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Q&A For Cell One to AT&T Transition - Part 4 (LONG)

by hardcorehavok    Oct 9, 2007, 7:23 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: Will there be any new features offered for Cell One customers due to the transition?

A: Yes and no. There will be new features, but most will require you change to a compatible AT&T rate plan. For instance, Cell One customers will not have the capability for 3G unless they upgrade to an AT&T 3G phone and an AT&T plan. 3G may not be available in your area, but by the end of 2008, AT&T is hoping it will be network wide. 3G brings fast download and web browsing speeds as well as features like streaming music through an XM Radio subscription and steaming video through Cellular Video and MobiTV. Cellular Video is a FREE video service with the option to add subscription services like WWE Mobile or HBO Mobile. All it requires is an unlimited internet package and a 3G AT&T Phone. MobiTV offers live streaming TV. MobiTV doesn't require a 3G phone, but it works best on one. Even if you are not in a 3G area, these 3G services will still work, but not to their full potential. It's like watching YouTube on dial up or slow DSL. Other AT&T features include Push To Talk. PTT is basically AT&T's walkie talkie feature. It requires a compatible handset and monthly feature charge. It is AT&T specific so no AT&T to Nextel or Boost Mobile chirps. A feature that is not new to Cell One customers, but that will be improved is mobile-to-mobile calling. As I said before, Cell One only has a few million customers, but AT&T has more subscribers than any other national carrier. This means that your mobile-to-mobile calling community will go from 2-3 million to 62-65 million. It is unsure if AT&T will make customers sign up for an AT&T plan to get the access to the full mobile-to-mobile community or if they will get it no matter what mobile-to-mobile plan they have.

Q: What will happen with my current Cell One prepaid phone and service?

A: It will eventually be phased out in favor of AT&T's GoPhone service. You will be made aware plenty of time in advance. They will eventually stop Cell One prepaid payments and allow enough time for all the balances to expire before fully ending service. They may even offer to transfer remaining balances to a new GoPhone account.

Q: What are the different GoPhone plans and phones?

A: Check your local AT&T store or dealership (i.e. Walmart) or wireless.att.com.

Q: Will the service improve?

A: Customer service is always a top priority for AT&T. I know this because I went to countless classes and trainings about it. Will it be better than Cell One is now? I believe it will. As for coverage and cell service, Cell One does allow its customers to roam off AT&T towers already so you may or may not see an immediate improvement. Part of it depends on where you live. AT&T is always adding cell sites and improving the network. From their current UMTS 3G updates to the HSPDA 4G upgrades scheduled to start sometime next year, AT&T wants to have the biggest and best service available. One thing I can almost guarantee is that you will NOT see your service decline.

Q: Will I be able to get out of my contract?

A: This could go either way. My guess is no. Most cellular contracts state that if a carrier makes a dramatic change to customers's rate plans, features, charges or terms and conditions of their contract, that the customer can cancel without penalty. AT&T will probably not force anyone to change their plan, features or charges. As I have said, Cell One customers will probably not have to change a thing until they want to or until they upgrade.

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