AT&T’s FaceTime Face Plant

For the last couple of days I’ve been reveling in the comments section of AT&T’s Public Policy Blog. In the wake of AT&T’s announcement that it will be blocking the FaceTime video application, the company decided to hit the blogosphere to do a little “damage control.” Instead, it managed to kick off a consumer revolt with a blog post that has been thoroughly debunked, drawing even more attention to its violation of Open Internet rules (special acknowledgement to AT&T’s public relations department ... great work!). The nearly 250 consumers who stormed the comments section managed to upstage AT&T and shame it in the process.

Within an hour of AT&T’s initial post, the customer outrage kicked off with this simple opening salvo:

Have you no shame?                                                                              

Claude Comeau August 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

What followed were complaints about the quality of AT&T's network and customer service:

“Constantly strive to give customers what they want…”

Haha. Is that what you people tell yourselves to fall asleep at night?

mike norris August 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

Sprint won’t charge for Facetime over 3G/4G.

So please AT&T, tell us why we should bother staying with you.

It certainly isn’t price. It certainly isn’t customer service. It certainly isn’t your robust network.

I’m honestly struggling to come up with ANY reason to continue doing business with you.

Rick Jesden August 22, 2012 at 11:27 am

Some irresistible snark:

Hahahahaha! AT&T is a joke!

Stephen Gilbert August 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

Analysis of the company's weak legal argument:

Facetime does compete with your “voice telephony services.” Just because it has more features than your offering does not mean that it does not compete. So your legalistic argument wouldn’t even hold up in court (not that it would ever be challenged in that venue).

Greg A August 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

A little more snark (with the added bonus of a history lesson):

*Applause* Bravo AT&T! When it comes to finding a loophole, you’re an Expert!

Isn’t the restriction of services one of the many reasons the American Public decided to bust you folks up back in the 80s?!!

Talk about getting back to your roots!

Derek Bump August 22, 2012 at 11:36 am

Recognition that blocking FaceTime has a real impact on certain communities:

Consider this angle: what about all the hearing-impaired (and interpreting services) that were excited to find that they can call their friends and family over FaceTime? Of course, there are video chat applications that work much like FaceTime but it’s still a choice.

Go with Skype over 3G, AT&T doesn’t blink. But FaceTime, AT&T wants a pound of flesh up front.

Get real.

Andrew Markley August 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

And inevitably, promises to leave AT&T:

Goodbye, AT&T. After breathlessly signing up with the 2007 launch of the iphone and upgrading every year since, we are done with you. Come 9/21 I will gladly pay your ETF and subscribe to your competitor that acknowledges that DATA is DATA and I ALREADY PAY FOR IT.

Chris Smith August 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

Sweet, you just made the decision about my switching to Verizon or Sprint for me. Thanks!

Sidney August 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Bob, you, and AT&T can do what you please. I just called our business rep and canceled 200 lines of service. We’re moving to Verizon. Your service in our city, Chicago, is terrible, and this decision clearly defines to me that AT&T will not be cost effective for us in the long run. Your continued decisions to seek profit at every turn undermine my thin bottom line. Since your business rep doesn’t comprehend or appreciate my company as a customer, it doesn’t hurt to say see you later, AT&T.

John Botomtuth August 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

The reason why many consumers are stuck with AT&T in the first place is because it had exclusive rights to the iPhone several years ago. And because the wireless market is rigged, consumers will have to suffer with AT&T until their contracts expire or pay huge early termination fees to take their business elsewhere immediately. Unfortunately, once those consumers flee AT&T, they will still face a near-duopoly wireless market where the twin Bells (Verizon and AT&T) dominate. We can’t count on competition or customer complaints to force AT&T to reverse course, but we can raise our voices and urge the FCC to enforce the Open Internet rules.

Original photo by Flickr user delorenzo

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good