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Is It Possible To Cancel AT&T GSM W/O A Fee???

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by S2kjer, Dec 24, 2002.

  1. S2kjer

    S2kjer New Member

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    Location:
    Phoenix
    My Phone:
    Nokia 6255i
    Wireless Provider(s):
    ALLTEL
    Is It Possible To Cancel AT&T GSM W/O A Fee???

    I have been using AT&T's service for about two months. I live in Phoenix, AZ and is seems since the first week I got it the service it has been getting poorer and poorer. I constantly have people that call me telling me they get fast busies, dead air, or all circuits busy. I get the same thing on outgoing calls. The signal in most places is also a joke, anytime I go in a multilevel building is I am on the ground floor I get no signal. I have called and complained over and over "after a minimum wait of 15 minutes" and told them I want out and I WILL NOT pay the disconnect penalty because they are not providing dependable service. The basically say the service is limited and they are constantly improving it. They also said they will not waive the disconnect fee. Does anyone have any different suggestions for me on how to get out of the worse wireless experience of my life???????

    Any advice would really be appreciated.....
    Thanks,
     
  2. asatoran

    asatoran Junior Member
    Junior Member

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    This is not what you really want to hear so try to read this calmly.

    No provider will guarantee 100% reception in all places. (That's the really, really ultra-fine print.) That's because this is radio and geography and terrain makes a difference. Office buildings are reinforced concrete. All that metal will always be a problem. The laws of physics, blah, bla, blah. Unless the building owners put a external antenna & repeater in the building, you're always going to have a problem in buildings.

    AT&T has a 15day cancellation period (I think) and a 30day exchange policy on the phone. Since you are 2mo, sorry, you're in the contract.

    Now for what you can do. Try a different phone. Yes, some phones get better reception than others. In general, phones with external antennas do better than phones with internal antennas. They might be ugly, but they work. Also, you've had the T68 & 8390, both internal antennas. Make sure that when you talk, you're not covering the antenna with your hand. Every liitle bit helps. I personally use a headset so I can point the phone for best reception. (My house gets 0-1 bar on the meter, maybe 2 if I stand in the living room.) I had a T68 but I usually got 0 bars. I switched to the Moto T720 which at least gets me 1 bar. But I still can't hold a conversation at my home. I borrowed a friend's Ericsson 520 and it was almost usable. If it wasn't so big, I'd switch to that. (BTW, AT&T don't offer the 520, you'd have to buy it unlocked somewhere.)

    My point is that you might have to give up the "cool" phones if reception is a top priority. Also, GSM service is just starting w/AT&T so it's going to be awhile before they improve coverage...but don't hold your breath. See if you can talk a manager into allowing you to exchanges phones. Don't speak to the floor reps because they have no authority to help you. Speak calmly otherwise the manager will stonewall. Luck be with thee.

    Otherwise, buy another phone & sell yours on eBay or something. If you do get another phone, make sure it works for AT&T or is unlocked.

    You could also try another provider. If you can afford it, you could try signing up with someone else, then cancel within the cancellation period if the reception is still bad. Verify what the terms are before signing up. But don't expect much better unless you happen to be closer to that provider's transmitter. Again, location, location, location, location! I had all my friends report their coverage near my house. Crappy for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint & Nextel. In other words, no matter who I change to, I'd get bad reception. Right now, I'm looking to put an antenna on my roof to help me but that might be too extreme for you.
     
  3. S2kjer

    S2kjer New Member

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    Location:
    Phoenix
    My Phone:
    Nokia 6255i
    Wireless Provider(s):
    ALLTEL
    I know all about issues with the signal and no I don't expect it to work EVERYWHERE..
    But the thing that really gets me ticked is the constant fast busies, all circuits busy, and dead air, the no signal in the middle of metro Phoenix just adds to my anger.
    AT&T obviously knows that their system is overloaded and it should be no surprise to them especially when they offered an unlimited minutes plan right from the startup of their GSM service...

    So does anyone have any suggestions on how to bail without getting nailed with that termination fee?
     
  4. parthery

    parthery Senior Member
    Senior Member

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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    My Phone:
    BlackBerry 9810
    Wireless Provider(s):
    AT&T
    If you are getting fast busys, etc...you may have a bad phone....From my experience with AT&Ts GSM product, the coverage is actually better than on the TDMA side (thats because the "Cells" are actually smaller.


    I would call AT&Ts warranty exchange department...go the route of swapping your phone, and see if your service improves.
     
  5. LRCasey

    LRCasey New Member

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    AT&T's GSM vs TDMA coverage really varies by area. In the SF South Bay, the GSM coverage doesn't even come close to the TDMA coverage.

    -Larry
     
  6. S2kjer

    S2kjer New Member

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    Location:
    Phoenix
    My Phone:
    Nokia 6255i
    Wireless Provider(s):
    ALLTEL
    I have already tried that with my T68I... Swapped it out
    It actually happens on both of my phones

    It is a capacity issue, they obviously oversold the service here in Phoenix..
    When I visited Las Vegas it was twice as bad, absolute nightmare!
     
  7. dalbrich

    dalbrich Junior Member
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    One thing to keep in mind is that AT&T really can be a good provider. I do not like their GSM offerings one bit, however, I believe you could have a totally different experience on their traditional TDMA/analog plans. Buy a used Nokia 6160 or other classic (old, maybe ugly, but known to work well). The cost will be about $40. Have AT&T switch you to a TDMA/analog phone, and switch your rate plan accordingly. Do it soon because holiday promotions will end soon.

