Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
The Courts Government Networking (Apple) News Hardware

Apple and AT&T Sued, Again, Over 3G 230

Macworld is reporting that Apple and AT&T are being sued, again, for the lack of delivery on their 3G network. This follows a long line of other lawsuits in San Jose, San Diego, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and New York "The lawsuit charges the companies with Negligence, Breach of Express Warranty, Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability, Unjust Enrichment, Negligent Misrepresentation, Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and Other Similar State Statutes, and Breach of Contract. Dickerson is seeking to force Apple and AT&T to correct its labeling and advertising, as well as to recover compensatory, statutory and punitive damages."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple and AT&T Sued, Again, Over 3G

Comments Filter:
  • Yup (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#27270811)
    The problem with AT&T's 3G is that the connection from your phone to their tower is fast but their tower's connection to the internet is 14k baud dial-up or something. Some towers don't even have internet connectivity, I was on a mountain with 5 bars of 3G, parked, and had no internet connectivity whatsoever. I drove down a small town nearby and it worked fine, except of course for that slow page loading issue.
    • Re:Yup (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:41PM (#27270885)

      The iPhone has absolutely destroyed AT&T's network. They were simply never built to support that amount of data traffic, and the large-quota / unlimited data plans they sell with the iPhone have crushed them.

      The reason blackberrys are more attractive to networks than the iPhone is because they have compression, on-demand loading and data-chunking abilities. The iPhone has none of these things, and the result is AT&T's network speeds being ripped up.

      (Anon because I know too much about this.)

      • Re:Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bostongraf ( 1216362 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:46PM (#27270951)

        The reason blackberrys are more attractive to networks than the iPhone is because

        I'm sorry, but I'm fairly certain that most other networks would be more than happy to get a share of the iPhone market. The customers may not be happy with the resulting performance! But the networks would have no problem adding an iPhone, and accompanying plan, to their offerings...

        • Re:Yup (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:54PM (#27271079)

          I'm not suggesting that the carriers don't want the iPhone, I'm saying that they're sacrificing their Network in order to do it. AT&T is being sued because their network can't scale up. They'll have to dump a cool billion in order to upgrade.

          The marketing and business people see no problem with that, but believe me, it makes the tech's lives difficult. Blackberry's footprint is significantly lower because of how they handle data traffic.

          • Re:Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:54PM (#27272017)
            Yeah, too bad they don't have a brand-new revenue stream from a popular exclusive device to finance such an upgrade.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Wonder what the shareholders with short time investment strategies would think of that.

              • Re:Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

                by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:44PM (#27272771) Journal

                And you just hit the nail on the head on why this country is falling apart. Stocks were supposed to be for investing, where you looked at the business's long term game plan and if you supported it bought stock in the company. Now Wall Street is nothing but Las Vegas with nicer clothes. When my parents built their house 29 years ago the ISDN and cable stopped 2 blocks away. Now 30 years later how far is it? Why 2 blocks away, of course!

                Nobody has laid any lines or upgraded shit around here in years because it might hurt the short term stock price if they actually spent a dime. Problem is, if a business isn't growing it is dying. I mean I'm sure they could pay out a nice dividend if they burnt the thing to the ground for the insurance but that doesn't make for much of a business plan. Having everything revolve around the short termers and day traders is the same thing, it just takes longer for the business to burn. for business(and the economy) to grow their have to be INVESTMENTS. Investments in the infrastructure to grow, in the lines, in automation to improve efficiency, in customer service, etc. Instead everything has been low balled and left to rot to please the short term mentality on Wall Street. Is it any wonder that it seems everything is falling apart?

                • You hit the nail so firmly and square on the head that you've driven it right through the board.


                  Oh, and since you didn't Trademark "Wall Street is nothing but Las Vegas with nicer clothes." I'm going to start using that line.

                • by homer_s ( 799572 )
                  Nobody has laid any lines or upgraded shit around here in years because it might hurt the short term stock price if they actually spent a dime.

