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Free2Go or TDMA/analog now being made *unusable* here in E..

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Anonymous
February 6, 2005 2:14:55 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

I've long been a fan of AT&T's (now Cingular's) TDMA/analog network in
Oregon. I have several family members who like to carry a limited-use phone
in their cars that's activated on Free2Go prepaid. I like that one because
we can get automatic $10/month recharge via credit card, and minutes accrue
for the occassional time when the person actually needs to use the phone.
Anyway, I find it to be a low-maintenance prepaid plan for folks with
limited need, and want a phone that works virtually anywhere any cell phone
will work. Note that they don't have to remember to recharge when they are
on the auto-refill plan, nor are they required to place a call every so many
days. They also don't have to navigate a freaking horrible 1800 number to
refill each time. Even though there may be cheaper per-minute prepaid plans
out there, I find Free2Go to be one of the most convenient to use.

Anyway, bought the first prepaid Free2go phone 3-4 years ago (can't remember
exactly) and now have 3 lines. Added the most recent line about two weeks
ago (Cingular still sells Free2go phones). I had bought the phone (Nokia
5160) on ebay for $15. The phone has been suffering a problem where it has
2-4 bars of digital signal, yet often fails to place calls. At first I
assumed it was the phone itself, but I have since verified that *all* of my
prepaid phones are suffering the same problem.

If you simply try to dial a number, you get a rapid busy sound, then the
phone drops the call almost immediately-- dropping you back to the AT&T or
Cingular screen. It's annoying as hell. To make a call any time of day,
you literally have to try at least 5 times. Doesn't matter which phone I
use, or what part of town I'm in. This is a recent change-- and a dramatic
degredation in service.

It seems to me Cingluar is doing something really shitty to their
TDMA/analog folks, and sending us the message they don't want us anymore by
simply making the service totally unusable. Since all of my current
TDMA/analog phones are Free2Go prepaid phones, it's also possible they are
somehow penalizing the prepaid users more than post-paid, but I doubt that's
the case. It's more likely they have removed capacity from the TDMA/analog
network (for all TDMA/analog users).

-Dan

PS: They may be hoping I'll move these lines to GoPhone, or one of their GSM
services. I will not do that. They continue to offer Free2go and were happy
to take my money just two weeks ago (around $100). If they continue to sell
a service, they should actually support it. This does piss me off. Note
that I would not be mad at all if they simply told me they no longer sell
TDMA/analog plans. Instead, they took my money and have made all of my
lines unusable, and I will not reward that sleezy behavior.

--

=======================
Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
http://cell.uoregon.edu

--
Anonymous
February 6, 2005 5:54:30 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

Dan Albrich wrote:
> I've long been a fan of AT&T's (now Cingular's) TDMA/analog network in
> Oregon. I have several family members who like to carry a limited-use phone
> in their cars that's activated on Free2Go prepaid. I like that one because
> we can get automatic $10/month recharge via credit card, and minutes accrue
> for the occassional time when the person actually needs to use the phone.
> Anyway, I find it to be a low-maintenance prepaid plan for folks with
> limited need, and want a phone that works virtually anywhere any cell phone
> will work. Note that they don't have to remember to recharge when they are
> on the auto-refill plan, nor are they required to place a call every so many
> days. They also don't have to navigate a freaking horrible 1800 number to
> refill each time. Even though there may be cheaper per-minute prepaid plans
> out there, I find Free2Go to be one of the most convenient to use.
>
> Anyway, bought the first prepaid Free2go phone 3-4 years ago (can't remember
> exactly) and now have 3 lines. Added the most recent line about two weeks
> ago (Cingular still sells Free2go phones). I had bought the phone (Nokia
> 5160) on ebay for $15. The phone has been suffering a problem where it has
> 2-4 bars of digital signal, yet often fails to place calls. At first I
> assumed it was the phone itself, but I have since verified that *all* of my
> prepaid phones are suffering the same problem.
>
> If you simply try to dial a number, you get a rapid busy sound, then the
> phone drops the call almost immediately-- dropping you back to the AT&T or
> Cingular screen. It's annoying as hell. To make a call any time of day,
> you literally have to try at least 5 times. Doesn't matter which phone I
> use, or what part of town I'm in. This is a recent change-- and a dramatic
> degredation in service.
>
> It seems to me Cingluar is doing something really shitty to their
> TDMA/analog folks, and sending us the message they don't want us anymore by
> simply making the service totally unusable. Since all of my current
> TDMA/analog phones are Free2Go prepaid phones, it's also possible they are
> somehow penalizing the prepaid users more than post-paid, but I doubt that's
> the case. It's more likely they have removed capacity from the TDMA/analog
> network (for all TDMA/analog users).
>
> -Dan
>
> PS: They may be hoping I'll move these lines to GoPhone, or one of their GSM
> services. I will not do that. They continue to offer Free2go and were happy
> to take my money just two weeks ago (around $100). If they continue to sell
> a service, they should actually support it. This does piss me off. Note
> that I would not be mad at all if they simply told me they no longer sell
> TDMA/analog plans. Instead, they took my money and have made all of my
> lines unusable, and I will not reward that sleezy behavior.

