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Cingular-AT&T Wireless Merger Complete 331

Posted by timothy
from the consummation-or-consumption dept.
bigmase521 writes "PRNNewsWire, Phonescoop.com, and this thread on Howardforums.com, are reporting that the Cingular/AT&T Wireless Merger is now complete. Cingular bought out AT&T Wireless for ~$41B to become the nations largest cellular provider. Details of the merger, and full press coverage, including the audio of this afternoon's conference call can be found here, and Cingular and AT&T customers can see what is/isn't changing for them at newcingular.com."
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Cingular-AT&T Wireless Merger Complete

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:51PM (#10638916) Homepage Journal
    Its too bad this could not have taken place sooner. I dumped AT&T a few months ago due to very poor customer service and because AT&T had absurdly high rates for international calling when I travel (calls from New Zealand to the US were something like $8.00/minute with AT&T) I went with T-Mobile at the time and have been for the most part satisfied, although coverage in remote areas of the American West is weak due to a less well developed GSM network. After reading an article in the Wall St. Journal (not linked because its a subscription article) this morning, it turns out however, even if I had remained with AT&T nee Cingular I would have had to deal with the same coverage issues because Cingular will move their customers from TDMA phones to GSM phones.

    So, just like when the TDMA markets were rolling out some years ago, it took a couple years to expand them to remote areas. I suspect fairly uniform GSM coverage throughout remote areas in the near future. Perhaps if Cingular provides better service and lower rates, they might win myself and many others back.

    • I've had Cingular for 3-4 years now, and been very happy with it.

      Before that, years before, I had an Alltel phone.

      One thing I'm curious about, in the fairly limited time I've had a cell (about 4-5 years total) I've only really had 1 problem. Sometime this summer, it seems my phone was somehow dropped from the network...semi-permanently. Anyhow, I went to the Cingular store and they fixed it quickly, but what I'm curious about is, how many problems (or other experiences...) have you had over the years th
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:50AM (#10639435)
        Here's one (very long) experience.

        I just signed up for a new phone with my carrier, AT&T. I chose a refurbished Nokia phone (a 6820, if it matters). When it arrived, two of the buttons were completely broken and one more was hard to push. This made using the menus (and thus the phone) pretty much impossible. I called in and after a brief discussion, they told me they were going to ship me a replacement phone of the same model (still refurbished).

        It arrived the next day. This time, all the buttons worked, but when I tried to access the phone's IM (instant messaging) feature, it popped up a Java error. Now this is when I got a real taste of customer service.

        I called them and explained the whole situation (how I just signed up and how the first phone I got was broken so I needed a replacement, and how the replacement was broken too). The guy then put me on hold (the first of many, many holds) while he looked into the situation. When he got back, he started to walk me through the AIM-via-text-message setup procedure, which is something completely different. I explained to him that I don't think he and I were talking about the same thing, and that the first phone I got did not have this Java error. But apparently, that info was all he could find. Apparently, their databases didn't even have an entry for the IM menu on my phone, so he had no idea what I was talking about.

        I suggested to him that it seemed to be a software/firmware problem with the phone since the first one didn't have the problem, and I asked him if they could simply ship me another replacement like they did the first time. But he said no, they were all out of stock on that phone (but I just ordered it three days ago...?). After putting me on hold some more, he told me to go to a local AT&T Wireless retail store to "get the phone re-flashed".

        So I did. I found an AT&T Wireless retailer, but the lady there had apparently never seen the problem before. When I explained that customer service told me to go and get it re-flashed at her store, she just gave me a blank stare and asked "Reflashed? What's that?". Then we spoke to another guy at the same store, possibly a manager, and he said "Oh, wow... you need some high-tech stuff to do that. USB cables and such. We don't do that here." The lady chimed in, "In fact... none of the AT&T Wireless stores do." Then I asked why Customer Service sent me to them, and they didn't know either.

        So when I got home, I called customer service again and explained the whole situation all over again. This time, the technician on the line didn't know what re-flashing was either. He said it was a very strange suggestion for the original tech to have made. Then I asked him whether he could just ship me a replacement. He said no, they were out of stock. Then I told him that they were still available at the webpage, so they did have some phones left, and I asked if he could please check to make sure. He put me on hold for a while to talk to his manager, and when he got back, he told me that they didn't ship replacements out like that. I asked him how I got the first replacement, then, but he couldn't explain it. He did suggest, however, that I can go online and order another phone and they would pricematch it after I was billed. I told him my credit card's limit wasn't that high and so that wasn't an option. Then he just told me to call Warranty Exchange. I just thanked him and gave up for the night.

        Annoyed at the entire situation, I ignored it for few more days. I finally called back a few days later. This time, I was sick of explaining everything so I just asked the tech to look at my account notes. She did, and thought about it some. Then, to my surprise, she actually sympathized with the situation and offered to ship me a free replacement phone -- a new one this time, since the past two refurbished ones were both broken. I didn't ask for it; she just offered. I was glad, of course, but then she looked up the phone and foun
        • That's AT&T for you...

          On a (somewhat) related note, my purchased (OK, free after instant rebates) NEW Nokia 3588i (Sprint) is losing Menu, 1 and 6 (especially 6 - I have to take the faceplate off to get 6 to work).
        • Just goes to show you, all those high school dropouts that thought employment was easy have a long way in front of them.

          Sis works at an AT&T store with her husband. Both college degrees. I get to hear about some of their more colorful customers now and then... and they make more money than I do ;)
    • I dumped AT&T a few months ago due to very poor customer service and because AT&T had absurdly high rates for international calling when I travel (calls from New Zealand to the US were something like $8.00/minute with AT&T)

      Best thing to do is to obtain an unlocked phone.

      I bought an unlocked phone on ebay recently; While on layover in MIA, en route to Curaçao a few weeks ago, I was told by ATTWS that calls to the US from Curaçao would be $1.69/minute.

      It wasn't long before I found a
      • aah, phone unlocking.

        Greatest thing ever, IMHO. I'm both a Cingular and ATT customer at the moment. (long story short)
        I have 3 differnt phones (and rotate like girls rotate through shoes). All my phones are unlocked so it doesn't matter if I pop my cingular SIM into the ATT phone.

        Going international? Not a problem with calls (prepaid sim as the parent said).

        So, how to unlock?

        Firstly, IS IT ILLEGAL? I don't think so. Technically, even if "free", you paid for the phone when you signed the contract.
        • Kits are available on eBay to do this to most any phone. I unlocked/unbranded my Ericsson T616 and T68i this way ... all for a grand total of $15. The best part is that I was able to update the firmware in each phone to it's latest revision. This drastically improved the signal reception of my T616.
    • I had Voicestream/T-Mobile in a densly populated area in the East (Bergen County, NJ -- I live 10 or 15 miles from NYC, Paramus is here [I have been told it has the largest shopper to citizen ratio of any town/city in the US, and most of the stores are closed Sundays due to blue laws], and T-Mobile gave me the crappiest coverage I've seen. I stood in the middle of a major area highway (Route 4, it leads directly to the George Washington Bridge) and got nothing. Cingular used to use T-Mobile for east coast
    • I, for one, welcome our new Cingular overlords.

      My advice to Cingular on this buyout (if they'd have it?) Completely stomp all AT&T customer-facing EVERYTHING into irretrievable dust, and replace it with Cingular everything. Every drop of software, to the point of formatting any hard drive infested with any AT&T software or marketing. Drop every stupid, confusing plan, and replace it with an equivalent Cingular plan. Burn every marketing brochure, and hang on to the resumes of any former AT

      • Haha, yeah. I used to work customer service for AT&T Wireless, it really was awful. I thought the billing system we used for TDMA was terrible, then I got switched over to the GSM department and it was just the worst abomination ever. Once in GSM I longed for the relative simplicity of the TDMA billing system. Ugh, don't remind me.
      • I've got an AT&T GSM phone as well, in the MSP/St. Paul area - coverage is decent, in the cities. don't go north though, up here around Anoka it drops off. Hwy 65 is HORRIBLE. Oh, and go look at Cingular's service area - they don't even service ANYONE in Minnesota. Yeah. That's why I didn't look at them when I ended up picking AT&T. YET - Cingular has been advertising in our state for the last few years. AND THEY DON'T EVEN FREAKING OFFER ANY SERVICE IN THE STATE!
    • Well my friend, unlike you I've stuck with the att system, and I've been working with the retarded child of that system: Suncom. I live in Virginia, so this merger is supposed to directly affect me since Suncom itself is going to dissapear in the State of Virgina. I'm not quite sure what's going to happen to me .. or my plan .. or my SUPER SHITTY service, but even if they were to take my phone and slam it into a wall I'd probably be better off. Anyway, I'm posing the question you, slashdotters, what's ne
  • Network wierdness (Score:3, Informative)

    by CptChipJew (301983) <{michaelmiller} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:52PM (#10638923) Homepage Journal
    I have AT&T, and the area I live in (Los Angeles County) has lots of Cingular zones. Whenever my phone in on a Cingular network, I have to dial the area code of people I am trying to reach who are in the same area code as me. If you try to just dial the number without the area code, Cingular says it cant connect.

    This just happened to me again today, so this merger may be complete business-wise, but there are still bugs to work out of the network.
    • I've also had that oddity happen a few times with Cingular, but only when I've roamed out of my home area code. I suspect that since LA has many area codes in such close proximity you're probably roaming outside your area code more often than you would in, say, a larger (geographically speaking) sized area code.
    • Re:Network wierdness (Score:3, Informative)

      by JerkBoB (7130)
      I have to dial the area code of people I am trying to reach who are in the same area code as me.

      Get used to it. Lots of carriers in metro areas are moving to 10-digit dialing. Boston's been that way for years, and I know other big(ish) cities are doing the same thing. Now it's weird for me to see a 7-digit number, because I've gotten so used to the extra three digits.
    • All of the area code I live in [Bergen County, NJ] and surrounding area codes always have to dial 10 digits, 11 digits for out of the region.
      That being said, any cellphone I used here (even old analog ones before digital networks were popular) requires/-ed the area code to be dialed.
    • I have AT&T, and the area I live in (Los Angeles County) has lots of Cingular zones.

      I'm in San Diego. Over the summer, when getting a new phone in the AT&T Wireless Store, the salesperson said they were in the process of integrating the networks. Towers were being converted over, and sometimes I would get Cingular, but usually AT&T. I'm in an area with just 1 area code.

      Today, my phone was solid Cingular (first time ever) until early afternoon. Now it's AT&T (I've tried turning it off a

  • Can you say.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metlin (258108) * on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:53PM (#10638934) Journal
    ....Deja Vu?

    Funny thing, back then Ma-Bell was broken down for anti-trust reasons, now all these giants are bigger than what Bell Labs ever was.

    And they are all merging. That's a very scary thought.

    I think a few years from now, almost all the business will be controlled by just a few corporations.

    I personally am not sure if that would be a good idea, that would certainly put smaller companies and businesses out, and these would not stand a chance against the big corporations.

    Not too sure how I feel about this.
    • Re:Can you say.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alienw (585907) <alienw,slashdot&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:01AM (#10638985)
      Well, if you think a couple of cellphone companies merging constitutes anything like the ma bell monopoly, you must be smoking something good. It's not like Cingular has anything except cellphone service, and even then it's doesn't have even 80% of the market. There are currently about 4 other companies I can think of that are in the cellphone business. That's way too many as it is.
      • You misunderstand me.

        Ma-Bell had a monopoly because they were the effectively the first people to establish such a huge network.

        No, I'm not talking merely in terms of coverage and areas. I'm in talking in terms of financial power and effectively arm-twisting capabilities.

        Look at them - Microsoft, AOL-Time Warner, Cingular-AT&T, etc. They effectively control a large chunk of the media. You must be smoking something if you think that these guys can't squash a small player if they didn't like them.

        It's
        • Well, a major problem with the free market is that it tends to become monopolized rather quickly. The only thing that can prevent it is government anti-trust controls. So far, they have been functioning, but of course that won't be for long if Republicans have their way with their corporate welfare agenda.

          By "too many", I didn't mean that it's a bad thing for the consumer -- on the contrary, competition is very good. It's just that it's not a sustainable market situation -- eventually, some of those com
          • And then, eventually customers will get pissed, and the company will collapse (unless the Republicans get corporate welfare in). The only time where that won't work is if the monopoly on essential products (food, clothing, etc., etc.)
      • Re:Can you say.... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by cubicledrone (681598)
        It's not like Cingular has anything except cellphone service, and even then it's doesn't have even 80% of the market.

        Whew, not even 80%? That's a relief.

        There are currently about 4 other companies I can think of that are in the cellphone business.

        That many, huh?

        That's way too many as it is.

        Run 'em all outta business. That'll be great for consumers.
        • Re:Can you say.... (Score:3, Informative)

          by bhtooefr (649901)
          Cingular+AT&T
          Sprint
          Verizon
          Alltel (they DO have national coverage, anyway)
          T-Mobile
          US Cellular (I know they exist, but I think there are large areas where you can't buy their phones (where I live, for one). They still work, though - we looked at US Cellular when trying to find a good actual plan (we were on prepaid))
          Nextel
          Tracfone (does that count, though?)

          Virgin Mobile and Boost aren't listed - they are really Sprint and Nextel's prepaid services, and Boost is most definitely not nationwide.
    • Re:Can you say.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FrYGuY101 (770432)

      I think a few years from now, almost all the business will be controlled by just a few corporations.

      You're right. It WILL be controlled by 'just a few corporations' because it already IS controlled by 'just a few corporations.

      There are economic reasons for this. Mainly that being a telecom company is expensive. You must have lines, switching systems, employees, et cetera. Competition is often a good thing, and it's often a bad thing. Some things, like telecos, power/water/propane supply on a local scale

  • I for one welcome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RealProgrammer (723725) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:57PM (#10638953) Homepage Journal
    ..oh, I just can't do it. My wife and I use Verizon. It costs too much. We can call each other for "free" -- as long as we pay $100/month, combined. The coverage is ok.
    • I pay $55 (with all taxes and fees) to AT&T for 450min shared between 2 lines (long-distance included) and unlimited mobile-to-mobile. T-mobile has even beter deal now, but didn't have it when I was shopping for plans. Plus I got two NEC-515's for a penny each. If with this merger I can get rollover of unused minutes on top of my plan, that'll be great.
      • rollover? To get that they'll probably make you sign a new contract. Hey, anything to keep you locked in right?

        For example, I know of a car dealership who would, after about 3-5 years (depending how their used car sales was doing) ask you to trade in your "old" car for a new one at "little or no out of pocket expense". The catch? So they could get you in a new lease/finance and keep you for another 3-5 years.

        PAY CASH if you can. It saves alot in finance charges.
    • as long as we pay $100/month

      Plain local phone service used to be less than $20 a month, with the added bonus of being able to hear the other person during a call.

      It's a 400% price increase, but that's OK!! BRING ON THE MEGACORP!!
  • Gains (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL (312636) <fireang3l&hotmail,com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:58PM (#10638958) Homepage
    The rationale of this move, according to an analysis of the merger done by Businessweek at
    http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/oct200 4/nf20041026_3765_db016.htm [businessweek.com]

    "The Atlanta-based carrier has landed exclusive rights to the new Motorola Razr V3 and the Sony Ericsson se710a. Both are high-end multimedia phones expected to lure sophisticated buyers. The Motorola Razr is a design triumph. It's just a half-inch thick when closed. Open, it's as thin as a Q-Tip. Yet it manages to pack in a VGA camera with 4x zoom, 3D graphics capability, and 22 kilohertz polyphonic speaker technology."

    Its merger with AT&T Wireless will give Cingular 47.6 million subscribers, catapulting it past the 41 million customers that current market leader Verizon Wireless has. But that status might not last long unless Cingular can keep subscribers from bolting to Verizon and others. Cingular is plagued by above-average customer defections. [...] its churn rate edged up from 2.7% in the second quarter to 2.8% in the third, while Verizon's is hovering around a more wholesome 1.5%.

    Mergers are dangerous : you gain benefits (in this case, exclusive handhelds and a big subscriber base), but can go wrong. Only time will tell if the benefits outweighted the disadvantages in this case.
    • I came back from the recent digitallife show with pictures of said RZR: http://www.aixgaming.com/gallery/digital_life_200 4 /aaz [aixgaming.com] and I really loved it. I was saddened by the 30+ great looking Motorola phones however as they were all GSM and TDMA and none worked with my current Verizon service. Seeing as my co-worker's new Cingular phone is the only one out of the group's (Sprint/Verizon) phones to work in our basement datacenter, I may have to give them a try and pick up one of these snazzy models while
    • Re:Gains (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dala24 (325912)
      Thin as A Q-Tip?? How is that a good thing, i for one have come close to snapping my LG 5350 and that's a hefty little beast... Maybe from an engineering standpoint that Razr is a good thing, but for public useability, i'll go for utility and longevity over pure "cool factor"

  • I live in a regular brick house (NOT in the basement or with my mom). I get zero-to-no service at all here. I have to walk two blocks down the street to get 1 bar, 4 blocks for two bars, and 5 blocks for full service.

    My phone works fine everywhere else, but I swear AT&T hates me or my house. I've had them out to my house three times to check the signal and they always say it's fine. Maybe Cingular has a better network/customer service policy.
    • AT&T coverage sucks:

      • I'm now living in a small brick house in Fort Worth, TX, less than 100 yards from South Loop-820 -- poor coverage (the signal strength meter shows 1 or 2 bars out of 5).
      • At my friend's parent's house a couple of miles further south -- almost zero coverage (0 bars inside the house, 1 bar if I stand in the driveway).
      • At a favorite shopping center on University Drive north of TCU -- zero coverage (0 bars inside the shops, 0 or 1 outside).
      • At my previous house in Woodinville, WA (near
    • This is the one thing i NEVER understood about the US FCC, and its "protection" of American invented phone technologies.

      the problems you are having is somewhat due to this.

      When GSM was envisioned, there were two operating frequencies, 900Mhz, and 1800Mhz. 900Mhz had greater penetration and covered longer distances, whereas 1800Mhz provided slightly higher capacity in built up places (at the expense of range). Many countries use both bands effectively to minimise the requirements on transmitters and yet pr
      • But again, WHY choose a FOURTH frequency, we already have a 900Mhz that works well throughout the world!

        I think it's because in the US the 900Mhz band was allocated to cordless phones well before GSM came into play.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:03AM (#10638991)
    I must cay, as an AT&T cuctomer, I feel ctrange today...
    • A few months ago thanks to shoddy service and an annoying propensity to charge for everything possible under the sun (Including roaming in my home area, line setup fees when they shut off my phone due to their website frequently dropping payments, etc), I swore I would switch carriers.

      Well, that was convienient.

  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:06AM (#10639008)
    How is Cingular regarding bluetooth? AT&T? Do they pull a Sprint-Bitch(TM) or Verizon-Bitch(TM) and purposely cripple bluetooth? As a GSM network, I'm hoping they leave their phones' bluetooth virgin and pure so I can sync, use in new bluetooth enabled car, etc.

    The merger could mean I will, in New York City, be saturated with reception goodness. Each company on it's own was "ok to good" but overlap the two and Verizon IMO is shaking like the bluetooth criplin' bitch it is.

    *hopes and prays*
    • I'm a Cingular subscriber and I recently bought a Sony Ericsson T637, which is bluetooth enabled. I can sync it with my Mac and my bluetooth headset with no problem, as well as connect to other bluetooth phones. I'm not sure how Verizon cripples bluetooth, but from all outward appearances, Cingular does not cripple it all.

    • I'm now on my second Bluetooth phone from AT&T, and both have synced just fine with my Macs. I haven't tried using them in a Bluetooth-enabled car, but they're by no means limited to use with headsets, for example.

      This one's a Sony-Ericsson T616; its predecessor was a Nokia 3650, "world phone" but unfortunately AT&T "built out" their network in the rural areas around me using a different GSM frequency band than any of the ones supported by that tri-band phone. (It was 900/1800/1900MHz; they had 9
  • by cswiii (11061) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:16AM (#10639078)
    My wife (boy, it feels strange to say that) is from Canada, and before we got married, I used to call up there all the time. I recently renewed my contract w/ ATTWS, because as recently as Sept., ATTWS was the only mobile provider I could find that offered a plan allowing the user toll-free calling to .ca and no roaming while there, either. I didn't want to renew after the merger, and risk not having that option available to me.

    It used to be an extra $20 a month, then when I switched to GSM, they'd lowered it to $10. Now I think it's only like $7/mo, which is a real bargain. I think it's called their "North America" plan or something, now.

    Just a heads up for those who might find such a service useful. I've been asking for a few months now at both ATTWS and Cingular stores whether the new company would offer a similar plan, but no one knew for sure.

  • Cingular confirms it, competition is dying :)

    Bear in mind that this is an SBC (i.e. Southwestern Bell) and BellSouth joint venture buying a former subsidiary of AT&T.

    Also bear in mind that the RBOCs have been whittled down by merger to those two, Verizon, and Qwest. How much longer until this becoimes three, or two, or even one, if the feds think that the cell phone companies are the "competition"?
  • That blast came from the Death Star! That thing's operational!
  • Nothing's changin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:24AM (#10639109) Journal
    "Cingular and AT&T customers can see what is/isn't changing for them at newcingular.com" It looks like for both services, nothing at all will change except a new name on the AT&T bills (the AT&T customers will get a change if they switch their calling plans). As an ardent cell phone geek, I've spent time with both companies - two years with AT&T, and now going on one with Cingular. Both companies were pretty much the same. Same service (great), same wonderfully geek-satisfying equipment (as opposed to Verizon with some really cheap crappy stuff, wholly absent of Nokia and Sony Ericsson), and almost same plans and prices. Very minor differences even there. The newcingular site claims that the end user will literally sense no change. If that's true, I'm staying with Cingular for a long, long, looooooong time. They already rock.
    • Re:Nothing's changin (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr. Fusion (235351)
      It also mentions that Rollover minutes will be made available [newcingular.com] to current AT&T customers:
      • Plans are already underway to make Rollover Minutes available to you. Please check back on November 10, 2004 for an update. Our goal is to have this feature available to you by this holiday season.
  • by johnnyb (4816) <jonathan@bartlettpublishing.com> on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:24AM (#10639110) Homepage
    What's frustrating for me is that a few weeks before they first announced this, I, having been COMPLETELY FED UP with Cingular and their terrible, possibly unethical billing practices, I decided to drop them mid-contract and signed up w/ AT&T.

    I just can't win.
    • ATT Wireless was never much better a company anyway. They're both morally bankrupt companies. I work customer service for ATT Wireless, and for the last 6 months, ATTWS management have been saying nothing but 'renew every single contract you possibly can', customer service be damned.
  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    by jedaustin (52181)
    Now the largest and crappiest network ever!

    I'd be rich if I had a nickel every time someone asked me to call them on a real phone when I was using my ATTWS cell phone.. 'You sound like you're in a tin can!'.

    Lets hope Cingular can bring something better to their service.
    • FYI, I just switched from AT&T's TDMA network and a crappy Nokia phone to their GSM network with a Sony-Ericsson T637. With the old phone and service, I had the same problem, and quality was terrible. With the new one, the quality is DRAMATICALLY improved, almost to the level of a landline phone. Reception and service is also wonderful now. I tried AT&T's GSM service about a year and a half ago, and it was totally useless, with incredibly poor service; but it seems that since then, they have greatly
  • for about half of you...unlock your phone. look at it. notice anything different?

    /that was quick.
  • by philovivero (321158) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:51AM (#10639232) Homepage Journal
    ...but I couldn't help it. I went to the website and clicked the "I'm an AT&T customer" (I recently left Cingular for AT&T).

    They had a list of bullet points and then a whole page devoted to how much better my life is going to be after this merger. I swear, there were about 64 kilobytes of text devoted to listing all the positives of this merger.

    That's when it struck me that companies really need to read the Cluetrain Manifesto. I really would be interested in the six worst things that are going to happen to me, so that I can be prepared for it.

    Take, for example, when I first signed up with AT&T. Plan: $65/month all told. First bill comes. $300. WTF? Everything that could go wrong, did. They put me on the wrong plans. They didn't count my mobile-to-mobile minutes. They signed me up for about 17 extra plans I didn't need or ask for. Not to mention that "Federal fund recovery fee" which is essentially AT&T's way of saying "How come restaurants get to charge you 15% extra for tips, and we don't??? Oh, wait. We do. We'll just charge a tip on every bill. Nice."

    Now Cingular is going to take this bumblefuck of a corporation and incorporate it into its everyday operations.

    And things are going to go smoothly? I don't think so.

    This is Tweedle-dee meets Tweedle-dum, and they're in charge of your critical wireless communications. Be prepared to be pissed off.
  • Some time back, I was with Cingular, but I decided their service sucked hardcore and wanted to go with someone else. I decided that AT&T had the best rates and the right coverage area, plus my downstairs neighbor got great reception with his phone. After they screwed up my online order three - count 'em - three times, I decided to cancel my order(s) and go with Sprint. About two days later, the first news reports hit the wire about Cingular buying out AT&T Wireless. Glad I dodged that bullet.

    Wh
  • by ApheX (6133) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @12:59AM (#10639264) Homepage Journal
    Its worth mentioning that AT&T still owns the rights to the AT&T Wireless name and will re-emerge in the near future as AT&T Wireless but basically reselling Sprint's service.

    Ah! The confusion!
  • by Ranger (1783)
    I had no problems with AT&T Wireless. I did, however, have a big problem with Crapular, er ah Cingular, and refused to become one of their customers. I ported my number to SprintPCS. I know they have the 2nd worst customer service, but they had what I needed, and I know how to work their call center system. Alas, Verizon doesn't service my state so I couldn't pick them. It's interesting that Verizon used to be GTE, perhaps the worst telephone company to have ever existed. But they merged with Nynex and
  • I've had the same wireless number since 1998 (GTE, bought by AT&T, now Cingular). I've been in the same San Diego neighborhood for the past 2 years. Each time the time changes (spring and fall), while in my apartment, I get stuck between battling cell phone towers- one with the incorrect time. My phone will autoupdate the time every 5 minutes or so. This goes on for around a month. I have to check the phone's time before making a call, because it's possible to make a call at 7:30 (night minutes) and
  • Guarded optimism (Score:3, Informative)

    by trudyscousin (258684) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @01:53AM (#10639438)
    Rollover minutes are a fair, humane feature. The equipment both Cingular and AT&T offered has always had that certain geek factor not provided by most other providers (though T-Mobile looks pretty good in that respect).

    The thing is, I've been at Verizon for over two years as a refugee from some truly horrible Cingular service. Specifically, I had terrible luck trying to find an optimal place to use my phone, a problem I haven't had at all with Verizon.

    I'd love to get a Sony/Ericsson Bluetooth phone, something that Verizon just doesn't offer (their Motorola phones' Bluetooth implementation seems to be gimpy). But without decent reception, well, it wouldn't be much of a user experience. I'm going to be watching what develops here closely. If Cingular gets its act back together with regards to reception, sure, I'll go back.
    • Re:Guarded optimism (Score:3, Informative)

      by WiseWeasel (92224)
      Note that GSM networks (at least as far as AT&T Wireless is concerned, and now Cingular too apparently) have been dramatically improved this past year. I tried AT&T's GSM service a year and a half ago, and it was so unusable, I had to switch back to their TDMA service for halfway decent reception (and having to give up my sweet Sony-Ericsson phone). As my 1-year contract ended, I switched to AT&T's GSM service a month ago, with a sweet Sony-Ericsson T637 bluetooth phone, and the service now rock
  • Now I can get poor service AND poor service!

    Thanks Borg-like telecommunications conglomerations!

  • by vm (127028) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @02:36AM (#10639556)
    Whatever happened to the reasonable sounding conspiracy theory [cio.com] that AT&T Wireless bungled their CRM upgrade last year in order to sell the company? Upper management overrode their IT dept's plan for a gradual, piecemeal upgrade that would allow fallback and concurrent use of the older rev of Siebel. Instead, they were ordered to whack it in across the board and grab the oh shit handles.
  • Rural area coverage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mwooldri (696068)
    I hope that Cingular/AT&T accelerate the roll out of GSM 800 ... otherwise it'll end up being just a city network. One of the main reasons that attracted me to AT&T in the first place is the "old fashioned" TDMA digital network with analog roaming for one single reason: it's more likely to get a signal 'out in the sticks'.

    Now what would be classified as 'out in the sticks'? Try Cherokee, NC. It's nestled in the Grreat Smoky Mountains, is home to a casino, what I would consider a major tourist c
  • I used to work for AWS/McCaw, and have been a customer of theirs for about 10 years. But I dumped them two weeks ago for T-mobile. Why? Rates, service, general disregard for customers. The billing systems were a disaster when I was there some years ago, and the errors are still pretty regular. But the final straw was data services. Late to the GSM game, AWS still has relatively high voice rates to defray the change in infrastructure from TDMA to GSM, and charges $85/mo for GPRS service. As I sit here
  • Insider scoop. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @04:21AM (#10639895) Homepage Journal
    I run the SGSNs, GGSN's, DHCP and DNS, so I have a nice viewpoint of the merger.

    AWS built out EDGE before Cingular.
    AWS has the larger data network with more coverage.
    AWS has more RAN hardware than cingular.
    AWS launched UMTS, Cingular said they would continue it.
    AWS launched global roaming before everyone else.
    AWS has the largest wap/mmode content around.
    AWS has location based services, wifi, and many other services.
    AWS has many of the fortune 500 companies as customers.

    AWS Hired an outsourcing VP 2 years ago, they ran IT into the ground, crippled customer support. Customer support use to be live, you could get people to fix your issues, it was going the way of automation and lower paid support centers. Then they started forcing contracts and fucked up billing for customers, no wonder usnet has tons of complaints.

    The thing that pissed me off, they ran the company into the ground. Then the CEO's take almost 90 million each, while every employee that bought stock lost money. (Buy at 29, Cingular pays 15)

    Our CEO's hired the worst marketing firm in history, fluffy sheep anyone? I wanted to see a damn van fully loaded with RF gear, pull over and leave the "Can you hear me now" guy in dust. We do drive tests all over. Cant hire enough people quick enough to expand the network. (BTS Vendors, thats a post in itself...)

    Sad, it was a great company they ran into the ground to make CEO money and split. I started there 6 years ago after the mccaw buyout, been in operations ever since.

    Top if off, Cingular has been calling our network substandard to theirs. Who are they joking? I talk to the same freaking vendors...

    I'm not even going to post anonymous.
  • I have Cingular.

    I love the service.

    I especially love the SIM card type phones.

    Cingular/AT&T offer the best technology for phones as far as I can see.

    I also like the fact that Apple is in close partnership with Cingular.

    I do have one problem though.

    I recently had to pay an $850 phone bill due to a Cingular mistake. I kept getting billed for a 000 000 0000 number. They admitted it. I had told them this has been going on for quite a while, but since I have had below plan minute useage (until August)
  • I use T-Mobile (long story), and on my phone, even before the merger, I could go in to the phone and manually select the network I was on. I got two options - T-Mobile and AT&T. I called customer service to check that I wouldn't be charged roaming for this, and since I'm on a national plan, I'm not.

    So I had to ask myself - is T-Mobile any worse than AT&T/Cingular because it seems to be able to piggyback off of it's network, or at least the AT&T part.

    A magazine article I read several months bac
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    You have now fallen into the black hole of horrible service. You might as well stop using the phone.

    ATT wireless is bar none the absolute worst in terms of customer service.

    -They flat out lie to you most of the time regarding the contract in the basic T&C and how or if the contract can be changed.
    -They give you different answers to the same questions, no one who works there can really give a coherent answer to anything.
    -They hide critical details from you lik
  • by gatesh8r (182908) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @09:50AM (#10641669)
    Remember kids! Never try to move your IT department to India while you're in the middle of a required upgrade forced by the FCC. AT&T Wireless Self-Destructs [cio.com].

    ...and I'm glad that some AT&T Wireless execs are out of jobs. Maybe they can become a contractor. :P

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