Phone companies doing a services bait-and-switch?

Are service providers using low-end poor-quality services as a way to upsell customers on newer (i.e. more expensive, better ARPU) offerings? Over at Telephony, they're asking the question.

AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest are all cited for different sins along the same theme. AT&T is allegedly downgrading 2G signal strength to beef up its 3G network, leaving some customers either to be stuck with lower quality 2G service or upgrading to a 3G iPhone. Verizon is supposedly neglecting its DSL network as it puts in FiOS.  And Qwest is accused of using interference with its fiber-to-the-node network as a "tool" to urge DSL customers to switch to FTTN.

In Little Rock, Ark., one customer trying to move his landline and DSL service to a new physical address encountered delays in his DSL installation. After three months, instead of getting DSL, he has received a suggestion to upgrade to U-verse VoIP. 

Having personally suffered through some of Verizon's more, ahem, challenging customer "service" when moving to a house within the same zip code as the previous one, this reporter isn't sure if he would choose intentional malice over poor practices. Certainly, consumer customer service since the "bad old days" of monopoly has suffered.

For more:
- Telephony blogs on upgrading or else.

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