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Q&A For Cell One to AT&T Transition - Part 2 (LONG)

by hardcorehavok    Oct 9, 2007, 7:16 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: Cingular bought AT&T and now AT&T bought Cingular and Cell One? What?

A: This question is not so much about the Cell One/AT&T transition as it is about the AT&T/Cingular/AT&T transition. Originally, AT&T Wireless (note the "Wireless") was a separate company owned by AT&T (the land line company). Cingular Wireless bought AT&T Wireless from AT&T. A couple years later, AT&T (the land line company) merged with BellSouth who owned Cingular Wireless. When they merged, BellSouth and Cingular changed their names to AT&T to create a united brand. Cell One will also change its name to AT&T. The new AT&T, or AT&T Mobility, that is taking over Cell One is NOT the same as AT&T Wireless. It is confusing, but that is about as good as I can explain it.

Q: How will early termination fees work?

A: Anyone who signed/signs a contract between now and the time the transition occurs, will have the existing ETF policy which is $20 per month left on their contract (per line as well if canceling more than one contracted phone). AT&T's ETF policy is a flat $175 fee. It doesn't matter if it is 31 days or 23 months into the contract. However, Cell One's current trail period for new service is 14 days whereas AT&T's is 30 days. That will definitely change to reflect AT&T.

Q: Will there be any new fees or charges?

A: As far as monthly fees go, there could be, but I'm not sure. There will be a change as far as activation fees and new upgrade fees. Activation fees for AT&T are $36 for a primary line and $26 for a secondary line. Also, AT&T charges $18 (half the activation fee) to upgrade. This will probably piss off a lot of customers, but other cell phone companies charge this fee as well. Currently, Cell One offers one year contracts with a $45 activation fee. AT&T rarely offers one year contracts and when they do, it is just $36.

Q: Are there any other changes with activations?

A: Yes. Cell One currently offers an upgrade every 18 months. AT&T has different upgrade dates. Usually, you can upgrade after 21 months. Again, some customers are going to be pissed. However, you can be eligible early. If you normally have a higher bill each month, you will probably be eligible early. For instance, if you have a $100 rate plan and a $30 data package and $5 insurance and $3 roadside assistance and download a lot of ringtone, graphics and game, you will probably get an earlier upgrade date. I only had my phone one year and I was able to upgrade because I had all of the above and a total of five lines. AT&T normally makes the primary line eligible a little bit earlier than any partner lines. Also, AT&T offers an early upgrade program through their COR stores. If you are at least 6-12 months into your two year contract, you can get a new device at the one year contract price if you sign a two year contract. This is especially good for people who lose or break their phone before their upgrade date and don't have insurance or for those people that have to have the newest phone as soon as it comes out.

Q: Will I have to set my voicemail back up?

A: Eventually, yes. AT&T will do one of two things. They may allow you to keep your current voicemail until you upgrade or change your plan. Another option is that they may force you to change after a designated amount of time. If you have messages saved to your mailbox and have to set up a new AT&T voicemail, your messages WILL be lost and any recorder greetings will also be lost. One good thing about having to change is that the AT&T voicemail system is so much easier than the Cell One voicemail. The Cell One voicemail gives you way too many options and menus. The AT&T voicemail is streamlined and easy.

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