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ATT/Cingular Merger -- but not really

ATT/Cingular Merger -- but not really

Old Jan 25, 05, 11:35 am
  #1  
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ATT/Cingular Merger -- but not really

I've been an ATT Wireless customer for nearly 10 years, and using the family plan, I have phones for my sons. We are eligible for a corporate rate program, from my husband's company.

My older son's phone broke, and he went to the ATT store to get a replacement. However, now you can only buy Cingular phones -- but he wasn't eligible because I don't have a Cingular account. So in order to replace his phone, he had to open a new account with Cingular, and I had to remove him from my account. Of course, he signed a 2-year contract, and now I pay for two accounts and it costs me more.

Now my younger son's phone broke, and I have found:

1. I can no longer access my ATT account on-line -- only Cingular accounts
2. I cannot replace just my younger son's phone -- I have to replace mine also with a Cingular phone, or terminate him from my plan
3. In order to get "free" phones, I have to terminate my ATT account and open a Cingular account, which -- surprise-- costs me more money per month and requires a contract (I'm on month-to-month).

So, this merger -- what actually merged? Was this a marketing ploy for Cingular to take over ATT's accounts?
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Old Jan 25, 05, 12:55 pm
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Bottom line is it is not a merger, it was a take over.

All the AT&T stores ONLY sell Cingular phones and not AT&T phones and plans (that's what I've found and been told). You could have called AT&T customer service and they could sell you an AT&T phone. Now you only need an AT&T phone if you are on a non-GSM account (what AT&T refers to as 'digital').

Here's what I would do. Call AT&T customer service and see if you can keep you same plan and just replace your son's phone. If they can help you out great, no changes to your existing plan and cost structure. You won't get a free phone but you keep things the same. You should be able to return the Cingular phone with no charges if it's within 30 days.

FWIW I had AT&T and switched my and my wifes phones to Cingular on a family plan because the roll-over minutes made the Cingular plan more to our advantage. It all took lots and lots of research to figure out. I've had to call Cingular customer service several times because the people at the old AT&T store botched things.
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Old Jan 25, 05, 1:30 pm
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I have learned the hard way that the local stores are only worth the opportunity to view the phone you might be purchasing. In fact, ATT Customer Care told me as such when I was having some major issues with my phone and planned on leaving for TMobile. However, the Customer Care people did take care of me and I hope this keeps up when I need to renew for an updated phone.
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Old Jan 25, 05, 2:50 pm
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Cingular gave you bad info!

You do not have to change anything!

If you are using GSM, all you have to do is buy a used COAM (customer owned and maintained) ATTWS phone from Ebay or get an unlocked one. You can then remove the SIM from both your sons' broken phones and put them in the new ones. Call ATTWS and tell them you need to activate these replacment COAM phones and you will need to give them the IMEI nums (phone ID).

You are done, with no changes to your account at all. You should also cancel you son's Cingular account too, but if you have rolled over his old ATTWS number to this new Cingular acct, make sure you follow the steps above to get that number back first. And cancel that acct before 30 days is up and return the phone.

You can still access your ATTWS acct here.

If you have any more hassles, you should post to the ATTWS Web forum here. There is a 'General' forum there for the broken phone stuff and there is an 'Online Acct' forum for your access issue.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 25, 05, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by climbermom
I've been an ATT Wireless customer for nearly 10 years, and using the family plan, I have phones for my sons. We are eligible for a corporate rate program, from my husband's company.
I have the corporate rate program with ATTWS also. They have a special number you call for account service, National Account Service, including phone upgrades, etc. We get 45% off the price for equipment. You should be able to get that number from your company. They also have their own website, different from the normal consumer website. That link should also be available from the sponsoring company.


My older son's phone broke, and he went to the ATT store to get a replacement. However, now you can only buy Cingular phones -- but he wasn't eligible because I don't have a Cingular account. So in order to replace his phone, he had to open a new account with Cingular, and I had to remove him from my account. Of course, he signed a 2-year contract, and now I pay for two accounts and it costs me more.
That's news to me. But you should have called the national account service center, not the normal consumer service number.

Now my younger son's phone broke, and I have found:

1. I can no longer access my ATT account on-line -- only Cingular accounts
Not true, I just accessed my account last night to check my last bill. www.attws.com

2. I cannot replace just my younger son's phone -- I have to replace mine also with a Cingular phone, or terminate him from my plan
Again, call the national account line supplied by your company.

3. In order to get "free" phones, I have to terminate my ATT account and open a Cingular account, which -- surprise-- costs me more money per month and requires a contract (I'm on month-to-month).
You may or may not get a free phone, but you should be able to get a heavily discounted phone. Call the right number.

