AT&T, Samsung And The “Sleep Of Death”

Updated with AT&T’s response

I have been an AT&T wireless customer for a long time. We have three phones on a family plan, two with data. We shell out a few thousand dollars a year to AT&T.

My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S2. It is a phone I’ve written about and really enjoy having.

Not now. Now I’m pissed.

Before Christmas AT&T sent out a software update. These are normally bug fixes and upgrades. It’s a way to make the phone better.

AT&T’s implementation of Android 4.0.4 broke the phone! I now suffer from a problem dubbed the “Sleep of Death.” Here’s the conversation from other unhappy campers on AT&T’s forum. It currently has 381 messages spread across 13 pages!

Randomly, while the screen is off and the phone ‘resting’, my AT&T Galaxy S2 locks up. Something very CPU intensive is taking place while the phone is incommunicado, because when you discover the problem the case is hot, the battery greatly depleted.

For me it happens four or five times a week. Some folks claim it happens three or four times a day.

There is no way to know you’ve suffered this fate until you go to use the phone and find it dead to-the-world. There’s no notice anyone’s sent a text or called! Texts will be received after a a reboot, but incoming call details are lost.

If you’re someone who calls a number and doesn’t leave voicemail, I might never know you contacted me.

AT&T’s update caused this problem. They know about it and acknowledge it. In fact JamieH posted this in AT&T’s customer forum:

Hey guys…

Great news

We worked with Samsung to research this issue and a fix will be available in the coming weeks. I don’t have any specific dates just yet but as soon as I do, I’ll post them here.

I want to note that this is a direct result of you discussing this issue in the forums and telling us what you are seeing. Great job.

That was January 23rd, 44 days ago. Six weeks plus is too long for a problem like this to fester! A later post from an AT&T Community Manager changed “coming weeks” to “soon.”

Because of coverage where I live, AT&T is my only totally viable option.

AT&T gets deservedly bad marks on many customer related concerns. Add this to the list of unacceptable behavior.

I thought you’d want to know.


AT&T responded via Twitter

@attcustomercare: @geofffox Waiting for Samsung to release update for us to release to our cust. No exact ETA. Check link periodically:

I responded to them

@geofffox: @ATTCustomerCare AT&T could pressure Samsung on its customers behalf or roll back this upgrade. Instead, it’s my problem, not yours.