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  • "Operation Chokehold" Spreading


    A plan to flood AT&T's network as a protest against the carrier's service is building momentum on the Web... and AT&T is not amused. Started with a single post by popular blogger Fake Steve Jobs, "Operation Chokehold" will have iPhone users soak the network for one hour starting at 12 noon Pacific Standard time on Friday, December 18. AT&T calls it "irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog," in a statement released on Tuesday.

    Fake Steve Jobs is the online identity of Newsweek writer Dan Lyons. His blog, "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs," features satirical takes on issues of the day delivered in the voice of a sort of Steve Jobs-meets-Dr.-Evil (or Steve-Jobs-IS-Dr.-Evil) character. On Monday, Fake Steve Jobs wrote the following:

    I’m really blown away by the way people have responded to AT&T’s bastardly behavior over bandwidth usage. Our engineers are friggin livid. And, because they’re engineers, which means they’re basically evil little pricks, they’ve come up with a plan to teach AT&T a lesson. They’re calling it Operation Chokehold. Last night I got this email that they’ve been sending around inside Apple, encouraging people to join the crusade:

    Subject: Operation Chokehold
    On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. THe idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!
    The post came after after Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Wireless, hinted that the carrier may go to usage-based pricing for heavy data users: read "iPhone owners." The outrage spread rapidly. "An American company creates a brilliant phone," Fake Steve Jobs wrote, "and that company hands it to you, and gives you an exclusive deal to carry it - and all you guys can do is complain about how much people want to use it."

    AT&T, understandably, doesn't find this all that funny. In a statement to the Cult of Mac blog, a company spokesman said:

    We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog.
    In an amusing reaction, some loyal AT&T customers have created something called Operation Cuckoo opposing the action. From their Facebook page:

    ... you don't urge AT&T to improve its network and terms by attempting to bring it down or violating your contract with the entity. Much the same as you don't put out a fire with a gasoline shower.
    Ideas for disruptiing AT&T's network on Friday include:
    • Turning off WiFi
    • Streaming YouTube videos
    • Streaming live video with the new USTREAM Live Broadcaster app
    • Streaming high-bandwidth video from Akamai’s iPhone Showcase site

    One commenter on Gizmodo's story on Operation Chokehold quipped: "I have one problem with this. How do we know if the operation is underway? I don't think I'll be able to tell the difference."

    image via The Unofficial Apple Weblog
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "Operation Chokehold" Spreading started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 89 Comments
    1. TooSlo's Avatar
      TooSlo -
      Quote Originally Posted by FoneWeasel View Post
      Do people actually think that this will work? It'll just be another reason for AT&T considering charging tiered prices for monthly usage for iPhone users.
      While I don't believe it will work, I also don't believe in standing by while change can be instigated.

      Maybe it's the the "Generation X" that I grew up in though.
    1. boxxa's Avatar
      boxxa -
      As much as I am against this for the reason that if the service sucks as much as people complain, they should not buy an iPhone and use ATT. When ATT and Apple's sales drop, they will find another carrier and people will see change.

      On the other side, if ATT is worried that iPhone owners and its users streaming videos and using bandwidth all at once, they better rethink their network design. If this simple planned raise in use could possibly destroy their network, imagine a major issue in the US causing people to quickly pull news, texts, phone calls, emails, etc in a surge.
    1. Vish's Avatar
      Vish -
      I'm in. Screw them trying to put a usage limit on your phone. I'm gonna be watching youtube videos the whole hour.
    1. twitchthecat's Avatar
      twitchthecat -
      Quote Originally Posted by niqolas619 View Post
      I hope there aren't very many people that go through with this, because it is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of. If this goes through, it might cause millions of people to lose service during that time, and who knows what emergencies or important calls might be missed.

      Extremely irresponsible and will not improve anything. I can't believe this guy is a writer for Newsweek, it sounds like a scheme a pissed off teenager would come up with.
      Sounds like an AT&T sales person...this is exactly what AT&T will respond to. The network is substandard and needs major development in order to meet the changing needs of a mobile community. I recommend that anyone with emergencies or important calls not use AT&T because of the unreliability.

