This new mobile world is great, as long as stuff actually works

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch highlights a key fundamental that we often forget at the bleeding edge of the mobile world: The basic stuff has to actually work.

For all the talk about 4G and LTE and genius amazing whiz-bang gizmos, the basic reality is that when I hit ‘dial’, I expect my call to be connected. I am intolerant of any exception.

In Michael’s example, he explains how the utterly brilliant black-cab taxi service Uber, highly popular in San Francisco and New York, failed to meet his needs — because AT&T couldn’t connect a call:

Yesterday I requested a car and even though the app showed the car as arrived and on top of me on the map, it was nowhere to be found. I called the driver (a handy feature in the app), but our connection was so bad that we couldn’t communicate. So I hit “cancel” (a $10 charge to me) and walked to my destination instead.

via Uber To Dump Hundreds of AT&T iPhones, Switch To Verizon.

The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanik reckons that they may well make a total switch from iPhones running AT&T to iPhones running on Verizon. Just to get proper connectivity when their drivers need it.

Ridiculous.

I understand Kalanik’s perspective, but goodness me, when things get that bad with AT&T, it really does demonstrate that no amount of 4G marketing magic can hide the continued failure to deliver basic connectivity in these geographies. Whenever I’m in NY or San Francisco, I definitely, definitely do not even think of using AT&T. It’s Verizon or Sprint all the way for data (through a MiFi or dongle) and T-Mobile to enable my GSM calls for my European devices.

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3 Responses to This new mobile world is great, as long as stuff actually works

  1. DominicTravers May 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

     The complacency of network owners will blight the mobile experience for years to come.

  2. Ewan May 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Agreed

  3. DominicTravers May 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    The Indian regulator is currently both fining MNOs and blocking mergers as a result of network build out targets not being met. ( More on this soon ) Western markets could do with some penalties for being unable to provide sufficient reliability of service in areas they claim to cover.

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