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AT&T Asks Its Customers to Become Unpaid Network Testers

Article Comments  100+  

Dec 7, 2009, 10:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper
updated Dec 7, 2009, 11:04 AM

AT&T has released a new application for the iPhone called "Mark the Spot." The free application will allow iPhone users to provide AT&T with feedback about their network experiences via reports. Users can report dropped calls, failed calls, no coverage, data failure and poor voice quality, and rate how often these occur (once, seldom, often, or always). Users reports will be send to AT&T, and the customer will receive an SMS message acknowledging that the message was received. AT&T says this information gathered by users of this application will help it to provide "the best network experience possible." Mark the Spot works with iPhones running system software 3.0 and higher.

more info at AT&T / Apple »

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

BluetoothGuy

Dec 7, 2009, 1:16 PM

Why is it a manual process?

The phone knows when a call is dropped. The phone knows when there is no coverage (or poor coverage). Why can't the phone automatically send the data back to AT&T automatically?
Manual process gives the user the choice (and avoids the Big Brother outcries that would inevitably accompany any announcement by any carrier that this 'feature' had been enabled on their phone without their consent.
Exactly. The real purpose of the app is to give users a feeling of satisfaction when they report the issue. And cut down on support calls of people complaining.
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miacol

Dec 7, 2009, 8:21 PM

What I find funny

Is that my friend use Verizon (Droid, now), I use ATT (of course the iPhone) and yet she laughs when I get drop calls while driving, but let me show you some scenarios of her drop calls.

1. We will be on the elevator going to the basement to grab our car and head to lunch. We be speaking to our moms, I'm fine and continue talking to my mom all the way down and out the basement. My friends VZW phone (Droid) drops the call (Rockaway, NJ)

2. We are sitting in our favorite restaurant, she'll be talking to her husband, drop call, calls him again, drop call. I offer my phone, she says if VZW doesn't work how is your crappy service gonna work. Takes the phone dials is on the phone for 20 minutes and finally hangs up. (Rockaway, NJ)

3. She...
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I can't speak for your friend, but when I drop a call I NOTICE it. I think most people do. This "Mark The Spot" free app does two things: 1) It gives AT&T feedback about their network issues. 2) It gives customers a sense that thier issues are bei...
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The network with the fewest dropped calls will always be the network that works the best where you live, roam, and work.

That network could be Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or something you buy at the grocery store.
Many people forget this wh...
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Verizon people ****iness is so, so, so annoying!!! I think they're brainwashed by those "network" advertisements.
So why does AT&T need to bother with an app made especially for their flagship phone?
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bluecoyote

Dec 8, 2009, 2:19 PM

So in other words, AT&T uses crowd-sourcing to improve their network and you complain....

I agree in a mythical fairy land AT&T would've never had network issues to begin with, but here they develop a program to allow users to offer feedback on their network (the same thing you call 611 on Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon to do) and all of a sudden it's "BAD AT&T" because they're now making you an unpaid network tester.

So the difference between being a customer and an "unpaid network tester" is an app that makes the process of reporting network problems easy.

How dare AT&T let me voice a complaint! They should be scanning my blog and reading my complaints there.
WELL SAID
I wish I had more technical knowledge of it all, but it seems like they would surely be able to tell which areas have more dropped calls and dropped service without manual reports.
...
Actually Bluecoyote, I think this is a great idea. However, my problem with it is that many of the other 70 million non-iphone ATT subs have complained of service with very little results. Why will the iphone complaints make any difference? And why ca...
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SockMonkey

Dec 7, 2009, 11:39 AM

C'Mon with the article title...

AT&T doesn't have a way to report outages...people complain...AT&T then comes out with a way for you to report outages...Phonescoop uses the title "AT&T Asks Its Customers to Become Unpaid Network Testers"?????

Get real...they're damned if they do, damned if they don't !!!!

I'm not a fan of AT&T myself, but I know AT&T bashing (like Microsoft bashing) is all the rage these days...I didn't think Phonescoop would stoop to that level.
I'm usually impressed with Phonescoop's professional, unbiased ways of reporting articles. This is disappointing.

Customers don't HAVE to do this, no one is forcing them. It's simply giving them more options.
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I think everyone should note the word "ASKS" not "TELL"
I am certainly not an AT&T apologist. In fact, I would have an iphone if I did not have to go to AT&T to get one. However, this is a great move by AT&T! It's proactive and a nice PT move as well.
Other networks have real-life network test people who are paid to drive around mapping dead spots. Hey, I think they even have a TV ad about that. Wink

No seriously, I'm sure AT&T has paid network testers, too. I'm also not going to get ...
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ccareatatt

Dec 7, 2009, 11:14 AM

Very Happy

I have been saying for 2 years now we needed a way for customers to report issues without having to call in. Every customer service rep is different and alot dont file these network trouble tickets to the engineers. AT&T had employees testing this app and I think its a great way for a company to be proactive about correcting issues. The only way our engineers can know anything is by people reporting it. Not just talking to Joe Blow off the street about how horrible their coverage is. This now puts the power in the customers hand to report issues every time they get a call failed, dropped call, blocked call, slow data speed, long time to send an SMS. What other carrier does this?
i like the idea of this...but what about people who dont have iphones?

i have a feeling this might come back to bite us. this means that every time a customer with iphone loses signal or goes from 3g to 2g and thier data slows down there will be a ...
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Is the application automatic or is it a manual process by the user? If they are having data issues, how are they going to send the report? Will they wait until they're in a better coverage area and then send it in or will the app do that automatical...
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Hey there,
I have worked for VZW for years. Most of the CSR's, depending on level of experience and training, have access to dropped and failed calls. This information is readily available to our engineers to determine where coverage needs to be i...
(continues)
Bear63

Dec 7, 2009, 4:20 PM

Largest Phone Selection?