                  To give an example - Fedex and UPS spent hundreds of millions of dollars to place orders for A380s in 2006 (the jet was not even fully designed yet) - just to save money 10-15 years from now. It is nor private business, but politicians who have an incentive to focus on the short term at the expense of the long term - the recent 'stimulus' plan is one illustratio
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by dgatwood ( 11270 )

                    No, opinions like that are mostly held by people with business experience who see other businesses being run by (overpaid) complete morons. I've seen many, many businesses involved in short-term thinking that screws long-term profitability. Any time I see a new CEO brought in to "fix" a company, as a general rule, that's when it's time to sell the stock. Well, maybe wait until the new executive's short-term thinking has driven it up a bit, then dump the stock before it crashes. Either way. I've seen th

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

                      Indeed, short-term thinking is to blame for most of the current state of the economy. Betting your pension plans on high-yield, high-risk investments? Short-term thinking. Issuing loans that pay a high interest rate in spite of the risks because you know you're just going to sell the loan to somebody else anyway? Short-term thinking. Driving the stock market down rapidly because of a high number of people shorting the stock? Short-term thinking. And so on.

                      Isn't it ironic... every example you list is NOT a

          • --I'm not suggesting that the carriers don't want the iPhone, I'm saying that they're sacrificing their Network in order to do it. AT&T is being sued because their network can't scale up.--

            Neither can Verizon's

            --They'll have to dump a cool billion in order to upgrade.--

            That's where both of these companies should have put the money that taxpayers gave them to run fiber. If they didn't have to do civil engineering (burying cable) they would be fine. More data than ever can be run down old fiber. They neve

          • Re:Yup (Score:5, Insightful)

            by donny77 ( 891484 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:19PM (#27272389)
            This is not about iPhone versus Blackberry. This is 1990 ISPs all over again. AT&T wants to sell "unlimited" data plans knowing you'll pay more for unlimited. It works great because people just check their e-mail on it. Why? Cause the Internet sucks on a Blackberry/Windows Mobile device. The problem is, iPhone users ACTUALLY use the Internet/data other than e-mail. Why? Cause it doesn't suck. Result, oversold bandwidth. Same old story.
            • In that case the root of the problem is really the unlimited plans.

              Everyone will now chip in with how great their plan is. Others will reply with how crap theirs are. The first lot will tell the second lot to change, and another lot will say that's impossible because where they live there's only one supplier.

              Where was I?

              People round /. seem to think capped plans are the work of the devil, but as long as the providers are honest and describe it clearly as such, I don't see what the issue is.

              • Indeed. And bandwidth capping also allows people to tailor their package to their needs. If I want more bandwidth, I can pay my ISP a one off fee of £5 or so and I get it. Even more? Pay some more.

                It makes no sense that someone who only uses their internet to check their emails and read a blog or two should be paying the same as a regular DVD-torrenter. The former uses only a fraction of the provider's resources compared to the latter, so they should pay a fraction of the price.

                And I say this as

            • I agree, but AT&T has always been known for mediocre cell service. If you aren't known for being good at something, there's no point in being better than adequate. Everywhere I go, the AT&T network seems barely adequate (though the data bandwidth can be excellent in off-peak hours.) I wouldn't know, but I assume it takes careful management to achieve such a consistent level of mediocrity. And they know that consistent mediocrity means that any aberration from normal conditions (such as an event

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by afidel ( 530433 )
              Internet is starting to suck a lot less on the Blackberry as well. OS 4.5 makes the Blackberry browser very useable and Opera mini even more so. Heck on T-mobile I can even stream music just fine over EDGE using Slacker or Flycast. I'm not sure if your typical Blackberry user is as data intensive as I am (I doubt it) but you can certainly use as much bandwidth using a Blackberry as you can an iPhone.
            • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

              Why? Cause the Internet sucks on a Blackberry/Windows Mobile device. The problem is, iPhone users ACTUALLY use the Internet/data other than e-mail. Why? Cause it doesn't suck.

