People who think the iPhone is a great device but terrible phone are common – in fact just about everyone I know who has an iPhone tells me the call quality and dropped calls are a major problem. Now there is a way to get compensated via the US court system – specifically worstphoneever.com allows you to upload your log files of dropped calls – which become part of a class-action suit which eventually get you some cold hard cash for your efforts. Currently there are over 57,000 dropped calls in the company’s system which they believe is worth $672.
You can read more about the service here and I thought I would take this opportunity to weigh in on the issue. If customers know a device has lousy telephone service associated with it can they complain afterwards and get compensated? After all, every wireless carrier drops calls – who is to say how many calls dropped are too many? Moreover, AT&T has spent billions to improve the wireless broadband network it offers and by many accounts their network is faster than the competition. AT&T’s wireless broadband speed has been something I have complained about in the past – but it seems the company has done its best to leapfrog Verizon while Sprint’s 4G service is still faster of course.
On a trip to California months back I tried calling on an iPhone for 20 minutes and the quality of the calls was atrocious and I dropped calls frequently. But as I think about getting cash in return for poor voice quality my mind immediately starts thinking about IP communications – voice and video calls. Will Vonage now have to pay customers if the voice quality of my calls is poor? Will a poor telepresence connection be a major liability issue for carriers?
More to the point is who is tasked with determining what is acceptable quality? Currently enterprises have SLAs and use MOS scores and other metrics to evaluate carrier performance – will wireless callers too have to deal with these issues and will we start to see regular credits on our cell phone bills because of poor call quality in preceding weeks?
All interesting food for thought and as I think more and more about these issues I marvel at how Apple on the one hand tells consumers that Flash is bad for them while supporting it on their laptops and desktops and simultaneously has chosen a wireless carrier which keeps the iPhone from making adequate telephone calls.