Fake Steve is calling on disgruntled AT&T customers to bring AT&T’s data network “to its knees” at 12 noon PST this Friday, December 18.
The action is in protest of comments made by a company executive that some iPhone users are using too much data. The protest started as a joke, but seems to have taking on a life of its own. Judging by comments on forums, Facebook and Twitter, people are planning to take part.
Contacted by CultofMac.com, an AT&T spokesman said:
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.
The AT&T spokesman doubted the action — if it goes ahead — will have much effect. There’s only about 300 participants committed to take part, according to a Facebook fan page set up for the event. The spokesman also claims that many have criticized the event: several have pointed out that the action may affect emergency calls.
Protesters plan to disrupt AT&T’s data network in several ways:
Turning off WiFi
Streaming YouTube videos
Streaming live video with the new UStream Live Broadcaster app (iTunes link)
Subject: Operation Chokehold
On Friday, December 18, at noon Pacific time, we will attempt to overwhelm the AT&T data network and bring it to its knees. The goal is to have every iPhone user (or as many as we can) turn on a data intensive app and run that app for one solid hour. Send the message to AT&T that we are sick of their substandard network and sick of their abusive comments. The idea is we’ll create a digital flash mob. We’re calling it in Operation Chokehold. Join us and speak truth to power!
“I made up the note,” said Dan Lyons, aka Fake Steve. “A reader sent in the opposite idea — a boycott of AT&T for one day, everyone stops using their iPhone for a day, and we show them what’s what. I liked the sentiment but who’s going to stop using their iPhone? And for a whole day? I figured no one would go for it. But a one-hour flash mob of overuse? Now that i could see people doing.”
The fake memo follows Fake Steve’s inspired and widely-linked anti-AT&T rant last week. Fake Steve’s diatribe was prompted by comments by A&T CEO Ralph de la Vega’s saying the carrier may “incentivize” iPhone users to cut back on their usage.
Note: Operation Chokehold may adversely affect AT&T’s voice network and block emergency calls.