Tag: ATT

Top five overlooked advantages of using AT&T for your wireless service

More Excuses In More PlacesMore Excuses In More Places ©

There’s been a lot of rumbling over AT&T’s wireless network, with particular emphasis on iPhone users’ data hogging and Verizon’s supposedly superior network quality. AT&T customers have some valid gripes over the lack of network investment, and those of us who have been with AT&T and/or Cingular for years and now use 3G “dumbphones” are definitely miffed at the dropped calls and voice mail notifications after no-rings. Fortunately, some of us don’t need to be connected 24/7. We realize we’re really not all that important in the grand scheme, and intelligent enough to comprehend that a little unavailability can go a long way to making life that much better.

With that in mind, I’ve assembled the top five reasons you should WANT to be on AT&T’s wireless network…

  1. You’re playing hooky, and going fishing. On the way to the river your boss calls, asking why you are not in the third “Kum Ba Yah” meeting this month on how to cooperate with your fellow employees so they can get promoted on the back of your work. You start your response with “I’ve got a lead on…” and then simply hang up. When you return to the office your boss accuses you of avoiding them. Your retort: “I was headed into an impromptu meeting downtown, and I use AT&T.” To top it off, you were actually taking that lead fishing for the day. They have a banner outing, you get a big contract from them, and get promoted instead of those cubicle critters.
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  3. Your mother-in-law calls. You don’t like your mother-in-law, so you hang up on her mid-sentence. If she calls back and asks you why you hung up on her you just say “I was walking into Target to buy some toys for the kids, and I’m on AT&T.” She doesn’t believe you because she hates you too. So she calls your spouse with a mind to bitch, but your spouse is actually in Target buying some toys for the kids. That call drops, meaning you’re safe because you doubled down on AT&T.
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  5. You have this client from a couple of years back who continues to call for advice. Repeat business is good, but each time you mention a new retainer, they say they’ll get right on it but never do. Good thing you’ve got AT&T. Take the next call, cordially, and ask them a few deep questions about their business. In the middle of a particularly insightful one, hang up. They’ll definitely call back, because they think you work for free (and you’re good). Throw out another brilliant question, and at the beginning of their response, hang up again. They’ll soon cut you a check, and won’t forget to mention the wireless network they use. You then thank THEM for the advice.
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  7. Your ex keeps calling you. You’re a bit non-confrontational, and don’t want to hurt their feelings either. If you don’t pick up the phone, they just keep calling. So you answer instead, generate small talk for 30 seconds, and then hang up. You do this several times, and after each exclaim “I’m really sorry” and divert the blame to AT&T. They offer to put you on their family plan, but you decline with sympathetic tones regarding their need to budget appropriately in this tough economic climate. They are soon telling their friends you are a wonderful, caring person, and things simply didn’t work out.
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    And finally…

  9. You actually are a pretty important person. People love you, and you’ve maxed out on your Facebook connections count. Your phone rings off the hook, and an unlimited texting plan is a must. You enjoy this life, but sadly you live in a state where hands-free cell phone use is mandatory while driving. One day you’re scooting down the road, making plans to meet many of your many friends for happy hour, and a cop stops you and writes you a ticket. You show up in court. The judge says you’ve been charged with violating the Cell Phone Use While Driving Act. How do you plead? Not guilty, of course. When the judge asks for your reasoning, you state “That’s simply impossible, your Honor. Because I’m on AT&T!”

Case dismissed.

Disclosure: “More Excuses In More Places” is copyright under a Creative Commons License. Any likeness to actual tag lines is simply random chance (kind of like completing an entire phone call using AT&T Wireless). All logos are the property of their respective carriers.

Blackberry lost me (UPDATED)

It doesn’t mean I’ll never go back, but they’ve lost me for now. While I enjoyed using the Curve, the poor Mac support (for sync-ing and file exchange) combined with what might be the most overlooked security issue from an otherwise highly regarded system I’ve seen in a while (notwithstanding Microsoft Windows), forced a switch.

I’m back to the Nokia S60 platform, with a 6650. It’s roughly the same weight as a Curve, but with a measurably smaller feel in the pocket. And while AT&T has cavorted with Nokia to wrap in as many proprietary features as possible, the fact that there are still plenty of folks hacking Symbian means I’ve been able to find work-arounds or substitute applications for most anything I disliked.

I’m not missing the constant email pings, and I hope I’m providing more thoughtful responses from the desktop too. Yea, I feel a little out of place sans a qwerty keyboard, but my thumbs will adjust – the Blackberry’s phone reception (you know, the ‘talking’ function) was also great, but the Nokia’s just as. Additionally, AT&T customer service was superb throughout the move.

UPDATE: Not a bad move after all (at least if I want reception) – the 6650 is 3G.

UPDATE 2: Kara Swisher says goodbye too (although I’m unimpressed by the justification for all the iFarts).

Irony in AT&T customer service

I use a lot of SMS, and so do some of my friends (particularly the expatriates). Those SMS threads get long, and my Blackberry had been crapping out with Java exceptions. I drop into an AT&T store, and they give me two options: 1) go home, call customer service, and they’ll probably replace the phone, or 2) wipe the Blackberry and start over, hoping that would solve the problem. I couldn’t really do the latter in store without backing up some data, so I opted to try it from home first.

