UPDATE 4 p.m. ET: Anecdotal evidence suggests "Operation Chokehold" may have had some effect. In Web posts, users around the country reported scattered difficulty in accessing AT&T's 3G network on their smartphones Friday, although others said it was working fine. As for Lyons, he posted an item to his blog Friday afternoon saying, "As far as I can tell, there’s been no impact at all. My iPhone is working just the same as ever. I’m talking to someone on it right now."
If AT&T's wireless network bogs down today, you can blame - or maybe even thank - a fake Steve Jobs.
Complaining of poor service on his iPhone and angered by the company’s suggestion that it may take action to discourage heavy bandwidth users, blogger Daniel Lyons is pushing “Operation Chokehold.” The idea, says Lyons, is for every iPhone user to open a data-intensive application at noon Pacific time (3 p.m. ET) to overload AT&T's 3G network as a form of protest.
“Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments,” wrote Lyons earlier this week. The tech writer and Newsweek columnist writes a popular mix of fact and fiction on his blog, “Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.”
AT&T, predictably condemns the effort, which has picked up steam on lots of tech-related blogs and Web sites since Lyons first wrote about it Monday.
“We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services to more than 80 million customers,” the company said in a written statement.
On Friday, Lyons was both promoting and downplaying the effort.
He noted that the idea started as a joke, “[b]ut some people took it seriously and now the joke has taken on a life of its own.”
He said he and supporters have “already won” with the attention they’ve drawn to the network’s service and predicted that any “Operation Chokehold” effort won’t actually do much to cripple AT&T's service.
“This may be cathartic, but it is pointless,” he wrote. “A few thousand people are not going to make a dent in a wireless network. If you participate, you’ll most likely be wasting your time.”
We'll soon find out.
Posted by: Doug GrossFiled under: AT&T smartphones
[...] coverage: CNN and ABC CNN's blog post is here. ABC's blog post is [...]
Had best service ever recorded in my house at 3PM EST, but YouTube service failed at about 3:15.. still cannot connect to cellular network data..
Viva La Chokehold!! FSJ is the man
Lyons is a two-faced charlatan rousing legions of irresponsible kids and trying to cover his own tush at the same time.
Lyons is one of those idiots the promotes that stupid "don't buy gas today" activities. I am sure he did not even think of those that work in Emergency services that use the network. If he had a family member about to pass because they could not use the network, what would he say to that. I would say this, once more. IDIOT!
Its call a targeted Denial of Service Attack and is AGAINST THE LAW!!!!
worked here. emails not working. you tube not working well. lol
Who cares if it's against the law? We all break the law once in a while and you really don't care when you do, do you? More to the point, he's right in saying he did win because he did. Even if it was a joke, it brought more attention to AT&T wanting to charge premium data users more even though they're already paying out the butt for an unlimited data plan. If AT&T can't manage people using that much data, maybe they shouldn't have ever offered an unlimited plan in the first place. Kudos to FSJ.
@Frank from houston
Wow, thanks for enlightening us. Your comments unfortunateluy show the common American mentality....that of sheep. Be afraid of your government...instead of having the government afraid of the people...
Being able to influence how these super coorporations operate by such measures is extremely powerful...Such measures by the people are meant to keep these coorporations' eyes open to the will of those that ultimately keep them in business.
How much faster would the ATT servers be without all of the NSA taps on them that routinely record all cell messages domestically and internationally made?
If you want to send a meaningful message then send bogus encrypted texts and emails. That would quickly clog up the NSA servers chewing on them.
Tammie: E911 calls are automatically routed through any available network connection. So even if AT&T's network was impacted to the point that no calls could be made, another network would pick it up.
They (AT&T) have completed some Network upgrades on the local 3G system here in Denver and the system is much better. 3G is still a relatively new product and there is a learning curve involved with any new technology and getting mad and trying to choke the network will not accomplish anything but keeping someone from completing a call. It does seem unfair to change the terms to keep bandwidth hogs from bogging down the system, but this is NOT an all you can eat buffet. Leave some bandwidth for the lighter users voluntarily or they will force you to. I would like to see a smaller tier and a smaller price for reduced usage. I don't use much bandwidth for app and I have nearly 3000 rollover minutes and I'm not inclined to pay 30.00 per month for Data usage for another two years.
