Thursday, March 26, 2015

GoPhone Goes Awry

As wireless customers just like you, we get to encounter various levels of customer service. I deal more with wireless resellers (MVNO's) who do a good job handling customers online. Recently, I tried to activate an AT&T GoPhone SIM for short-time use which normally involves just assigning a phone number and plan to a SIM.  Easy, right?

We normally head to the nearest AT&T store where they can set up a new GoPhone SIM, plan and number within minutes.  Lately, the AT&T store has been too busy.  Business is good, and that's OK. An agent threw me a new SIM and told me to activate it online...unless I wanted to wait. Fair enough.

However, I could find no way to activate a plain AT&T SIM online.  If I could get far enough to choose a plan, there is no option for the "10 Cents a Minute" plan (because I have a Smart phone?). Failing that, I am directed to call a certain phone number to activate a GoPhone SIM. That person there could not do what I wanted...the computer wouldn't let her.  Why not?

She eventually transferred me to "customer service". The person I spoke with there had a heavy foreign accent but knew exactly what to do and asked for no more than my ZIP Code, SIM number and desired plan.  Done!  I was able to add my own Discount Refill and life was back to normal.

GoPhone is good but I can see why the Prepaid re-sellers can make inroads on the major carriers.  For the MVNO's, Prepaid is their main business.  For AT&T, and possibly others, Prepaid still gets second class status...unless you connect with the right department, by choice or by accident.  Or, how about online?

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