AT&T Wireless Makes Good To Customers Affected By Systems Glitch
Last week I mentioned that AT&T Wireless had major difficulties with a provisioning system upgrade starting November 1, and that they could not activate a subset of new GSM customers. This week, AT&T Wireless has offered a rebate to affected customers. While the rebate should make good with the affected customers, it’s clear that AT&T Wireless didn’t observe an North American wireless industry rule: DON’T MESS WITH YOUR SYSTEMS NOV-DEC. This rule-of-thumb exists because a huge number of new subscribers apply for wireless service during the shopping season, and that itself puts a burden on systems. Engineering staff need to be free and available to put out any fires that spark up, not tied down to lower-priority projects that could just as well be done in January. So why did this fluke happen? Probably because the FCC deadline for WLNP was Nov. 24, and carriers all scrambled to have specific systems in place by that date. Verizon and Sprint launched PTT, AT&T Wireless launched EDGE (and there is ample evidence that Verizon is having major hiccups with PTT scalability, too). While LNP is a long-term good thing for consumers and telecom, I stick by what I said in April, the timing of WLNP could have been better…so could the timing of the AT&T Wireless system upgrade.