Its not a denial of service attack – the users have the contractual right to use the service in the manner they desire to use the service.
why can't people just be happy that its even possible to have something that fits in your hand and can go on the internet, email, play games, and oh yea.... it can make phone calls from anywhere too, sorry its a little slow sometimes, would you rather have a land line again?
Attempting to cripple the network won't do anybody any good, it will just make things worse. The real problem here is all the obsessive iPhone users that are hogging the huge amounts of bandwidth. The real solution(s) here are to either upgrade the network and/or get some of these iPhone users to stop using such excessive amounts of bandwidth.
I think At&T should stop Proclaiming they have the best 3G network apparently they have not seen how horrible their speeds are VZW is the best network and will beat AT&T once trully 4G will come up
Whatever...stop whinning, jailbreak and unlock your phone and go to the network you want. Bottom line...AT&T sucks, however...most of them are pretty much in the same boat. The "better" the network, the more users it gets, the result...they get slower. Buy one phone...many SMS cards....problem sovled.
You guys are idiots. What this man tried to do was not to cripple a network but put the spot light on AT&T and it's crappy network. As some of you suggested that this was a Denial of service attack , it is not. His idea was to just have all AT&T customers just simple use the network to its fullest, meaning watching HI-def video, downloading large files, and ect...
If AT&T says their network is the best and can handle the load then why were they all but hurt about this? Normally AT&T hardly responds to these kinds of things because they don't care. However, since this got so much attention they were scared that their network would go down and they lose their customers and be exposed for what they really were: A shity company that over charges for unreliable service. It is really hard to get these companies to deliver on their promises. Who can we relay on this to get them to play fair? The FCC? Nope they (AT&T) are in bed with them. Politicians? You are kidding right!?
Some one has to bring attention to this and more often.
Of course to have any real effect you would have to exceed the max aggregate throughput of the entire central switching infrastructure.
Which for ATT, could be as much as 300 bits per second.
Based on the quality of its network, AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph) appears to be more in the telegraph than telephone business. One day Apple will get smart and dump them (or open up the iPhone to all carriers).
The real problem here is not the "sub-par" network available through AT&T but rather the consumer expectation of perfection. Does anyone out there have the slightest idea of what goes into the development of a 3000 mile wide cell system? Alot. Now dont get me wrong, I work for VZW so I'm no AT&T promoter (even though I do own an Iphone lol) but day in and day out I see people walk into a store demanding credits and free crap for the slightest imperfections. One dropped call (litterally) and some folks are ready to cancel their service. Admitedly the networks advertising isn't exactly promoting realistic expectations but I really feel people need to get over themselves a bit and think back a few years to when they were playing snake on their green screen nokia clunkers. "Aww gee, my youtube wont snap to on a dime, curse those nickel and dimers. And why cant it all just be free?" All I'm saying is if you haven't installed a transmitter on a cell tower in the last month you probably don't have anything to say about what service "should be."
I am an ATT customer and I am not upset when my youtube doesnt load instantly. I am upset when I try to make calls and it fails over and over. Or fails when I try to get emails. ATT sells it as the best network and it should work a lot better than it does.
@ Paul Keller
Realistic expectations, when will the world ever have them? I work for ATT and yet I, like you, see unrealistic expectations every day. Are your iPhones and Droids connected to a wire like your 40 yr old corded phone? No, but "we" expect them to work the same. We "VZW and ATT" are going to drop calls, have dead zones, not work in certain buildings, etc from time to time because they aren't hard-wired. The problem is society depends too much on technology and complains why it isn't free or why it fails from time to time. Customers are always experts, aren't they?
Amen Paul Keller!
Should people who were promised "unlimited cnnect" be able to actully do that ?
Or should a different promise (enticement) have been offered to lure customers ?
Customers are wrong for expecting what was promised ?????
Having always used the latest technology for over 20 years in IT, I have to laugh at all the idiot consumers who expect cell phones to act & behave like an invisible fiber optic line is plugged in all the time, even expecting radio frequencies to defy physics and magically reach deep inside all buildings, tunnels, basements, and elevators. Remember the huge analog car phones that required a car battery and external antenna outside the car to operate? I remember a drive from San Francisco to Reno in '90 where I had to dial in and roam on 5 different networks just to get coverage and probably 50% of the drive was dead spots. Now nearly every interstate & major highway has coverage with only a few dead zones on long drives, and you don't need to ever need to dial in to roam.
