AT&T Outage in San Francisco

The outage started around 2PM PST and affected Internet connectivity. iPhones all over San Francisco spewed out a message stating: “Could not activate cellular data network.” And to think you’re paying $30/mo for 5GB of data. Not surprisingly visual voicemail was down too.

Fletcher Cook, AT&T spokesperson:

We are seeing a hardware issue in downtown San Francisco that is causing some degradation in service. GSM and Edge voice and data services are still accessible. Our experts are aware and working to resolve it as quickly as possible. Our priority is to resolve it as quickly as possible, and then we will focus on what happened.

I know it is easy to harp on AT&T with its terribly unreliable and tiny 3G network so I’m going to do it: have you guys thought about building some redundancy into your 3G data networks?!? How it works is that if one set of equipments fail another set kicks in providing a terrific experience to users. Got it?

Just two days ago, Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of Mobility and Consumer Markets at AT&T, shared his frustrations regarding heavy users of the company’s data networks: 3% of AT&T smartphone users generate 40% of wireless data traffic on the network.

We’re going to focus on giving incentives to that small percentage of users to reduce or modify their usage.

Idiot. Tell the guys and gals who are the biggest iPhone (I’m guessing the smartphone here is the iPhone) fans to stop using their smartphone so much. What a brilliant idea. Might as well tell them to go to Verizon instead. As reported in many places, he also promised that AT&T is working hard to improve service in San Francisco and Manhattan. And? And we get an outage. Perfect.

You absolutely need to read, “A not-so-brief chat with Randall Stephenson of AT&T” by the fake Steve Jobs. Let me share with you a quote that just makes sense:

I mean if you did understand how to do things, your guys wouldn’t be standing up at Wall Street conferences and complaining about how much traffic you’re getting. Instead, you would be running around like a f*cking maniac trying to build out your f*cking network and make it the best network in the world — and the only reason you would ever need to talk to me would be to thank me for creating a phone that’s so amazing that it draws people to your sh*t network in the first place.

Yup, my thoughts exactly, but milder in word choice.

Source: Wired, Telecoms, Engadget, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs