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Summary:

[qi:011] The launch of the iPhone 3G can be summed up in one word, and it starts with a “c.” Instead I will go with comedy of errors. Activation delays, long lines, online issues, application roll-out issues — it has been a train wreck that makes […]

[qi:011] The launch of the iPhone 3G can be summed up in one word, and it starts with a “c.” Instead I will go with comedy of errors. Activation delays, long lines, online issues, application roll-out issues — it has been a train wreck that makes Brittany Britney Spears’ saga seem like a quaint Victorian-era romance novel. Today is a perfect example.

Earlier today, fellow bloggers, big and small, got into a tizzy when someone got hold of a document saying that AT&T Wi-Fi for iPhone users had arrived. Hallelujah, for who doesn’t want free Wi-Fi to connect their iPhones and iTouch players? Unfortunately, everyone got too excited over nothing – the Wi-Fi is still not available, and the “document” was a mistake. Here is an email from one of their spokespeople in response to my question about the veracity of the news:

We have not made any announcement regarding free Wi-Fi and iPhone. The webpage was posted in error and is being removed. Wi-Fi is a real differentiator for AT&T and it is our intention to make it available to as many customers as possible, but we have no announcement at this time.

Funnily enough, this is not the first time we have seen the rumors break out about AT&T Wi-Fi on the iPhone. Then there was a brief release that quickly got abused, thanks to some system flaws. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. Someday the network will be live, and we won’t even care.

  1. I’ve been using AT&T as a dumb pipe for my Nokia S60-powered smartphones for years now, and am constantly glad that I don’t try to let them offer me much else.

    This is what, the 3-4th time that they’ve had something published on their site (I covered the same story this morning on MobileBurn.com (http://www.mobileburn.com/news.jsp?Id=4963) and then retracted it later, with little explanation.

    Ok, AT&T – either you are, or you aren’t going to offer free WiFi for your iPhone customers. If you’re not going to, say so – once and for all. If you’re working on it, say that. Flip flopping back and forth is nothing short of embarassing, in my opinion.

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  2. At this point, the only thing I can do about this iPhone AT&T WiFi debacle is put on a long brown robe, wave my hand in the air and say “These aren’t the hotspots you’re looking for…” in my best Jedi impression. It’s just getting silly that not once, but twice has AT&T’s own website indicated this is a live service. A company’s website is essentially the face of the company these days… *especially* when it’s a company that offers technical products. ;)

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  3. To be fair, they did release Wi-Fi access briefly, but it was abused. I would guess at the moment they’re looking for a more secure way to make sure people don’t use their iPhone number from their laptops.

    Hopefully, they’ll think about their data plan customers with other devices, like the Nokia N95 I’m using to write this comment!

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  4. @john,

    thanks for reminding me about the brief release – i totally blanked out on that little episode there. just updated the post. thanks to you.

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  5. AT&Tease
    :-)

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  6. [...] you just make up your mind then? [GigaOm] addthis_url = [...]

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  7. [...] you just make up your mind then? [GigaOm] addthis_url = [...]

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  8. [...] Om Malik just got an email from AT&T spokespeople in response to his question about the veracity of the news: [...]

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  9. Ah, the AT&T/iPhone debacle just keeps growing. It’s like we’re hearing about problems with them as much as the Yahoo/MSN soap opera.

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  10. The iPhone rollout is smooth compared to the Facebook profile update they have been pushing out all week.

    For App developers, they are still documenting APIs that they haven’t implemented yet for a beta that was to start last Monday. The existing API is failing for all apps quite frequently.

    It feels like management has a deadline and the code goes live whether it’s ready or not (and it isn’t!).

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