Does Seth the blogger man have a valid point to make?

In case you have not seen it, ATT has a human(oid) blogger guy called Seth Bloom

He blinks so little that I first thought it was a very clever CGI trick .. But turns out he is a real person ..

Firstly, ATT should be complimented on engaging with the community and putting a human face to a corporation .. That in itself is creditable .. Even if many of us don’t quite agree to the entire message as the backlash on the Web and YouTube shows


Nor is it the first time I heard the issue being raised .. Earlier this week, there was a NY times article Customers Angered as iPhones Overload AT&T and our friend Chetan Sharma says in an interview .. Chetan has a good white paper on the same issue called Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era

Mr. Sharma compares the problem to water flowing through a pipe. “It can only funnel so much at a given time,” he said. “It comes down to peak capacity loads, or spikes in data usage. That’s why you see these problems at conferences or in large cities with high concentration of iPhone users.”

My thoughts are:

a) The issue raised by this discussion is real i.e. too much attention goes to P2P – not much to peak rate and bursty nature of social media traffic on the network

b) I am not sure – if this is a GLOBAL issue? I.e. do we see ‘howls of protest’ from other iPhone users? That’s the first I heard of this trend .. iPhone users are as a group – a happy and a proud lot .. showing off their devices – not howling in protest?

c) What has MMS got to do with this? MMS runs globally with no issue. Again, very confusing

d) LTE will solve this problem to a certain extent – especially deploying in urban hotspots.

e) As the exclusive deal between ATT and the iPhone come to an end, its worth considering what it means i.e. I think the better networks(like Verizon) will benefit from the initial lessons

f) What about iPod touch(wifi) which accounts for a large amount of video streaming traffic from various surveys

g) What about Blackberry? (same bursty traffic) – what about Nokia N95(High data usage)

h) It raises the broader question – Do users distinguish between the quality of the network? In the UK, most networks are similar (with 3 being different from the rest) but my point is – from the user perspective – most networks are ‘good enough’ – it appears that when the differential is significant – it may make a difference to the customer

But my feeling is – while it is nice of ATT to engage, it raises many more questions (as above) than answers and certainly about their network itself.

Will this happen to other Operators who have not upgraded networks? i.e. stopping customers from using mobile data services is not an option. So, will customers simply churn to the ‘better’ networks?

Also, it is a credibility problem. Networks have long cried wolf over many issues – and have been forced to backtrack. So, it’s hard to take this on it’s face value even for people like me who believe that the overall issue is valid.

Here is Seth the blogger man!