AT&T's been catching a lot of flak since announcing its delayed launch of MMS support for the iPhone this week. In addition to missing its original (and self-set) "late summer" deadline for introducing the multimedia messaging service, the company has neglected to provide any update on the status of tethering -- another long-demanded feature made available by the iPhone 3.0 update but not yet offered to AT&T customers.
Now, AT&T is responding to the criticism by way of a YouTube-bound spokesperson -- a friendly-looking fella who calls himself "Seth the Blogger Guy."
AT&T's iPhone Face
Seth the Blogger Guy's been around before. He popped up in a few videos early this summer when AT&T wanted to talk about things like iPhone 3GS upgrade eligibility and Wi-Fi auto-authentication for iPhone users. This time, though, Seth's submission feels decidedly defensive.
"Look, we see the discussions on the Web, on blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook -- so we thought it would be a good idea to take what's being said head-on," he says.
Seth states that AT&T has seen a "dramatic increase" in smartphone use lately, with wireless usage growing more than 300 percent every year. Preparing the network for iPhone-based MMS functionality, he says, was not a simple process.
"We've been working for months to prepare the radio access controllers in our network to support this launch. That means calibrating base stations all over the country, and frankly, that's a very time-consuming process," he says.
Other AT&T-iPhone Issues
The video goes on to discuss the logistics of how AT&T's cellular network operates, seemingly attempting to address the often-discussed performance problems reported by iPhone users. Our friendly neighborhood "blogger guy" promises that AT&T is "on it" and is investing $18 billion this year alone to improve its wireless network.
So will frustrated iPhone customers stick around long enough to see the change? That probably depends on how quickly the improvements happen, how effective they actually are, and -- perhaps most important -- how soon another carrier comes into the picture.