Operation Chokehold: FAIL WIN?
Operation Chokehold, the "attack" on AT&T's wireless network organized by Fake Steve Jobs
, had elements of both success and failure Friday. On the one hand, it was an epic FAIL at bringing the network down: an AT&T spokesman told ABCNews.com
that they "saw no impact." On the other, the protest drew attention to users' legitimate complaints about network performance, and publicized AT&T's lack of investment in infrastructure.
Last week, AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph de la Vega said at a conference in New York that the company was studying ways to limit smartphone owners' use of bandwidth. Though he didn't say it outright, he hinted at the possibility of usage-based pricing. As a response, Fake Steve Jobs launched Operation Chokehold to protest the move.
Though AT&T claims its service was unaffected, the resulting hue and cry may have caused the carrier to back off from its plan to punish bandwidth hogs. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal
, de la Vega said the carrier has "not made any decision to implement tiered pricing." Instead, he said that AT&T plans to make more free WiFi hotspots available. The carrier currently has established more than 20,000 hotspots. De La Vega also made much of the fact that it is investing in "femtocells" - repeaters that use a home Internet connection and serve as a sort of miniature cell tower - that AT&T had tested earlier this year in Charlotte, N.C. and reportedly offer 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service to home users.
Despite these efforts, Gizmodo highlighted - in another of its clever infographics
- a fact that Fake Steve Jobs had used to great advantage in his campaign: AT&T actually spent less on its network infrastructure since the iPhone was launched three years ago than it had before. Given persistent reports that AT&T will lose its exclusive iPhone arrangement in the coming year, AT&T's lack of investment may well turn out to be a poor long-term choice if another carrier steps in offering better service to iPhone users.
image via Gizmodo