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.
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.
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.