AT&T Tricks Zuckerberg And Benioff Into Buying MicroCells; Promptly Fails

Oh, AT&T.

I’ve already made my feelings on their MicroCell abundantly clear. Considering the quality of the carrier’s network in cities like San Francisco (which is to say, awful), it’s a good idea. But given the poor state of AT&T’s performance, they should be giving away the device for free to customers affected. Instead, they’re making those customers pay an extra $150 for the “privilege” of having working service. It’s a truly remarkable business model. Let’s call it: bait & switch & fix (for a fee). And it’s working.

AT&T managed to rope in two of the biggest name in tech into their scheme: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. So that’s great for AT&T, right? Two huge potential endorsers of their rip-off box. Well, not so fast — this is AT&T, after all.

Benioff posted about his new MicroCell purchase on his Facebook wall yesterday. “I hope my iPhone will work at home now,” he wrote. This is undoubtedly the reason the vast majority of users have bought the device (instead of just, you know, leaving AT&T like regular people would do if their service doesn’t work). A lot of commenters on his post were curious to know how well it’s working as they suffer from the poor AT&T service as well. So how is it working? Well, according to the tech giants, it’s a mixed bag.

I got one and it seems to work pretty well,” Zuckerberg wrote in a comment under Benioff’s post. “Pretty well” isn’t exactly a rave review, but AT&T will undoubtedly take it from Zuckerberg. But Benioff had a different experience. “Bought 2 AT&T MicroCells today. Installation won’t complete. Called AT&T. They said they are having a national MicroCell outage since Friday. It won’t work for 2 more days. Where is when you need it?,” Benioff wrote on his wall. Other posts confirm AT&T acknowledging the outage.

It’s another genius plan from AT&T. The network won’t work to make calls, so they get you to spend an additional $150 (on top of the $100+ a month you’re already spending with them for service), then that goes down, but only those wealthy enough to pay for landlines or other cellular phones on other networks (Benioff) are even able to call and complain. If both AT&T and their MicroCell service go down across the country, but no one can make a call to complain about it, did it really happen?

In all seriousness, this is pathetic. And besides Zuckerberg and Benioff, reports across the country seem to be a mixed bag about the MicroCell. Some say it works, some say it doesn’t (even when the network is up). We can’t confirm either of these scenarios because AT&T won’t even sell us one.

With the iPhone 4 selling 1.7 million units in the first three days, a whole new group of people are about to be exposed to the pleasure of AT&T. Hope they have $150 ready when/if that MicroCell network comes back up.