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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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  • Friday, December 19? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vrallis ( 33290 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:23PM (#30458946) Homepage

    Obviously they aren't doing it in 2009, since Friday is December 18th, so they're going to do this in 2014?

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:30PM (#30459066)

    i have an iphone 3gs and i max out at 2GB per month if i stream pandora almost all day for a month. the 3% AT&T is talking about use 20GB or more and reading some forums people brag how they did it by jailbreaking and tethering or using some banned apps.

    the unlimited data plan is if you follow the TOS. jailbreaking and tethering is against the TOS so expect almost everyone not to care when AT&T implements a 5GB or 10GB max data per month and charges you a lot of money for anything above that. my wife uses less than 100MB per month on her iphone and most people are less than 500MB per month

    the only people the new charges will hurt are a small minority who aren't playing by the contract anyway

  • by TheSeventh ( 824276 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:36PM (#30459158)
    This is already happening anywhere you get a bunch of them in the same area, like a stadium or arena. At the University stadium here, a connection with an iPhone during the game was just about impossible, and they blamed it on the fact that they didn't know so many students would bring iPhones to school with them ?!

    But they just put up a new tower about 5-6 miles away, so that should help . . .

    I'm so glad I bought a g1 instead.
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:40PM (#30459220)

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

    I went out to Sikkim for the first week, closer in geography to Colorado than NYC (or the rest of India). I don't think I ever lost cell reception once. We're talking about an area that is about as densely populated as farm towns in the Midwest. I was standing on top of a mountain and could get 4 networks. 4. Vodaphone, Airtel, Aircel and some other local one. I got better reception at the top of the mountain that I can get at my own house in a subdivision (I don't live in the sticks).

    Not only that EVERYONE had a cell phone. Some of the monks, every farm we were on, etc. Everything was prepaid and the SIM cards 'never' expired (They had an expiration sometime in 2025). Meaning I could add $1-2 and it would never expire. Compare that to the US where if I want to get the cheap $10 prepaid plan I have 30 days to use that before it expires. Calls were around $.01/minute anywhere.

    Then they had the 'data' plans. Stuff for $10-20 a month with unlimited 3G. I had an 'unlimited' GPRS plan that cost me $0.20 a day. Not only that I could turn it on and off at will. Going to not need it: *567#, going to use it: *567#. No locked in plans, no monthly fees, nothing.

    It's depressing coming back to the US and realize how much we're getting screwed by the phone companies compared to else where.

  • by jestill ( 656510 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:41PM (#30459252) Journal
    If this works and someone can not get through for a 911 call, is fake Steve Jobs going to real jail?
  • Re:Should be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:43PM (#30459284) Journal
    Great. If this guy goes and speaks truth to power with a "digital flash mob", I can picture two outcomes. One: AT&T's digital network is brought to its knees, normal customers who are not part of the flash mob are pissed off, and AT&T issues a press release saying that unlimited data plans are obviously having a negative impact on the network and will therefore be terminated. Two: AT&T's network sees little or no disruption, and therefore they realize they have nothing to fear from angry customers. Unlimited data plans are terminated anyway.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BlindSpot ( 512363 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:44PM (#30459308)

    Okay so let me get this straight... show a company you hate their product by creating more demand for it? Does nobody participating understand economics?!? Well don't be surprised when they jack up your rates again and cite "increased network demand" as the reason. Keep at it at you might get to have the same high rates we have here in Canada.

  • Re:I read this as (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:53PM (#30459440) Homepage

    Um no, I use the unlimited data plan to afford it. it's $15.00 a month on my Nokia 5800 I use it for 90% email and 10% other. If they drop the unlimited plan then they will lose me as a customer.

    The douchebags are the AT&T executives. I'm tired of them trying like hell to screw the customer.

  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:03PM (#30459616)

    at least during the workday. i checked my usage on my account page and it averaged 100MB per day

  • Re:Should be (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:06PM (#30459666)
    If doing nothing will produce a negative outcome, and doing something will produce the same negative outcome, then why not do SOMETHING especially if it could at least shake some people out of AT&T's grasp through dissatisfaction?
  • Re:Should be (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:06PM (#30459672)

    Three (actually regardless of One or Two): AT&T presses charges against Fake Steve for organizing a DDOS attack against their network.

