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Apple and AT&T Need To Come Clean on 3G Issues



MeSomebody, somewhere in Cupertino is seriously beginning to regret calling the new iPhone the iPhone 3G.

Maybe (and I stress ‘maybe’) there is the beginning of some clarity coming with the mysterious issues surrounding 3G reception and Apple’s new iPhone 3G. No surprise that clarity isn’t coming from Apple or AT&T. For a few days now I’ve been watching as a growing chorus has been rising about 3G connectivity issues. Some analysts are saying the problem is with the Infineon chips Apple is using in the device, and that the problem may require a recall. Others point to software issues. As users complain and forums fill up with complaints, neither Apple or AT&T has felt any compunction to offer any info on the issues, while the lines still exist and the sales continue to roll in. Intriguingly other carriers overseas are beginning to point the finger at Apple. To be fair, a number of users are reporting no issue whatsoever. To be fair again, some are reporting that taking their phone in to an Apple Store to complain results in a fairly simple test and an exchange for a new phone. (I heard this on MacBreak Weekly’s podcast last night.)

MacRumors and Business Week are now reporting (based on the old reliable sources, …ahem) that Apple is going to address the issues with a software update. Because of Apple and AT&T’s silence on the issue so far speculation is rampant and it now looks like the discussion is moving into the mainstream media.

When I read things that say the problems may exist in areas of high density it makes me cringe. AT&T isn’t alone in this, as none of the Telcos seem to think that providing enough bandwidth in high density areas is a priority even as they try to find ways to cap and reconfigure charges for its usage on the one hand, while touting its availability on the other. They love to invite a crowd for dinner but not provide enough food to serve everybody.

AT&T, in my opinion, has largely failed with its 3G coverage unless you are in select areas and that alone makes me wonder why Apple chose to get into bed with them in the first place. Apple and AT&T may be on the brink of a larger failure unless they choose to change their secretive ways. Anyone who has had any experience at all with the Telcos know that they really don’t care about their customers despite their marketing. Apple used to get away with its secretive ways when it was smaller and its fan boys would rush to its support with a bleeding edge furor.  But now with huge growth (its market cap surpassed Google this week fueled in part by its success with the iPhone) Apple needs to seriously think of changing its ways. With the chorus beginning to get louder it won’t be long before State Attorneys General and EU regulators (and those in other countries) start to pay attention to consumers.

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