ATT Wireless is great. The Nokia 8260 is not.

Back in January I dumped SprintPCS for ATT and purchased a brand new Nokia 8260. At first the service was great. ATT was much more reliable than Sprint, and their customer service was so far beyond Sprint it isn't describable (though Sprint is so atrocious I'm not sure it would really take much). Then everyone started to sign up with ATT. And I mean everyone. Half my friends and several fellow employees at work jumped on the ATT bandwagon as they lowered their prices. With all these new customers ATT should be doing well right?

Apparently there have been so many new customers that ATT is struggling to keep up with all the new signups. Their infrastructure is being pushed to the limits, and as a result they've had to cut back on the bandwidth they allot to each user per call. Now for most users this really doesn't make too much of a difference. A few more pops and crackles here and there maybe, but that's pretty much it. But not for an 8260 user.

The Nokia 8260 is a sexy little phone that I had wanted for quite some time before I purchased it. Small and light, I was excited to get my new phone. The problem, however, is that the 8260 has an equally small antenna (internal no less) to go with its small case. This normally isn't a problem, but when ATT started to cut back on their bandwidth the 8260 just couldn't keep up. So for the last 4 months I've been having lots of problems. This week they became unbearable.

When I first started having problems with my phone (lots of dropped calls, missed calls, fast busy) I called ATT and complained. After thoroughly explaining my situation and going through a lot of tests they sent me a new 8260. This seemed like a good deal to me; at the time I still thought maybe I just had a defective phone. Then I started talking to others and found out that the 8260 is quite notorious for horrible reception, especially in the conditions I've been using it in. One friend has gone through over 5 8260s. Thus I wasn't very surprised when my new phone didn't operate any differently than my old one.

So today I called ATT up and made my case. They sold me an 8260 that was supposed to work on their network. I bought it in their store, and didn't even get a substantial discount on it when I purchased it. Now the phone I bought from them doesn't work on their network like it is supposed to. John at ATT looked back through the list of previous calls I had made to ATT explaining how my phone sucked and suggested that we try to find me a new phone. I heartily agreed. He offered me the 3360 for 29.99 after rebate. I explained that I already bought a new phone and I didn't want to buy one again. This was their fault the phone didn't work (indirectly) and paying for a new phone was not what I wanted. John agreed and credited my bill the 29.99. The phone will be FedExed overnight. So in another day or so I will have a new phone that should work and I won't have had to pay for it. This is why I am a big fan of ATT. They go out of their way to help the customer, and are willing to do things like send me a new phone for free to keep me as a customer.

Sprint, on the other hand, keeps sending me bills for $0.00 every month. Apparently they aren't willing to stop billing me. These bills are annoying, but part of me is very satisfied when they spend money every month to send me a bill for $0.00. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to deal with a company who's policy is, "solve all problems in one call," rather than, "Make sure the customer knows they are lucky we are letting them be our customer."