Customers to AT&T: Choke on this

My post last week about how AT&T treats its customers like losers got quite a rise out of readers. It even provoked a response from AT&T itself.

Per company spokeshuman Seth Bloom, that "You're a loser" text underneath the image on their online sweepstakes was a "regrettable mistake" and has been changed. (I checked, and yes it has.) He adds: "We value our customers a great deal."

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Unfortunately for AT&T, it appears the sentiment is not always mutual.

AT&T bashing is apparently so much fun that Fake Steve Jobs piled on. In a blog post earlier this week, FSJ jokingly outline his plan for Operation Chokehold. This Friday at 12 noon PT, Fake Steve is exhorting the iPhone faithful to flood Ma Bell's data networks with bandwidth-hogging apps:

The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. The idea is we'll create a digital flash mob. We're calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!

Fake Steve (aka Newsweek's Dan Lyons) is kidding, I think (and for a total hoot, read his inspired NSFW rantabout AT&T's "bandwidth disincentives"). But some people are taking the notion seriously. Someone created a Facebook fan page (1,140 fans at post time), and iPhoners are comparing notes about which apps would suck down the most bandwidth.

Proving that it can't take a joke (or a choke), AT&T called FSJ's post"irresponsible and pointless" and whined about how that "publicity stunt" would degrade "critical communications services" for 80 million customers.

Memo to AT&T: If they're your customers, they're already intimately familiar with degraded communications services.

This story, "Customers to AT&T: Choke on this" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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