Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

AT&T survives Operation Chokehold

December 18, 2009: 4:24 PM ET

Ma Bell's wireless network is still standing after Friday's grassroots iPhone attack

The appointed hour -- Friday, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. PST -- came and went and AT&T's (T) 3G cellular network had not been brought to its knees, despite the best efforts of thousands of Apple (AAPL) iPhone users.

"As far as I can tell, there's been no impact at all," wrote Dan Lyons in The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs at 12:19 p.m. "My iPhone is working just the same as ever. "

It was Lyons, writing as Fake Steve Jobs, who on Monday had encouraged iPhone owners to overwhelm AT&T's network by turning on a data-intensive app and running it for an hour. Operation Chokehold, as he dubbed it, was intended as a protest against AT&T's threatened imposition of data usage fees.

By Wednesday, after the FCC's chief of homeland security issued a stern warning, Lyons began to have second thoughts. But by then the protest had taken on a life of its own. See here.

Although there were scattered reports of slowdowns Friday on the Operation Chokehold Facebook page, AT&T's 3G network seemed to be holding up just fine.

"We don't know of any instances in which AT&T's service was degraded or brought offline," says John Rust, one of the "Three Musketeers" who managed Operation Chokehold's official website. "Yet at the same time, we consider the operation to be successful: we proved to AT&T that we believe that 'unlimited' should be 'unlimited,' and that it's not their job to redefine it."

In Brooklyn, where we were monitoring the network's performance, upload and download speeds actually increased during the first quarter hour. See the chart below.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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