Sunday, September 26, 2004

Cingular: Buh-Bye!

It seems in NY. most carriers will give you 15 days to try out their service. Thanks goodness! Our experience with Cingular was awful.

I was a relatively happy Sprint subscriber (with a Samsung N400 phone); Their cell quality was good (more on that later). Cingular was a different story:

1. Call quality was very disappointing -- this is first and foremost my biggest complaint -- hissy, phase shifting / rolling sound. Terribly substandard. Also, calls take a few moments to "lock in," which is annoying. The phone is a Motorola V220 -- I can't say how much the phone or the network gets assigned the blame, but the combo is unimpressive.

2. Dropped calls -- constantly losing people. Halfway thru, and the call is gone. Happened repeatedly.

3. No roaming charges? That's cause there was no roaming. I got too many "Call failed" to count. And to add insult to injury, I am sitting right next to either an AT&T customer (in Woodbury and in Oyster Bay) who were getting perfect reception, or a Verizon user on the train, and there hones were working fine.

No call -- yet my seat mate was chatting away? Inadequate, to say the least.

The 2nd line was for my wife, who drives back and forth to work. In the event of an emergency -- car trouble, etc., -- I need to know that the phone will absolutely positively work. The failure to roam is a deal killer for me. It is completely unacceptable. I'd rather pay the roaming charges, and have the call got thru. (This also smells like false advertising -- Look at us! No Roamimg charges!).

4. My initial Cingular phone service took 3 days to get turned on -- we were carrying both the new Cingular and old Sprint phone: one for incoming, and one for outgoing service. That was, until Cingular stopped working alltogether for 3 more days. It took a 90 minute visit to the store to have my SIM cards replaced. No fun. (they should owe me money).

Finally, let me add that all these places where I used the phone that sounded so awful -- were the exact same places I always called from -- the wife from the train (in the station!) on the way home, the car at nite and on weekends, walking down the street near my office in NYC. Literally, the exact same places as before.

To Cingular's credit, the process of cancelling the 2 year contract within our 15 day trial period was relatively painless. Brought the phones back, got a receipt from them, easy.

Lastly, if you are curious how we became Cingular customors -- for however briefly -- its over on the other side of the blog: Customer Acquisition versus Retention: A case study in costs

Posted at 06:18 AM in Web/Tech | Permalink


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