AT&T Has randomly decided to disable the most-used feature of my phone.



  • I don't consider myself all that technically savvy, so please go easy on me. But I just absolutely had to share this, as it is the stupidest thing I have heard in a long time.

    Today I received a text message on my phone: "On 6/28/12, the IM Service accessed via the icon on your device will no longer be supported. For other options visit http://www.att.com/mobileim"

    I raised an eyebrow and checked the page... and proceeded to repeatedly bang my head against the desk. I bought a budget phone for the sole sake of typing lots of text messages while I'm away from the keyboard. I did not purchase a data plan, but an unlimited texting plan, and Mobile AIM / MSN was my phone's most-used feature. The WTF isn't that they're using "enforced obsolescence" and making me buy a new smartphone, it's how [i]obvious[/i] they're making it that they have absolutely no reason to do this.

    WTF #1: "Steady decline in instant messaging on non-smartphones". Yeah, I'd like to see the numbers here, because otherwise this doesn't mean anything to me except "more smartphones exist now". I'm betting that the only declining numbers involved are sales figures.

    WTF #2: Just the phrase "non-smartphones". Okay, so what exactly [i]is[/i] a smartphone? My Pantech Link is a budget phone, yes, but it has apps, an internet browser, an IM client, an E-mail client, calendar, camera, and a friggin GPS. The only other differences I can think of between my phone and a "smartphone" is that a "smartphone" costs a lot of money. Oh, and perhaps most smartphones have a touchscreen too... except most models of Blackberry, which is AT&T's top-line smartphone series. Yeah, I'm betting it's money.

    WTF #3:  Here's where my technical knowledge fails me, so correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't AIM basically a [i]protocol[/i]? That's how programs like Trillian can exist, because indie programmers can use the AIM protocol to connect with the official AIM servers using their own clients. So why the hell does it matter what kind of device is [i]using[/i] the protocol? If I have an AIM app on my phone, and a connection to my service provider, and that service provider is still honoring AIM communications from other models of phone besides mine, just what reason does AT&T have to kick me out besides the obvious fact that they want me to shell out for a brand new phone?

    To me, it's kind of like if Microsoft said "We have noticed a steady decline in the number of Windows 98 users, as users find new ways to do their computing. Therefore, starting next month, HTML will no longer be supported on machines running Windows 98. Check Microsoft.com for upgrading options."

    The only way this would make any kind of sense is if AT&T has a bunch of servers that specifically connect with "non-smartphones" and relay text messages to the AIM servers, and they are deciding that they want to shut these specific servers down. But I find it highly unlikely, especially since MSN / Windows Live Messenger is also getting shut down on my phone, despite it being a completely different protocol.

    Is AT&T really just blatantly screwing me over, or Is there something I'm just not seeing here?



  • Wait, so how were you using an AIM client without a data plan?



  •  For me, messages sent over the IM client count as text messages rather than data. Thus, signing up for unlimited texting allows me unlimited use of the IM client.



  • @BoringJames said:

     For me, messages sent over the IM client count as text messages rather than data. Thus, signing up for unlimited texting allows me unlimited use of the IM client.

    You should still be able to use AIM Txt. You receive texts and send commands from/to AIMAIM (246246). AT&T can't possibly be restricting that service; they'd firstly be putting the lie to unlimited texting and secondly AIM would destroy them; they're the ones who pay for their users to be able to use that service.



  • @BoringJames said:

    Is AT&T really just blatantly screwing me over, or Is there something I'm just not seeing here?

     

     The only thing you're not seeing is that they're blatantly screwing you over.

     



  • @BoringJames said:

     For me, messages sent over the IM client count as text messages rather than data. Thus, signing up for unlimited texting allows me unlimited use of the IM client.

    I could be wrong here, but it sounds like AT&T was providing the conversion between text messages and the IM services, since your "non-smartphone" doesn't directly support the IM protocols, and that's what they're discontinuing.

    Annoying if you made use of it a lot, but not that unusual.



  • Yes, they are screwing you over.