              Nice trolling. I check more than just email on my four year old non-smartphone. Can we have a bit more intelligent debate than "iPhone RuLeZ, Windoze suckS" please?

              The problem is they claimed unlimited access, and failed to live up to it. Nothing to do with special IphonE powers (you were the one who said "This is not about iPhone vers

          • by slapout ( 93640 )

            "They'll have to dump a cool billion in order to upgrade."

            They're making lots of money from all those iPhone users, they can afford to upgrade their network.

            Verizon (in my area, at least) seems able to maintain a 3G network.

          • They'll have to dump a cool billion in order to upgrade.

            Well, since AT&T grosses $2.1 billion/month off the iphone (30M iphones * $70/month minimum), that's about two week's worth of revenue. Oh woe is them!

      • Re:Yup (Score:5, Informative)

        by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:10PM (#27271301) Journal
        I'm a fairly long time Blackberry user with AT&T. The network performance and internet browsing from the Blackberry devices was fine up until AT&T rolled out the iPhone. Once the iPhones were on the network, the internet browsing went straight to hell on the Blackberry. Page loads are easily over a minute and in the past they used to be reasonably fast.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EvilBudMan ( 588716 )

          Yep they built their network for two users and now have 1000. This is not just the iPhone here. This happens with Verizon too and guess what they don't have it.

      • Re:Yup (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:30PM (#27271575)

        They knew that this was going to happen though. AT&T had their hands full with the 2G iPhone, and knew exactly the kind of demand they were going to get when it went 3G.

        But instead, they chose to continue charging outrageous fees (and FORCING you to get an overpriced data plan)... without doing much to upgrade their network.

        Furthermore, I believe that AT&T is deliberately throttling speeds to 3G iPhones, because I get much higher speeds using the Samsung Blackjack in the same location, both using AT&Ts service. As a matter of fact, most of the time, the Blackjack is 2X faster (400-1000kbps vs. 200-600kbps).

        Now I really like my iPhone and it still does work very well, even despite the slower speeds. Within a year or two, the network will probably receive some upgrades... just like it happened when I first got the Blackjack 3 years ago. Then, I would hardly get 3G anywhere, and when I would get it, it'd never go above 400kbps. Before I got the iPhone, I'd easily get 800kbps 3G virtually everywhere, including places where I had trouble getting EDGE a couple of years ago.

        • Furthermore, I believe that AT&T is deliberately throttling speeds to 3G iPhones, because I get much higher speeds using the Samsung Blackjack in the same location, both using AT&Ts service. As a matter of fact, most of the time, the Blackjack is 2X faster (400-1000kbps vs. 200-600kbps).

          I'd mod this FASCINATING +2 if I only had that modding ability.

      • The reason blackberrys are more attractive to networks than the iPhone is because they have compression, on-demand loading and data-chunking abilities.

        I believe the reasons behind blackberry's "network friendly" appearance has more to do with market share than technical achievement. It was the iPhone (not the blackberry) that made wireless data marketable to the tech-savvy consumer (and the rest of the masses).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Vancorps ( 746090 )

          Given that Blackberry market share is higher than that of the iPhone I wonder where you come up with this statement? Source []

          The network friendly appearance is due to the fact that it is not new and so RIM has learned a lot of hard lessons over the years that Apple is just now encountering with its partnership with AT&T.

          The Blackberry is superior from a technological standpoint. The iPhone is superior from a UI standpoint. It's that simple, at least in my head.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Rytr23 ( 704409 )
            Probably because while there are more BBs in the wild, the iPhone makes up the lions share of traffic from cell phones. source. []

            He is correct.

