AT&T has released a free iPhone App called "Mark the Spot" [iTunes link] that allows you to let AT&T know where exactly their service sucks. The app first uses GPS on the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and tower triangulation on the first generation iPhone, to mark the problem location and then allows the user to report it as a dropped call, failed call, no coverage, data failure, or poor voice quality and finally allows you to specify the frequency of the problem from once to always.
John Donovan, AT&T Chief Technology said in the AT&T press release "With AT&T Mark the Spot, we’re applying the power of crowdsourcing to our ongoing efforts to enhance and expand our network. Feedback from customers via AT&T Mark the Spot, combined with data from more than 964,000 miles of drive testing conducted by an independent third-party source, will enable us to most quickly and effectively identify trends and maximize the impact of our ongoing network investment. We encourage all customers to download and use the app."
The release of this app is most likely a direct result of the ongoing battle between AT&T and Verizon. A couple of months ago, Verizon started the "There's a map for that" campaign, a play on Apple's "There's an app for that" iPhone commercials. Since then, AT&T attempted to sue Verizon, the lawsuits were thrown out or dropped (like an AT&T call?) and now AT&T and Apple are both running anti-Verizon ads in response. If you haven't had a chance to see them, the commercials for AT&T and Verizon are available on both companies Facebook profiles as well as YouTube.
The app may also be an attempt by AT&T to appease customers and to try and rebuild the company’s image before it loses the iPhone exclusivity. It is widely speculated that AT&T could lose its exclusive grip on the iPhone in 2010 allowing T-Mobile US and Sprint to pick up Apple's smart phone. Verizon is also hotly rumored to get the iPhone in 2010 or 2011.