Dan--

Before getting too pissed off, don't make any assumptions. In my
markets (I live near Orlando, and accross a county line which is in
another market). In both areas, around Christmastime, service was
horrible. I experienced a sudden increase in dropped calls, 611 was
near impossible to connect to, and voice quality was like CDMA. I had
even tried to using my old GAIT phone to call 611 via TDMA, but could
not connect. This all happened over a span of 5 days to 2 weeks. We
think that there were 2 factors:
1) Tourists were in town, overloading the systems
2) There was a backend problem

There was one day between Christmas and New Year's that everything
changed. We could suddenly get through almost all the time, coverage
improved in some areas, dropped calls nearly dropped off, and voice
quality was back to GSM. It was like somebody flipped on a "Work Well"
switch, and everything has been great since then. I was even able to
hold a phone call for almost 3 hours with absolutely no problem.

Hopefully, it's just a minor hiccup in the system that will work itself
out within a short period of time.

Please keep us up to date as to the conidition of TDMA in your area.

TH
Anonymous
February 6, 2005 5:54:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

> Please keep us up to date as to the conidition of TDMA in your area.

Good point TH, they may be doing upgrades or something like that. If the
service is restored, all is forgiven. I'll followup here when/if things
return to usable state.

I sincerely hope you're idea is the right one.

-Dan


--

=======================
Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
http://cell.uoregon.edu

--
Anonymous
February 6, 2005 5:54:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

> Please keep us up to date as to the conidition of TDMA in your area.

--> An update for today... I went to the old AT&T store (now Cingular) and
explained this problem to a staff member. The young man I was working with
told me Cingular is aggressively killing off the TDMA/analog network, and
their store has been receiving many complaints similar to mine. He said the
bottom line is that I now have to switch my lines to GoPhone or GSM service.

Two things:
- The same store still has Free2Go phones out for sale, despite the fact
that their sales staff have been steering people away from TDMA/analog. If
they are killing it, why are they still selling new TDMA/analog service and
Free2Go?
- They happily took my money just two weeks ago for a new line of Free2Go
service-- and I specifically asked if the Free2Go service and TDMA/analog
would continue to be supported before I signed up another line (this makes 3
lines for me and my family).

I called 611 today to see if I would get the same story from them. They
encouraged me to turn off the phone and turn it back on daily. I hate it
when they give me an answer I know in advance will not work.

I did some more testing and playing around with the phones as I drove around
town today. What I notice is that the phones consistently get poor signal
in areas where the signal used to be good. In some cases I can still make
calls if I step outside, and cannot when inside of the house. This all
occurs in places where I used to get full digital signal.

The sales guy I was working with apologized for the poor service I have been
receiving, and added that he believes the company is now only worried about
the dollars and not about the customer. He did not believe that the
situation will improve.

-Dan

--

=======================
Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
http://cell.uoregon.edu

--
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 12:56:57 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

Dan,
The situation in Colorado is almost the same, but it does not appear to be
system-wide. What I experience is the occassional location where a TDMA
cell site seems to have quit working and it guarantess and area of no
coverage. However, after a week or, sadly, more, that site reappears. But
another appears, and last week it was the one closest to my home. What is
even more offensive is the site is located on my development's water tower.
I feel like voting to give them some kind of penalty, but as long as their
rent checks keep coming in, we have no legal recourse.

Where it is NOT happening is out among Cingular's TDMA roaming partners. It
just seems like a complete lack of timely maintenance on the ex-AT&T TDMA
network. If they were really trying to drive us off, why keep on a few
sites. Kill 'em all. I'm certain they're just making a low priority.

It is delightful to see Cingular expanding GSM as quickly as they are,
however, they aren't in my state. The bottom line is that both Cingular and
Verizon seem to be pushing expansion and there will be local differences,
especially where some roaming partners get their act together. I mean, can
you believe Wyoming now has some of the best GSM coverage in the nation?
Not through Cingular's efforts! But the ball is rolling.

