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Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service 572

g0dsp33d writes "Fake Steve Jobs, the alter-alias of Newsweek's Dan Lyons, is calling disgruntled AT&T users to protest comments from AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega that smart phone (specifically iPhone) usage is responsible for their network issues and his plan to end unlimited data plans. The post, dubbed 'Operation Chokehold,' wants AT&T customers to use as much data service as they can on Friday, December 18th at noon. While Fake Steve Jobs is notable for its satire, many Twitter and Facebook users seem to be rallying to its cry. It is unclear if there will be enough support to cause a DDOS."
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Angry AT&T Customers May Disrupt Service

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  • by jasonwc ( 939262 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:27PM (#30459012)

    The article says the 18th. The summary is incorrect - or the article has been edited:

    "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!"

  • Re:Should be (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:48PM (#30459386) Journal

    At least you guys have a choice of providers. Here in Canada, we almost have government-backed monopolies with even higher monthly bills.

    What do you think we have here in the US? Three of the four big providers have very little difference between them. They all have the exact same price plan for minutes. The only difference is the extra features offered. T-Mobile is the only one that actually offers more minutes/cheaper plans.

    They are all government-backed too. Think you or I could start a cell phone plan? Think again. The spectrum is auctioned off the highest bidder. For a few billion dollars the entrenched interests can just gobble it all up regardless of whether or not they need it or intend to deploy on it.

  • Re:I read this as (Score:4, Informative)

    by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:54PM (#30459456)

    From the Fake Steve website : "On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees." Also every other site has managed to correctly [] report [] the date []. You might want to check little facts like that before assigning blame.

  • Re:Not the best idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by chew8bitsperbyte ( 533087 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:58PM (#30459522)

    In addition, what if this actually interferes with an emergency call?

    Data and voice operate independently of one another. While 3G/EDGE service may be disrupted it won't affect end-users' abilities to make calls over GPRS. And while it may further reinforce AT&T's point that their end-users gobble "too much" bandwidth, the publicity that it could generate would be a nice way of sticking it to yet another corporation that enjoys selling "limited-unlimited".

  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:01PM (#30459560)

    if AT&T's tower switches fail to prioritize a 911 call ahead of generic data traffic then AT&T should be liable for not providing the required 911 service.

    some funny things happen with cell phones when you dial 911 - they are not treated as a general phone call.

  • by ptbarnett ( 159784 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:01PM (#30459570)

    I just got back from a trip to India. In terms of mobiles, the US is lightyears behind them.

    That's because in terms of landlines, India is light years behind the US.

    In the developing world, landline phone systems are in shambles. Many of them are state-run monopolies, and quality and availability is non-existent. People had to literally wait months or years to get new phone service.

    Mobile phone services were a way around that: private companies could build out a cellular network without running wires. Once the price of cell phones came down, it was affordable for almost anyone. For those that still can't afford it, "renting" a handset for a few minutes at a time has become a cottage industry.

    In the US, cell phone networks were developed for a completely different market: the businessman (or woman) that needs a phone during the working day. That market still exists, and is lucrative for the cell phone providers. All the alternatives are designed to avoid cannibalizing that market.

  • Re:Should be (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmearns ( 1691628 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:11PM (#30459764)

    I really want to reiterate the point of your first case, because I haven't heard enough people catching on to this: AT&T is blaming network issues on what they consider to be the high bandwidth that smart phones use. To protest this, smart phone users are going to try to bring down the network by hogging as much bandwidth as possible. With their smart phones.

    Just wanted to make sure everyone understood exactly what's going on here...

  • Maybe it's the phone (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:17PM (#30459898)

    For an alternative point of view, this article [] is interesting because it claims that the iPhone design isn't very good and that is what is causing the problems.

    I don't live in the USA so I have no idea how good or bad AT&T is, but what I do know is that the RF sensitivity of the iPhone isn't very good. I can think of plenty of times (and places) where my iPhone (and not just my iPhone) will disconnect and then can't get a signal again - yet friends on the same network with other phones do just fine.

    Hell there are large periods of time on my morning train commute where the iPhone claims "No Service" yet my Blackberry (on the same network) is downloading emails and browsing the web just fine.

    It was terrible on the original iPhone and the 3GS is better, but like the camera quality, I do think they need to work at it quite a bit more.