      Quote Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
      Definitely won't be participating. I'd rather work with my carrier in improving my service, not against them.
      How are you going to do that? By sitting by quietly, paying for a crappy network and hoping that AT&T eventually does something?
    1. MrJayRizzie's Avatar
      MrJayRizzie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vish View Post
      I'm in. Screw them trying to put a usage limit on your phone. I'm gonna be watching youtube videos the whole hour.
      LOL!!!

      ME TOO HOMIE!! I saw some booty shaking videos I need to catch up on via you tube anyway..


      LOL!!
    1. xwinger's Avatar
      xwinger -
      Quote Originally Posted by hancoma View Post
      Allow me to play devil's advocate.
      Could this not be considered an attack, similar to a denial of service?
      It is also very easy for ATT to find out who participated in this with data logging of the phones...
      Call me paranoid, but I really don't want a piece of this..
      I call you paranoid.
    1. MrJayRizzie's Avatar
      MrJayRizzie -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchthecat View Post
      Sounds like an AT&T sales person...this is exactly what AT&T will respond to. The network is substandard and needs major development in order to meet the changing needs of a mobile community. I recommend that anyone with emergencies or important calls not use AT&T because of the unreliability.



      How are you going to do that? By sitting by quietly, paying for a crappy network and hoping that AT&T eventually does something?
      I AGREE...... D*CK RIDING PUNKS!! I cant stand ppl who act like they part of the damn company..

      Get off AT&T nuts and join the movement....
    1. mawells787's Avatar
      mawells787 -
      I personally think it's funny and if I still had my iphone I would definitely participate in this. However, i traded my iphone for a blackberry 9700 and my 3G service is 5x better than it ever was with my iphone 3G. I get a perfect 3G signal almost everywhere I go I’m in NYC I get 3G in many subway stations that I couldn’t even dream of getting service with my iphone and i think I’ve only had 1 dropped call with my blackberry which is much better than 10 dropped calls with my iphone. Now that i have a blackberry I haven’t looked back and I still think at&t has a lot of work to do in NYC. Which at least De la Vega admitted that they will fix it but point blank the iphone sucks as a phone, the 3G radio is extremely weak because my blackberry rarely if ever looses 3G and it gets 3G in many subway stations that my iphone never even dreamed of getting service its almost night and day difference.
    1. Xagest's Avatar
      Xagest -
      I'd help out, but.. I don't get any 3G/Edge signal when I'm at work...
    1. JedixJarf's Avatar
      JedixJarf -
      I will be tethering and streaming video for an hour.
    1. Conas's Avatar
      Conas -
      I think it's a bad idea. What can we prove with this? AT&T knows we can consume huge amounts of data. When gas prices were sky high, did anyone suggest that we all go out and consume as much gas as possible? Of course not. This will only result in ATT becoming angry. They will also get a glimpse of how much data can be used and the potential for extreme overheads. I'm angry at them too. I hate the fact that my "unlimited data" may soon become "limited data with severe punishment for over-use".

      Let's think of something different. We could spam ATTs coverage app. It'd be kinda frightening if they look at the GPS responses and it hugely resembles a picture of their coverage map.
      "Got a horde of angry customers? There's a map for that."

      Don't let Fake Steve Jobs lead you astray. He didn't make this suggestion because he thinks it'll work, he just wanted vindication and recognition for his occasionally stale blogs. I've read his stuff before, it's nothing but media fill in my opinion. Had y'all heard of him before this ill conceived concept was brought to light? Some of you may have, but I'm sure most people hadn't.

      You are all my brothers. If I choose not to fight this battle, I still support your decision. I will bring extra chargers to work for any fallen comrades!
    1. k.nitsua's Avatar
      k.nitsua -
      Quote Originally Posted by pauldanielash View Post
      One commenter on Gizmodo's story on Operation Chokehold quipped: "I have one problem with this. How do we know if the operation is underway? I don't think I'll be able to tell the difference."
      I lol'ed.

      Quote Originally Posted by Conas View Post
      I will bring extra chargers to work for any fallen comrades!