          • I bet the average BlackBerry user consumes far less bandwidth than the average iPhone user. The iPhone is a media device; if you don't want media and web browsing, there's no reason to buy it. Many people with little interest in media and web browsing own Blackberries for purely business reasons. Plus, the iPhone's slick UI means people consume more bandwidth simply because it's more convenient. The lack of friction in the UI means iPhone users will start browsing the web at the drop of the hat, just be

            • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

              There's more than just the Iphone and Blackberry. If you're bringing in downloading media, then this became hip way back when 3G first appeared (i.e., long before the Iphone), and this was on mid-range phones too, not just smartphones. Using phones for media is commonplace now (although personally I'd rather put media on my phone directly, rather than download it on the phone at more expensive rates). And there are plenty of phones that have decent UIs out there (or at least, at least as good as a device th

          • From your reference:

            Apple is expected to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Meanwhile, Research In Motion has 12 million subscribers, and its iconic BlackBerry is selling at a clip of about 4 million units a quarter...

            Target markets for the iPhone and BlackBerry are starting to overlap as well. The iPhone is a media consumer's dream, playing movies and music with ease. But it's not as finely tuned for the corporate user...

            The BlackBerry has long been the staple of corporate users who focused most

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by frinkster ( 149158 )

        The worst part of my iPhone is that it uses AT&T's network.

        When I am connected via Wi-Fi, it works great. But here in my office in downtown Chicago, I frequently get "Could not activate cellular data network" errors and have problems with voice calls dropping as well.

        Last year I was in rural Indiana, getting 3 bars of EDGE, and I was able to use the maps application to find my way through miles and miles of empty roads with rows of corn as far you could see. In fact, it was a lot more responsive than

        • I think you've hit one something here. AT&T has massively oversubscribed the major metropolitan areas. My wife gets much better 3G here in Huntsville than she does in larger cities. I'm sure that there are more towers in the larger cities, but the ratio of towers to people trying to use the device is much worse. I often find that my older Edge iPhone works better in places where her 3G is having trouble. I'm connecting to a lower subscription tower than she is (Well, we're probably connecting to th

      • I'm on Rogers in Ontario and their 3G network did slow down a little at first when the 3G iPhone came out here. But now I can get >2 Mbps regularly. Yes we have fewer overall users but iPhone adoption here is pretty big. If AT&T can't support the traffic then I think it's their own fault
    • Yup! iPhone on ATT sucked sooo baad I could no longer understand the voice traffic over thier network on the thing. Locked into contract, they had the gall to change my contract date when I opted-out of iPhone service so I'm bound longer than I would have, had I stuck it out with the iPhone contract. In San Diego, I live next to the I-5 corridor so network availability is testable. Never,ever does ATT fail to provide ringtone. QoS degrades during calls and commute time is predictably sketchy. Dropped

  • Sounds from the comments on that article that the iPhone's CPU just isn't fast enough to take advantage of 3G data rates even with a 3G radio present.

    Based on those that commented on the linked article that their laptop data card was fast and my own experience with an AT&T Tilt in 3G coverage areas, it's *not* the network. The only time I have 3G speed problems is when I'm in a fringe area with only one bar of signal strength.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:04PM (#27271215)

      But it handles WiFi data just fine which is in most cases faster than 3G. I doubt the phone itself is the issue.

    • by Anonymous Cowbell ( 1456535 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:08PM (#27271265)
      Listen, new guy, a word of advice: don't be so quick to jump to a corporate giant's defense here on Slashdot. You'll thank me later. Just toss out a "lame" and be done with it.
    • by novitk ( 38381 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:13PM (#27271355)

      WiFi works well, so it's not the CPU on the phone. At least here in NYC the problem is not even the slow speed, as much as the the network is so oversubscribed that the phone can't get any response and the browser just times out.

