AT&T is asking me to leave their network

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 10, 2005
1,489
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Today, I received this letter in the mail. I'm still trying to figure out my options and what implications this will have...

Dear _____,

As part of our regular review of customer accounts, we have determined that more than half of your wireless usage has been in an area that is not directly served by AT&T network. One of the requirements of our national plans is that customers use more than 50% of their minutes on an AT&T-owned network and live inside an AT&T-owned wireless coverage area.

This situation is rare, occurring with less than one percent of customers on national plans. But when it happens, our operating costs increase significantly which makes it difficult for us to keep our rates affordable for all other customers. That's why this kind of "off network" usage is contrary to the terms of your rate plan. As a result, we are writing to explain the options available to you.

Your options now include:
- Selecting a wireless carrier who directly serves the area where you do most of your calling. If you choose this option you may be able to keep your current wireless number(s), and you will not have to pay an early termination fee to AT&T.
- Terminating your service with AT&T with no early termination fee.

To assist you with knowing when you’re using another carrier’s network, we have changed the label on your phone screen(s) to display “Off Network”.

Unfortunately, we will remove your ability to use other carriers’ wireless networks and restrict your use to AT&T’s network only at the end of your billing period after February 1, 2010 if you do not choose one of these options. This will mean in areas not directly served by an AT&T-owned wireless network you will not be able to make or receive calls.

We are available to answer any questions you have and help you through this process by contacting us at 866-704-0177 during business hours Monday-Friday, 7AM-7PM EST and Saturday, 9AM-6PM EST.

Sincerely,

AT&T
Basically, I lived and worked in mid-coast Maine for part of the year. A little over 5 months. Even though AT&T never alerted me, either through email, postal, phone call, or phone label, I was outside of their network. Now, they are attempting to toss me from their network or stay and pay roaming charges with my NATIONAL CALLING PLAN inside of this country.

I have other family members on my calling plan, and this would affect all of them. We have thousands of rollover minutes that would be lost if I were to switch providers. Also, I have had an iPhone for a month and a half, which as you know, can't be used on other networks unless it's jailbroken. I can't return the phone because it's outside of their 30-day return policy.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening, either personally or to someone else? It reeks of shadiness and spotlight on their service, along with their inability to warrant an exclusive contract with the nation's most popular phone. It wasn't like I was living in the middle of the woods in Maine. There was an Apple and AT&T store two hours south in Portland, and the town I lived in was a very popular tourist city.
 

Maclver

macrumors 68020
Nov 23, 2008
2,338
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36°07′53″N 95°56′14″W
Yes... there was a thread on here somewhere about the same thing.... What I suggest you do is contact customer service and immediately ask to speak with manager, skip the CSR. Or better go into a store if there is one close and tell them your situation and see what they can do for you.. Make sure you have read the terms and conditions of your contract to make sure you understand everything.


I don't understand why they gave you service in the first place!


good luck
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,437
2,276
I'm sorry to hear this. Are you still living in Maine? Maybe you could explain the situation to them, to a supervisor not a regular rep and tell them it was temporary situation and it won't happen again. Then in the future, if you have another situation like this, you can get a pay as you go phone. Also, are you sure they want you to cancel the entire family plan? If push comes to shove, and you can't make arrangements, maybe you can just detach that phone from the family plan. I have done that with my daughters as I wanted a separate bill for my calls.
 

pcs are junk

macrumors 65816
Sep 28, 2009
1,044
0
if in the end u do get kicked off, unlock your iphone, and go with tmobile, a cheaper plan, and u can still use it. stick to at&t.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Most people don't realize that not only is ATT limited with their 3G coverage, but their native tower coverage is limited as well.

Basically, about one third of US states either have no or limited ATT native towers. In those areas, you cannot live and own an iPhone because you would be roaming all the time.

The attached map below shows (pink/blank areas) all the places in the USA where you cannot live and own an iPhone:
 

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sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,437
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Most people don't realize that not only is ATT limited with their 3G coverage, but their native tower coverage is limited as well.

Basically, about one third of US states either have no or limited ATT native towers. In those areas, you cannot live and own an iPhone because you would be roaming all the time.

The attached map below shows (pink/blank areas) all the places in the USA where you cannot live and own an iPhone:
Wait a minute, I am not trying to be funny, but that map does not look like what I see in their commercials.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Wait a minute, I am not trying to be funny, but that map does not look like what I see in their commercials.
That's because their commercials show you all the places where you can USE your ATT phone... including roaming on other networks... at least, as long as you don't do it more than 50% of the time.

They do not show in their commercials where you can actually live and own and use an ATT phone all the time.

It's just one more reason why ATT exclusivity was a really dumb idea. Can you imagine if the people living in those areas could not buy iPods or Macs?
 

Matthew Yohe

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2006
2,198
129
Yes. This happens. You're costing AT&T more to stay on their network because you're roaming. This is all laid out in the fine print of your contract which is available on their website.

This is actually how some can get out of plans without an early termination fee.
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,437
2,276
Commercial

This is shot of what the commercial shows.

Sorry did not see your repsonse:

That's because their commercials show you all the places where you can USE your ATT phone... including roaming on other networks... at least, as long as you don't do it more than 50% of the time.

They do not show in their commercials where you can actually live and own and use an ATT phone all the time.

It's just one more reason why ATT exclusivity was a really dumb idea. Can you imagine if the people living in those areas could not buy iPods or Macs?

