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ATT + Cingular Merger Problem 4 Replacing Phone

by sylvanr / January 28, 2005 6:33 PM PST

We had two phones on a family plan with AT&T and one of them got wet and wouldn't work. When I went to buy another phone at the AT&T store, it had been changed to a Cingular store and they told me that the phones they had were not compatable with my AT&T plan and that I would have to "upgrade" to a Cingular account and have to replace BOTH phones AND sign up for a Cingular account that would apparently give me LESS minutes for MORE money! I was incredulous. I was ready to go to another carrier but then was told it would cost me $175.00 to get out of my contract that I had with AT&T and which apparently now made me obligated to Cingular until December. My contract was with AT&T - NOT Cingular wireless.

All I want to do is replace my dead cell phone with something that will get me through until December when my contract expires and I can change carriers without paying a big penaly. I see there are a few phones on EBay that are the same AT&T phone that I had. I also see other AT&T phones there. I discovered that I could take my sim card out of the dead phone I have and put it in the working one which is an entirely different brand and could make calls. So could I expect to be able to pretty much put the GSM sim chip in ANY AT&T compatable phone? Why can't I put it in the new Cingular compatable phones? I read something about phones being locked and software to unlock them? Could somebody explain all this to me and offer suggestions? Are there places other than EBay that I can find replacement phones? I can't believe that there was some sudden rapture in which all the AT&T compatable cell phones have suddenly dissapeared from the earth just because ATT merged with Cingular. HELP! Where are all the leftover ATT phones or refurbished or used?

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by augieabbey / January 29, 2005 6:52 AM PST

Whereas I don't have an answer to your questions, I would like to caution you that a similar event happened to me AND that at the end of the contracted time they extended my bill by 7 months because I had been without service but they reactivated. BE CAREFUL THESE PEOPLE ARE THIEVES!!!!

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NEW LAWSUIT: Cingular Deceived & Overcharged AT&T Customers
by jbroshear / July 9, 2006 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: AT&Thieves
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any updates on this lawsuit?
by jbroshear / August 31, 2006 7:18 AM PDT

any rulings yet?

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How about a place to file complaints?
by aliciad54 / September 1, 2006 1:46 AM PDT

Sad to say, I was reading ''The Red Tape Chronicles'' which is a blogger, Bob Sullivan, from MSNBC and the problem with cell phone companies is they are not regulated. There is only one place you can file a complaint and that's the FCC -- BUT -- the FCC does not answer individual complaints. They have to get a LOT of complaints to move in and investigate. Bob, gives a lot of interesting information in his post. I say we all go to the link I'm getting ready to add and flood the FCC with our legitimate complaints.

Why, Bob said the FCC only gets about 1500 complaints a day which is how many complaints he received from his blog alone. He gives links to do it online and makes it easy. May I suggest anyone with a legitimate complaint take a few minutes and file it? There is power in numbers.

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Less than two months to go!!!
by aliciad54 / September 1, 2006 7:22 AM PDT

I called Cingular today and very nicely and sweetly asked when my contract ended. Woohoo! Somehow they goofed. I have three phones and one ends on Oct 23rd, another on the 24th, and the last one on the 25th. AND I WILL BE FREE!!!

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One Question...
by lampietheclown / September 3, 2006 8:58 AM PDT

... Where will the celebration be held?

Consider this my RSVP Happy


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by birdmantd Forum moderator / September 3, 2006 1:23 PM PDT
In reply to: One Question...

How are you doing?? Long time, no arguement. No bad feelings I hope.

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Cingular is going to go back to the AT&T Name
by gds_dc_mom / December 20, 2006 3:21 AM PST
In reply to: Hello

Can you believe it? After buying AT&T and then all this fighting with their own customers and killing the name AT&T, they are saying that they are going to change the name to AT&T next year. What morons!

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You must've missed it.
by aliciad54 / December 20, 2006 4:47 AM PST

We were just talking about how Cingular is going back to AT&T. HOWEVER, they (the bad guys) are just changing their name, and they can do that, because they bought AT&T. I had stated that perhaps they did it because of all the people that they messed with and they're hopeful to get a few of them back by fooling them. At least that's my theory about the whole thing. It cost them to do it too. Money they could've given their stock holders. And business is business and the little guy is the little guy. Hard to get your voice heard in this new era of poor customer service. Take it or leave it.

