In which I am upset about wireless service in LA

AT&T Wireless Service in Los Angeles

I have to say that I am completely unimpressed with AT&T Wireless‘ service in the Los Angeles area. I have experienced more dropped and missed phone calls than I ever did with SprintPCS. The calls that do manage to connect often suffer from horrible audio – inbound and / or outbound. They supposedly have a ton of features: find the nearest movies, directions to restaurants, etc. But you can’t use the “extra” features if you can’t frickin’ call anyplace, y’know? The thing that really is bugging me is that I’m not 100% sure it’s AT&T’s fault. It might be my phone. I have a trendy little electric-blue Nokia 8260. I love that it’s the tiniest phone in the world, but I’m often suspicious of its quality. The user interface is nowhere near as lovely as it was on my Samsung. The power button is on the top for who-knows-what-reason. The phone book search is not intuitive. It’s even a pain to simply switch from audible to silent alert. And, perhaps most annoying of all, the AT&T voice mail system is el-ay-em-ee. SprintPCS’ service was smart enough to know if I was calling from my own phone! That meant that I didn’t have to enter my soopah-secret PIN to get my messages; the system already knew it was me. And another thing: If I don’t listen to the entire voice mail, AT&T considers that message to have been “skipped” … so I have to listen to it again when I invariably have to redial my voice mail because I’ve been disconnected. And how’s *this* for annoying? Most of the time the service is so bad that the voice mail system can’t hear when I hit “7” to delete a message until after I’ve listened to the entire thing.

I’m going to cancel my AT&T service and return to SprintPCS. Luckily I still have my phone and my phone number with them.

2024-01-23: Broken links in this post have been removed and/or updated.

There are 11 comments on this post

  1. I feel your pain!! Though in Tampa I haven’t experienced the troublesome dropped/missed/barely audible calls thank goodness, I have noticed the some drawbacks with my new Nokia 3360. It’s a little larger than your phone, but small enough to be kind of neato to own (fits snugly in the palm of my hand). I find that the buttons are too small for me and my clumsy fingers (no, I don’t have “man hands”, the buttons are sized for 5-year-old children — something I should’ve thought about before purchasing I guess). I have issues with the “Phone Book” option as well. But my main beef with AT&T is definitely the dreaded voicemail. It’s quite annoying to have to enter the PIN when calling from your phone — seems that the system should be much smarter than that. I have found that if you hit ‘7’ twice really fast while listening to the message that it will erase it before having to listen to the whole thing. And one other thing that I REALLY dislike — if I miss a call and it goes to voicemail, my phone will make a distinctive ring ONE TIME and that’s it. So if I didn’t hear that distinctive ring, I wouldn’t know that I had a voicemail unless I were to look at my phone to see “Missed Call/Voice Mail” on the display. I have been knee-deep in the Settings/Preferences/Messages options and still have not seen anyway to get more than one ring out of it. That would be #1 on my wishlist from Nokia/AT&T. If anyone does know how to do this, please end my suffering and tell me how!! I would be forever grateful. 🙂

  2. I’m glad you’re using your new phone. I was sick of getting cut off from you! :0)

  3. My X urged and nagged me for two years to get rid of Sprint…once I did I had the SAME experience that you did. I was paying exorbitant prices for service that was even worse, than Sprint. Prior to switching I couldn’t imagine worse service than Sprint. Heh!

    He had it too, and as soon as I switched, AT&T got unbearably evil even for him. Maybe it’s my fault?!

    Now that I’m rid of the X, I’m thinking of scrapping the X’s recommended phone service as well. But awww, it’s such a pain in the a*s.

  4. oh yeah, and I have the nokia 8260 as well. A friend of mine called the 8260 the “bane of his existance” Well said.

  5. I’ve been a Sprint carrier for over a year now. To be honest, I’ve found Sprint’s coverage slightly better than AT&T wireless’s, and I travel all over the place. For the money, I haven’t found a better deal. Voicestream has some attractive packages but they don’t have the GSM coverage that they really need.

    I have a close friend who works for Verizon Wireless, and she recommended that in some markets, including SoCal, NOT to use Verizon due to the mess of networks and Verizon’s regular problems out there. She spoke highly of Sprint, and if the digital service is an issue, which it is for me, they are the way to go.

    I’m completely in love with the voice-dial service from any phone. It rocks. I’m hooked. Love Sprint.

  6. I’ve been with SprintPCS for 3 years and I’ve never had a big complaint with them. Friends of mine who also had Sprint would bitch and complain about the sketchy reception in some areas, the calls dropping out on them in other areas… I kept saying, until I was blue in the face, “this is wireless technology! It’s not going to work like your home phone!” Plus, everyone remembers the non-digital cellular days right? Those were hell.

    So all in all, it’s good to hear from other sources that SprintPCS really is good at what they do.

  7. AT&T wireless services is the most uncooperative cellular service that I have ever dealt with. I have had Nextel, Verizon, and Ameritech cellular services in the past and have never had such bad service as AT&T wireless. Too many dropped calls. Not enough support area in many Major Chicago Metropolitan areas. I called and complained about my service. They basically said that they could not do anything about the poor service and that I may not cancel my contract without paying a huge fee.

