Friday, January 22, 2010

Get Better Cell Service With Your Existing Carrier

Before you switch your wireless carrier because of coverage issues, consider this first. I'm usually not one to complain. I like to fix things on my own rather than waste my time being upset about something, but sometimes complaining is the only way to get something done. I have been a Sprint customer since 2004. I made the switch from Verizon for a couple reasons. Although Verizon gave me excellent service pretty much everywhere, there was one spot they didn't. My own home. Not having coverage at my house was a major problem for me. My other reason for switching is the widely known lack of style in Verizon's handsets. I must admit, Sprint has some sexy phones. After making the switch to Sprint I have been very happy with my service and what I pay for it.
A few years ago my wife and I were married. We moved in to her condo and she was added to my Sprint plan. Again I had the problem of poor coverage at home. This time the issue wasn't as bad so we lived with it until the problem got worse over this past summer. According to Sprint's coverage map, our home and my wife's job are in areas that have the best coverage. In those two specific spots we have little to no coverage. After a few calls to Sprint and promises of a solution, I heard nothing about the progress they were making with my problem. I was told the problem would be fixed within a few days and that they WILL fix it. After about 3 months I called back to see what had been done. Nothing.
At this point I was greatly considering using my tax return money to cancel my contract and switch carriers. That meant putting up with poor coverage for a few more months. The representative I was speaking to offered me a product to increase my signal at home; the Samsung Airave. It is basically a 3G cell tower for your home that runs off your high speed Internet. I knew what the product was and that it costs $100 for the unit and $5/ month to use it. I was in no way ready to spend more money on coverage I was already supposed to have.
I quickly declined the device and told them I would probably be cancelling my service sooner. That's when the representative told me that I would be receiving to the Airave and service for free for two years. When the two years are up, I just package the device up and send it back.
Now, throughout this whole process I was patient and polite. In the past I have used my temper to try and get my way ( when I had Nextel before the sprint merger) and it doesn't really pay off. Some of those customer service reps are willing to help if you let them. Simply making your problem known can result in a solution. Sometimes they won't give you an immediate solution like getting your own cell tower because it costs them. Keep calling back until your problem is fixed and remember to be patient. I didn't even have to tell them I wanted to cancel my service, they asked and the possibility of losing a customer sometimes makes them work harder.
Other carriers are starting to offer products similar to the Airave. To find out, go to your wireless provider's site and see what they have to offer. Currently, Sprint offers the Samsung Airave for $99.00 and $5/ month. Verizon also offers the Airave but for $249 and no monthly charge. At the time of this post, T-Moblile and AT&T do not offer such a device and it is unclear if they intend to in the future.

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