AT&T Fail: Coachella Has an iPhone App But No Actual iPhone Service

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Image via Sean Osteen/Flickr
There's a reason we prefer to be chained to our computers. While complaints about AT&T service are a dime a dozen, we hear the situation is particularly dire at this year's Coachella music festival, where attendees are reporting text message delays up to six hours as well as a lack of ability to browse the Internet, post to Twitter, or check Facebook.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Coachella iPhone app is also apparently a massive failure, with one attendee remarking on the greater utility of a piece of paper.

"The whole thing is a fucking dead zone," a source in Indio tells the SF Weekly. The running joke is that the service is purposefully down so no one can tweet about how poorly the festival is run, as this is the first year where security volunteers are manning the lines, with the requisite chaos ensuing.

Concert promoter GoldenVoice has not answered our email inquiries as to why no one thought to increase antennas or bring in more bandwidth -- like AT&T did at this year's SXSW festival.

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Bill Jensen
How much do you want to bet this is a prop iPhone?

When contacted, representatives from AT&T relayed their basic corporate spiel via Twitter, "We're working on optimizing performance out there." They also reminded us that the festival has AT&T wifi, which you have to pay for if you're not an AT&T customer and flat out does not work.

With the above connectivity issues, GoldenVoice is throwing away the opportunity for massive #Coachella social media traffic because of poor infrastructure planning.

Perhaps no one thought to set up repeater towers because Coachella doesn't necessarily attract complain-y power bloggers and techies like SXSW Interactive (and by proxy SXSW Music) -- yet another case of the squeaky iPhone getting the grease.

Update: The party line from Seth Bloom, AT&T's answer to angry iPhone users.

"With huge expected crowds and Coachella's remote location, AT&T has added wireless and Wi-Fi network capacity at the event. We deployed two COWs, or Cell on Wheels mobile cell sites, additional backhaul capacity, as well as AT&T Wi-Fi coverage throughout the festival grounds.

In any situation where a large number of people in a dense area are using smartphones -- particularly in a remote area where network resources are limited -- periods of network congestion can occur. Our network engineers are monitoring network performance 24/7, and will continue to work to optimize network performance for the large number of mobile broadband customers at Coachella."

Read more Coachella coverage in "Day 1: Coachella Clusterfuck." 
 


Follow us on Twitter at @alexiat and @sfweekly.




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