Complaining to AT&T about poor wireless coverage has never been easier thanks to a new iPhone app.
Mark the Spot is no prank that somehow slipped past the App Store's censors. This is an official iPhone app from AT&T letting you report dropped calls, failed calls, lack of coverage, data failure, and poor voice quality.
In the app's information section, AT&T says it will use the reports to "optimize and enhance the network. Problems will be clustered to highlight areas for investigation." This app is as close as we'll see to AT&T admitting it's got a coverage problem.
The last few weeks have not been good for the carrier. First came Verizon Wireless' attack ads, which showed major gaps in AT&T's 3G coverage. Then came the ultimately failed lawsuit from AT&T to stop the ads. In the meantime, AT&T launched some terrible ads of its own. But I think the real killer was a Consumer Reports survey that ranked AT&T last among the major carriers in customer satisfaction. For all AT&T can say about the iPhone's success and customers' low turnover rates, you can't ignore unhappy people.
So now we've got "Mark the Spot," which at least makes you feel like your grievances are being heard. Yeah, it's kind of silly -- I find it odd that AT&T doesn't already know where its problems are -- but I like the idea. Here's AT&T admitting, albeit indirectly, that it's got problems. And instead of talking about those issues in another ad, which would be really embarrassing, "Mark the Spot" communicates directly to iPhone owners. It's a creative solution that actually takes advantage of the iPhone's ease of use.
Kudos to AT&T for taking a different stab at its coverage problems, even if we don't know how exactly the data from Mark the Spot will be used.
Just one warning to frustrated iPhone owners: AT&T says that multiple submissions from one person, for the same problem in the same area, won't be given extra weight. Your angry Mark the Spot spam won't bring relief any faster.