The iPhone has more bandwidth, storage, and processing capability than the entire data center did that I worked in during the late 80's. I have always carried 2 cell phones (personal & business) from different networks. Today I carry a Verizon BlackBerry Storm 2 and an AT&T iPhone 3G. When one times out or drops service, I just pick up the other and keep going.
Instead of blaming AT&T & Verizon, people can thank the FCC because they are the ones who chopped and sliced and diced all the US frequencies into hundreds of different pieces and hundreds of different market areas for "competition." Only until recent deregulation was it even legally possible for cell phone companies to start acquiring the spectrum to build nationwide networks. I remember managing 13 different cell phone providers just to get service for our different US locations, but today we can get decent coverage from any location from either AT&T or Verizon, and both networks keep improving year after year.
I have had Verizon Wireless for years and use their unlimited data plan as well. About the only time I have a problem is when I forget to charge my phone. I think I have had perhaps two dropped calls in all this time, not including tunnels etc. and find my phone usually works when everyone else's does not. The only thing annoying about my service is those fruit phone users asking if they can make a call on my phone because they have no signal.
As a Verizon employee, I am somewhat Biased, but I truly believe that we have the best network. However, of course we have deadspots and places where the network drops, it is inevitable on any network. Both AT@T and VZW promise the best network, but we have never promised perfect coverage. Customers come into the store constantly complaining about dropped calls, and when you ask them where they are occuring, they say that the phone wont work in the cave they live in in West Virginia. Of course it wont. Also, people depend on their cell phones so completely now that when there is the occasional outage they are helpless. I hear all the time that "I'm losing thousands of dollars every hour" because their cell is their only business phone. If that is true then probably you should not stake your entire business on a cell line, perhaps a regular landline phone should be purchased as a backup at the least. I understand that expectations are high, and we strive to provide the best service that we can, but it is far from perfect. People need to understand this, and be patient when we are experiencing difficulties, they seldom last very long.
I couldn't resist – I created a video spoof on Operation Chokehold:
All of you who are knocking those who would seek to bog down AT&T's network are the idiots. Call us Americans, but we hereby demand that the cellular service providers (namely AT&T) start putting LESS money into advertising and MORE money into network backbone and infrastructure. blah blah blah There are emergency and first responders who rely on AT&T. Tell them to get with a provider who'll stand by them, not seek to charge them more and deliver a faulty service. Thank God for VZW.
I have had ATT for years and I can tell you that it never works so why would Friday be any different. Nearly every call I make drops if I stay on for more than five minutes. I guess they kick me off so they can let someone else have a turn.
Hmmmm Isn't Verizon Wireless primarily owned by a foreign carrier company called Vodafone (Italian)??? I wonder why AT&T hasn't resorted to using that in their ads yet? Verizon is a good company, but their wireless unit is a completely separate entity from their wireline business. I would rather pay my money to AT&T. AT&T has "American" in it and is wholly owned. The Iphone will not work on Verizons antiquated CDMA technology. AT&T uses GSM which is the global standard. All of this bashing is nothing but smartphone envy for non iphone users. I can promise you one week of an Iphone over a droid,blackberry etc. you wil never look back. The network issues have been way overplayed as well and its funny most of the bashing is coming from non AT&T users.
As a former at&t employee they suck, all they care about is the bottom dollar. Taking benefits and other things away from long term employees. at&t wireless had alot of customer service issues before buying out Cingular Wireless. Cingular was a company that cared about and for their employees and there family's. If this goes through and shuts the network down it will truly hit them where they most deserve it right in the pocket. Everyone go for it because if I was an at&t phone carrier I would
Emergency services do not rely on one method of communication and anyone that does is an idiot waiting for Murphy. However, all this did was to give AT&T and iphone more free advertising. The only thing AT&T will respond to is a loss of market share. "HawaiiFlightAdventure . com"
AT&T needs truth in marketing.
The AT&T logo is insufficiently frightening
For people slow in paying their monthly AT&T bills,
Will Dart Vader become an enforcer ?
The Darth Vader Choke is a good motivator.
These things are very subjective. Before Cingular bought AT&T Wireless (which is before the new AT&T bought out Cingular), I was a satisfied AT&T customer - although there were a lot of complaints about AT&T I never had problems. When Cingular came in, I started having dropped calls, and when my contract was up, which had a provision for lifetime unlimited nights and week-ends, with "nights" starting at 7:00 p.m., they wouldn't honor it, and I would have had to get a new phone and new contract.
