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Q&A For Cell One to AT&T Transition - Part 1 (LONG)

by hardcorehavok    Oct 9, 2007, 7:13 PM

Recently, a letter was either mailed to or made available online to Cell One COR stores, agents and dealers. It answered a few questions about the pending AT&T take over. Some of the questions were answered with something like "AT&T will let you know as the time nears." I know there have been many questions about AT&T's purchase of Dobson Communications and Cell One. I currently work in an authorized dealership. Having worked for Cingular/AT&T for a year and a half, I have the advantage of seeing the aftermath of the AT&T Wireless to Cingular transition and being there for the Cingular to AT&T name change. I am going to give a few answers to some questions I have heard on forums or from customers. Some of the questions may sound stupid, but believe me: people have and will ask them. Some questions are for customers and some are for employees (both company and agent). Some questions are for both.

Q: When will Cell One become AT&T?

A: This is hard to say for sure. I have heard anywhere from the end of October to the beginning of the second quarter of 2008. No matter when the sale is finalized, the transition will NOT be overnight. Some people (customers especially) think that one day we will be Cell One and the next we will be AT&T and that is it. That is wrong. The name change may take place overnight, but the changes will not stop there. This process will take at least three to six months.

Q: Will I have to get a new phone or phone number?

A: No. Cell One phones are primarily unlocked GSM phones with Cell One settings for data. In fact, Cell One and AT&T carry the same models of phone, but AT&T carries more. You won't even need new sim cards until your next upgrade.

Q: Will there be more handsets available?

A: Yes. At any given time AT&T has 3-4 time more phones available than Cell One. Again, Cell One and AT&T have a lot of the same phones, but AT&T has way more. Dealers, make room in the store.

Q: Will I have to change my plan?

A: Possibly. For the most part, the Cell One National plans are very close if not identical to AT&T's. There are some differences in minutes and price. For instance, Cell One offers a Nation 900 plan for $60 and a partner line for $9.99. AT&T has the exact same plan minus the additional line. Cell One also has a Nation 1500 plan for $80 and a $9.99 partner line option. AT&T has this same plan, but it includes 1400 minutes. The biggest changes are going to come with the Statewide plans, Unlimited plans and the Individual plans. AT&T is a national carrier and they do not currently offer statewide plans. They do not have unlimited plans either. There is a possibility that they may change this to conform with Cell One plans, but it is very doubtful. AT&T has over 62 million customers and Cell One has around 2-3 million. They probably will not make such huge changes to make such a small group happy. I know, I know. 2-3 million sounds high and you think that AT&T should care equally about each and every customer, but that is not the case. Also, AT&T has a different set up for individual plans as compared to family plans. With Cell One, you can simply add a line to almost any plan starting at $9.99 depending on the plan. AT&T has separate individual and family plans. For instance, the 900 minute plan from above is an individual plan. If you wanted to add a line, you'd have to choose a family plan like the 1400 minute plan for $100 plus $9.99 for the additional line. When Cingular bought out AT&T Wireless, former AT&T customers were allowed to keep their existing plan until either they upgraded or decided to change. This may be the way the new AT&T will proceed. Once you change your plan to an AT&T plan, you will NOT be able to change back.

Q: Will I have to change any of my features?

A: Possibly. Just like the rate plans, AT&T has similar features to Cell One, but there are some differences. First, directory assistance is $1.79, not $1.50 like it currently is for Cell One. Pay per use internet is only one cent per kb instead of three. The early nights and weekends package costs $8.99 for a single line and $16.99 for a family plan. If you have a family plan, you CANNOT add the individual NW pack to just one line. The Cell One Signalink packages will be replaced with AT&T MEdia paks. They are similar, but their are more options and varying allowances and prices. Also, MEdia Net paks do NOT include download credits like the Signalink paks. Some features like phone protection, roadside assistance and enhanced voicemail are the same. Again, you will probably not have to change paks unless you upgrade or make a change. Once you change your pak to an AT&T pak, you will NOT be able to change back.

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