      • Just because wifi works fine does not mean the CPU is not the bottleneck. I do not own an iphone, and don't know how the implementation of the radio stack on it, but it is entirely possible that stages of the data reception/transmission are handled by the CPU (or possibly a separate DSP) on the iPhone. In this case, if this CPU is not powerful enough, the iPhone can't max out the 3G bandwidth. Just because a different protocol that uses an entirely different radio stack that requires different processing
        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

          Yup. I don't know about the iPhone's architecture, but the Qualcomm MSM7200 used in the AT&T Tilt uses a separate ARM core to handle radio functions. (Leading to a misconception that it was "dual core" even though the second core is best thought of as a "radio coprocessor" and is not only a different speed from the main applications core but I believe a slightly different architecture - there are multiple slight variants of the ARM architecture).

    • According to Macworld:

      "Filed in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Damone Dickerson claims that Apple misrepresented the speed, strength and performance of the 3G network."

      There was no link to the actual suit, but it makes it sounds like the guy is blaming both Apple and AT&T because the 3G connection on his iPhone is slow. How much really is it because of the iPhone and how much is it due to the network itself. If the problem is with the network, how much of it on Apple to fix AT&T's network?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Volante3192 ( 953645 )

      I dunno, AT&T's 3G network seems to not be that great all around. I've got an LG CU400 that 'supports' 3G, but every time the phone connected with 3G, it'd stop working. I'd have to powercycle it and use it in the brief period between when EDGE connected and when 3G took over.

      I ended up having to find the maintenance code to get into the hardware config and explicitly turn off 3G.

      Phone's worked flawlessly ever since.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shawnce ( 146129 )

      Page rendering is rather fast on the iPhone when supplied by WiFi which easily exceeds 3G data rates in all but the rarest of situations. It isn't a CPU issue. Now it could be a 3G chip set issue... however I bet it is primarily latency that is killing fast rendering when using 3G. 3G latency is bad in general and given how "native" the Mobile Safari accesses websites it feels the full effects of this latency (unless a pre-fetching proxy, etc. is assisting the phone pipeline things... which is what BB does

      • What would really sort out this is if someone on O2 would chip in with their USD0.02. O2 seem to be more responsive to consumer demand and a better-run company than AT&T.

  • good (Score:4, Informative)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:45PM (#27270943)'s high time somebody smack them around in court for their bullshit data service. Although the connection to the tower is fine, it's slow as balls from the tower out. I mean christ, I experience lag when typing via an ssh session, something I haven't experienced since the dark ages of dialup.
    • Re:good (Score:5, Informative)

      by jargon82 ( 996613 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:20PM (#27271437)
      ssh lag is a really bad example. 3g has reasonable bandwidth but rather high latency. Stuff like ssh will always visibly lag, and this is not at all specific to AT&T.
  • by DaSpudMan ( 671160 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @01:53PM (#27271061)

    You people on the coasts are so spoiled. Up here in ND, I'd settle for a choice of cell phone companies that provide coverage in most of the state. IPhones are an unkown commodity up here.

    Time to break out the Bag Phone or a Brick.

    • You people on the coasts are so spoiled. Up here in ND, I'd settle for a choice of cell phone companies that provide coverage in most of the state. IPhones are an unkown commodity up here.

      This don't concern you, we talking American stuff here.

      • North Dakota isn't part of Canada... yet.
        • Being in the same country as California is still marginally (as in if there could be a non-zero number that was equal to 1 - .9... it would be that number) better than being in the same country as Quebec.

    • "3G? We had cans and a string. And sometimes we didn't even have the string. Data service? We had to shout each byte value to a neighbor, who'd shout it to another neighbor, until it got to someone who had dial-up service, who had to enter it by hand. With wooden keys."

      Seriously, I loved my bag phone back in the nineties. It had 5 genuine watts of transmitting power, not the paltry .3 or .1 watts or whatever you get now. And they were better watts too! I could make a high quality call in places w

  • "Your chariot may be made of gold my friend, but your horse has a lame leg. My wooden cart and donkey aren't much to look at, but I get where I need to go every time", said the old man.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by necro81 ( 917438 )
      A chariot made of gold? No wonder the horse is lame! Do you have any idea how heavy that thing would be?
  • by carbona ( 119666 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#27271409)

    3G coverage is spotty at best, and as others have mentioned, sometimes full 3G bars doesn't even provide data.

