If your App Doesn’t work, is it T-Mobile’s Fault?

I just finished editing Melissa’s column for the September issue of PT. She told the story of trying to pay for parking with her cell phone (there was no other way to pay) and not being able to do so because her carrier was spotty in that area. She was in the mountains which are notorious for poor cell coverage.

She was reluctant to ‘blame’ anyone for her troubles, but she is much nicer than I. I put the blame solidly with the App provider.

There have been numerous stories of Apps not working because of cell phone problems. One concerns an App that didn’t work over high volume days like the Fourth of July, of Labor Day. There just wasn’t enough bandwidth to handle the thousands of phones that were glomming onto the carrier and although one could text and talk, the ability to use the App or frankly any other web based program was sketchy at best.

Once again, I see this as a App provider’s problem. As Melissa pointed out, she would have loved to have had a simple parking meter or Pay and Display machine so she could complete her purchase without worry.  Wouldn’t the salesperson for the App have been a lot better off telling his customer that there could be some problems with cell coverage and that perhaps a less digital, more mechanical solution might be in order.

Is it possible that a potential solution won’t work in every venue? Is it possible that finding an alternative could be quick and cheaper in the long run than fighting a battle with physics and mother nature? You aren’t going to win.


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One Response to If your App Doesn’t work, is it T-Mobile’s Fault?

  1. Peter Guest says:

    Not for the first time, I disagree with you John. I think that the fault lies squarely with the operator for using the wrong tool for the circumstances. I don’t know what the relevant app is and whether its good bad or indifferent. However it was the site operator who decided to utilise a tool that does not reliably work at that location. And that was clearly a bad decision. The decision was to my mind compounded by total reliance on a payment system that depends on a third party service, the cell phone network provider, which I guess they have no contract with, for their system to work.

    If a salesman sold the app to the operator as the tool for the job and the operator is so dumb they didn’t check that the network at the location was of sufficient strength to support the app; well, you can’t treat stupid.

    To me this is like trying to use a spanner to remove a screw, and then saying its a bad spanner when it proves inadequate.

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