It must have been a glorious day for you AT&T just over two years ago. You were the only mobile provider in the United States to offer Apple’s hotly anticipated iPhone. Americans all across the country lined up to pick up the one-of-a-kind smartphone and sign up for mobile service provided by you. But something happened in the past couple of years. It’s almost as you don’t really care anymore.
Trouble seemed to begin immediately. Then, it was just little things that didn’t affect the majority of consumers. You had to get an iPhone with a data plan, but what was the point of an internet-enabled phone without a data plan. It couldn’t be added to an AT&T Business account, but the iPhone wasn’t really enterprise ready yet. New iPhone owners couldn’t activate their phones with AT&T due to the servers being overloaded, but what can you expect when nearly 150,000 customers wanted to activate their phones around the same time. Even those who didn’t want to sign a contract with AT&T were able activate their phone for use with other mobile providers thanks to hacking techniques known as Jailbraking and Unlocking. For the most part, everything was just peachy with the first generation iPhone.
Then, a year later, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G with AT&T still in tow as the sole-provider for mobile service. But things started to change. To ensure those who don’t favor AT&T for mobile service can’t take their iPhone elsewhere, activation of mobile service was required on-the-spot. This meant you were using AT&T and you were going to like it. But don’t fret. AT&T was going to take good care of its new iPhone users … by increasing the cost of it’s monthly service.
This may be in part to AT&T subsidizing the new iPhone 3G, but was it a necessary change? Compared to the previous plans offered by AT&T, the new iPhone 3G service plans cost $10 more a month and did not include any text messages. Technically, to get the original iPhone service plan, it costs $15 more a month once you add in the cheapest text messaging plan available. With a two year contract, this amounts to a $360 (over two years) increase compared to the previous plan. Needless to say, AT&T has no plans to drop the price on service anytime soon.
But what about after those two years are over and you’re done paying the subsidy on your phone? Too bad. You’re still going to be paying that extra cost. And don’t think about taking that phone anywhere else. Without using any of those previously mentioned hacks, you’re stuck with AT&T for the life of your iPhone. AT&T wouldn’t want to lose that sweet and juicy revenue you’re bring into them.
2009 rolls around, and Apple again is ready to release yet another new iPhone into the wild. This time: the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone was ready to catch up on simple services that other phones provided for years, including MMS (Picture Messaging) and Tethering (using your phone as a modem). That is unless your mobile service is provided by AT&T. When Apple announced the introduction of these new services on the iPhone at the 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference, it was met with a round of jeers from those in attendance (twice!) when AT&T was NOT announced as having these services at the time of the iPhone 3GS’s release. Just ignore the fact that AT&T provides these services on other phones on their network. This is the iPhone! It’s just SO different!
Even if you are happy to pay AT&T the amount you’re asking for, you probably aren’t getting the service you should be receiving. It’s a known fact that AT&T’s 3G Signal is one of the worse (if not the worse) in the United States. Users, especially those in major metropolitan areas, are always plagued with data and 3G signal loss.