The roundtable discussion following my presentation last Thursday, which answered the question: “What social and economic forces shape communication infrastructure”, answered a couple of questions and while raising others.
No, AT&T shouldn’t be hurt as the end of their contract with Apple approaches and they lose exclusivity to the iPhone. This is not only because they have many other high quality products and services to offer, but because they will not lose existing customers to other cell phone companies.
Recently, there have been several complaints about the quality of service AT&T has been offering and whether or not they can keep up with its customers (because of the network overload created by iPhone users). However, AT&T has responded quickly. They have launched Femtocell, a product that provides better cell phone coverage in your own home. However, what incentives has AT&T provided to its customers to go out and splurge $150 on a mini-cell tower whenever their families on the other side of town receive excellent service without paying for anything other than their standard monthly wireless bill? Although this may not be AT&Ts most economical idea, many students don’t believe that existing AT&T customers will leave for other service providers.
One major reason named by students is the expense of breaking a contract; it’s just not financially worth it. Some students have not experienced problems with AT&T at all. This may be because problems are occurring in densely populated cities, which AT&T is trying their best correct these problems. So if you’re currently experiencing problems with AT&T they are soon to be over anyway, no reason to switch just yet.
AT&T has always provided communication services and they have continued to provide services as new technological advances in communication are created. They not only make it a point to provide people with what they need, but they also do their best to maintain connected to the different facets of technology that have come together to create communication as we know it today, (such acquiring McCaw Cellular Communication and their relationship with NPR-a computer maker). We now can call, text, email, IM, tweet, and do all sorts of instant forms communication from a single device. It's thanks to service providers like AT&T that we are able to do so.