      I lol'ed again.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchthecat View Post
      Sounds like an AT&T sales person...this is exactly what AT&T will respond to. The network is substandard and needs major development in order to meet the changing needs of a mobile community. I recommend that anyone with emergencies or important calls not use AT&T because of the unreliability.



      How are you going to do that? By sitting by quietly, paying for a crappy network and hoping that AT&T eventually does something?
      So lets see here you think that by sucking up data on their network they will actually improve their network? Yeah, that will work. What if then, they up the charges on your bill? What will you say or do then? Are you going to continue watching youtube and greatly increasing your data usage like an idiot?

      Quote Originally Posted by Conas View Post
      You are all my brothers. If I choose not to fight this battle, I still support your decision. I will bring extra chargers to work for any fallen comrades!
      LOL! That's so funny!
    1. Chase817's Avatar
      Chase817 -
      I'm participating, but wouldn't it be funny if a few minutes before the chokehold, AT&T "accidentally" turns off the data plan for all iPhones? Lol at the massive bills
    1. Luppin's Avatar
      Luppin -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Maestro View Post
      Yes Im so in! AT&T pisses me off, I'll prolly have to wait cause I'm on the east coast
      Quote Originally Posted by sandstorm77 View Post
      This will indeed prove that AT&T customers can ban together and make a statement. I would consider doing this everyday for the rest of the month. Force AT&T to stop being assholes and deal with the issue rather than passing the buck to its customers.

      Down with AT&T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Yup AT&T pisses you off, it's most likely because of them that you even have an iPhone. You weren't comlaining when they made the price of the 3G so low that even SOMEONE ON WELWARE could afford it.

      Quote Originally Posted by MrJayRizzie View Post
      I CANT STAND AT&T ... Especially there home service when the took over bellsouth... They customer service SUCKS... Those reps act like they are soo hard core on the phone and they dont keep notes and will screw you on your bill....

      This is a great Operation bc I personally have been screwed.. AT&T charged me $1000 for data when I had the data package on my acct unlimited.. What they said- It was never on my acct... What kind of BS is that? I had the super smart rep look at my bill from the previous month and guess what it was on there.. Their excuse- the network removed bc I put my sim card in a less data capable phone. I change phones from my iPhone and put it in a phone that uses LESS data and the network drops my data when I go to use it?? So I am all for this chokehold..
      Quote Originally Posted by MrJayRizzie View Post
      I AGREE...... D*CK RIDING PUNKS!! I cant stand ppl who act like they part of the damn company..

      Get off AT&T nuts and join the movement....
      It's your own fault that that happened, you paid for the iPhone data package, not standard unlimited data, those are two entirely different things, but way to completely overlook your own shortcomings just to attempt to prove a point. Oh and by the look of how you speak (especially in that second quote) it seems to me that you think you're "mad hard" when you're just some little punk yourself, grow up and stop talking like some piece of trash. "Get off AT&T nuts", "D*CK RIDING PUNKS!!", "ppl who act like they part" - complete and total ignorance.

      Quote Originally Posted by jeffhesser View Post
      Awesome... even on a site devoted to standing up for the rights of consumers to use devices/services they PAID for, there are users who are more concerned for the corporation than their own rights! The issue here is that we are all paying for a service and ATT is too busy lining it's wallet rather than re-investing this income into their network! ATT needs to stop treating it's customers like the enemy and start trying to solve some of these problems.
      Not investing their income into their network? All it takes to see the innacuracy of this statement is to just go to AT&T's "About AT&T" page where you wil see that by the end of 2009, AT&T plans to add 2,000 cell sites. Even if they only make 75% of their total goal, that's still 5 sites a day being constructed all across America, and it costs roughly $245,580 to build a single cell site, so that's roughly $1.2 Million dollars being spent every day on their network.

      Quote Originally Posted by niqolas619 View Post
      I hope there aren't very many people that go through with this, because it is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of. If this goes through, it might cause millions of people to lose service during that time, and who knows what emergencies or important calls might be missed.