The AT&T name is a great name and always will be.

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Actually it's a little more complicated than that.
by lampietheclown / December 21, 2006 3:40 PM PST
In reply to: You must've missed it.

Howdy all,
I'm not even sure that I have all the twists and turns right, but I think it followed a path of...

AT&T sold it's wireless division, but let whoever bought it keep the name "AT&T Wireless". So AT&T became a different company than "AT&T Wireless".

Next, Cingular buys AT&T Wireless, but either isn't allowed or doesn't want to use the the name AT&T Wireless. In a stroke of genius, or maybe it was just a stroke, Cingular decided that AT&T Wireless should keep the working title the suits used while drafting the merger. "Blue Code Nightmare Network".

AT&T ( The big old one ), merged with or got bought by Bell South, But retained the valuable AT&T name. When you remember that Ma Bell (AT&T), gave birth to Bell South and the other "Baby Bells", the story starts to take on a toothless, banjo and canoe "Deliverance" feeling. By the way, we play the Ned Beatty part in this little drama.

AT&T/Bell South buys Cingular. Considering the hatred everyone who was loyal to AT&T Wireless has for Cingular, it's a no brainer that they should not keep "Cingular" for the name. The only question left; Is it better to create a new name, or use the one they have?

Yep! AT&T.


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Clearing up the Merger!!!
by kausa2003 / December 29, 2006 11:48 PM PST
In reply to: You must've missed it.

Alright everyone. Here is how the whole merger thing has actually played out. Whose running things is actually a bit confusing. Originally AT&T was the largest company and the first cell phone provider. They were broken up into baby bells back whenever because of antitrust laws. Two of the companies that came out of this split were Bellsouth in the east and SBC in the west. AT&T still had its corporate name as well. Bellsouth opened its own wireless division called bellsouth cellular and then bellsouth mobility. It was weak so they formed a joint venture with western U.S landline leader SBC and Cingular was born. It was really great until, dieing and bankrupt AT&T negotiated with the two parent companies of Cingular to sell them the AT&T wireless division on the condition that 60% of the AT&T management keep their jobs. This worked out because most former Bellsouth and SBC employees were former AT&T employees. Cingluar was the only branch that was all new. So what happened was Cingular got stuck with 60% of a management staff that was driving AT&T under. Not a smart move, but Cingular automatically became the largerst wireless carrier because of it. So anyone who was pissed when Cingular took over AT&T and thought Cingluar was screwing over AT&T customers... suprise, it was AT&T management screwing over their own customers. Cingular is more AT&T than AT&T is Cingular. Then, SBC went and bought out AT&T's landline division, basically buying the entire company and decided to keep the AT&T name because it was better known. Then they merged with Bellsouth to form the new AT&T. Since cingular was a joint venture between the two and the two merged they are now wholly owned by the new AT&T. Essentially, Cingular stopped existing when they acquired AT&T mobile and is now completely gone. Cingular operates under all AT&T policies and has for years. Which is frustrating for me because everyone talks about how much better AT&T was. Its the same people folks. It came full cirlce. Had cingular been left alone they would be the best company in wireless not just hte largest. I hope this clears up some confusion! In my opinion AT&T is the worst thing to happen to the U.S.

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Background and foreground
by aliciad54 / December 30, 2006 1:23 AM PST

Certainly, what you are saying makes sense. Except for one thing. The customer service provided since Cingular took over. You can go and check through this whole forum and find out what Cingular did to their customers. Not a pretty picture. And then the whole 'upgrading' to Cingular thing smelled bad also. Perhaps there's better karma with the AT&T name? You could actually talk to those people and they'd have some sense in their heads. Here? All I can do is shake my head.

