AT&T, I Can Solve Your PR Nightmare

If you’re in the mobile industry, I challenge you to go through two meetings without someone alluding to everyone’s favorite whipping boy, the AT&T 3G network. It’s easy (lazy), public (in my face daily), tangible (you have an iPhone, right?) and apparently addictive.

But AT&T, I promise that all is not lost: I am here to save you from the media onslaught.

I recently read an interesting article on CNN.com, “AT&T is just bad for the wrong people in the wrong places.” The author, Dan Frommer writing for Business Insider, postulates that AT&T’s publicity issue is primarily due to poor coverage in the tech-savvy and media-heavy epicenters of New York City and San Francisco. Not only are there a ton of power iPhone users strapping the network, but unfortunately they have a national audience clamoring for their complaints.

I find this article intriguing for two reasons.

First, it is mainstream and non-techy. The author openly discusses and acknowledges the technical and logistical challenges of providing high-speed comprehensive coverage. It even references Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ efforts to defend AT&T along these same lines.

Second, it delves into some of the investments AT&T is making to provide the people of these fine cities with better coverage and performance. Their efforts include additional build-outs of capacity at high density areas (e.g., stadiums), WiFi offload and, of course, massive CAPEX spend on general coverage and capacity enhancement.

What the article misses – and AT&T seems to be missing – is how far a FREE FEMTOCELL would get them with these same vocal AT&T haters.

There it is, AT&T, my groundbreaking proposal: FREE FEMTOCELLS.

But hold up – haven’t we heard this before? … Oh yeah, FREE FEMTOCELLS have already been done by Softbank in Japan, they were leaked recently by Sprint as a strategy in its 3G femto rollout, and postulated by many pundits too.

So I am not the first person to scream “FREE FEMTOCELL!” – but I do have a sweet two-step strategy recommendation for AT&T’s Public Relations team:

Step 1: When someone with enough Twitter followers and/or blog readership adds another “AT&T is awful” note to the social media world, hunt down this person (Ed: figuratively, not literally!) and find out where they live.

Step 2: Send them a FREE FEMTOCELL.

This strategy has to be cheaper than paying Luke Wilson to show me that I can surf the web while on a voice call….

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