I get it now.
 

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kdarling

macrumors P6
kdarling linked to an old image.
No, I did not. I captured the latest image of where you can live and own an iPhone (or any other ATT) phone.

You provided a map of both native and roaming tower coverage, which is NOT the same thing.

lostprophet894 said:
OH! I remember! That's the map that Verizon shows in their commercials to represent AT&T's 3G coverage. :D
Also wrong, although that one is similar.

I don't blame you guys for not understanding right away. It is always a huge surprise to people who don't know about it. Again, here is the correct ownership map:
 

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sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
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No, I did not. I captured the latest image of where you can live and own an iPhone (or any other ATT) phone.

You provided a map of both native and roaming tower coverage, which is NOT the same thing.



Also wrong, although that one is similar.
Great info. Some states get no love at all. I'm surprised Cali is not more covered than what's shown.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
Actually, it's a little murkier. Kdarling's map isn't quite right either, and here's why.

That map is the "native coverage - GoPhone" map. It doesn't yet include recent acquisitions like Centennial wireless, or swapped spectrum between AT&T and Verizon as part of the Alltel merger.

EVen further muddying things is the notion that AT&T doesn't have uniform roaming agreements, and some roaming partners are friendlier to AT&T than others. AT&T can and does allow people to roam "excessively" on some of these "friendly" roaming partners, and you'll get a pass. While in others, you'll get the letter.

So, the actual "OK" coverage lies somewhere in between the GoPhone map and the full-on AT&T coverage map. You can still use the GoPhone map and if you fall in that coverage, you're definitely OK. But, Not being in that coverage map isn't a definite no.

Another way to know is to pretend you're a new customer and put in the zip oce of the place you're traveling to. If AT&T will sell you a phone there, you should be all right.
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,437
2,276
Actually, it's a little murkier. Kdarling's map isn't quite right either, and here's why.

That map is the "native coverage - GoPhone" map. It doesn't yet include recent acquisitions like Centennial wireless, or swapped spectrum between AT&T and Verizon as part of the Alltel merger.

EVen further muddying things is the notion that AT&T doesn't have uniform roaming agreements, and some roaming partners are friendlier to AT&T than others. AT&T can and does allow people to roam "excessively" on some of these "friendly" roaming partners, and you'll get a pass. While in others, you'll get the letter.

So, the actual "OK" coverage lies somewhere in between the GoPhone map and the full-on AT&T coverage map. You can still use the GoPhone map and if you fall in that coverage, you're definitely OK. But, Not being in that coverage map isn't a definite no.

Another way to know is to pretend you're a new customer and put in the zip oce of the place you're traveling to. If AT&T will sell you a phone there, you should be all right.
Yep, your right. It is murky. Thanks for the info.
 

Matthew Yohe

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2006
2,198
129
kdarling is right. I had no idea that in the widest zoom of the coverage map, they merge partner and AT&T coverage into "AT&T National GSM Coverage".
 

ToroidalZeus

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2009
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kdarling

macrumors P6
Except that for the most part those areas are sparsely inhabited. Geographically it may seem like a large area but population wise its a LOT smaller.
Sure, but it's still millions of people who can't own an iPhone, all because of the simple reason that they live away from ATT home towers.

It's why the rural carriers were right to petition the FCC to allow them access to exclusive phones. Which seems fair. If ATT cannot sell an iPhone in Montana, then they will lose no money by allowing local carriers to sell them there.

Ditto for Verizon and Sprint, although at least Verizon has promised to let rural carriers have their exclusive phones after six months (which only barely mollified them).
 

rysonx

macrumors newbie
Jan 1, 2010
1
0
Honestly its a great new for me cus I got that same issue few months ago and they say that I can leave anytime I want cus of no coverage in Sioux Falls.

Why its a good new? I SAVE MONEY!!! and not only that... NO EARLY TERMINATION FEE!

Is life so sweet?


Im always on wifi and also theres no 3G service in the area so why pay 100 a month for it?

P.S. it felt so weird after breaking off the ATT chains....
 

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
3,294
131
Around
No, I did not. I captured the latest image of where you can live and own an iPhone (or any other ATT) phone.

You provided a map of both native and roaming tower coverage, which is NOT the same thing.



Also wrong, although that one is similar.

I don't blame you guys for not understanding right away. It is always a huge surprise to people who don't know about it. Again, here is the correct ownership map:
Back in the old Bell days, isn't this where they were in these same areas? I don't remember Any Bell companies in the west area.
 

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 10, 2005
1,489
1,968
Just spoke to an AT&T customer service person for the third time. So far, they are holding firm on this policy. They're telling me that as long as I stay within their calling area, I'm fine. But, if in the next year, I travel and pass through an area not covered by an actual AT&T tower, my phone will not make or receive any calls or texts. So essentially, unless something changes when I speak to a manager Monday, I'd have to be on AT&T probation for a year if I do not terminate my contract.
 

ToroidalZeus

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2009
2,301
821
t's why the rural carriers were right to petition the FCC to allow them access to exclusive phones. Which seems fair.
Your not a lawyer are you? Apple made a legally binding contract to only sell the iPhone in America with AT&T. Now you are saying since someone in America can't buy the iPhone the government needs to break the deal? I'm sorry but whats next. 2yr contracts are illegal because when a new phone comes out i cant buy it?

Your brand of fair hardly seems fair to me.