Dropped Calls in Telluride? ATT Improvements May Be On Tap.
by Seth Cagin
Aug 15, 2011 | 3301 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TELLURIDE - When ATT completed its acquisition of cell towers owned by Alltel in the region this spring, many Telluride residents were excited that soon they would be able to have an iPhone. And a “legal” one at that, not one acquired in Grand Junction, or elsewhere, which essentially roamed in Telluride, where ATT did not offer service.

Roaming at home presented a risk that ATT could terminate your account if you were determined to be roaming more than your contract permitted.

Now that ATT iPhone users in Telluride are fully legal, neither they nor ATT’s other customers are entirely happy, however, due to service problems.

Anecdotal evidence suggests a preponderance of dropped calls and even difficulty in placing or receiving calls, especially when there are a lot of people in town.

Relief may be on the way, according to ATT spokesman Alex Carey.

ATT was not aware of the full extent of the problem in Telluride, Carey said, prior to receiving an inquiry from this reporter. Having researched the problem, ATT has identified a number of service issues.

One is potential interference from the KOTO radio signal, a problem that ATT engineers are hoping to resolve with KOTO.

Another is limited capacity that is not adequate to accommodate the traffic on busy weeks. While there is no immediate plan to add capacity here, ATT’s new awareness of the problem could land Telluride on the list of locations, currently 104 in the state, scheduled for an upgrade.

“We are always assessing where we might add infrastructure,” Carey said.

Then there is another reason why the switch from Alltel to ATT added traffic to the cell site. Alltel customers’ calls were often handled by Verizon sites, spreading the traffic out. Now those same customers are on the ATT network, and no longer roam on the Verizon system. The reason is that Verizon/Alltel and ATT use different technologies, (UMTS instead of CDMA).

“It’s essentially a case of more traffic on the same highway,” Carey explained, adding that the tradeoff for ATT customers is a faster network.

Yet another glitch was due to a poorly performing phone that some Alltel customers received in the switchover to ATT. If you have a Samsung Rugby phone, ATT will now exchange it at no cost.

Recognizing that there have been some bumps in the transition, ATT will consider waiving the early termination fee for some customers who may wish to switch carriers, Carey said. Such customers should call ATT customer service to inquire about their options.

In the rapidly evolving world of cell phones, the next major change will be the “next generation” network, 4G LTE. While ATT is now offering 4G LTE in some major markets, it is not expected to make its way to rural precincts for perhaps two or three years.

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