    Anyway, at least then you can get a service that works. I've very rarely seen anyone complain about AT&T's TDMA/analog service. I cannot say the same for GSM. The GSM service here in Eugene Oregon is completely rediculous (just see their map). In addition, it does not provide coverage in the same areas that TDMA coverage exists.
    i.e. I can name several places where a TDMA phone from AT&T works fine and the GSM phone will have zero signal. This is largely attributed to the 800Mhz TDMA/analog coverage where GSM is at 1900Mhz and has poor penetration. I'm not saying I know why, but you can carry a TDMA phone side by side with a GSM phone around this town and notice a *huge* descrepency in the quality of service.

    -Dan
     
  8. Faithless

    Faithless New Member

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    I just canceled my AT&T service today. Had to cough up $175, fortunately I am sending the bill to my work. [​IMG]

    Advice for ya: It is EXTREMELY difficult to get that early termination fee off. I've heard of 2 cases where that happend: both of them had to do w/ the carrier MAJORLY screwed up on billing. One case was a charge of $7000 (yeah, that's right, 7 grand) monthly bill for 2 months. The other was consistent abusive service by the store employee -> the friend in his case actually took a recorder and went to the store (3 times) then played the abusive nature of the said employee to the manager.

    Good luck..
     
  9. S2kjer

    S2kjer New Member

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    Location:
    Phoenix
    My Phone:
    Nokia 6255i
    Wireless Provider(s):
    ALLTEL
    Thanks for the advice

    As far as the TDMA goes.. Iin Phoenix it is worse than the GSM so forget that
    I am just gontg to cancel and write it off as a lesson in cell service!!!
     
  10. Jarrett

    Jarrett New Member

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    I wish I could give you good advice about how to get out of your contract. Unfortunately, I can't, however....misery loves company!

    I switched from AT&T TDMA service (which was awesome and which I have used since 1997) over to GSM about a week ago. The Ericsson T68i equippment is fantastic, but not real useful without dependable coverage and available network capacity. Sadly, AT&T does not appear to have this in place yet.

    I had the opportunity to check coverage throughout a large portion of coastal Southern California when I drove from Santa Barbara down to Santa Ana (Orange County) and back over Christmas. I had strong signal strength most of the way. However, I encountered a frustrating problem when returning to Santa Barbara on 12/26: the inability to place calls due to network traffic (this is Error #35, apparently a "top hit" on the GSM network). In the 6 years of my previous cellular service with AT&T, I was unable to place calls due to no available network capacity a total of maybe 8-10 times. This is the same number of times I was unable to place calls via the GSM network on 12/26. My suspicion was that, while AT&T has provided signal coverage throughout most of their existing calling areas, only a small fraction of their available network capacity is allocated to GSM traffic. I talked with AT&T customer service and they basically confirmed that this IS the case. That same "phenomenon" might explain the rapid degradation in service quality the previous post describes: as more and more customers switch to GSM, the limited capacity is rapidly used up until most users frequently find themselves without the ability to place or receive calls.

    I also wanted to use data service, so I attempted to add this to my calling plan on 12/27. Upon placing the order to add the service, I promptly lost all ability to use GPRS on my phone. Mysteriously, it worked perfectly before I tried formally adding the service. AT&T said they were having "issues" in the Santa Barbara area and were working on it. Tech support tried to help me individually twice on Saturday 12/28 but unsuccessfully.

    As for the signal strength, I have noticed that overall, the GSM signal appears to be weaker in most areas than TDMA was. However, the GSM sound quality does not appear to suffer very much due to weaker signals like I was used to exeriencing with weak TDMA signals. In most cases, even with only 2 of 5 signal strength bars, I can talk on my phone and it sounds pretty much as good as with 5 bars, unlike my TDMA handset which would start to break up and echo at 3 of 5 bars.

    I'm sold on GSM and I think that undoubtedly, it is the future. I can not say the same for AT&T's service though. My assessment is that AT&T deployed their network prematurely, and that they are not experienced enough with it to quickly solve problems to the extent that I can depend on ther service. I'll be opting out during my 30-day out period and switching over to T-Mobile, who seems to have the best rate plans and the longest history/most experience as a GSM provider. They also seem to have the most aggressive program around for expanding their service areas and I like their overall "vision" for the future of wireless communications, evidenced by really great ideas like the T-Mobile HotSpot 802.11b wireless access network in Starbucks Etc. I also like the affiliation with Duestch Telecom. No I don't work for them.

    My one recommendation for S2kjer would be to take the approach of telling AT&T that, rather than you paying them.....they should pay you. After all, you have been helping them "test out" their system for the past two months. At least that's what I felt like this past week......a beta tester![​IMG]
     
  11. ZaphodB

    ZaphodB Signal Go Down De Hole...
    Senior Member

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    Location:
    OC (USA) / 77 (FR)
    My Phone:
    LG VX5600
    Wireless Provider(s):
    Verizon(US) Orange(FR)
    I can't help you with the Phoenix area - but AT&T are working proactively on the SoCal area. Somewhere hidden two or three weeks deep in this forum is a list of the proposed towers just in the City of LA (which doesn't include things like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Burbank, etc.) - they proposed 75 towers. They know they have work to do.

    Also, your phone, the T68i, is well known for having poor signal strength. Try a different phone - I hear good things about the Nokia 7210.
     
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  12. Faithless

    Faithless New Member

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    this is part of the problem w/ AT&T's services. their TDMA's service coverage is great, but they have a limited range of bandwidth/frequency where they can allocate for their customers, and they -have to- split between their TDMA customers and their GSM customers (not evenly of course.. but u get my point)

    As times goes on (probably in late 2003) majority of the AT&T's service will be GSM based. But it doesn't help you now. I switched over to Verizon then now to Sprint because AT&T just couldn't provide the service that I wanted. This is why I recommend CDMA services to people whenever people ask me about cell phone services.
     

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