That's when I switched to Verizon. Of course when my phone couldn't get a signal, customer service couldn't tell me if the problem was my handset or the system. I wound up renewing because of what I consider to be a misrepresentation, but my calendar is marked for when this contract is up. Meanwhile, from what I've read (and I apologize, but I'm not sure of the source, but I think it was in the New York Times ) there have been one or two studies showing that, contrary to complaints, AT&T has better service than Verizon, and (perhaps) faster service than Sprint.
Somebody needs to tell the people at Apple that their exclusive contract with AT&T is hurting their business. They can sell a lot more I-Phones if the were available on a better network. I am waiting for them to be available on Verizon before buy one.
I had AT&T when I bought my first cell phone. Their coverage sucks. I'll never go back.
This is a democratic and capitalist society. If you don't like a product, you vote with your money. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to use AT&T. The viability of our system of economics actually depends on supply and demand and competition. If people chose the better products, those with lesser offerings are forced to improve or go out of business. This idea that we should interfere with the operations of companies we don't like is wrong-headed, undemocratic and somewhat socialistic. AT&T is not obligated to improve society - they are a business trying to make a profit. The way to influence what they do is to buy or not buy their product. This is simple. "Operation Chokehold" is a terrorist operation. I hate terrorists. The idea that you can achieve your objectives by hurting innocent people who may or may not share your views is the worst kind of evil affecting our world today - whether it involves a "Denial Of Service" attack or flying airplanes into buildings.
my grown kids bought me an iphone for christmas. it was the best present ever. except that (because of "chokehold"?) it won't make calls, and neither will my kids' iphones. my son complained yesterday and got a $25 credit. tomorrow, i think we'll ALL go to at&t to complain.
Did you build all those buildings, put up all those poles, string all of that telephone wire and do you keep it all running?
It doesn't all happen as magically as you think it does.
These companies are changing as fast as they possibly can.
Do you even know what it takes to keep an entire phone system in service?
Are your petty entertainments as important as keeping everyone connected?
There isn't some bad entity named "AT&T".
It is just all those employees who get up every day and go to work so that you can play on your phone.
Grow up and do something real and important in the world.
This is exactly why AT&T will want to limit 3G access... by doing moronic things like this wasting bandwidth...
Simple fix. Stop buying ATT products. Quit whinning.
Who cares, it's a phone people. And don't make that excuse that your world revolves around a cell tower, doing so only proves that you lack a world and a life.
Want to know what my phone does, it rings when there's an incoming call, and when I enter 7 or 11 digits it makes an outgoing call! All of this for $50-$60/year. Now, isn't that amazing. And SMS, that's turned off, sick and tired of schemers using my equipment for their underhanded business practice
Here's a very good question, what purpose is there for watching a HIGH DEFINITION BROADCAST on a screen thats 2"X3", or any broadcast for that matter. Nothing but a waste of bandwidth of the cell system, and brain function of the user(however slight it may be).
So go ahead, dead head. Pump your SSN, bank account number, PIN numbers, birth date, address, passwords, and two digit IQ number into your pocket toy. I bet you will have all the bandwidth for it all to be stolen, while you watch it doing so.
Per Wired - "AT&T provided National Security Agency
eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls"
Doing the government's work takes a lot of resources.
In order to protect us from terrorism,
AT&T needs more government contracts and bailouts
All carriers suck. Also verizon wireless is owned by verizon communications (55%) and vodafone (45%). do your damn research before writing.
you should have to deal with Telmex. You don't have any idea what problems are.
Well if we have learned anything here, it is that Tom is a little thick. Envy Tom? These are "AT&T customers complaining, not VZW people with I Phone envy! Not everyone wants to be that guy whose life is dominated by his face book toy and most people outside tech still use blackberries for work.. Reliable and oh….reliable – maybe not as thrilling of a ride but they always work. Minus the one day a year.
The original point was that they let their network lapse and a lot of people got these phones to use on the "fastest" network that rarely works. Good thing they are using the "world standard" eh?
Face it Tommy, if it wasn’t for I Phone....AT&T would be out of business of crawling along behind T-Mobile for a share of welfare checks.
One other thing there Mr. Patriot -your AMERICAN iphone was made in CHINA!!!
actually AT&T has better service right now than VZW... Its just that they took on the iphone with all the users that come with it, so the volume of network usage makes it seem bad.
