Steve, Steve, Steve…..
Yes, I know you’ve heard this before, but why is AT&T the exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone?
I love my iPhone. I had a first generation & now have a 3G. Of course no one told me until I was in the process of buying it that I do not have the 3G network in my area. Nope. Do NOT. At the time I bought it only two metro cities in Oklahoma had the 3G network. Now a few smaller cities have it, but it’s still not available to in my area. I like the speed of the 3G network, but the Edge network has been working fine for my needs. And there’s no complaint with the phone coverage. There are occasional dead spots with the AT&T towers when traveling, but no major complaints. Stay tuned for the COMPLAINTS in the next paragraph.
Right up until last week, things seemed pretty much hunky-dory with my AT&T mobile service. Let me begin by saying that my phone display has ALWAYS shown me the bars for phone coverage and next to the bars it has ALWAYS said AT&T.
I just returned from a two week trip away from home. The iPhone display looked the same. Now, get this.
One week into the trip, at precisely 2:33 a.m. a text message comes in and wakes everyone up from sound sleep. It frightened me because I was afraid it was a family emergency or something of equal importance. Nope. Not the case.
It was, in fact, a text message from AT&T which read as follows:
“Important AT&T FREE MSG: Your off-network wireless data
usage is violating the terms of your contract.
Please contact us at 800-331-0500 for details.”
I had no idea what it meant, but I dismissed it and tried to go back to sleep. Seriously, AT&T – 2:33 a.m. ??? Are you freaking kidding me?
The next morning, the display next to the bars read “Off Network” [the display on the mister’s iPhone still said AT&T] and I had an email from AT&T titled:
Excessive Domestic Off-Network Data Usage Alert for xxx-xxx-xxxx.
It read as follows:
Dear LELA MCCRACKEN,
Our systems have detected that you are transmitting a substantial amount of data while roaming in areas not directly served by AT&T. The Terms and Conditions of our data plans (including unlimited plans) provide an “off-net usage” allowance that is equal to the lesser of 24 megabytes or 20% of the megabytes included in your plan.
To assist you with knowing when you are using another carrier’s network, we have changed the label on your wireless data device screen to display “Off Network”. Please be aware of this network label and work to limit your data transmission while outside the AT&T data network boundaries. The AT&T data network coverage map is available at http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer
We are available to answer any questions you have by contacting us at 800-331-0500 and referencing keyword: “DRC_xxx”.
Completely unbelievable. So I did, in fact, call AT&T with questions. I first informed the young lady that I received a text at 2:33 a.m. telling me I was violating my contract. That seemed to stun her a little. Geez. The young lady then attempted to explain in very grey terms that I was using a tower not owned by AT&T and it was costing them money. AHEM. Yes, well. Poor AT&T. I explained to her that I knew AT&T had to pay for us to use other towers, but how exactly was I supposed to KNOW when I was ‘Off network’ if my iPhone display was reading AT&T? AND that with the amount of money that I give to AT&T each month, that I’m certainly not going to break the company by occasionally using another tower (even if I don’t know I’m using one!)
She seemed to understand and told me that’s why they changed the display to read “Off Network.” How handy. So I asked her exactly what that meant. Truthfully…I could tell she didn’t know. She mumbled around and finally said, well they’ll review your account in uh…about 6 months & then it might go back to saying AT&T. WHAT?? Holy Hell. Unreal. I said…oh, okay, so then … again… I won’t know when I’m “Off Network.” Hrm. What a wonderful idea [please read all the dripping sarcasm intended.] I said, “I’m going to be here another week – so, I’m not even supposed to check email?” Her suggestion (you’ll like this) well, maybe you could use your husband’s iPhone. LOL. OMG. I didn’t even bother to explain to her it’s THE SAME DAMN ACCOUNT. Good grief. She finally told me that if I kept using it off network they could eventually suspend my account. Laughable.
The story continues….(are you still reading?) The next day, I logged on to my AT&T account to check it for details. The first thing I saw was this greeting:
“Valued customer since 06/30/1998″ Wheeee. :-) I saw nothing of interest or helpful and logged off.
The next day I got an email from AT&T. It was titled: ATT_Update
The mail started:
Thank you for choosing AT&T!
This e-mail is to confirm and explain recent changes you made to your wireless account.
In your Customer Service Summary CSS you will find: blah, blah, blah……..
WHAT?? I DID NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES. PERIOD. NONE. Now what? So I called them AGAIN.
I explained that I had NOT made any changes to my knowledge and I wanted to check to see what had been changed. It turned out the only change was the one that AT&T had made to flag my account & change my display to “Off Network.” I said…”Okay, then, but I DIDN’T MAKE THE CHANGE, AT&T did.” She said…yes, but anytime something changes, that email gets sent. I told her, “Uhhuh, but it SHOULD say “…recent changes AT&T made.” She finally agreed.
And she went on to tell me that it would actually be 90 days when my account was reviewed again & if the off network usage had dropped, that the account would no longer be flagged & the display would revert to say “AT&T.” AGAIN, UNREAL. Seriously, AT&T, who thought this up? No place is there any information (that I can find) which says what the time frame is for using that ” 24 megabytes or 20% of the megabytes included in my plan.”
Seriously, is there anyone here who thinks AT&T will actually kill my account for these infractions that I didn’t even know I was committing? Would they rather do without my $149.00 per month for these two iPhones? Laughable.
So, Steve…..while you chose AT&T because you thought they had the best network – I guess you know by now, that there are a LOT of unhappy iPhone users. Let’s see what we can do about this.
Okay, Steve? Thanks! I knew we could count on you!