the iPhone, but the cost of that was chickenfeed compared to what they spend on their overall network every year.
Don't get me wrong, ATT is definitely throwing a lot of money and resources (overall) at their problems, but it just seems like they never 'get there'. Their customer service is routinely rated in or near the crapper, and they always promise it'll get better, and it never does. They talk a good game on 3G but they lag well behind Sprint and Verizon in 3G deployment. They always get bad ratings from JD Power and Consumer Reports on their network reliability and quality. And their customer churn rate, while improving, is still is far from the best (Verizon).
ATT is basically a .500 team in a perennially weak division... they get by, and hope always springs eternal, but somehow excellence is forever out of reach. Blah.