  • Re:Should be (Score:5, Informative)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:21PM (#30459990)
    Are you kidding? It's not like we're limited to the big 3 (Rogers, Telus, Bell), we have all sorts of other providers! There's KOODO, their ads lead me to believe they don't do all that nasty hidden fee stuff. Oh, rebranded TELUS to seem less evil? Oh, well, there's always FIDO, they make the same claims about being not as evil as Rogers in all their ads! Oh...they're owned by Rogers, to rebrand and seem less evil, too? Well, there's always Solo Mobile. Oh...same deal with Bell? Virgin Mobile? Oh, Bell again? Why do they need TWO sham fronts? My favorite customer gouging one was the guy who ran up the $60,000 monthly bill, because they sold him an "Unlimited* Data** Plan!" that didn't cover any data usage other than the phones built in browser, so all that smartphone shit that also used data was billed at dollars on the kilobyte. The best part of that was the way Telus or whoever it was was unrepentant "It's not our fault he did not fully read the contract, but out of sheer generosity we will reduce the bill to a mere 6 grand!" A close runner up is KOODO/Telus's promise of "No activation fee", while there is a cancellation fee that is due in advanced when you sign up! Sort of like Blockbusters "No late fee *cough*but-there's-a-restocking-fee-if-you-return-it-late*cough*"
  • Re:I read this as (Score:3, Informative)

    by timepilot ( 116247 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:03PM (#30460658)

    * Tethering
    * Voice Dial

    My Fricken Razr can do these things.

    And please don't tell me that you don't need tethering because the iPhone is such an awesome web client, because I DO need tethering since the iPhone has no good keyboard options.

  • by fear025 ( 763732 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:05PM (#30460698)

    I can't answer my iPhone while wearing gloves. That's a glaring deficiency in my book because I wear gloves about 4 months of the year. Even then, I missed a week's worth of calls because the screen didn't register my swipe-to-answer. I'd be happy if I could just double-click the menu button to answer.

    Have you looked at these gloves? [] They've got a little nub that lets you actually use your phone while wearing them.

  • Re:I read this as (Score:2, Informative)

    by Emb3rz ( 1210286 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:10PM (#30460800) Homepage

    * Tethering
    * Voice Dial

    My Fricken Razr can do these things.

    A) Jailbreak ( [])
    B) I have a 3GS, and it most certainly does have Voice Dialing.

    Aren't geeks supposed to be knowledgeable and have a penchant for solving perceived problems through creative methods?

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:12PM (#30460832) Homepage

    First of all, these two statements are completely incompatible

    Not necessarily. Best example: The xbox 360 is an awesome gaming console, but the older versions still had horrendous reliability. Hence, it did its job as a gaming console well, but that doesn't make it a well designed piece of hardware.

    Second, what are the iPhone's glaringly bad issues?

    To name a few of the more obvious ones...

    Sync issues (admittedly, this is more due to iTunes being bad software rather than the iPhone being bad hardware, but still...), problems with many new firmware rollouts (for example the random shutdowns and decreased battery life of 3.1), no MMS until just a couple of short months ago, Appstore approval inconsistencies (again, not an issue with the phone itself, but I doubt you could convince anyone the iPhone would be the success it is without the Appstore)...oh, and that little problem with randomly [] catching [] fire [].

  • by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:31PM (#30461124) Homepage Journal

    When I stream from pandora or, the rate is indeed between 12-20 Kbps. I'm listening right now and since I started paying attention a few minutes ago, the speed has never exceeded 22.0 Kbps.


  • Re:I read this as (Score:3, Informative)

    by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:10PM (#30462932)

    If they drop the unlimited plan then they will lose me as a customer.

    Really? What if the new plan offers more data than you currently still use in a month?

    Good question. I switched from T-Mobile to AT&T because I didn't perform enough homework and got shafted by T-Mobile's 3G network frequency. Apparently, T-Mobile decided they wanted to use 1700/1900MHz for 3G whilst AT&T went the more standard (for the Americas) 850/1900MHz. I, being the not-educated-enough consumer, purchased the 5800 whilst still a T-Mobile customer because I figured "It has a SIM card and is for North America, I should be good!"


    If you only use WLAN and are fine with Edge, you can move your phone to T-Mobile. Otherwise, you're either stuck with AT&T or a regional GSM carrier.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982