Recent ATT ads state that they have the largest phone selection, yet the app is only for iPhone. Are the majority of the phones on their network iPhones or are they going to release apps for their other phones?
3 out of 4 new activations on their network are iPhones. They may likely release it for other phones in the future, but pretty much every other smartphone platform on AT&T is dying anyway (like it is on other carriers as well.)
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GeeksAreBest

Dec 8, 2009, 9:28 AM

I love how...

Everyone nails AT&T for their coverage, and when they come out with something to try and *fix* problem area's, everyone has to try and grind them down even further. I use phonescoop for work, but it's sad how many people probably sit on this website and refresh their pages all day looking for new AT&T information that they can slam without ever actually having tried the services or even reading articles.

Most posters skim through the article and then start "OMGOMGOMG! CRAPPY COVERAGE! LOLZ!"

Get lives. Go outside. Get some sun, it's that bright thing in the sky that makes the pigment in your skin darken with exposure so you're not see-through anymore.
Mark_S

Dec 7, 2009, 4:50 PM

Unpaid Morons

Sprint and T-Mobile customers should get that too given the piss poor coverage they gave. Just like AT&T to throw that out there giving morons the impression they are actually doing something productive while Mr.Havana de La Vega sits on his Laurels preaching to his robots.
Verizon fanboy much? Eh?
With Verizon Wireless and the worst plans on the postpaid market, they are no angel either.
Good concept AT&T has but what are we paying them for????? What are they there to do????
khouston4

Dec 7, 2009, 4:41 PM

Boy AT&T shows us how stupid they are again

1. Mark the spot, ok if you are not getting coverage GPS does not work, calls nor text works. God, and those MAP things in most ATT areas it is 2g at best. Oh and your BARS, that is only a peice of embedded software for god sakes next time you drop a call or sounds like you are under water look at your BARs they are full bars reason beinging is the software nothing more. Yeah right more bars in more places LOL. Ask any FORMER tech support person from att they will tell you the truth.
1) If you are not getting cell coverage GPS may still work since GPS depends on these things called sat-uh-lites.

2) It is able to save the request until later and send it when you return to coverage, or operate over WiFi.

3) Ok nothing else her...
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island-guy

Dec 7, 2009, 2:10 PM

At least now they'll know who the whiners are

With all of the millions of Iphone users out there, the first to jump at this are the ones itching for a way to stick it to At&t. This will require a team of people to simply sort out all of the 'feedback' and interpret it. And why just Iphone users?
that was my question.
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acculabs

Dec 7, 2009, 1:39 PM

There is an app for that?

LOL !!!!

ATT sucks so bad they need an app to tell them where they suck. Priceless.
acculabs said:
LOL !!!!

ATT sucks so bad they need an app to tell them where they suck. Priceless.


And what better tool then the unpaid tester! Wow this is a bad attempt at beating Verizon at the "best network" ...
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not to mention they should be paying people for this or at least offering service discounts for working for them... oh and good luck submiting were your call dropped with crappy coverage..both my house and my work have 0 att covergae and i work at an ...
(continues)
This is not a bad idea. I dont have att&T but I admit this is a good "Idea" It just leaves room for too much error and ignorance. But if they can work the kinks out it could be valuble information.
I think AT&T's network is gonna crash by the amount of traffic and reports they get from this app
Sorry, couldn't resist the jab.
dshearn

Dec 7, 2009, 3:05 PM

why stop there....

The company I work for only has about a million customers....


We have an APP on all our android phones that lets the Customer Open a chat up with Customer support. We are able to pinpoint the problem location and get it to system support With a push for the button to get a network team out to look in to the issue if need be.



The tools exist......
crood

Dec 7, 2009, 11:05 AM

So...

...how are people supposed to send a report about bad/no coverage when they have bad/no coverage?
Wi-Fi. If they dont have that.. they are SOL.
In looking at the app after I installed on my iPhone, it would seem that delayed reporting IS possible...

First tap on the Map button brings up the map with your current location, and then you can adjust the map display and set a pin for where the ...
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Disrespect

Dec 7, 2009, 11:05 AM

False hope is better then none.

Why aren't all carriers doing this?

This is a no brainer. We get calls all the time about feedback and we have to lie to them saying, yes ok, I've documented that, when I know I didn't. I tell them yes because it helps alleviate the customers stress make the customer believe that he/she is being heard.

With this app, even if the customer is not being heard, its selling confidence to the customer. The mental battle.
 
 
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