    Problem has gotten so bad that I have turned off 3G altogether when I'm at home as call reliability is improved and I can just use my Wi-Fi connection for data. I could have just kept my 1st gen iPhone and lived without GPS.

  • The AT&T Network (Score:4, Informative)

    by rwwyatt ( 963545 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @02:25PM (#27271519)
    The problem is network dimensioning and issues of the backhaul connection between the NodeB and the RNC. There are multiple configuration of the NodeB which provides for different Data Rates. There is 384 kbs, 1.8 mbps, 3.6 mbps and 7.2 mbps. AT&T was not interested in 7.2 Mbps until late 2007. In order to support these data rates, there must be a significant connection to the backhaul based for the most part on a number of T1 Lines. AT&T is attempting to dimension their networks based on current data usage so they will always be behind. This is due to cost and many other reasons. There is no reason to equip Nut New Mexico with a 7.2 Mb capable cells. Even on the device side, It is cheaper toi buy a device based on HSDPA only rather than HSUPA/HSDPA.
  • Contract (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ender77 ( 551980 )
    AT&T should be sued, forcing people into a two year contract with a company should be against the law. Especially if that company does not provide the service that was promised for that contract.
  • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Friday March 20, 2009 @03:43PM (#27272757)

    There's a lot of bitching about how much AT&T's network sucks. I'm not an apologist (though I have an iPhone) so let's keep objectivity in mind.

    The iPhone has limited ram and a slower CPU. Websites will take a long time to render regardless of connection speed. Therefore, test a file transfer. You should get around 1.5MBps if you're on HSDPA (I think all ATT 3g is HSDPA)

    I'm not arguing for a second that someplace like NYC will probably be oversubscribed. I doubt that's the problem in general (nothing like a 14.4kbps dialup for a backhaul... jeez) but it's possible if you're experiencing genuinely slow speeds.

    Remember packet-radio tech will always involve latency. Over EDGE it's around 500ms, over a (good) 3g, it's about 150ms. That's something you'd be seeing if you see slow web speeds - many webpages have 50 requests, that latency adds up.

    As for this lawsuit, AT&T makes no secret that 3G isn't available everywhere. It is exactly 3 obvious clicks from the homepage. If this guy expected 3g... tough. They're rolling it out pretty quick. If he didn't, or if the service is slow... perhaps he can call and tell them that he didn't contract for this level of service?

    Basically, website 'speed' is not all about AT&T's oversubscription/crappyness. It's at least composed of latency, rendering speed, the page itself, and finally the speed of the network (which will fluctuate with users). Do a bulk file transfer and then talk.

    And this guy probably needs to chill out. Probably

  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @04:09PM (#27273147) Journal

    The Economist had an interesting article last year that predicted that the US telecom companies were waiting for bailout money to invest in infrastructure. With this new stimulus package on the horizon, I'm sure some evidence to support their argument (i.e. irate iPhone users) that it's necessary would go a long way. AT&T has every incentive to get taxpayers to foot the bill, and they'd effectively be punished if they spent their own money on it (it's not like they'll get reimbursed).

  • Wait for Android (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Krneki ( 1192201 )

    Wait and see what happens with Android and a torrent client. :)

  • I want in on this lawsuit. Normally I'm a strong proponent of "you got yourself in it, get yourself out of it." But the iPhone's exclusivity on AT&T combined with AT&T requiring me to buy a 3G contract is totally anti consumer friendly.

    I don't ever use the 3G network even though my phone has the capabilities. I leave it on the EDGE network because the 3G network drops too many calls.

    I'd deserve to just be paying for the EDGE speeds instead of 3G speeds and be compensated for all the forced expense

Truth is free, but information costs.