Who you gonna call?
Many Seton Hall students with AT&T wireless cell phones on campus have found the service to be substandard this semester. AT&T said that network engineers are currently working to correct the problem.
In an e-mail interview, Alexa Kaufman, director of corporate communications at AT&T, said that the company has seen a “tremendous increase” in the amount of wireless data being used since the start of the school year.
“We’re taking steps to increase capacity to meet that demand,” Kaufman said.
According to Kaufman, the effort to provide better service for students at Seton Hall began this summer, when they added third generation mobile broadband technology to one of the main cell sites serving the campus. Additionally, Kaufman said that in late October AT&T added some T-1 lines to help the site carry more traffic.
“Hopefully students are starting to see improvements,” Kaufman said, adding that the engineers at AT&T are now taking another look at the Seton Hall campus to see what other actions can be taken in the short term.
“We are also working with the university about getting permission to upgrade two additional sites that cover the dorms in 2010,” Kaufman said.
All of the Seton Hall students interviewed said that the service problems did not begin until this semester, and prior to that time, they didn’t have many issues with their service.
“Last year, service was fine,” sophomore education major Courtney Scott said. “I rarely had problems and even had reception in places that those who were customers of other service providers did not.”
Scott added that she actually switched service providers, from AT&T to Verizon, due to the problems she had with the phone service.
Sophomore nursing major Samantha Quevedo said that up until this year, AT&T treated her well.
However, since arriving at Seton Hall this fall, there has been a multitude of problems for students with AT&T service.
“I’ll be in my room and I won’t get any service, but then when I walk out, I’ll have 15 text messages,” Quevedo said.
Students like junior social work major Susan Kosakowski agree that the service is unpredictable.
“The service is very hit or miss,” Kosakowski said. She explained that she rarely had service in her apartment in Turrell Manor, although she occasionally received text messages while there.
Sophomore broadcast, visual and interactive media major Claire Suellentrop also said that AT&T service was “spotty.”
“I don’t get service in Arts & Sciences or in Nursing, for example, but I get it in Mooney and the University Center,” Suellentrop said, adding that she had no problem with the service last year.
“I was in range pretty much everywhere on campus,” Suellentrop said.
While all have had problems with the service, not all students have the same model phone. Quevedo has an AT&T Quickfire, while Kosakowski has a Hand Tech. Duo, and Scott has a Samsung Access. Sullentrop was unsure of the exact model of her phone, but said that it was “an old Samsung slider.”
Caitlin Ditchfield, a sophomore diplomacy major, said that she had a Pantech Matrix, which she has been having trouble with recently.
Ditchfield said that the lack of service is a problem because she uses her cell phone for her job.
“I spoke with my manager for SART (Sexual Assault Response Team,) because I have to use my phone for the hotline. He said he would deal with it, however, nothing has changed,” Ditchfield said.
Sophomore criminal justice major Christopher Cagna also has a Pantech Matrix, which he has had trouble with since the second week of school.
All of the students interviewed for this article said that they had been in contact with AT&T about their service problems, but none have had any real success.
“I called them three times,” Scott said. “The first time they said I needed a new SIM card. After I replaced that service improved for a few days, then went back to normal. I called a second time and they said that approximately four towers were down in the area, but to remove the battery and that would reset the signal. The third time calling they said removing the battery shouldn’t change anything but that the towers were still down in the area.”
Ditchfield also said that when she called AT&T they told her to try a new SIM card as well.
“I have a new SIM card and still no change in service,” Ditchfield said.
Suellentrop said she was “extremely frustrated” with AT&T’s customer service.
“(The employee) said that a problem had been noted in our area and that AT&T was working to correct it. She didn’t give me any other information and couldn’t be sure of when the problem would be fixed. That was two months ago, and there’s been no improvement or even change in service,” Suellentrop said.
Kosakowski said efforts were made but not successful.
“They’ve tried to help, but I mean, it failed,” Kosakowski said.
Cagna said that when he called AT&T, the representative suggested that he switch his network from 3G to 2G. However, Cagna’s phone did not have that capability, so he was unable to do that unless he bought a new phone.
“It’s gotten better now,” Cagna said, “The only area I don’t get service is around X, which is where I live, so that doesn’t help much.”
For many of the students, improvements can’t come fast enough.
“I just feel like I’m paying for a service that I’m not getting,” Kosakowski said.
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.