ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 9, 2010 (on a blog hosting site that's not very friendly about exporting their data)
So I've heard by now - for the umpteenth time - that Verizon will be introducing an iPhone shortly and that AT&T's monopoly on the world's most revered smartphone will end. I believe that this time it's true, but I want to fill you in on a secret here: there are several ways that you can not only steal me and some other AT&T iPhone customers - you could run the table. Steal us all. Virtually every single one.
- Make sure this iPhone is an advanced network LTE iPhone - which everyone else will call 4G - and sell only that. Skip the standard CDMA product, which has a limited lifespan in any case. I mean, you don't want to introduce yesterday's news when you could scoop the market with tomorrow's news, right?
- Allow tethering so that the device can be used as a high-speed modem for laptops and iPads. Opening up the network for this will guarantee tons of traffic - which LTE is supposed to be able to handle - but will also guarantee a migration of users from AT&T, which doesn't have the network capacity to allow this. While you're at it, allow the iPhone to serve as a wifi hot spot so that several devices can use it simultaneously. Skip the cables, please and make it either wifi or Bluetooth tethered (both would be nice but pick wifi first for ease of use).
- Promote free wifi calling that doesn't impact my monthly minutes. Go ahead, charge me a few bucks (no more than $10) for the privilege. This will offload enough traffic to mitigate the tethering and will virtually ensure superb coverage at home.
- On that note, skip the femtocells, please - I've got enough gear cluttering the house. Just let me use what's already there (my wifi) because if you don't I'm going to use Skype or Google Voice and Viber and who knows what else will be released by next week on my iPhone anyway to avoid using minutes out of my "anytime" bucket. Make me loyal to you by not having to save all those minutes on my plan around the house or office where I will want the better coverage that wifi can deliver anyway.
- Ease the pain of me having to move my entire family from one family plan to another and buying all that new equipment by skipping the absurd "activation fees" that AT&T usually demands for each line. You'll be making enough money off me when I commit to moving four lines, a family texting plan, two high-volume data plans and whatever else those gonniffs at AT&T are ripping me off for.
- Get real about early termination penalties. I get it - you've subsidized the cost of my phone and want to make your money back. I'm okay with that and if I leave after six months you deserve to make your money back. But if I'm with you for 18 months do I really have to pay the same early termination fee then, too? That's a little like charging me the same amount for breaking an office lease with a month remaining on it as you would if I had 10 years left. Crazy, no?
- Give me a real coverage map, please. Not that amorphous blob you show in ads, but a real, crowd-sourced, where-the-signal-reaches coverage map. AT&T has made some efforts to improve their relationship with customers by providing some iPhone apps for users to report dead spots (how are we supposed to use it if there’s no coverage there, though?) but let’s skip that step and go right to a map that your own engineers can produce using real signal strength, dropped call histories, etc. Don’t make me change services just to find out later that I can’t use my new iPhone where I need to.
I’ll come back – really – if you’ll just do these few simple things for me. And I’ll introduce you to all of my family and friends, too.
A Happy iPhone User Who Lusts After A Better Relationship