I’ve got season tickets to the Boston Bruins, so I’ve spent many a night up in the balcony sitting at my seat during intermissions wondering what was up with the spotty cell phone reception.
I’ve had my iPhone 3GS with AT&T for the past couple of years and usually the reception is halfway decent. I can even get reception on Boston’s underground subway system. Amazing! But sitting in the nosebleed section of the Garden, my reception goes from 5 bars of 3G service to searching to just regular phone to the “E” (aka Edge network) back to searching to no signal. I get perhaps 2 minutes of 3G service per game, and I’m lucky if I’m using the phone when those two minutes show up.
Then I’m at a recent game and on the Garden’s jumbotron and the electronic banner that spans the entire garden’s upper ring and see that AT&T is the “Official Wireless Provider of the Boston Bruins” (and looks like they’ve been since June 2009 and this page on the Bruins website is the only instance I can find of this “partnership”).
If so, why is my cell phone reception so shitty and pretty much non-existent when I’m at a Boston Bruins game at the Garden? From the above linked article the CEO of the service that AT&T used to have charging stations at the Garden stated “AT&T has a marketing plan with the arena, and as part of the plan they’re allowed to do promotions like this…” One would also think that the first thing that AT&T would do is ensure that all of their current customers can get a strong 3G connection when they are the Garden during a Bruins game. Keep your current customer base happy, and their word of mouth can act as very effective marketing tactic.
But they don’t. The service at the Garden for AT&T is very poor, so I went to the AT&T cellular website to contact them and make the above suggestion. Don’t get me started on contacting AT&T customer service – well okay, perhaps a little: very difficult. I eventually found a form (there was no direct email address to send them an email) after I had logged into my account, and had to switch broswers from Chrome to FireFox to get the form to work correctly, and I sent this to them:
Q1:Enter the wireless number associated with the account you’re inqure
A1: (removed by me)
Q2:What is the make and model of the phone you’re asking about?
Q3:Please enter your phone question below:
A3:first off: this form doesn’t work properly with Chrome. This box deletes any text I put into it.
Second, during Boston Bruins games at the TD Garden in Boston, MA the banner scrolls stating that AT&T is the official wireless carrier for the Boston Bruins. If it is, why can’t I get reliable cell reception in the Garden? I’m lucky if I get a minute of 3G coverage, sometimes it the slow E network that won’t allow me to upload pictures or even check Twitter it is so slow, and other times the phone says “searching” and I get no coverage whatsoever. There are 16K plus Bruins fans at a game that you’re advertising is targeting. Perhaps start by giving the Garden some actual 3G reception. In downtown Boston you’d think this would be possible – yes, even inside the Garden.
AT&T’s response came a couple days later via email. I’d reprint it all, but there is a clause that states that the information in the email is for the view and usage of the authorized AT&T subscriber only. Really?
Basically it states the root cause of the poor service is the demand on their network outstrips the capacity of their network. There was nothing that states what their corrective action was and what their preventive action would be so the issue would not arise again in the future.
So in other words, it is their bad, and there isn’t anything I can do about it and there is nothing they are going to do about it, and they don’t care that I know this and they don’t care enough about me as a customer to address it.
I sent them a follow up email with the above and also stating that my friend who has Verizon and the seat next to me at the Garden as no such issues with his cellular service during games and perhaps I should just switch to Verizon. We’ll see if AT&T values my service or if I’m just another face in the masses. If they don’t give me the excellent customer service that every company should provide a customer, then I will switch to Verizon. Since I can both transfer my current cell number to Verizon and also get the fancy iPhone 4 or prehaps even a Droid, then what does have AT&T have to offer me other then a phone that is basically a brick when I need to use it?