BTW, I have 1-F2G, 1-Beyond & 1-CallPlus phone, and they're all suffering
like yours...in the dead spot de jour. No way will i use GoPhone. I
unlocked my GoPhone and use it on KIC.

Bill Radio
Click for Western U.S. Wireless Reviews at:
http://www.mountainwireless.com

"Dan Albrich" <dalbrich@uoregon.edui> wrote in message
news:z_ednSRCGvR0XpjfRVn-sw@comcast.com...
>
> It seems to me Cingluar is doing something really shitty to their
> TDMA/analog folks, and sending us the message they don't want us anymore
by
> simply making the service totally unusable. Since all of my current
> TDMA/analog phones are Free2Go prepaid phones, it's also possible they are
> somehow penalizing the prepaid users more than post-paid, but I doubt
that's
> the case. It's more likely they have removed capacity from the
TDMA/analog
> network (for all TDMA/analog users).
>
Anonymous
February 7, 2005 1:49:35 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

Hello Bill -

As usual I find your posts to be well reasoned and insightful. I suspect
what you describe is the case. I have to admit I'm a bit out of touch with
Cingular TDMA/analog because my primary lines are Verizon. I maintain 3
Free2Go and 1 ecallplus phones for family members, and I don't realize
things have gone to hell until they ask me for help with problems they
experience.

Maybe they'll repair the problems. Hard to know. I do know that I will not
purchase any additional former AT&T services whether Cingular claims to
provide or not.

Here's my prepaid desires (if anyone has ideas):
- Due to the complexity of adding time, and remembering to do so, I strongly
prefer one that let's you auto-refill with a credit card.
- I prefer one that accrues minutes, but that isn't critical.
- I prefer one that doesn't require you to make a call every X days, but
again not critical.
- I prefer one that includes roaming/rural coverage (higher rate per minute
is fine).
- The simpler the phone is to use, the better.

-Dan

PS: Free2go, when it works, addresses all of my important concerns. I
really loved both Free2go and the other AT&T network based prepaid options
in the past. I cannot have the phone be so unreliable that my grandparents
have to dial the same number 5 times to have the call go through.

--

=======================
Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
http://cell.uoregon.edu

--
Anonymous
February 8, 2005 3:29:37 AM

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.cingular (More info?)

Dan,
This is all in a state of change. With the $10 card available (and even
cheaper resellers) the Free2Go was among the best deals available. With no
minimum usage, it's perfect for a phone in a glove box that may not get seen
let alone used. I used CallPlus until they quadrupled the roaming rates.
Then switched to Beyond whose minutes do not expire, but still need to be
used once every 60 days. Their rates are so low the 4x roaming charge isn't
an issue. But jeez, when the AT&T sites disappear, then what?

The best otherwise has been T-Mobile to Go, but if they don't renew their
1-year expiration promotion, it's value will be reduced. Roaming here is
still limited.

I am using Cingular KIC more lately (which is not offered in the Rockies so
I have an L.A. account), and it works in more areas than they promise. I've
been roaming on Viaero and WW, and service has been included even though
they say KIC phones won't roam. If you've got Cingular GSM service now in
rural OR it's worth a try. I got a prepaid SIM on eBay for $5 and use it in
an unlocked Nokia. Minimum $6.66/mo. and no minimum calls. You can renew
on CC`automatically. The sad news there are no new AT&T/Cingular sites here
in 3 years. But if I were in your shoes, this may be the best next choice.

Have you looked for Speak Out at 7-Eleven? Their per-minute is cheap, the
minutes last a year and use all of Cingular, usually GSM, no minimum calls.
Downside is you need to buy their phone, but I've seen them for $40. If i
didn't have this old unlocked GoPhone, i would have gotten a Speak out phone
when visiting back east (they're not here, yet).

I was hoping the TDMA network would keep chugging along, but this state of
disrepair has relegated my first standby phone to even less than tertiary
status.

-Bill

"Dan Albrich" <dalbrich@uoregon.edui> wrote in message
news:2fOdnZiqhosNkprfRVn-2Q@comcast.com...
> Hello Bill -
>
>
> Here's my prepaid desires (if anyone has ideas):
> - Due to the complexity of adding time, and remembering to do so, I
strongly
> prefer one that let's you auto-refill with a credit card.
> - I prefer one that accrues minutes, but that isn't critical.
> - I prefer one that doesn't require you to make a call every X days, but
> again not critical.
> - I prefer one that includes roaming/rural coverage (higher rate per
minute
> is fine).
!