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AT&T Bungles Free Wi-Fi Offering. Again And Again And Again

Several months ago, AT&T teased iPhone owners with on-again / off-again free access to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. In the end, the service was canned. This morning, a URL on AT&T's web site once again offered free Wi-Fi to iPhone owners -- and it was yanked, yet again. AT&T, what's the story?
Several months ago, AT&T teased iPhone owners with on-again / off-again free access to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. In the end, the service was canned. This morning, a URL on AT&T's web site once again offered free Wi-Fi to iPhone owners -- and it was yanked, yet again. AT&T, what's the story?This is bordering on ridiculous. It was bad enough several months ago. AT&T flip-flopped on the free Wi-Fi service several times in the course of one week. At one point, I was actually able to use the free services ... for one day. Then it went dark.

Today, I was pleased to see the early reports that the service was well and truly live. I found a real AT&T Web site that explained all the details, and that page linked to other sections of AT&T's Web site, providing iPhone users all the nitty-gritty they'd need to know to get up and going. Cool!

Or so I thought.

Just moments ago, I sat down in a Starbucks and decided to test the service out. I had no luck. A quick scan of my RSS feeds showed me the first few headlines exclaiming, once again, that AT&T had mistakenly published the Web page this morning announcing the service, and that it was indeed not really available. Sure enough, AT&T has pulled the Web site that was published this morning.

I can't think of a more bungled service release in recent memory. AT&T, does anyone know what's going on over there? Do you have any idea how incompetent this makes you look? As of 1:30 p.m. today, there are already a dozen headlines across the blogosphere talking about how AT&T has blown it on this one. I say that's press well deserved.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing