Is AT&T's Wireless Home Service Comparable To Existing Wireline Basic Phone Service? Posted: March 9, 2013
Mike Caudill shared his experience with Al Cross, who shared it with KRC:
I don't believe tonight's show is live, but we have recently had experience with AT&T and their wireless vs land line debate.
Before Christmas, we went to a local AT&T wireless store to replace my wife's cell phone. The clerk suggested we try their wireless receiver system for our home phone. Of course, it was supposed to be fantastic and give a 60% savings. It took ten minutes to switch our land line to the wireless system, but when it proved to be unsuitable for us, it took over two weeks to reactivate our land line, and almost three months to straighten out the bill. I've spent over a dozen hours on the phone, mostly waiting for a response, talking to people when available who, i am sure, do not live in the United States. I assume I have the bill straightened out; I have not yet received this month's.
Problems encountered: The clerk assigned my cell phone number to my wife's new phone, so in order to reach her, friends had to know my number, which I do not give out freely. So while we were traveling, I had no phone service, since my number was on her phone.
The first wireless gizmo he gave us turned out to be defective, and had been returned. He gave us a new one and said we could keep it, even if we decided to switch back, until the land line was reconnected. When I called to say we wanted to be switched back, he insisted that we bring the box back in immediately. So we were without a land line for two weeks.
As it turned out, our land number had been cancelled, so I had to waste more time on my cell phone (which had now been corrected). I'm not sure that the public knows that the AT&T land line department, and their wireless department, are almost completely separate. I'm not even sure they speak to each other. If your land line is your primary account, you are billed at one time of month, while if your account is wireless, it's a totally different billing system. Again, they don't communicate well with each other.
With the wireless box, even though we can see the cell tower from our porch, every call was full of static. It also limited us to two phone plugs, and a maximum of three phones, unless we purchased an additional wireless base system. TIVO did not work with it, although someone said we could upgrade to a system that would work.
In short, we totally oppose giving AT&T the right to drop land lines. While we understand that it would mean great savings for AT&T, it would mean a loss of US jobs, as line repairmen cannot be outsourced, but wireless tech support can (I spent three hours one night talking 'at' several different IT agents who spoke with an almost non-understandable accent.) I remember when both AT&T and Kentucky Power had offices in almost every Kentucky county seat. Now AEP is headquartered in Ohio, and the two phone agents who were the most helpful told me they were in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. If you need serious repairs, teams have to come from out of state. With the mines laying off, there is an immediate source of jobs worth emphasizing.