Sorry Lampie:
I ended up signing again with Cingular, but only because so many people are with them and the mobile-to-mobile minutes are great. But my husband and I went through so many stupid people. We were trying to combine our accounts and we were told that my husband would have to be a Cingular customer for 60 days. Excuse me? Then I guess Cingular had better refund all the money we'd sent them since the takeover because it must've all been in error. And then we heard, oh, your husband's acct is four systems back and we can't pull him out and add him to yours or vice versa. But if you both upgrade and become Cingular customers (puleeeze) there'll be no problem. And the, you're going to have to call this number (after being on hold for my whole lunch hour) and call back later to be told, no, we don't do that here. You've got to call this number and it was the number I was on hold with half the day. And thank goodness for the 30 day unconditional get-the-heck-out-of-Dodge clause in their contract. We called them, finally, and told them we refused to wait 60 days and we are leaving unless it was taken care of now. They may not have been able to <rolling my eyes> combine our accts, but they sure as heck would have to let us have our phone numbers.

Alas, I told my hubby it isn't over yet. Wait until the bills come in. Free phones, free overnight shipping, $50 credit, all promised, and I know it's not going to be on the bill correctly.

Guess what? It's not supposed to be so hard. Too many hours on the phone and then I'd get upset and tell my husband it's his turn and back and forth and back and forth. And the bottom line? It was because we wanted our old numbers. There would've been no problem if we'd called and asked for two phones with two new numbers.


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by kausa2003 / December 30, 2006 11:16 PM PST

Again for clarification. It really wasn't cingular making the changes. Top cingular employess did not agree with the changes made after the merger. Most cingular employees were replaced with former AT&T employess up to 60% of the upper level management. That means everyone in corporate. Though these changes were made under the cingular name, those of us who worked at cingular before and after the merger will tell you that they preferred the old cingular (orange) to the new cingular (blue). The blue/orange struggle within the company is between the at&t management and original cingular management. I have always been an orange employee true to the original cingular ways, but all of the top managers in my region are at&t leftovers. Its hard to grasp what is actually going on over there, but the name means nothing now. The joke for employees has been for years that we work for at&t. Now the name reflects it.

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by nextinline / June 7, 2007 3:02 PM PDT

There was no merger.
ATT bought BellSouth.
When you buy something u say what happens no matter how 19th century ur processes r.
Both SBC and BellSouth had very good pricing tools/applications.

Guess what ATT uses???
Spreadsheets with macro's

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by lampietheclown / January 2, 2007 4:27 PM PST
In reply to: Hello

Hey Bird,
No bad feelings, It was never about that. Just trying to keep the fight from being to one-sided. When you're out gunned by a giant like Cingular, you don't take prisoners.

I'd still like to see the script one day if you ever find yourself in a position to let the cat out of the bag. Just out of curiosity, ya know? Lets face it, the party's over.

Are you staying on after the merge? Profits are up, churn is down, and when they change the name back to AT&T, all this will be forgotten. you could do worse.


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by birdmantd Forum moderator / January 2, 2007 7:17 PM PST
In reply to: Howdy

No bad feelings, I plan to be with the company long after the merger. Just a name change, nothing really happening in my group internally.

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Company Mergers and management changes
by aliciad54 / December 31, 2006 3:34 AM PST

There are always sour grapes when it comes to big companies merging. It's done all the time. MBNA bought out by Bank of America, Lee Memorial Hospital buys Southwest Regional. And the beat goes on. I hear loud and clear the blue/orange stuff. Heck, at my job alone I've had 3 different supervisors in the last 14 months and they are currently looking for a 4th. Roll with it. What else can you do as an employee?

BUT WHEN IT COMES TO selling your product and competing against many other companies that have what you have, there's not much else to offer but customer service. The customer doesn't care who bought who and who merged with who, they want what they were told they were going to get and they don't want to fight, continually, for what was promised. Cingular, AT&T, might go the wayside like Pan Am if they're not careful. And the customers? Well, they'll just go on over to the next company, Alltel, Verizon, Nextel/Sprint. Only the strong survive.

Don't believe me? Take a good look at the airlines.

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my take
by kausa2003 / December 31, 2006 10:13 AM PST

i'd agree with you accept the numbers go the other way. churn is down and new service is up. customer service is changing into self service and companies are standardizing across the board. cellular communication is so large now that its more a public utility than a service industry. when was the last time you got good customer service from your power or cable company? how many times have their prices been driven up. I'd tell you that customer service is dependent upon the people who want to do more than their jobs require, because other than that the industry is moving beyond salesmanship and into features.i know plenty of people who jump from provider to provider searching for a better deal. they never find a difference except in service capabilities. that is, most networks are extremely smaller than cingular's. the time where cell service was for elite consumers is past. bargaining for extras is no more. very simply you get what you pay for... the minutes and features included in your plan with the phone you choose. not much more. its not a car dealership or an airline where prices are high enough to be competitive. with cell phones we are talking a dollar here a dollar there. cingular made $356 million dollars in profit last year with 59 million customers. that means on the average each customer was worth $6 in profits. its a numbers game where he who has the most customers is the only one who can survive. unfortunately, every corner cut increases revenue and that is the bottom line. i promise you that every customer would sacrifice service to increase the benefit of their dollar. thats why companies like walmart and cingular do so well. they know how to get customers in the door and keep them. lets face it, the company doesn't determine the service experience. the saleswoman with pms or the salesman going through a divorce determines your service experience. looking to the future customer service will cease to exist. businesses that offer customer service will start to charge premiums for that service sooner than you think. its not the same world our parents grew up in. but thats just my take on it.

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Blue Man Group to run cellular network! Film at 11!
by lampietheclown / January 2, 2007 3:30 AM PST
In reply to: my take

Slow down there kausa. This isn't the astrology board.

If you want anybody here to believe what you are saying, you need to back it up with facts. The revelation that you are (were?) a Cingular employee who has "always been an orange employee true to the original cingular ways", makes you less credible in this thread, not more. The fact that you have never posted on CNET except for the three posts above does not give your words more weight. It gives them less. What position do you (did you) hold in the company? I'm not asking for your name and address, but are we talking sales, accounting, data management, board of directors? You seem to be privy to information the average employee doesn't have.

I have not read on these boards, or on the Cingular employee boards for that matter, any employee discussing problems with "Blue" management vs. "Orange" management. A Google search gave me no clue as to where your "60% of AT&T Managers" theory came from. Where should I look for specific terms of the merger agreement?
You stated that "The joke for employees has been for years that we work for at&t. Now the name reflects it.." Maybe I'm not entering the right search terms for the employee boards? I'm not finding it. There were quite a few mentions of "Blue Code", but they all refer to former AT&T customers, not Cingular management.
There have been many Cingular employees posting here at CNET, and on this thread, yet you are the first to mention what could be considered by many, an important point. I'm not saying it isn't true, I'm just asking you to back it up.

As for your numbers...
You said that "cingular made $356 million dollars in profit last year with 59 million customers." Now I will admit that the term "last year" is a bit grey when you are writing on New Years eve. A check of the Cingular Quarterly Financial Statements (on their website) shows that Cingular's financial fourth quarter and year end, is on December 31st. The financial report for 2005 didn't get released to the public until January 24, 2006. (I guess it takes a while to count all those beans, eh?) Does your job give you access to the numbers early? We can be good friends if it does, but please, don't post them, just e-mail them to my uh... Hotmail account.

You probably meant 2005, right? My tough luck.

Q-4 of 2005 ended with 54.1 million cellular/PCS subscribers, (not 59), an increase of 5 million over 2004. Q-4 broke a record by adding 1.8 million in just those three months, with a record low postpaid churn of 1.9%.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) in the fourth quarter of 2005 was $48.86, down 2.2 percent from the same quarter of 2004. This is due to the saturated market, better calling plans, low revenue customers entering the market, and cheaper phones being offered in order to stay competitive. (Sort of like a car dealership, or an airline, I guess.) Cingular thinks they will eventually replace the shrinking Cellular/PCS profits with the increased ARPU from data services (up 63% over 2004, to $4.71 per quarter). In the fourth quarter of 2005, Cingular had nearly 24 million active data customers, and delivered 72 million multi?media messages and 6.1 billion text messages.

Here's the big one. Reported net income in the fourth quarter of 2005 was $204 million. That's not the number you want. The real number is the normalized (OIBDA) net income of $811 million. That's for the quarter, not the year. For the year, it was 333 million reported, and 8.39 Billion normalized (OIBDA). That's BILLION.

That comes to $155.25 per customer, per year, normalized net profit.

So, let's talk about 2006. Third quarter report. I'll just put out the numbers, and let you do the math.

Highest?ever reported net income of $847 million, an increase of over 280 percent from the same quarter in 2004. Normalized net income was $1.2 billion. (remember, that's for three months, not the year.)
58.7 million cellular/PCS subscribers at quarter?s end
ARPU increased to $49.76 for the quarter. Continued growth in data ARPU contributed to this increase in overall ARPU. In the third quarter of 2006, Cingular had 28 million active data customers, and delivered 138 million multi?media messages and 10 billion text messages.

$6 my gass! (burp)

Now that that's out of the way, here's my real point.
The swill this guy is selling is a repackaged version of what NLiz was trying to make a point out of. Everybody say it with me.

THERE IS NO AT&T. Cingular bought them, their FCC licenses, and of course, Us. Cingular let the leases lapse on towers AT&T didn't own when they were bought. Cingular changed the carrier signal in select markets so the AT&T phones wouldn't work any more. Cingular claimed there were no AT&T branded phones left, when there were. Cingular used extortion, lies, and poor service to get AT&T customers to buy new phones when they didn't need them, and sign new contracts when they didn't want them.

If you must go there, fine. I'll accept your premiss without proof. Cingular agreed to let people with low moral fiber, poor judgement, and bad teeth, run the cellular network we depend on and pay good money for. When the AT&T idiots that they hired broke our network, Cingular refused to fix it unless we paid them extra, even though we didn't hire them. Fair enough?

Even if Cingular hired every single employee AT&T had, That would only be half of Cingular's new workforce, but so what? Did Cingular's board of directors step down? No. How about the CEO? No. The CFO? No Maybe the CTO? No. The only one to step down was the CMO (chief morals officer). He was never replaced. Trying to put the blame on AT&T is clutching at straws. Should we ask every Cingular employee where they worked before they got the job with Cingular? It's even money that we'd be able to blame McDonalds for our problems with that logic, so can we put that piece of fluff behind us once and for all?

Keep sending them Cingular, I don't mind. It just brings the thread back to the top.

Birdman, how come you never mentioned that the Blue Man Group had pulled off a bloodless coup, and was running the company?

Alicia, don't worry about it. Two quotes come to mind.

1) Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.

William F. Buckley, Jr.
2) If you think hiring a professional is expensive, Wait till you hire an amateur.

Red Adair

See Ya!
Lampie The Clown

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replacement handset
by birdmantd Forum moderator / January 29, 2005 11:21 AM PST

Try a different AT&T location or an old agent. Some stores may have old AT&T handsets. You might have better luck at another store and keep your plan as is.

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Switching Phones
by docsou / March 31, 2005 11:43 AM PST
In reply to: replacement handset

I orginally purchased a Motorola MPX200 through ATT and since have had a Moto V600 and MPX220 finally ending with a Treo 650. The phones after the orginal MPX were purchased directly or through and were shipped LOCKED dispite my paying full retail price. I gave one of the phones to my wife who uses a different carrier and we cannot get it to operate on her SIM card. We have called Motorola, Cingular, T Mobile and ATT and everyone states it is the other persons problem.
I am of the opinion that the AG of New York should look into the practices of these wireless providers the with the same depth that he looked into the brokerage firms. I smell something rotten

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unlocked phone
by birdmantd Forum moderator / April 1, 2005 12:05 PM PST
In reply to: Switching Phones

Ultimately the guilty party is the one that sold the device to you. Neither AT&T/Cingular, T-mobile or Motorola will be able to unlock the device. Only suggestion is to try a unlocking service company (check other posts on this forum). It is not the responsibility of the cellular service provider to unlock the device. It would be the same as if you bought a Sprint phone and demanded Cingular to unlock it, can't be done. I wish I could offer any better advice.

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Problem with Merge and cell phones
by ladyofspain / January 29, 2005 3:19 PM PST

I have 3 Cingular phones model 3395 Nokia and are very good phones. All you need to do is purchase a SIM card from Cingular and register the SIM and your phone starts to work, it's that easy. I've been with Cingular for 6 years now because of the good customer service and honesty. Remember I apply a lot of common sense when dealing with them and am a very reasonable person. If you are interested in the phones I have you can e-mail me at Call Cingular and confirm the purchase price of a new SIM card

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Cingular is NOT compatible with AT&T
by aliciad54 / July 7, 2005 7:54 AM PDT

Sorry, but your Cingular phones won't work with an AT&T phone. How do I know? I tried it. Having the same problem with needing a new cell phone I inserted my girlfriend's Cingular sim card into my AT&T phone and nada. Plain and simple.

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by birdmantd Forum moderator / July 7, 2005 10:30 AM PDT

No, only the SIM is not compatible between Cingular and AT&T phones. Don't confuse the issue. The phones do use the same networks.

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So then it's possible ...
by aliciad54 / July 7, 2005 10:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Cinular

for CINGULAR to just replace the SIM cards for a nominal fee rather than replace the whole phone or as in my case, where one phone is needed and you have three and are forced to replace all three of them. And in replacing the SIM's the AT&T customers would be content and stay put like they'd (myself) been doing with AT&T. Now I ask you, isn't that a better way to treat a customer who's paying you good money every month?

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by birdmantd Forum moderator / July 8, 2005 1:57 PM PDT

That's not what I said. You cannot use a Cingular SIM in an AT&T handset and you cannot use an AT&T handset with a Cingular calling plan. No simple explanation but neither scenerio is possible.

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by aliciad54 / July 10, 2005 9:24 AM PDT
In reply to: No

Let me try to be more specific.

Let's say I have two phones that are both Nokia 3560's. One has a Cingular card and one has an AT&T card. What needs to be done to make them interchangeable?

Also, I understand that Cingular needs to make a profit, but when it comes to my having to replace all three phones on my account because of one bad one, that's a bit hard to handle and very expensive for me too.

Like I mentioned in the last post, but you did not respond to, isn't there something that can be done for a nominal fee that would make the change easier for us AT&T customers?

Lets face it. I'd like to say most of us were happy campers at AT&T because I was, and we're being penalized for corporate buy out,k something that we shouldn't be penalized for. At the very least let us out of our contracts. Seems fair to me as I don't remember anything in my contract with AT&T saying that everytime you have a phone go bad you're going to have to replace all three of them.

As a matter of fact? I'd like to see what would happen in small claims court. If it actually comes down to that I'd probably tell Cingular to take me to court. You betcha. Because I WILL NOT buy three phones to replace one bad one and I WILL NOT pay $175/phone for leaving early without a fight.

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by birdmantd Forum moderator / July 10, 2005 9:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Sheesh

I am sorry if I did not respond to your inquiry more politely, wasn't trying to be difficult. My best suggestion would be to try getting your current (or future) handset unlocked and use a new Cingular SIM card.

Only minor problem would be certain features such as text message or internet might not work properly without manually configuring settings in the phone. I do hope that is a more reasonable alternative for you. Good luck.

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I didn't believe that you were impolite
by aliciad54 / July 11, 2005 6:35 AM PDT
In reply to: suggestion

It just didn't seem like I could get you to understand what I was asking. So hard sometimes with type.

So, how would I get a Cingular SIM card? And my AT&T number would be fine with a Cingular SIM card? And the other two phones I've got would keep on working with AT&T SIM cards? I don't care about text messaging and internet. I just use mine as a phone. On the other hand, my 16 year old daughter, but that's just tough unless she wants to go ahead and give me the money. And she won't do that either. Ha ha ha.

I've already seen where to go to get phones unlocked, but I can't see Cingular sending me a SIM card. Ha ha ha ... that makes me laugh just thinking about it. <cringe>

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