Blog Post

Work as Unpaid Network Tester for AT&T With Mark the Spot for iPhone

Those folks at AT&T (s t) are certainly cheeky. They get the reputation that their network performance sucks, and they strike back with TV ads that show how good their coverage is. They ignore the fact that voice and data coverage are two different things, and they totally neglect that their voice performance is mediocre, no matter how orange the map may be.

Now comes word about an app for the iPhone, Mark the Spot, that lets iPhone (s aapl) users on the AT&T network inform the carrier when they have network problems — dropped calls, bad 3G coverage, or any “other network problem.” Mark the Spot lets the iPhone user shoot problem information to AT&T, along with the location of the issue.

So basically, AT&T is combating lousy network performance by tapping millions of iPhone owners to work as unpaid network testers. Yep, there’s now an app for that.

13 Responses to “Work as Unpaid Network Tester for AT&T With Mark the Spot for iPhone”

  1. I traveled to Houston yesterday and had very limited coverage in most areas. The largest city in Texas and service sucked! AT&T continues to lie to people! I am going to break my contract just to get better service. Goodbye AT&T and hello Verizon. This is crazy!

  2. distofanatic

    AT&T is the only one that gives reliable me service when I travel overseas. I guess I routinely travel further than James…

    In a related story, Google is asking its users to draw buildings in their area and upload them to their site – that is, getting their unpaid users to build content for them. “The press” hails it as an “innovative” way to make their content/service better. But then, that is Google and fanboys are pretty enamoured with all things Google, LOL

    Chill, James – just throwing a little back atcha… ;-)


  3. Hey. If this gives them info on how to effectively deal with the problem, I am all for it. I would rather see AT&T invest in problem area the in no area. (Of course what people want is investment in all areas which will fix all problems.) There is one thing I am not sure about. Don’t these phone companies have logs they could crawl through with some smart software to figure out which towers are weak, over-utilized and therefore cause problems?

  4. I have to agree with the comments in general. bitch about the network, then bitch about a tool that will (hopefully) be used to help fill in the dark spots in it. This is your blog James, of course, so use it as you wish (and I love your site btw), but man, you come across as having quite the slanted agenda in this posting. As far as AT&T’s commercials combating Verizon’s commercials, well, it’s just that: a commercial. Verizon makes it seem you can’t do a damn thing web related on a cellphone unless you have their network coverage, which is BS. All of the cellphone companies have issues. If one of them gets the ball rolling trying to streamline and correct one of the biggest complaints against them, I say give them a cautious “it’s a start, let’s see what you do with it” wait and see approach to the matter, then trash’em if they don’t do anything with it.

  5. I agree with Lava. I hate AT&T for all the drop calls and don’t mind having an easy way to tell them. Hell maybe service will improve and I won’t quit on them after all. I’m downloading the app now and reporting my crap service.

    • Haha I guess that would be the achille’s heel of the product. It should be given the option of marking the co-ordinates and sending it when cell coverage is re-established. The irony and frustration of not being able to use the app to report the coverage problem because there is no coverage will probably be used in Verizon’s next ad spot. I do hope the app will be used by AT&T to actually improve the gaps in coverage.

    • I’ve read elsewhere that the app will collect the no-reception data based on a user’s location, then upload the info to AT&T’s servers when service becomes available.

  6. In other words, if anyone else did this, it would be reported as “innovative crowdsourcing” but since it involves AT&T, we have to be all cool and s*** and say here’s how AT&T is raping it’s users again

    Seriously – will it end up improving or fixing all the issues or not? I could use less of the snide commentary. Unless you prefer calling 611 every time you drop a call or like the idea of AT&T taking 10 years to fix its network so you have the pleasure of whining about it, this is a good thing.