Taking it to The Man: Operation Chokehold

iPhone users, angry at recent comments by AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega regarding his company’s plans to “incentivize” mobile data hogs to cut back on their usage, are not a happy bunch of campers.  One of them, known as Fake Steve Jobs, has publicly called for a “digital flash mob.”

“Operation Chokehold” encourages iPhone owners to use the most data-intensive apps for an hour, beginning at 3:00 pm, EST, on Friday, December 18th.  The goal of the, umm, project, is to shut down AT&T’s 3G data network and to “send a message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments.”

The engineers have asked me to serve as a kind of communications director for their efforts — soliciting ideas on what apps to use (Pandora (Pandora) may not be the best) and how to refine the attack on the network. If anyone has ideas, use the comment strings. Tell your friends. Get people involved. We have five days to create a movement and plan a major assault. As the Portuguese said during the Obama campaign: Si, se puede. — Fake Steve Jobs

According to the Christian Science Monitor, AT&T and the FCC have condemned the Fake Steve Jobs Plan.  AT&T states that the plan is “irresponsible and pointless.”  And the FCC believes that it’s a public safety concern.

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 for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog. –Unnamed AT&T Spokesman

What do you think?  Is AT&T getting what it deserves after promising “unlimited” data plans and then being annoyed when those users used a lot of data?  Is Fake Steve Jobs a threat to the communications system?  Will be interesting to see what happens — and how long AT&T can hold onto its monopoly on iPhones.

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  • JOHNSON

    On the 3G network now — and pandora.com is working just fine. Much ado about nothing? Or is it shutting down in certain cities. Working fine in Detroit!!!

  • Brandon

    Looks like it is working in some places, but not others. For example, I was just checking in here in Boston and it is working fine!

    Here are some status updates from other cities:

    http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/12/18/so-is-operation-chokehold-melting-att-in-your-area/

  • James O’Shea

    My iPhone is working fine here in Ferndale. Probably more of a coast thing. Wouldn’t wanna be in San Fran.

  • Mandy

    It was a bust here in Toledo. I checked my email around 3:30 pm and it loaded as fast as always. I love my iPhone and think the criticism of ATT is a bit overdone. Though I’ve heard it’s really bad in San Francisco and New York, where there is a lot more saturation.

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the updates, James and Mandy. I love my iPhone, but the ATT service can be annoying at times. Will be cool when there’s not a monopoly.