Apple: Which is Worse, Flash or Poor Voice Service?


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 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.

  • Paul Johnson
    May 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Rich Tehrani: Which is Worse, Bloggers Who Flat Out Distort the Facts or Bloggers Who Create Phony Dilemmas by Selective Recall of the Facts?
    There are alternatives to Flash for the functions that iPhone users would want from Flash. Until Verizon decides to share its dumb pipeline revenues with Apple, there is no effective alternative to AT&T for the iPhone in the US.

  • Gerard Brandon
    May 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Never underestimate the level of stupidity at the top. I am not saying that Steve Jobs is completely stupid, but we are all prone to levels of stupidity that if we remain stubborn and refuse to back down we tend to end up with a good strong kick in the butt.
    There is compelling evidence that Android is overtaking sales of the iPhone with the first quarter numbers out recently and with an open source system it gives developers the opportunity to make their own decisions rather than being told what is good for them.
    There are obvious good reasons to keep the iPhone/iPad AppStore restricted to a proprietary code as it allows decisions like the “Adobe/Flash” to be achieved but likely to become merely a short term benefit to gain market share before users decide the iPhone may be just a little restrictive. In the long run “Stupid is, what Stupid does”

  • JS
    May 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    What’s worse a phone that will be upgraded for free or a phone that doesn’t get upgraded & you have to buy a new one? I swear this Google ass kissing fest is reminding me of the Windows snow job the tech media perpetrated in the 90’s.

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