April 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

AT&T Doesn’t Value The Ideal Customer

Today, Apple announced its next generation iPhone. The iPhone 3GS as it is called, sports a slew of new functions: better hardware, better battery life and overall better performance. Apple calls it the most powerful iPhone yet. A shoe in, a must have for iPhone lovers. Sounds like a win for Apple, and for the current ball and chain, AT&T. Everyone should be happy, right? Wrong.

AT&T has demonstrated today, loud and clear, that it aims to take advantage of the the ideal customer. What is an “ideal customer†for AT&T? How about this for starters. An ideal cellular customer would:

1. Be willing to leave any competing cellular company and come to AT&T.
2. Be willing to pay any amount AT&T wishes to charge for their services.
3. Be willing to sign contracts promising not to leave for years without having to pay a fine.
4. Be willing to be last in line for MMS (aka picture messages) a simple technology that AT&T offers some of its customers, however not its iPhone customers
5. Be willing to not have the right to use the internet connection from their iPhone for any other device, and not even have the option to pay more for the privilege
6. Be willing to accept the mediocre cellular service AT&T offers

Fortunately or unfortunately, AT&T has become a strong market force, stripping subscribers from competitors such as Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile in such droves that on a termination survey Verizon Wireless actually asks if you left to get an iPhone. There is a daily flow of new clients moving to AT&T, even with the outrageous restriction and terms listed above.

Now AT&T has taken its pompous arrogance to a whole new level. All those “ideal customers†purchased an iPhone with AT&T service when it was released 2 years ago. In keeping with the terms above, they signed an agreement to stay for 2 years. Last year, when the 2nd generation iPhone came out, those ideal customers forked over yet more money to AT&T, and signed yet another 2 year indentured servant agreement and swore on their wallets to stay for another 2 years. Doing the math here? Two year into a four year agreement…still with AT&T.

Here we are on year two. Apple has come out with their 3rd generation iPhone, and our ideal client is ready again with their wallet. Sure, they are even willing to fork out some more cash to get the latest Apple goodness, but wait. This time, AT&T has decided to take advantage of its position of power. The ideal client currently has another full year left on its last contract with AT&T. So AT&T isn’t in jeopardy of loosing this client, so why give them anything now? Why reward them for their loyalty? Why allow them to just cough up a few hundred bucks, and sign yet another 2 year agreement when by now, it is clear they will stay and pay at any cost? Renew 2 years, add another two years, continue, years locked in, no matter how you crack it.

Now, AT&T is making those poor loyal customers pay full retail for the new iPhone. We’re talking $599 for the top of the line iPhone. Oh, and don’t think that is all. People coming over to AT&T for the first time are lured in with the bait of $299 for the same phone, but our loyal customer gets smacked hard with full retail on top of a new 2 year contract.

It is time that the loyal iPhone users out there finally put an end to this insanity. AT&T has crossed both the lines of decency and good business. They are clearly taking advantage of the clientele that have shown their willingness to follow a great product, namely the iPhone, even if it is tied to horrific service and strings such as AT&T brings to the table. Don’t bother calling or complaining to AT&T, that dye is cast and you will simply be told you have the option to leave. They realize you won’t because you are loyal to the Apple product. In AT&T’s infinite greed and misjudgment, they are mistaking the Apple loyalty for AT&T loyalty. Wake up and answer the cellphone, AT&T, you do not have a single iPhone customer out there that wouldn’t leave you faster than you can smack the END key if they could take their iPhone to another cellular provider, ones with much better coverage and service. iPhone users need to contact Apple and explain to them that they want their iPhones and they want them for a fair price and with the same excellent service the product deserves. They need to tell Apple they don’t like having their loyalty so plainly taken advantage of. Apple needs to force AT&T to do the right thing or do their own thing without Apple.

American Telegraph & Telephone doesn’t get it. At some point very soon, they will see that people can turn on them when it becomes clear as day that they don’t value “ideal customers†unless they can squeeze their wallets dry and take advantage of their loyalty.

Karl D. Susman

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