Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Roaming

As with many other millions of Americans, we're on the road for the holidays. While I can write and post my comments from the front seat of the car while roaming across the US, its not something I really want to do. I enjoy the passing landscape no matter how barren. Nice views make me glad I'm traveling, ugly views help me appreciate the beauty of our home state.

The only news is that we haven't found any roaming changes across our travels in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. We know we're gonna miss roaming on Alltel, although under Verizon (or a new carrier) it could get better. The areas of concern are those with Alltel GSM coverage that Verizon will not be upgrading or expanding. We probably won't notice until next year when we make the trip 'over the river and through the woods'. For now, the status quo feels good, except for that one dead zone behind the Capulin volcano. Who knew a volcano would still affect coverage centuries after its last eruption?

If you're roaming, please use your phone only where it's safe, not where the GPS lady starts arguing with you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

AT&T & Verizon Finalize Swaps

It's not big news, but over on our sister site, Cellular Map Net, shows the recent exchange between AT&T and Verizon Wireless has been completed. Ex-Unicel coverage is now shown as AT&T coverage in NE Washington, NE New York and NW Vermont. In exchange, Verizon got 2 Cellular markets in central Kentucky. There is some additional PCS spectrum going to Verizon, but it isn't shown because we believe it doesn't create new coverage. The maps also show the Dobson areas as AT&T. Sadly, that means Dobson and parts of Unicel have disappeared.

Now some Unicel customers know they will be AT&T customers, and some AT&T customers, who were Dobson (Cellular One) customers, now belong to Verizon. And the fun will continue as some other Unicel customers will be bundled up with some Alltel customers to join either another cellular carrier, or part of a new network in response to the Verizon takeover.

Some of those details will be coming down before the end of the year, or at least before the new federal administration takes charge. As we have recommended earlier, Unicel & Alltel customers should either sit tight, or possibly extend their contract. We feel things will only get better for them, at least for the short term.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Surprise from Mexico

Last March I added minutes to my Mexico TelCel account and called their English-speaking customer service to convert from "Pay Per Minute" to "Pay Per Call." However, they goofed and I lost almost all my minutes even though I followed their instructions to the letter. I reported the experience on This Page of our Blog. At that time I sent an email to TelCel asking for guidance and some credit.

Well, they responded...almost 9 months later! The response was in Spanish and looks 'canned'. The interpretation seems to be, the next time I purchase a card to call them and make sure the account is set up properly. OK, will do. Credit? No mention.

TelCel still has the best network in Mexico, and even though they have made a number of mistakes that have cost me, they are still the top company for customer service, especially if you don't speak Spanish. When a 9-month response from customer service is considered 'the best', it certainly makes us complain less about being on hold with a US carrier for 10 minutes, right?