  • by gregthebunny ( 1502041 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:11PM (#30459762) Journal

    As long as the price for byte was fair I would have no problem not having an unlimited plan. Based on the above post, maybe charging $10-$20 per GB downloaded might be fair. Everyone seems to want unlimited access, but the only people who benefit from that are a) the people who use a lot of bandwidth, and b) ATT who gets lots of money from low usage users.

    Amen. I've been avoiding 3G phones like the plague because I simply cannot justify the $30/mo "data tax" that comes with them. If I check my e-mail and look up map directions a few times a day, I'm gonna use maybe a few hundred MB per month. I would gladly welcome $10 per gigabyte or $1 per 100 MB, etc. since that's all I'd ever use. I'm pretty sure AT&T would draw in more customers who, like me, can't justify adding nearly 50% to their monthly bill.

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

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:14PM (#30459836)

    Mod this guy up. It's insightful on a few different levels. One for noting that AT&T had these issues before the iPhone came along and the other for noting that the problem is with the network and not the phone. You don't oversell your capacity. I was with AT&T and have been for about 8 years. The network hasn't changed. It was spotty then and it's spotty now. The last I heard most businesses don't complain when they have too many customers. They don't blame their problems on their customers either.

    It just seems insane to me that a company would make their customers out to be problems.

    On a personal note, I think this is just bait that AT&T is hoping will take, so that they can get on metered plans, just like Comcast threatened to do earlier this year.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:19PM (#30459932)

    Protesters are STUPID. We are protesting against AT&T response that their infrastructure can't handle the load By DDOSing them. Isn't that like beating the crap out of person who says you are too violent.

  • Re:I read this as (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:22PM (#30460000)

    Please detail these issues. I've been using one since 2007, and the ONLY issue I have is the lack of multitasking, which is a big issue, but really, that's it, and on the original iPhone, multitasking would have been painful based on the start up time for apps and the slowness with which some of the mexecute.

    Most of the "issues" are missing features that apparently, most people don't care about. Like me. Here's a list of a few things that I, and apparently a lot of people, don't really care about:

    • more megapixels on a phone camera
    • a flash on a phone camera
    • MMS when you have e-mail
    • copy and paste. I've used it one time and i won't have a need for it until the next time someone e-mails me the password for a wireless network

    I'm not suggesting that the phone shouldn't have had these features, and others, from day one, but when people say the iPhone has "glaringly bad" issues, that is generally from their narrow, technophile's perspective. I like the minimalism and simplicity of the iPhone. That and the fact it plays Doom.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:25PM (#30460044)

    Some kinds of jokes, like yelling fire in a theater, are irresponsible. I'm sure there will be many emergency 911 calls at noon that day and some of them will be on AT&T networks. Blocking those deliberately is irresponsible.


  • Legality? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:25PM (#30460046)

    Is it legal to publicly co-ordinate a DDOS attack on a major US telecom?

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

    by sonnejw0 ( 1114901 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:35PM (#30460220)
    So, the retaliation against the AT&T CEO saying that iPhone users use too much data ... is for iPhone users to use too much data? How is that going to ensure that the unlimited pricing stays in affect? There's a clause in the terms of service that allows them to cut you off at any time if they deem you've used too much data... I hope these 14 year olds with iPhones are willing to become martyrs ... of course, it's the parents that are paying the bill, anyway. Hell if I've ever known a 14 year old that earned $150 a month.
  • Tracfone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:39PM (#30460272)

    Everything was prepaid and the SIM cards 'never' expired (They had an expiration sometime in 2025). Meaning I could add $1-2 and it would never expire. Compare that to the US where if I want to get the cheap $10 prepaid plan I have 30 days to use that before it expires.

    Tracfone offers what you describe in the US. I used one all summer/fall in a fairly remote area of northern Wisconsin because my ATT Blackberry got no coverage there - the remaining minutes and number are good for another two years without having to purchase any more minutes.

