Hello Bob Wallace,
I have come to the same conclusion as you when you opened up the June
edition on using Features on your new phone. Cellular providers are
selling features but no support is available to encourage usage. From
discussion groups (TELECOM Digest and Telephony On-Line) for Industry
Leaders and Veterans, many are coming to the same conclusion.
Cellular Operators and in particular the marketing groups are selling
features without any consideration of ability to implement. At first
I though I just needed better training when handed the phone. That is
true for some features but not all.
After being with AT&T wireless (Cellular One) for over 14 years (and
designing many different systems for that network from inception), I
was in Australia on Roaming that was quoted to me incorrectly. My
second bill, instead of $140.00 was $2,300.00. The trouble, no
web-site, store personnel, CSR or technical people could correctly
quote which Edge card to take and what the rate would be. I was
extremely lucky to have the incorrect rates verified by three sources
After being off-line for one month (when I arrived there), I was told
the only way I could get the correct device was to transfer to
Cingular. What I was not told and did not even consider is that
Cingular put me on a new plan (no-signatures or any pamphlet). I was
happy to get a new phone (I like Motorola V551) but the DATA card is
simply a firmware change. I found out three months later Cingular
does not have any of the AT&T plans nor will it honor any of those
plans when converting consumers. One comment though, the Cingular
International Roaming Plan certainly is a deterrent to Global
I was off-line another 2 months while trying to get the rates
straightened out. New rule in conversion from AT&T to Cingular --
AT&T let you suspend the account when service would not work, Cingular
says tough, you still have to pay so I did for the two months that I
had to suspend service because they could not quote the rates and
re-rate the errant bill. They would re-rate the bill, they just could
not re-rate the bill.
Now we get to the features.
1) Cingular Web site could not be updated with my account information or
bill review or pay-online for the first four months. I could access the
web site only if I am Microsoft IE user.
2) E-mail or Web site support contact not allowed for first six-months
"we do not support e-mail correspondence". I did not argue this
because I knew they would get a few hundred thousand complaints to
cause them to change.
3) International Support assistance Free with AT&T, Not with Cingular.
11 hours of charges for conversations on bill and support while I had
turned off service yet had to pay for monthly service.
4) Motorola Phone, USB cable, PhoneTools. Absolutely will not work,
is not going to work and no refunds allowed on the cable or the
software application. 17 hours of troubleshooting excluding leaving
it with the Cingular Staff. The source of the trouble, Cingular
Connection Manager Software for my Edge Card AND an integration
problem on selecting the USB port instead of the Modem for Windows 98
users. I cannot move my contacts, retrieve my pictures or set my
5) My personal E-mails on the phone -- Motorola Phone supports it but
Cingular discontinued the capability. Cingular advertises it, support
is on the web site but it has been discontinued. I am forced to used
their e-mail which, amazingly, will not accept Microsoft Messenger. I
now have four subscription products for DATA services (MMS, MediaNet,
PhoneTools, Edge Card) of which only the edge card works on a
dedicated PC (phone integration capable but not allowed).
6) Pictures available for MMS will not send pictures to e-mails
7) E-mailing pictures was allowed (and still works if you use the
service outside the USA) and is allowed but will not work because
Cingular E-mail is limited in size. It would work if I used my
external e-mail service but I am no longer allowed to.
8) Cingular Web site is required to set-up e-mail and Medianet. Media
net requires I use Microsoft Internet Explorer. Since I only use IE
for OS upgrades and patches, I decided I could use IE for Cingular.
All of the personalization you do on Media net is only for your
browser on your PC the changes do not go to the phone set, there is
no correlation between Medianet and your phone. I have absolutely no
idea what MediaNet is for after registering and browsing. It appears
only if I use a PC to make my Cingular account my home page. There is
absolutely no interaction with the phone or edge card.
9) Web Browsing, like external e-mail and phonetools is advertised and
the Cingular Web site support pages support it but the service has
been turned off. You cannot set links to WML enabled web sites. You
can only use the Web sites Cingular provided on the pre-loaded
application in the phone.
What a complete mess. It is true I have plenty of features on the
phone, one I really like, is taking pictures but I must use it only
when outside the USA because all of the send support features have
been removed in the Cingular network. I cannot think of anyone who
would want to receive picture of my work on their MMS enabled phone.
Like I said it cannot be moved to a PC because MobilePhone tools will
not work and external e-mail has been discontinued and internal e-mail
The phone is simply a phone and appears it will only be a phone. I
have not adopted text messaging but in light of the above, I do not
expect it to work.