AT&T hits some bumps in Cingular transition

For the past several days since Saturday, Sept. 6, the AT&T Wireless office in Lihu‘e has featured long lines of confused Kaua‘i residents.

Saturday was the date on which the full-system transition from Cingular to AT&T Wireless was scheduled to be completed.

Despite an automatic change in programs, many Kaua‘i residents had issues with the new service.

Dave Hamman, owner of Integrity Key Lock and Safe, was one Kaua‘i resident who had to endure the long lines.

“There’s no excuse for what’s going on here. We’re all losing money,” said Hamman, who offers 24-hour emergency service and depends on his cell phone to deliver customers to him.

“The bottom line is that AT&T knew the Sept. 6 changeover was coming two months ago, so they should have tested systems, and come up with a seamless way to change service for those former Cingular customers wishing to enroll with AT&T,” he fumed.

The key problems that seemed to arise for customers in the changeover were the new phone rates as well as the new voice mail system.

According to Lissa Guild, the AT&T Wireless marketing and public relations manager, customers received a letter approximately a month ago detailing the new phone plan that they would receive.

AT&T Wireless officials gave customers a rate service that closely resembled their previous Cingular plan, she said.

If customers were not satisfied with the AT&T rate option, they had the opportunity to change the plan to fit their needs after Sept. 6. Many customers had to do this in person at the office location, while some avoided the lines by doing it online.

The next issue that caused unusually large customer traffic at the AT&T Wireless office was the new voice mail system that the company provided for its customers.

According to Guild, customers couldn’t access the pass-code option for their voice mails due to a system error. The problem apparently was fixed on Tuesday.

A minor issue that also affected customer traffic at the office location was incompatible phones.

A few customers had phones that weren’t compatible with the new technology. These people had to get updated phones.

“Everything should be cleared up by now,” Guild said. “For this type of migration of service and technology, things went pretty well. It did take a couple of days, but everyone has been patient about the transition.”

AT&T Wireless closed a deal to swap telecommunications service on Kaua‘i with Cingular on June 1, and in exchange Cingular took some AT&T Mainland lines. Since the transaction approval date, AT&T officials have been working to get all systems switched over by Sept. 6.

Business Editor Barry Graham may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or mailto:bgraham@pulitzer.net.

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