      Extremely irresponsible and will not improve anything. I can't believe this guy is a writer for Newsweek, it sounds like a scheme a pissed off teenager would come up with.
      Thank you, you may not all realize this, but AT&T isn't going to meet this "Operation Chokehold" with chocolate and flowers, it will pretty much FORCE THEM to instate bandwith limits on their network, which means you're ******* up everything for all of us by being angsty little kids trying to fight back against "the man". By showing them that we can use an IMMENSE amount of data all at once, the only logical conclusion is going to be to charge the **** out of everyone who clogged up their multi-billion dollar network just for shits and giggles. The complete and total lack of responsibility of all of you people in this "movement" infuriates me, and I hope all your mommies and daddies ground you for a year when they see their $1,000 phone bill. ~_~
    1. ddonuts4's Avatar
      ddonuts4 -
      Lol let's do it!!! AT&T sucks
    1. yuntanman's Avatar
      yuntanman -
      In my opinion this is a very immature, and irresponsible way of handling the problem. Let us look at the Mobility side of AT&T for a moment. They are the exclusive dealer of a product that is highly desirable in this market. The problem is the fact iphone users on average consume more than 5-7 times the data compared to your average cell phone user. With that much more data being used for their network, I don't know how you can fairly compare them to their competitors such as Verizon. I am not saying that performance in certain major cities couldn't be better, what I am saying is that AT&T has a disvantage in the fact that alot of their customers are taking full advantage of their cellular network compared to any other service provider in the US. Obviously this is going to cause congestion in certain heavily populated areas, and AT&T is starting to admit their limitations, and looking for solutions to this problem. Also CNET has stated that they were wrong in claiming that AT&T wanted to use a tier system for data usage, instead AT&T is looking for ways to curb data usage by giving incentives. Again this is just one possible solution they came up with and I'm sure it is not for the long term but for the short term until their next generation 3g services are up and running to handle more bandwith. I am sure the guys are thinking of various methods of handling the situation but as of now the problem is the fact that their network is being overloaded. To fix the problem they can upgrade their network but this does not take place over night... so in the meantime they are thinking ways to decrease data usage from customers. It also does not help that most of us on this forum have jailbroken iphones and use apps and programs that were declined by either AT&T/Apple. For instance 3g unrestrictor... I am not going to lie, it is a brilliant tool but the problem is there is a reason why certain apps are only meant to be utilized by wifi... Give AT&T some credit, they are finally admitting their shortcomings and obviously they want to fix them, we may not be happy with their ideas but remember they have a business to run that is profitable for them and their shareholders.

      The iphone has obviously revolutionized the way most cell phone users utilize a cellular network, in a sense you can view them as the industry leader in making it a requirement to have a data plan for a phone. The outcome was more data usage, maybe a lot more than they have forecasted and now are having to re-evaluate their situation to find solutions that are beneficial for both the company and its subscribers. Every industry leader will experience problems eventually that no one else has experienced, so they have no basis to go off for a "correct plan of action", so give them time and I'm sure everything will be fine.

      Now lets just say for example this "choke plan" works and does bring AT&T's towers crippling, making all calls drop, text messages to be delayed etc. etc. (which I highly doubt).. but if this works... will you guys take ownership of what the outcome may be?

      Sorry if this was too long or sounded repetitive I was just at work on a lunch break and wasn't hungry!
    1. tgabriel123's Avatar
      tgabriel123 -
      ATT has pissed me off for the last time, so count me in! apple has created a great phone, but ATT has to go ruin it all. I really do hope verizon will get the iphone.
    1. Channan's Avatar
      Channan -
      I think it's retarded. Possibly no service for a WHOLE hour? =O Whatever will I do for an hour? The people that participate will have fun doing it, the people that don't, but know what's going on won't fault AT&T for a bunch of immature whiners, and everyone else will just blow it off after the hour is up.

      I hope AT&T cuts off data to everyone who's activity is out of the ordinary Friday.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      It stuns me that otherwise intelligent people seem to think that this is a good idea.

      Either they have no knowledge of how UMTS works, no knowledge of economics or are far less intelligent than I give them credit for.

      Or I am wrong.