But if Verizon were to have the number of users AT&T does, I bet you Verizon would suck more than AT&T.
This won't do much to AT&T. They will still hate there customers so much that they will eventually price them right on to the competition. Ma bell has never really understood that they no longer have a monopoly and that people should be thankful to have phone service.
What alot of you people FAIL to realize, is even though AT&T does have the fastest 3G network, it also has the largest quantity of 3G customers on it's network, with the most popular smart phone in the country. If you putt all the Iphones on Verizon, you would have the same problem. Just be happy you can even get on the internet on a phone, the network will get better. Or you could go back to a Moto Razr!
Hey Steve-o... iPhone has total smart phone market share of 2% in the US, compared to over 25% in other countries. So, it is not the most popular smart phone in this country. The reason is, Apple's sorry exclusive with AT&T. I have two Macs at home, and love the iPhone, but until it is available on VZW, Apple can keep it. When that happens, 20 million of AT&T customers will be switching to Verizon Wireless.
The network is overloaded because its the only network with the iphone. If the Iphone were available to all carriers, AT&T would not be so overloaded
Basically, AT&T sucks. I've got DSL with them and had problems. That's OK but customer service couldn't get off the line quick enough. I felt like I was the problem. Switching to something/anything else soon.
For all you Apple bashers – Apple went to Verizon with the Iphone before signing with ATT. Verizon told them they weren't interested. Think about that when complaining about the "sorry exclusive" agreement with AT&T.
Maybe ask yourself why Apple makes only one phone while all the other manufacturers make so many? Do I really need 5 different Blackberries? Can't they or Nokia for instance make one that works?
I am an IT professional and also own an Iphone 3gs. It's the only piece of technology I've purchased that actually has improved with new features during my ownership. Can you say that about your mobile device?
It's also the only phone I was able to sell after 2+ years ($185.00) It's not perfect but by being in IT, I also have a realistic view of what to expect from technology.
I happen to be an original Iphone user, so slow 3g doesn't impact me. I don't do a ton of web surfing on the go, so edge is acceptable for me when I can use Wifi in the places i spend the most time.
I get amused by all the people that are such big fans of their preferred network. I would assume that most people make a rational decision of choosing the best combination of device/network that suits their needs. If somebody chooses a particular device in spite of a known network of questionable quality, I believe they have little room for complaint. I think that speaks to how compelling the device is.
Maybe all those people complaining that Apple doesn't sell a VZN version of the iphone should be mad at VZN for not having an equally compelling device!
All I know is AT&T have been bending me over ever since I purchased my first Iphone. I can't wait for the day I can effortlessly use my Iphone on any network I choose. Maybe with some real competition Apple will understand that their monopolistic stance has done nothing but screwed their customers. When something emergers on the market even closely superior to the Iphone, we will jump at the chance. Unfortunately Jobs is an innovator and the other offers are playing catch up or me too. But the day it happens, I wouldn't want to be holding AT&T stock. Without Iphone, they are in the toilet. So keep on screwing me AT&T. I am not one customer, but a household with many friends. So you don't piss off and lose one customer, you lose a generation of customers. Oh, and Uverse, another AT&T product that can't doesn't and obviously won't live up to the AT&T advertising.
It is just the crybabies in New York and San Francisco who are having problems...I think AT&T is great and they have the fastest network according to outside auditors.
"...but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services to more than 80 million customers"
Critical? Given the other article I just read, the critical nature is most likely young people looking at Youtube, Facebook, or porn.
I don't see what AT &Ts issue is. If everyone is paying them for that service it is their obligation to provide it. If they can't handle that many users, they shouldn't sell the service to more than they can handle. Its the same fraud that airlines pull by selling more tickets than seats. Here is a novel idea for AT&T Spend your money on improving your network, not on worthless commercials telling us how much better you are than verizon!!
As some of you suggested that this was a Denial of service attack , it is not. His idea was to just have all AT&T customers just simple use the network to its fullest, meaning watching HI-def video, downloading large files, manu more. If AT&T says their network is the best and can handle the load then why were they all but hurt about this? Normally AT&T hardly responds to these kinds of things because they don't care.
By : http://www.healthtipz.org
[...] Operation Chokehold. Fake Steve fails to bring AT&T to its knees. Even if he had, would anyone have [...]
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