  8. If you are interested joining a CLASS ACTION SUIT against AT&T, please send an E-mail to: and we will forward the information to you.

  9. You would think for a large company like at&t they wouldn’t have a problem with such an “easy” or so I thought request. All I wanted to do is order a nother line of service to my current line, they made it sound so easy – they were even willing to give me an extra phone for free, well as of today it has been 3 wks and I have never received anything except for a complete hassle. I have called at&t anywhere from 1-4 times every wk day since my initial call. Everytime I do call, instead of fixing the initial problem, they have just been ordering me another phone with another line, as of last wk I had 4 additional lines to my service with 4 phones sent ( 2 to the wrong address – I might add) and the other 2? Who knows!! When I call I either get hung up on ( which is at least once a day) or I get told I have never had another line of service, I have to beg and plead for someone to let me speak with a supervisor, which is usually when I do get hung up on. As of last night – I am so fed up, I was on for 3 hrs this time ( not unusual) this is how I have been spending my free time between work and sleep!!! On hold with AT& T or getting the complete run around. One time I called I was on the phone with someone for an hr before he finally transferred me to his supervisor, who advised me there is no way he was even looking at my account because their systems had been down all day. No one seems to to know what they are doing, even the supervisors, expecially care. They are unbelievably rude and insensitive!! I still have 4 lines of service that I have never requested and still no phone! My statement is completly screwed up – I am now on the wrong plan, somehow I went from 29$ to 89$!! Another thing I never asked for! And now it is my duty to call everyday and harrass them to take it off my bill! And everytime I am told sure, no problem, all taken care of. But when I call back the next day just to make sure, it is worse than before, they have screwed up my credit card with automatic billing, I am on the wrong calling plan, I have went back and forth between a 1 and 2 yr contract & I have these misterous extra phone lines with a shared plan – who the He** do they think I am talking to?? I don’t even have more than one phone. I am not sure if I should even call back in fear of something else going wrong! Last night on my 3 hr call, nothing was accomplished! I had 2 people from at&t on the phone with me at the same time – discussing what they should do, and at the end all they could say to each other was – “what should I do?” – Responce – ” I don’t know, I have never handled this before.?? What ?? So get me someone who can! One of the girls hung up and left me with a rep who had no idea why I was transfered to her in the first place! I am sick of explaning the situation 3 times a day to someone who is not capable to help me in the first place. What is the big deal about being transfered to someone else if they do not know how to help me!? Why is it so hard to send someone an additional line with a phone without changing all of my account info? And why are phones being sent to someone else when my address has never changed! They sure seem to know what my address is when it comes time to send me a bill!! And as for my phone service, I can’t even talk on my cell at home for fear or losing the call! My service completly sucks and yes I do have another comment as everyone else above, I should not have to enter a security code everytime I call to access my VM when I am calling from my cell!! And it would be great if any of my shiny new expensive v60i ‘s features would actually work – including the call waiting which is supposed to be included! HELP!!!!!!!!

  10. Have a beef with AT&T? Check out or webpage!

  11. HA! You think you can just pay the penalty and be done with them!??? Listen to THIS! My husband had two identical phone (same plan, purchased at the same time, etc.) accounts in FL through AT&T Wireless. When he moved to TN in 2001, they did not provide service there. We were told that we could terminate the contract(s) by paying the bill in full plus an early termination fee and penalty, which we did. Upon cashing our check, one account was promptly closed without further…ado. However, on the other account we received another statement with additional penalty fees charged. When we called about it we were told that the fees would not be waived; that this was their ‘policy’; and that the company could not be held responsible if one of their representatives had misquoted their termination policies to us. Since we had already remitted full payment for minutes used plus the initially-requested termination fees, we did not believe it was appropriate for AT&T to now be asking for additional funds. A few months later (March 2002) we received notice from the first collection agency regarding the matter. We responded in less than a week and never heard back. The following year (March 2003) we received notice from a NY law firm that they were representing AT&T Wireless in an attempt to collect from us. We sent them a letter, plus copies of previous correspondence. They contacted my husband at work to verify some information a few weeks later and we have not heard from them since. Last week (March 2004) we received notice from a new collection agency regarding the same matter. I have responded, but it is becoming obvious that, after hearing the facts, none of these agencies sees fit to pursue the matter further, thus AT&T apparently must assign our account to other firms. I feel we have been more than reasonable regarding this matter…for three+ years now…and resent their continued attempts to harass & coerce us into giving them more money. They suck-o and we’re joining the class action party.

Add to the discussion:

I'll never share your email address and it won't be published.

What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

A few years ago I was trying to determine what cocktails I could make with the alcohol I had at home. I searched the App Store but couldn't find an app that would let me do that, so I built one.


You can read dozens of essays and articles and find hundreds of links to other sites with stories and information about Ernest Hemingway in The Hemingway Collection.