Old Jan 28, 05, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by MsEverywhere
I have had the same cellular service since the beginning of time! In 1988, I signed up with Cellular One, then ATT took over my account, now it's Cingular although my lines are still on the ATT side of the merged company.

I have 4 phone lines with them, bill is always $200+/month. I took a GSM phone to the Cingular store, said I wanted to switch one of my TDMA lines to the GSM phone, that I was going out of the country (today) and wanted to use it.

They said that if I kept it on the ATT side, it would take 90 days before I could roam internationally. If I switch it over to Cingular, it would take 6 months. Apparently it's because they're concerned about fraud. I was flabbergasted! I was also in a rush so just brought my phone home and will buy a SIM chip in the country where I'm going. But my parents are frail, and I would like to keep the same # so they can just call it wherever I am in the world if they need me.

Does this make sense? I thought I would call Cingular today and ask if they want me to take all of my lines to another carrier, which I probably will if they can't fix me up with immediate international roaming. Well, I might give them a week...... The irony is that I work for one of their competitors and folks @ work sometimes razz me that I don't have "our" service.
I bought a four-band Motorola at a Cingular store for the specific opportunity to roam and especially to text-message abroad, discussed it with the rep, and then took off to Europe. The phone didn't work, and I determined through the FT Technology Forum while there that you needed the type of approval you describe. You may find more and better info there on this topic.

To make matters worse, upon our return through IAD the phone wouldn't work. I was eventually bumped through to the Cingular "security department" who said it had been deactivated and was suspect because somebody had tried to use it in Europe. Duh...

I returned to the Cingular store the next day with steam coming out of my ears. A new rep sorted it all out, and I had approval prior to the "six months" for our most recent trip, where text messaging worked like a charm in Germany, France, and Italy. My original salesman said he "thought" my plan had been to buy a SIM card so didn't bother to mention the six month waiting period - odd when I kept telling him that was the reason I was choosing Cingular.

There are so many comments I could make - doesn't anybody in Cingular ever travel abroad? Why is Canada - also a foreign country - exempt? Why couldn't they put a $200 cap on "foreign" roaming until credit is established (ridiculous in your case)? Why do they sell a phone and service that you find out later you can't fully use for six months?

Anyway, my suggestion is that you talk to a company rep at a store in person and demand that they waive their silly requirement, simply because it worked for me. Good luck!
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