Last night I finally got around to syncing, and started the phone wipe. At first the menu remained, while a little submenu stated “Erasing” while displaying a little hourglass. Roughly an hour later, the phone’s still spinning, and I assume it’s just the screen locked because of another Java problem. I pull the battery and replace. Now, I’ve got a white screen with a spinning hourglass, and a network light blinking red. I watch that for another hour fifteen before I move to phase two.

The Service

I call AT&T, and meet the usual business customer care. They in turn transfer me to technical support, but not until after asking me what else they could do for me today. Of course, there isn’t a hell of a lot I can do when the phone is dead, so I decline any “additional support.” Upon transfer to tech, I sit on the phone for roughly 15 20 25 30 35 minutes, while the recorded message rolls through pitch after pitch. Interestingly, those offers are dispersed with messages that sound like they should be to the customer service rep. They say things like “Notify your customer that expected wait times are long, and reset their expectation” and “Have you upsold your customer for additional services?” That isn’t verbatim, but you get the idea – the transfer obviously didn’t go smoothly.

Eventually I get a technical support rep, and they have me take out the battery (again). Nothing works there, and I’m pushed to the warranty department (but I’ll qualify that that the tech support dude was pretty kind about it all). I’m now in the queue. 10 15 20 25 minutes pass before I get a human. The matter is “quickly” resolved – the Blackberry is under warranty and they are sending me a new one. In five to seven days.

The Irony

I left the phone sitting on my desk with that little hourglass spinning. I went out to walk the dog. I returned to the same.

Interestingly, a bit later the phone reboots – it’s now wiped and everything looks fine. My guess is the combination of password and content protection (i.e. encryption) and 1,000+ contacts, a full calendar, all my Entourage notes, etc. took a lot longer than anyone expected.

Despite being quite caring on the phone, if AT&T had taken another hour to answer in the first place, the problem would have been solved!

Epilogue

I called AT&T back to see if they could cancel the replacement – it isn’t happening. So, the replacement device goes right back where it came from (in five to seven days) unless those Java exceptions start reappearing again. And, despite all the commentary about how bad AT&T customer service is, my experience wasn’t bad at all. Yes, I was on hold for quite a while, but I did call in the evening (so that’s expected). Second, everyone was courteous…actually extremely pleasant. I got the feeling they were actually jumping through hoops for me. Maybe it’s my phone voice.

UPDATE: The Java errors returned almost immediately. And the next morning, my phone was back in white-screen/hourglass mode – I set it for automatic turnoff each evening, and it wakes with the alarm – the thing was obviously toast.

Someone didn’t get the memo about daylight savings time

Maybe it’s just a cruel joke on me.

Last night at about 10:00 pm my Blackberry clock fell back an hour. I checked the time on the laptop, and sure enough it said eleven. At first I thought I’d wake up in the morning and the laptop would have changed, but this morning that hadn’t happened. Immediately, I blamed Apple and their updates, but as it turns out that’s not the case – Apple pushed updates long ago, and time isn’t supposed to change until next week.

[singlepic id=421 w=100 h=75 float=left] [singlepic id=200 w=100 h=75 float=right]The perpetrator is the Blackberry. I check my time settings, and found device time an hour behind network time. Strangely, however, my phone is set to update on network time, but an adjustment didn’t happen. Who do I charge that hour to? Eh…the dog doesn’t mind either way.

UPDATE: I wasn’t the only one.

AT&T loses grip on data

Not as though that this something new, after AT&T was found handing the NSA data, but there is a twist. Instead of the info being phone call records, handed out voluntarily, this time it is credit card data taken by “unauthorized personnel” (uh..hackers).

The potential victims (estimated at 19,000) are folks who purchased products and services from AT&T’s website. No worries there – anyone affected will be liable for no more than the standard $50 or so that applies in the case of credit card fraud. Nonetheless, AT&T has made a point of promptly notifying everyone involved. Good for them.

***UPDATE***

Unfortunately, that data is purportedly being used for phishing attacks. Yes, already.

And then there were three

Sources say AT&T is closing in on BellSouth, in a deal worth a $65 billion.

Such a move would give AT&T/SBC coverage in wireline across the nation, as well as bring together the owners of Cingular Wireless (which purchased AT&T’s wireless offering not too long ago).

Any deal would require approval from antitrust authorities as well as the Federal Communications Commission.

“The deal is likely to be approved,” said Blair Levin, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus and a former Federal Communications Commission chief of staff. “The government has already given us a road map and it had very few speedbumps and much less brick walls for this kind of transaction.”

He said the government would likely seek similar conditions to this transaction that were placed on the AT&T-SBC deal, which included providing competitors access to some buildings, some price controls, and ensuring customers have unfettered access to the Internet.

You have to love the “unfettered access to the Internet” part. BellSouth is exactly the ones screaming for more dough from content providers while they haphazardly drop prices to consumers, all the while complaining that they can’t recover bandwidth costs.

If there was a really good way to stifle telecomm innovation while positioning one’s self to cram more internet control down consumers’ and content providers’ throats, this is it. But none of that is for certain.

The only thing in fact that is for certain – another big round of layoffs.
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Too Much Competition!

As if worrying about Bill Gate’s “end of spam” prediction wasn’t enough to throw me into depression, I now see there is a telco starting up a news service for security professionals. Spamroll is no great shakes to begin with, but the competition is just too much!

Tops on the list of news will be headlines such as “AT&T Does Something? About Spam” and “AT&T Did This? in the Spyware Wars” and “AT&T Lobbies Someone? About Computer Security.”

Nail in the coffin.