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AT&T teases iPhone customers again

Here's one for the "D'Oh!" file.

CNet.com reported that for the second time, AT&T mistakenly published a notice on its Web site telling Apple iPhone users that they would get free Wi-Fi access to the wireless carrier's 17,000-plus hotspots around the country.

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Once tech bloggers picked up on it Friday morning (after it was discovered that a notice had been posted on AT&T's Web site and stayed up there til about 8:30 a.m.), the notice was removed by 9:30 a.m., CNet reported. The notice said:

Turns out, it's not true, though. AT&T posted it by mistake.

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We would normally just laugh this off, but same thing happened in May when AT&T first launched free Wi-Fi access to its Laptop Connect customers, who subscribe to the company's 3G data service for laptops. CNet said AT&T also posted a free Wi-Fi notice and then took it down after confessing that it was published in error.

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Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. (I know I know, that's not the exact line, but I was in the mood to say something hokey and cheesy).

How goofy is that? When you're launching a sophisticated product like the iPhone, I can't imagine it's a good idea to tick off consumers with bad info about what's available to them as customers. Also, it's never good to dangle free stuff in front of customers and then take it back. This might not matter to iPhone devotees, but for the rest of us, it would make us think twice.

I've told you before, I don't have an iPhone. Part of the reason why I don't have an iPhone, even though I think it's a very, very pretty technogadget I wouldn't mind owning, is due to the fact that I like my cellular carrier, which is not AT&T.

I don't have anything against AT&T. Many people I know swear by AT&T. I used to be with AT&T many, many years ago, but the service was spotty and I could never get a signal in my home. That made my cell phone pretty useless. So my big issue with the iPhone is that it would force me to do business with one specific carrier and I don't like being forced to do business with anyone. I like to have a choice, so I choose not to get the iPhone until it opens itself up to other carriers.

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