‘Towering’ problem for AT&T customers

Contract expiration gets blame for poor, non-existent service in Rockdale area

Local AT&T cellular phone customers are finally getting some answers to why their service has been interrupted and in some cases non-existent.

In the process of several phone calls to AT&T and its technical support staff, The Reporter learned that it all stems from a contract with a roaming tower provider that has ended.

A company, whose tower in the Rockdale area that AT&T held a contract with for use in “roaming services,” has cut its ties to AT&T, thus no longer allowing the phone company to use that tower for its cellular service.

The only other tower within a 25-mile radius that has an AT&T node is located in Milano and it only has one “node,” according to a AT&T spokesperson.

The AT&T representative described a node as an apparatus placed on a tower that allows for AT&T customers to use that tower for service, even though it is not owned by AT&T.

Many local AT&T customers have also been told that the service interruption was a SIM card problem with phones rather than a tower issue.

During a phone call with an unidentified AT&T technical support representative on Friday, The Reporter was informed that it was not a SIM card issue and that the company was aware of “a large amount” of tickets (reports) on the issue.

He also stated that the process to begin installation of additional nodes on that one tower nearest Rockdale were under way, but that certain projections have to be configured before work could begin.

He was unable to give a timetable on when the problem might be resolved.

“We have not dropped Rockdale from coverage... it is just a lot of people trying to use that one node on that one tower all at one time,” the technician said.

In another attempt for more information on Sunday, The Reporter was told that it could be 60 days before any decisions were made by AT&T on how to proceed.

Tim McMasters, a customer retention manager with AT&T, said that during that time the company will make a decision on what to offer customers who are affected.

McMasters could not tell The Reporter why customers were/are being told the probem is a SIM card issue.

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2013-01-03 digital edition

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