People Love Cell Phones – Hate Their Service

from the damn-mobile-phones dept

In the US it’s pretty common for people to own a cell phone, which they use all the time, but absolutely hate their service provider. There are a ton of reasons why, but no cell service carrier in the US offers particularly good service – and it’s not likely to improve much. The country (and its cities) are too spread out, and the service providers are already signing up plenty of customers despite the poor quality. Even though they all say their number 1 goal is to improve service – there’s a quote from an unnamed CEO of a “major wireless company” saying that no company will compete on the basis of quality since they’re all “optimizing revenue”.

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Comments on “People Love Cell Phones – Hate Their Service”

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prash (user link) says:

Cell Service

I’m sure we all have anecdotal evidence on this topic. I can deal with natural coverage issues. But lack of service in key areas and poor service are very frustrating.
I use SprintPCS (love/hate relationship) and they have terrible, terrible coverage in my hometown of Burlington, MA. Now you would think that they would have great coverage there given the fact that Burlington is a major high tech center on the east coast. But improved coverage is held up by local residents.
What is even more enraging is trying to acess Sprint’s voicemail system. I often have to dial 2-3 times before I can get into voicemail.
Carriers are only shooting themselves in the foot with poor service. How do they expect consumers to upgrade to the next generation services when we can’t even get our voicemail?

pat burnham says:

Re: Cell Service

actually, sprint has terrible coverage everywhere. i signed on with sprint in massachusetts, town of warren and was told there was no service here but i would have excellent service down highway 95 and excellent service in the entire state of florida. not at all. poor service everywhere including key spots like disney, high elevations in lake county, jacksonville to orlando route. calling, i received the following reasons for this. a. If you have concrete in your home (what florida homes do not) then concrete makes for a poor signal, if you are not in a direct line with the tower, or if something like a truck comes between you and a tower, you lose the signal. i went to the highest mountain, sugarloag mountain in lake county, elevation about 190 feet above seal level, stood on my car with phone above me, and a truck went by and still disconnected me. called for about 20 days to get my voice mail connected, and sprint changed me from $75 a month with 1000 hours of long distance to $99 a month with long distance costing extra and said i authorized this. was just trying to get message retrieval set up. As a matter of fact nextel and att were coming in inside my concrete home as a roam signal and on the way back to massachusetts sprint did come in in a concrete motel, but bad service in north carolina, south carolina, georgia, northern florida, southern virginia, new york etc. of course now i own a $300 phone that i cant use with any other service. switched to mci and problems started there too and now i find the two are talking merger. I bought phone cards and would suggest everyone do the same. so we dial a little extra $7.99 gets me 120 minutes and no aggravation. Pass this on to everyone you know and maybe these wonderful customer care companies can go out of business or change their way of doing business.

pat burnham says:

Re: Cell Service

i neglected to add to my email referencing cell phone service that back in 1979 i had a rotary dial, multi party car telephone that had better service, no excellent service anywhere including the dead zones that still exist today. perhaps the emphasis should be on making calls count and not how much time someone can spend on these phone for hardly any money. does anyone know a good phone service off a satellite? wouldnt that do it?

Duffman says:

Upgrades and service improvements

Actually, I just finished covering some of the economics of cell phone service in my telecom class (wow, I learned something in school!). It is a large capital investment for service providers to purchase new towers and other equipment that is needed to improve service, and, ideally, it should be done BEFORE service even starts to degrade from too many users. Unfortunately, this leaves the companies at a bit of a deficit until they sign up enought users to generate enough revenue to cover the costs, which, depending on the coverage scheme they choose, can be upwards of 4000 new users! So you can see why the providers leave it until they know that they can make it worth it for them – why pay more if it’s not going to pay off? Unfortunately, it’s not going to get any better, so I guess we’re just going to have to learn to deal with it. Sucks, eh?

Phillip says:

UK way ahead

Why oh why did the USA have to go with some proprietry system when the entire rest of the world went with GSM? I get fine coverage with my phone all over the UK. And all over France, and Australia, and Japan, … etc. Because of the large gobal target audience, our handsets are streets ahead, cost of equipment for providers has dropped, we are now getting GPRS (64kb/s always-on connection over mobile) before any 3G infrastructure is even being put in place (which will boost the rate to several Mb/s). Check out the mobile I have here.

PS One of the reasons the US went with their own solution is the Clipper chip, which allows anyone with the right key to listen in on any US citizens phone calls. The fact that GSM is cryptographically secure was not acceptable to the US government.

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