AT&T’s effort to Shut Down Cell Phone Boosters Goes in Vein

AT&T filed a lawsuit against Digital Antenna for causing interference in Southern Florida. The interfering amp was installed in a large yacht at a shipyard when finally traced and shut down. It apparently had no oscillation detection and shut down, or if it did, it malfunctioned. More specifics are available here:

The judge hearing the case, Judge Patricia Seitz ruled in favor of Digital Antenna. She dismissed AT&T’s false advertising claims for lack of prudential standing. AT&T’s trademark infringement claim (which is significantly narrower) survives, although Judge Seitz expressed skepticism about the factual predicate for that claim as well. In addition, she denied AT&T’s request for a preliminary injunction on the surviving claims.

The best part was the judge’s handling of the interference events. She noted that the two primary instances resulted from user mis-installation of the product, not from the product’s design or intended operation. She also warned AT&T that it had not tied the manufacturer’s actions with any harm to AT&T, either in terms of disaffected customers or Digital’s product-induced disruption events.

We strongly believe that there are more cell site failures from power outages, site equipment failures, or acts of nature than from booster induced events. Boosters are good for carriers as a customer satisfaction and retention tool. What is the problem? Could the carriers be willing to kill a product that when properly designed can actually help them, in order to limit open access? We hope not, but what could it be?