  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:42PM (#30460314)

    I just got back from a trip to India. Calls were around $.01/minute anywhere. Then they had the 'data' plans. Stuff for $10-20 a month with unlimited 3G.

    Yeah, doctors in India make about $6000 a year and the common man much less. I would hope things are cheaper there.

    That still doesn't explain why India has 4 carriers with clear signal in the middle of no where and the US can't even get near that. The technology behind the towers/3G network is the same as over here, the only difference is how much they pay their admins to monitor their networks.

    If a country that can afford to pay doctors $6k per year can afford to spam cell towers everywhere, even locations that have almost no users, then the USA where a doctor makes $200k+ per year can afford at least 10xs as many towers and 10xs the coverage in remote areas.

  • Re:Should be (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:47PM (#30460390)

    This thing isn't only for iPhone users. It's for every user of the AT&T network with a 3G device. And if AT&T had trouble with casual usage, wait until a lot of users try to bring the network down.

    Can't wait to hear how the whole thing went for both sides of this story.

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

    In Montreal, I can get mobile service from Videotron, Rogers, Fido, Telus, Bell, Virgin Mobile, and their discount spinoffs like Koodo. There are plenty of companies to compete against each other.

    The problem isn't the lack of companies to compete, it's the fact that there is very little motivation to compete HARD when every customer is locked into 2-3 year long contracts. I have 2 years left on my Fido contract, so why would Bell or Telus try to woo me away from Fido when I simply can't do it.

    You want competition to explode in Canada? Remove these long term contracts or, remove the penalty for cancelling them ahead of schedule. Do that, and suddenly customers are as mobile as their phones and can move around to different companies, especially now that we can keep our phone numbers regardless of the company we sign up to.

  • by navyjeff ( 900138 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:58PM (#30460590) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:58PM (#30460592) Homepage Journal
    Really? Because I have stood on the top of Half Dome in Yosemite in California once a year for the past seven years and my phone has literally no service save 911. I can climb to the top of Bishop's Peak, one of the highest points in San Luis Obispo County, and still get no reception until I get back down to my car, where I get a whopping 1 bar of service from Verizon. Oh, there were also all those times that I went snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada on the California side and never got any reception at the top of the mountain. No reception going over the I-80 pass when I visited my g/f for Christmas last year up near Truckee.....

    ...The list goes on. I was born and raised in the mountains. I visit the mountains regularly. I climb to the top of mountains regularly. I do this all in America, in fact, in California, one to the most developed and populated states in the country. I almost never get decent reception in the mountains.

    There most certainly is something wrong with America's wireless communications infrastructure.
  • Re:I read this as (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:09PM (#30460770)

    There is something seriously wrong with the contracts your signing if you need to wait untill your contract is up to switch carriers.. If you are paying for a service they cannot provide you should not be bound by the contract.. If they also change the terms (Eg get rid on unlimited data) that should also void the contract you signed and you should be able to switch providers without termination fees. There are laws that are put in place to prevent companies to abuse contacts in manners like this... Or are Carriers exempt in the US from these types of laws?

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

    by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:24PM (#30461008) Journal
    The best part of you leaving is if you signed a contract and still are serving time you can get out, since ATT changed the terms you can break contract with out penality, then just jail break your iphone and go to tmobile for much cheaper unlimited spotty service.
  • by ktappe ( 747125 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @07:06PM (#30466084)

    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.

    That's like blaming Airbus for Sully's ditching in the Hudson. The A320 hasn't had to ditch anywhere else in the world but somehow it's still Airbus' fault?

    To point: The iPhone would only be at fault if it were dropping calls worldwide. It's not, so very basic troubleshooting tells you to look elsewhere...specifically at something unique to the U.S. where that problem is occurring.

    I have read that AT&T is mounting a rather significant lobbying effort to try to throw suspicions off of their network. Thus this NYT article and Erin Burnett's ludicrous statements on Jim Kramer. And why would they be doing that? It wouldn't have anything to do with groundswells of user uprising like this would it? Noooo.....

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.