'Operation Chokehold': Fake Steve Jobs Rallies iPhone Users to Cripple AT&T Network

Leander Kahney, who authors the popular blog "Cult of Mac," said that though it's difficult to anticipate the impact of the campaign, people are definitely getting on board.

"It looks like people are actually going to do this," he said, pointing to the members of the Facebook group who have said they'll take part. In his blog, he said an AT&T spokesman downplayed the effect of the campaign -- but that was when the group was only 300 members strong.

On Facebook and blog comments, campaign supporters are sharing tips and ideas about how to make the biggest dent.

But other iPhone users are piping up in support of AT&T.

"Guys, seriously, poor AT&T is doing their best to handle all this data. Why would we want to crash the system we all use so frequently, the one they are trying so hard to maintain for us?," wrote a Facebook user on the "Operation Chokehold" event page.

How Much Damage Could 'Operation Chokehold' Inflict?

Analysts say that AT&T is aware of its problems and campaigns such as "Operation Chokehold" don't improve the situation.

"It takes a lot of capital investment to build and operate and manage a network," said Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research.

Consumers have a right to be frustrated if they've been sold a service and believe they're not getting the quality of service they paid for, he said. But he added that griping about shoddy service while balking at potential price increases to fix the problem "strikes me as wanting to have your cake and eat it too."

"It's a limited resource," he said. "So if more and more people are competing for that limited resource, you have to invest."

And network researchers emphasize that the networks were not designed to support the data demands of the modern-day smart phone users.

"Think back to a few years ago and how many people were using data services. Almost everyone has one of these devices now," said Patrick Traynor, assistant professor in the Georgia Tech College of Computing. "It's difficult to build a network that can deal with such a boom in its usage in such a short time."

The amount of damage "Operation Chokehold" could potentially inflict on the network will depend on the density of the attackers, he said. He also said the impact would likely differ across geographic locations.

He declined to provide specific numbers about how many iPhone users it would take to make a dent, but said that in places that already draw the most complaints about network congestion and slowness, such as parts of California and New York City, "It's not going to take that many people to push it that much further."

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