Back at the end of 2009 when AT&T introduced its Mark the Spot app, some were skeptical that the location-aware self-reporting tool for coverage issues and dropped calls was anything more than a sop tossed to irked iPhone owners in the interest of better PR for the cell carrier.
Still, like the 'close door' button in a high-rise elevator, any opportunity for feedback or a sense of control is eagerly seized upon by us crazy hairless primates, and the presumed database of GPS-tagged trouble spots has been accumulating. Where, however, are the improvements? The new towers? The carefully tweaked coverage maps? Is this thing even on?
Apparently, it is. We've gotten a few reports from readers who say that they've received surprise free texts from AT&T, telling them about network improvements directly linked to their feedback on poor coverage. The message is as follows...
AT&T Free Msg: AT&T appreciates your Mark the Spot feedback from Nevada City CA on 12/24/2009. We are pleased to inform you that we have a new cell site planned near your submission in the next 60-90 days. If you have any further comments or feedback, you may reply to this msg for free. Thank you, AT&T.
Isn't it nice to know that someone is listening? We reached out to AT&T's media relations folk for comment and quantitative info about the app's reports:
"AT&T's network team uses the data to address issues that can be immediately resolved, optimize coverage and capacity needs, and plan for future network investment. Combined with other data we get continually, this customer feedback is supporting our efforts to maintain and enhance our wireless network. To date, the feedback provided by customers using the app has already contributed to AT&T's short and long-term network planning."
The app has been downloaded over one million times, according to AT&T. It's also notable that the current version of the app includes AT&T's Wi-Fi locations and allows you to nominate businesses as hotspot candidates. That's one way to speed things up.
Thanks to Steve and Michael for the tip.
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