In Search of a Signal

Dear AT&T,

As a long-time customer, I thought I would take this opportunity to point out there is an island in your alleged service area that you might want to look into.  It’s not that big — about 13×2  miles — so I guess I can see how it has been seemingly ignored all this time with virtually no signal for service. 

But there are a lot of people crammed onto this small-ish island.  1.6 million residents, in fact.  Add in commuters and tourists and you’ve got over 2.5 million people on the island during most work days.  Yep, there’s commerce here too — with lots of big shiny buildings.  It’s pretty busy, I’d say.

And you know what?  Many of these people want to use their cell phones, their email and gaming devices of choice.  Every day.  Reliably.

Back when I first became your customer in 1996, with my first cell phone (antenna and all), I didn’t expect much in terms of coverage.  In fact, we only used our cell phones sporadically then.  We weren’t texting and certainly I didn’t have email on my phone.  But that’s when I got my cell phone number that I have retained to this day.

I moved on to a Blackberry when my then-employer told me to do so, circa 2001 or 2002.  How cool was that?  I could talk *and* have my work email on the go (which quickly went from novelty to life-changing curse).  And there was a big wheel on the side of this device to scroll up and down — very cutting-edge at the time.  I had plenty of emails that didn’t go through, attachments I couldn’t open and a ton of dropped calls.  I was used to it, though it became increasingly puzzling, as everyone on the island seemingly had a similar device in their hand.  Hm.

Now I have an iPhone.  I debated this long and hard — I really did — and, in the end, I signed your mandatory two-year service contract in exchange for this device.  Funny, though, when I think about a contract, it implies a two-way agreement to me.  So I’m curious — what’s your obligation under the terms of this alleged contract?  Because my iPhone does all kinds of cool things — as long as I don’t try to talk on it or receive incoming data on a timely basis.   And I’m starting to get a headache from looking at that spinning orb all the time that indicates my wait for data to load.  But it sure is neat otherwise.

I was looking at your coverage map online and it’s odd because this island is color-coded under “Best Coverage.”  And yet this morning I nearly threw my iPhone across the room because I couldn’t get a simple web page to load (again).  But I did hear a crazy rumor recently — or perhaps it was just urban legend — that some people have witnessed a full five bars on their signal icon!  I had no idea it went beyond three.  Is this new?  I guess that’s encouraging progress, for a small island like this.

My frustration is my own fault, really.  I let my loyalty to my cell phone number drive my purchasing decisions over the last 14 or so years.  I held out hope that you’d improve your service because, well, I figured you’d just have to by sheer open marketplace competitive principles.  Apparently, that’s not so.  (Well played on that iPhone monopoly, by the way — at least for the time being.  Verizon — can you hear me now?)

Anyway, you may want to send one of your people over to look into this.  There are plenty of bridges, tunnels, ferries and even heli-pads that allow easy access to our island for a service call.  Just give us a four-hour window and one of us locals will be here to meet you — as long as we can receive your call, text or email.


Ready to Hang Up for Good

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  1. Hysterical!!! Sounds like you had a day like I did.

    Here’s my version:

  2. if you throw the phone, you’ll want to leave the island and go find the CEO of AT & T and aim at his head 😉

  3. lesley says:

    Love this! The price of advance technology!

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