AT&T sucks. There. I’ve said it. Their services suck. Their mobile network sucks. Their customer service sucks. There is so much sucking going on that I would not be surprised if James Dyson was a majority shareholder in the company.

In case anyone thinks I am the lone voice of frustration, one need only recall the company’s inability to keep up with the times, with respect to iPhone services,  or how they completely snafued their offering at SXSW 2009, or read today’s AP report outlining just a couple of many instances where the company has used its own head to perform a self-colonoscopy.

Hey, for those who want to really wallow in AT&T fails, just follow this Twitter feed

Of course, AT&T – in its “let’s show ‘em we can handle Social Media and crowdsourcing” wisdom – recently launched an iPhone app, inviting users to give feedback on outage areas….:

But guess how far that got!?:

As a result of my ever deepening disenchantment with this brand, I have switched my mobile allegiance to T-Mobile (very happy now, thank you very much), and am researching the options that may soon permit me to sever my relations with their landline and UVerse broadband service offerings, currently UnderServing me in an impressively creative array of ways.

On the landline front, I find myself with all sorts of alternatives.

Google Voice is performing very well, with only rare instances of noise on the line. I haven’t yet worked out how to use all aspects of the service, but it seems pretty intuitive. One other disappointment is the fact that they only have an option that rings ALL registered phones at the same time, instead of a daisy chain effect (ring registered phone number 1 or 3 rings, then auto-transfer to phone number 2, and so on – effectively searching for the user, instead of ringing all his/her phones. The benefit being that when my Mother-in-Law calls, I can set Google Voice up to recognize her incoming call and IMMEDIATELY route to my wife’s cell first, then her work, and only as a last resort to my number! (and Mama Carline, if you’re reading this, I love you and am only using that as an example. Of course I love to hear from you!)

Shame, though that Google Voice only offers “once you’re online” services, forcing me to still seek out a provider.

Magic Jack seems, at first blush, to be fabulous, and it is, if you don’t mind the risk of no telco service whenever you have a problem with your PC. Worse than that is the fact that the End User License Agreement states:

You also understand and agree that use of the magicJack device and Software will include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for the Magic Jack device to work … Our computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads.

No Thank You!

Vonage obviously has the same internet connectivity outage issues as Magic jack, but instead of advertisements and invasion of privacy issues, they offer questionable QoS, subpar MOS, and customer service reps who barely speak English. Oh, and their reputation for making it almost impossible to drop their service is well-documented.

Does anyone have other suggestions?

When we turn to the Broadband services, things tend to dry up really quickly. I’ve already experienced the pain of Charter Cable, and the dead space of Dish Network Satellite service. I yearn for the much lauded services of Verizon FiOS, but apparently the notion of anti-trust and monopoly busting does not extend to broadband services. I have the “choice” of only one fiber optic services provider, and only one cable provider. Apparently monopolies ARE permitted, after all..?

So I continue to struggle with the absence of customer service at AT&T – in fact, the absence of service altogether sometimes (internet outages, consistent freezing on screen during TV shows, billing for services never rendered, and refusal to reverse those charges unless customer contacts BBB and/or FCC…the fun never seems to stop when AT&T is in the game!)

I dream of a telco/broadband service provision that still works in cases of internet or power outage; that offers good value for the money; whose service levels are reliable and reasonable; and whose commitment to customer satisfaction is legendary…oh, who am I kidding?…

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