    How much do (did) you pay per text message anyway? A 2-minute YouTube video is about 10MB (10485760 bytes). A SMS is 140 bytes (about 1/75000th of that). You do the math (and same goes for voice calls). Be grateful they don't charge extra for "long-distance Internet connections" or "search engine usage".



  • @BoringJames said:

    WTF #1: "Steady decline in instant messaging on non-smartphones". Yeah, I'd like to see the numbers here, because otherwise this doesn't mean anything to me except "more smartphones exist now". I'm betting that the only declining numbers involved are sales figures.

    Probably also because people who use alternate IM clients (e.g. AIM, YM, MSN, etc) are either switching to smartphones or just not using them from their non-smartphones anymore (relying more and more on basic text messaging instead, which gets the job done just as well especially now as everyone has a phone and texting is practically universal).

     @BoringJames said:

    WTF #2: Just the phrase "non-smartphones". Okay, so what exactly is a smartphone? My Pantech Link is a budget phone, yes, but it has apps, an internet browser, an IM client, an E-mail client, calendar, camera, and a friggin GPS. The only other differences I can think of between my phone and a "smartphone" is that a "smartphone" costs a lot of money. Oh, and perhaps most smartphones have a touchscreen too... except most models of Blackberry, which is AT&T's top-line smartphone series. Yeah, I'm betting it's money.

     

    Smartphone generally refers to a device with more advanced features, usually requiring a constant data connection.  Currently the OSs considered to be Smartphone OS are iOS (iPhone), Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 (all of which are comparable to your typical desktop OS in terms of power and capabilities). Admitedly the line between what constitutes a smartphone vs. a non-smartphone/budget phone/featurephone is very blurry, especially considering that your typical non-smartphone today would have been considered a smartphone 3 years ago (btw, my previous phone - a non-smartphone - had a touchscreen, as does my wife's current non-smartphone, so even that isn't a differentiator. Alternatively I got my current ( admittedly lower-end) Android smartphone for free (subsidized by the data plan * 2 year contract)).

     



  • @_gaffer said:

    @BoringJames said:

     For me, messages sent over the IM client count as text messages rather than data. Thus, signing up for unlimited texting allows me unlimited use of the IM client.

    I could be wrong here, but it sounds like AT&T was providing the conversion between text messages and the IM services, since your "non-smartphone" doesn't directly support the IM protocols, and that's what they're discontinuing.

    Annoying if you made use of it a lot, but not that unusual.

    Concur. Something like that means, at minimum, AT&T has servers to maintain to make it happen. Someone at ATT decided the incremental revenue generated by the feature (which is actually more costly to them than plain texting) was no longer worth the cost to maintain the equipment. So they're canning it.

    It happens, get over it.



  • Yeah I use a Blackberry Curve 9300

    Im deaf and I use the IP Relay through AIM. Ever sine BB changed their AIM, I have spent endless hours trying to solve the problem, trying to get AIM working and running IP Relay, and now I can't make a IP Relay phone call, which is a nightmare, I have no way of calling people and no way of calling a taxi when I need a ride home from a rave.

     

    Its really a nightmare. its like they did this just to get at me and no one else.



  • Welcome to about 5 months ago...



  • @BoringJames said:

    Just the phrase "non-smartphones". Okay, so what exactly is a smartphone? My Pantech Link is a budget phone, yes, but it has apps, an internet browser, an IM client, an E-mail client, calendar, camera, and a friggin GPS. The only other differences I can think of between my phone and a "smartphone" is that a "smartphone" costs a lot of money. Oh, and perhaps most smartphones have a touchscreen too... except most models of Blackberry, which is AT&T's top-line smartphone series. Yeah, I'm betting it's money.
     

    You don't have a smartphone. You have a feature-phone aimed at teenage text-message addicts.

    But yes, AT&T has recently changed what certain devices are classed as. The new criteria seems to rotate around the operating system the phone runs. My wife's six year old Blackberry, her four year old Blackberry, her five year old Windows Mobile phone, and my seven year old Palm Treo are all 'smartphones'. But my five year old Sony has been bumped, and I lose my grandfathered Treo unlimited data plan. 


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @gnarlgynome said:

    ...deaf...
    ...rave.

    This explains so much.


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