It has been just over five years since I finally rose through the cruft and noise at AT&T Wireless technical support to connect with an AT&T Executive Team manager we'll call MM in this article. My goal with AT&T Wireless was simple enough: I wanted my cell phone to function reliably at home and at work, neither of which was happening.
As I explained my goal to MM, he pledged that if I gave him & AT&T a chance he would resolve my signal issues. I told MM that I wasn’t asking for 100% perfect, but that dropping the majority of my calls was unacceptable and that as a consumer I was “glad to pay for services I got, but would not pay for services I didn’t.” MM agreed and took ownership of my “case".
For the first few months of our engagement, MM and I worked intensely together. He sent engineers to visit with me and they discovered and documented that what I was reporting was true. MM shared with me AT&T’s plans to add towers, upgrade others and other technical adjustments that were in the works.
On several occasions I got involved with their real estate division to identify and pursue locations for new towers. I even involved local governments and the Miami-Dade School Board (they would have been paid to host cell sites).
Well, to this day, AT&T has not resolved a single issue with their signals. In fact, they have gotten worse in several areas, including a recent 24-day (by my count) data outage in Cutler Bay where no one could use their smartphones online, despite having a near perfect cell signal.
The last four years have been a bumpy road, but at least MM stayed true to his word and continued to try to resolve the signal issues. That was until the other day.
Another AT&T rep called to tell me that AT&T would not be working with me, provide any further credits for bad/no service. Additionally, there were no plans to address their known network issues because “there is too much churn in the area.” DID YOU GET THAT?! They are saying that they’re not going to address known issues in South Florida because too many customers sign up and leave AT&T Wireless (known as churn in the industry) for it to be worth their while! Said another way, we know we have issues, but it’ll cost too much to be worth our while.
Traveling further down the rabbit hole, I’d like to address their coverage map and advertising.
The AT&T coverage map is a complete farce, tantemount to printing a world map and claiming the world is flat. In and of itself, it is a failure of trust and possibly a contractual failure as well. In the map section I have highlighted, I can identify five areas where there is little to no quality of signal and call drops are likely. They advertise they are the nation’s strongest LTE network, yet I regularly get dropped to 4G throughout their coverage map.
It is time that consumers speak out! I’m ready to collect my own data (with your help). I have spent at least 400 hours of time with AT&T only to see them chase the all mighty dollar and ignore their own significant failures to South Floridians. We don’t have mountains and most areas are void of dense buildings, which are known signal killers. It shouldn’t be this difficult to get decent coverage.
If you agree, please take a moment to fill out this survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1e0Izn_XMhmVNX2X6tAIBKheYM5Iol40Ii9SAareZALA/viewform
Perhaps if we demand better service as a community and enlist our local government to amplify our voice, we can finally get AT&T to understand that they can’t charge for what they don’t deliver.