So, this merger -- what actually merged? Was this a marketing ploy for Cingular to take over ATT's accounts?
Well, eventually, they are probably going to merge all the accounts. They've already started. In their earnings (or lack thereof) announcement, they said they've converted 1 million AT&T accounts to Cingular accounts.

From their point of view, the entire point of the merger is not only to pick up all the accounts they currently have and keep them, but also to remove redundencies in their internal systems, including billing, etc, so they can save money over operating multiple different systems that don't talk to each other. It will take a long time to do that, but anything will be an improvement over ATTWS customer service. I think it's already improved from an ATTWS customer point of view. Customer support seems to have improved from my perspective. (A bit, anyway.)

Anyway, last month I updated my plans, and was able to save a bunch of money on the plans, and the new plan included early evenings as free time. We have three phones on the account. All still with ATTWS. The extra phones all use shared minutes and each one is $10 a month extra.

-David

Last edited by LIH Prem; Jan 25, 05 at 6:21 pm
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Old Jan 25, 05, 6:59 pm
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climbermom,

I sent you a PM with the National Sponsorship Account phone numbers I had.

-David
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Old Jan 25, 05, 9:45 pm
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You can still buy ATTWS GoPhones at BestBuy, Target etc that you can just put your existing SIM Card into and use as normal - it's a pretty cheap way to get a new (or refurbished) handset. You can still buy them online at http://www.attwireless.com/gophone
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Old Jan 25, 05, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by DallasBill
You do not have to change anything!

If you are using GSM, all you have to do is buy a used COAM (customer owned and maintained) ATTWS phone from Ebay or get an unlocked one. You can then remove the SIM from both your sons' broken phones and put them in the new ones. Call ATTWS and tell them you need to activate these replacment COAM phones and you will need to give them the IMEI nums (phone ID).
If the phone is unlocked, you just have to switch the sim. You shouldnt have to call with any info. Its one of the big advantages of gsm over analog, digital, and pcs.
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Old Jan 26, 05, 8:54 am
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Whoever provided you with that info is wrong.

AT&T now referred to as Cingular Blue still has phones and will for a while. There are many cases why somebody needs a Blue Replacement and they have phones for that purpose.

Another option is buy an unlocked phone and as others have said insert your Blue SIM card into the phone.

The rep wanted to make his comission by signing up another account.

Dan
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Old Jan 26, 05, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by Darren
If the phone is unlocked, you just have to switch the sim. You shouldnt have to call with any info. Its one of the big advantages of gsm over analog, digital, and pcs.
I agree on unlocked phones.

Perhaps my sentence could have been worded clearer, but I stated they had to call for the COAM phones -- that is, if they bought (unlocked) COAM phones, ATTWS has to 'attach' the IMEI to the sons' SIM.
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Old Jan 26, 05, 1:01 pm
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Here's what $34.99/mo. (AT&T) gets me from 2002-june 2006:
500 anytime minutes
unlimited night/weekend minutes
unlimited incoming text messages
free phone every year (latest was Motorolla T721)
promised rate forever, as long as I renew the contract by receiving a free phone every year.
I've gone over once and I use incoming text messaging hevily.

Here's what $39.99/mo. (Cingular) gets me when I need a new phone:
450 anytime minutes
rollover will likely go unused
5000 night/weekend minutes
no text messages unless i want to pay more

I don't see the point in spending $60/year more for things I don't need, plus they're taking away text messaging. In all the letters they say "You'll be getting the same great service you've come to expect from AT&T." In my opinion, this takeover should have gone the other direction.
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Old Jan 26, 05, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by DallasBill
ATTWS has to 'attach' the IMEI to the sons' SIM.
Why would this be required??

I've put a friend's AT&T SIM into my unlocked T-Moble phone and made calls with no problem.
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Old Jan 26, 05, 2:16 pm
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You put the SIM into an unlocked phone, not a T-Mob COAM (locked) phone in your case.

Regardless of the carrier...

It has nothing to do with the SIM per se, and everything to do with the locked COAM phone.

For example, on a locked COAM phone, the IMEI is either associated in the ATTWS system with another SIM (if it was purchased used) or is not associated to any SIM.

Either way, it has to be associated to a new SIM in order for the cell tower to recognize it as a valid ATTWS SIM-phone combo on their network. That way, it can take advantage of -- some would say ATTWS can take advantage of you -- all the ATTWS network features.

An 3rd party unlocked phone w/ whomever's SIM will not necessarily be able to use all the network data features of said carrier's home network.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Last edited by DallasBill; Jan 26, 05 at 2:18 pm
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